Google Nexus tablet rumours have been knocking around for ages now, but recent developments suggest we could be slowly – painfully – edging towards the thing actually materialising.
A case in point: a couple of press image drafts have hit the web claiming to be pics of the upcoming Asus-made slate, and offering a few spec nuggets for us to chew over.
PhoneArena has been sent a pair of images that supposedly show a fairly final version of the Google-branded tab, which many believe will show off the next-generation Android Jelly Bean for the first time.
First off, the design. It's classic HTC, down to the friendly curves and two-tone rear, which bears both Google and Asus' names as is good and proper.
As a 7-incher it's closer to the smartphone form factor than larger 10in tablets, but Asus appears to have taken the notion to a whole new level with what looks suspiciously like an earpiece slit above the screen alongside the usual video cam lens and flash bits. Maybe we shouldn't be surprised: this is habitual experimenter Asus we're talking about, after all.
PhoneArena's source confirms that a quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3 chip will be tucked away inside along with 1GB of RAM. Interestingly, though, it's claimed that the new version of Android that the Google hero device will have on board won't be Android 5.0 Jelly Bean as has been hinted, but rather an evolutionary 4.1 build of Ice Cream Sandwich.
In one sense that seems entirely plausible: with ICS still running on less than 10% of Android devices currently in use, it would be insane to release another major version of the OS on a device that some are expecting could launch as soon as next month.
But having said that, would just an evolution of the current Android 4.0 be enough of a step forward to warrant being Nexusised? We know that the device will be looking to stand out for its value for money rather than any spec-driven wow factor, but as a prestige release, and the first ever Google-branded tablet, it surely has to have something special to offer?
Then again, maybe Google is sick of sticking its name on high-end devices that only sell in modest numbers and wants a serious slice of tablet pie?
At this point, your guess is as good as ours.