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Bigger Nexus tablet would need more than better specs

Samsung is reportedly waiting for Google's approval to build a Nexus 11 tablet.

Although Google's Nexus 10 hasn't been a big success, the company may be preparing to try again with an even larger Android tablet.

That's the word, at least, from SamMobile, a site with a decent track record for Samsung-related rumors. (The site seems to report everything it hears, for better or worse.)

In this case, SamMobile reports that Samsung is waiting for Google's approval to build a Nexus 11 tablet, with an 11-inch display, octa-core Exynos processor, and MicroSD slot for up to 64 GB of expandable storage. The report is worth taking with a grain of salt, given that Google has moved away from MicroSD slots in its Nexus hardware, but if true, the Nexus 11 could be the world's first octa-core tablet.

Nexus 7 leading in Google tablet sales

Not that it matters. According to an estimate by Enders analyst Benedict Evans, Google has likely sold less than 1 million Nexus 10 tablets to date, compared to 6.8 million Nexus 7 tablets. In fairness, the Nexus 7 has been on the market longer, but release timing isn't enough to explain the huge difference in sales.

For the Nexus 7, the sales pitch is clear: it's a dirt-cheap tablet with a great Google experience and solid performance. But what's the allure of the Nexus 10? Sure, it's $100 cheaper than a comparable iPad, but if cost savings are the goal, those potential iPad buyers could just step down to the iPad Mini.

Most people don't care about tech specs, they care about the experience, and Android's lack of proper tablet apps is much clearer on larger displays.

If Google and Samsung are working on a larger Nexus tablet, they'll need more than better tech specs. Google could, for example, try to make Android more capable as a laptop operating system, and sell its tablet along with a detachable trackpad and keyboard. Or, the company could build more OS-level features that take advantage of the large screen, kind of like the multi-window view Samsung offers on the Galaxy Note 8.0.

It's possible that Google could reveal a large tablet at its I/O conference in May, but bigger, better hardware won't be enough if Google wants to make a dent in the large-tablet market.

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