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Nexus 9 release date, news, specs and rumors [updated: keyboard case images and waterproof camera news]

Loie Favre

If I had 5 cents for every time the Nexus 9 was rumored, I could buy a jumbo slurpee. Google’s prophesied tablet has been like the Loch Ness Monster: a lot of sightings but no solid proof! The Nexus 9 comes under many names: Nexus 8, Nexus 9, HTC Volantis, ''Flounder'', T1. Whatever we end up calling it, the 8.9-inch tablet has a lot going for it, including being the true reference device for Android L. Update: An Nvidia legal document has been leaked which suggests the "HTC Nexus 9" will be available in Q3 2014, and photographs of the new keyboard case have emerged. Also, the Nexus 9 may launch with a waterproof camera accessory. Head to the "release date" and "magnetic case and keyboard" and "hardware" sections for more details.

nexus logo 8

Google Nexus 9 release date

Update: In a patent lawsuit document filed by Nvidia it has been revealed that HTC is working on the Tegra K1 powered Nexus 9 tablet, and it’s due for release in the "third quarter of 2014". Though this is explicitly stated in the document, HTC has just announced its “double exposure” media event on October 8th, and so it seems like this is the more likely place for the reveal. Originally we believed the Nexus 9 would be launched at a Google event held around Halloween or early November to launch the Nexus 9 and Nexus 6 alongside Android L. Either way, it looks like we will all have our hands on the sexiest Nexus tablet ever before the year is out.

Also, on August 4th 2014, The Nexus 7 went out of stock on the Google Play Store and was followed soon after by the Nexus 10. There are currently no Nexus tablets available on the Play Store in some countries. Traditionally, this is a sign that a new device is about to come! The Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 could indeed replace the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. Are you as impatient as we are?

Nexus 9 price

The price of the Nexus 9 is anyone's guess really. Nexus devices have always been very affordable, with the Nexus 7 (2013) costing a measly 229 USD for the basic model and up to 349 USD for the LTE version with more internal storage. If the Nexus 9 features the Tegra K1 Denver 64-bit chip and a metal construction though, we can expect the price to rise significantly. The added size will also increase the price. Still, we'd expect Google to make pennies on each Nexus 9, hopefully keeping the price as low as possible. If we had to place bets, we'd say the base model will come in around 400-450 USD. 

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Here's a render of how the new magnetic case looks for the Nexus 9. © Android Police

Nexus 9 magnetic case and keyboard

Android Police has shared details of a new magnetic case for the Nexus 9 that is very similar to that found on the iPad. However, the Nexus 9 magnetic case will also feature a built-in keyboard that has its own 450 mAh power source and microUSB charging port. This accessory transforms the Nexus 9 into something a little closer to Asus' Transformer Prime and opens Google's tablet up to whole new use cases.

Update: Following from previous reports of a magnetic keyboard and case for the Nexus 9, we now have what we think is a first look at it. Thanks to website chinese.vr-zone we can see images of the Microsoft Surface-like case, which can become a kickstand for upright viewing. The combined keyboard also contains some unique keys for Android functions like "voice command", which has its own dedicated button where the "caps lock" would normally be. Check out the new images below.

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A voice command button can be seen in place of the caps lock button. / © chinese.vr-zone
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The case will fold into a kickstand for the Nexus 9. / © chinese.vr-zone
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The keyboard will snap onto the Nexus 9, pair with NFC and sync with Bluetooth 4.0.  © Android Police

Android Silver or Nexus?

The lead up to knowing this much about the Nexus 9 has been an interesting history. First @evleaks tweeted to say the Nexus line would be dissolved and be replaced by the Android Silver program. But this rumor was stomped out by David Burke of Google, who said that Google was still committed to the Nexus line. 

  • Nexus 6 release date, news, specs and rumors
nexus 8 code
A piece of Chromium code that was leaked. / © 9to5Google

Nexus 8 or Nexus 9?

In the beginning, we were awaiting the Nexus 8, but this was overthrown by a rumor of a 8.9-inch display, bringing the name Nexus 9 to everyone's attention instead. The Nexus 9 is also known by its internal HTC codename ''Volantis'' as well as by Google's codename for the Nexus device ''Flounder'' and more recently @evleaks successor @upleaks referred to the device as the T1. There is also a 5.9-inch Motorola ''Shamu'' device doing the rounds that many are saying will be the first Android Silver offering, destined for Verizon.

