HTC reportedly building Nexus 9 tablet with LTE for Q4 release

HTC is reportedly preparing a tablet with an 8.9-inch screen that is scheduled to be released in the fourth quarter through Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Nexus device program. According to a report from Android Police, the device will be powered by Nvidia's Tegra K1 processor, will sell in Wi-Fi-only and LTE versions, and will be called the Nexus 9.

According to the report, the tablet will run Android version 5.0, which the publication dubbed Android version "L." The Wi-Fi-only version of the device will start at $399 for the 16 GB version, and the addition of LTE could increase that price to as much as $600.

The rumor is notable in light of a recent report that Google plans to scrap its four-year-old Nexus Android-device program in favor of a program called "Android Silver." The Android Silver program is aimed at delivering high-end smartphones attuned to Google's specifications to better compete with Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhones in the premium-smartphone segment, according to an April report from The Information.

According to The Information, the Silver program will "sharply limit" the number of non-Google apps that can be pre-installed on devices. It will also focus on in-store sales through wireless carriers--Sprint (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) have been pegged as possible participants--as opposed to the current strategy for Nexus device sales, which have mainly been sold online.

However, the Silver program is reportedly scheduled to start early next year, which would leave room for Google to release HTC's Nexus 9 by the end of this year. Thus, the Nexus 9 could be the last device sold through Google's Nexus device program.

Google launched the Nexus device program to spotlight high-end Android devices running a "pure" version of Google's Android unadorned with extra features and functions added by handset makers such as Samsung and LG. Companies including HTC and LG have participated in the Nexus program.

A Nexus tablet from HTC would also be notable, since HTC has been focusing most of its efforts lately on smartphones and hasn't sold tablets in several years.

For more:
- see this PCMag article
- see this Android Police article
- see this Cnet article

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