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The Nexus 9, according to Android Police. / © Android Police

HTC Volantis

Volantis is the supposed developer name given to the Nexus 9. According to Android Police, the Nexus tablet will be manufactured by HTC and will have high-end characteristics which would be able to sell just as well as the Nexus 7 did back in the day, especially if Google stays true to their low price tactics.

htc volantis nexus specs
The screen capture that Android Police released showing off the name Nexus Volantis. / © Android Police

Nexus 9 hardware

From the stream of rumors about the Nexus 9, it looks to come packing a NVIDIA 64-bit Tegra K1 Denver processor. The Tegra K1 processor scored better in an AnTuTu benchmark test against the 64-bit Exynos 5433 chipset which is rumored to come in the future Samsung Galaxy Note 4. This would be complemented by 2 GB of RAM and either 16 or 32 GB of internal storage. It’s easy to presume that this tablet will provide for an amazing user experience when watching videos or playing graphically demanding games such as Real Racing 3.

Update: We've heard reports that the Nexus 9 will come with a wide-angle waterproof camera accessory, giving sports fans something to think about. This new HTC camera is expected to house a 16 MP sensor, and will be capable of being controlled by a smartphone/tablet app. The new camera, if it exists, should hopefully make an appearance on October 8th alongside the Nexus 9.  

Nexus 9 software

And of course, the Google Nexus 9 will presumably come with the latest version of the world's most popular mobile operating system: Android 5.0. For now Google is calling it Android L, but in the Fall we'll likely know the official version number and name. 

Tech Specs: Google Nexus 9 vs Google Nexus 7 (2013)

  Google Nexus 9 Google Nexus 7 (2013)
System Android L, perhaps Android 5.0 Lollipop Android 4.4.4 KitKat
Display 8.9-inch, 2,048 x 1,440 pixels, 281 ppi (4:3 aspect ratio) 7-inch, LCD, 1,920 x 1,200 mah (323 ppi)
Processor Nvidia Tegra K1 (64-bit) Quadcore, Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro, 1.5 GHz
Internal storage 16/32 GB 16/32 GB
Camera 8 MP, OIS (rear), 3 MP (front) 5 / 1.2 MP
Dimensions 22.63 x 16.19 x 0.79 cm 200 x 114 x 8.65 mm
Weight 418 g / 427 g (LTE) 290-299 g
Connectivity N/A HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0
Other Aluminum zero-gap construction, stereo speakers (front-facing) N/A

What are your expectations for the Nexus 9? Do you think it will be even more successful than the Nexus 7 (2013)?

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Write new comment:
  • braulio_holtz 2 weeks ago Link

    Would be the Lenovo VibeX2 an Android Silver? ... Google will have Nexus, Android One and Android Silver (which should have rules of Google, as time updates)

    • User picture
      Kris Carlon 2 weeks ago Link

      You never know @braulio_holtz. Lenovo's teaser image for the VibeX2 does have a suspiciously Android Lollipop image in it, so it could be one of the first Android Silver devices to be announced. Somehow I don't think so, but I've been wrong in the past.

  • Pierre Marcotte 2 weeks ago Link

    I'm planning to replacemy present no name tablet, so i'll wait formore info including a release date before making my choice

  • CJ Brown 1 week ago Link

    If all Google Play Tablets are 'out of stock' ? I can see that as a sign some new Consumer Electronics will be revealed in time for the Xmas shopping season ...

    I'm personally enjoying my Nvidia Shield Tablet (if Google wants to improve their Tablets? I'd say a Nvidia Shield with better cameras and a 8.5" screen is a good start) ....

  • Charles Martell 1 week ago Link

    Please, please include SD Card storage(with save app to SD enabled !!!

  • anees 1 week ago Link

    too big

  • CJ Brown 5 days ago Link

    I don't know if Google will bypass an 8 and head towards a 9 NEXUS series Tablet (I would imagine an 8.2 to an 8.5 screen would be big enough and if you want larger? then offer a better NEXUS 10 tablet) ....

    I do feel Tablet hunters are looking for decent audio and cameras (an micro sd card slot would be nice, but I imagine 32gig / 64gig model Tablets with free 100gig of Google Drive would entice enough buyers) ...

    As Smart Phones become Phablets? I wonder if Tablet sales will go down to where manufacturers stop making them (or, if they want consumers to purchase Tablets? offer better specs - right?) ...