The idea that Google would release a tablet of its own really started gaining traction in the early months of 2012. A report in late February got many of the details right, from the seven-inch display to the 1280 x 800 resolution. It wasn’t long after that when we heard ASUS identified as a probably manufacturing partner. That might have given you the impression that the two companies had been working on this project for some time. As one ASUS exec shared in a recent interview, the actual story of the Nexus 7’s design took place over a much more condensed timetable, and the ball didn’t get started rolling until the CES back in January.
During the CES, Google and ASUS met to discuss future product offerings, and the idea of the Nexus 7 was first floated. In the hopes of getting the tablet finalized and ready for production by May, the complete design process took place in a span of just four months – a relative blink of an eye.
ASUS spent a good deal of time working to keep the tablet’s size and weight down, focusing its attention during this design period on tasks like slimming down the display by using a component with an integrated touch sensor. It ended up taking an entire month just to work out the kinks in manufacturing the fully-laminated display design the company’s engineers settled on. Another team spent a month themselves trying to optimize circuit design to reduce any unnecessary drain; that allowed the Nexus 7 to increase its battery life without requiring a a larger, heavy battery.
The company also rethought the importance it gave to certain design elements. Speaker placement, for instance, would usually be an afterthought, made to work with whatever leftover space was available. Instead, ASUS found a setup it liked earlier on, and designed the rest of the circuitry around that.
What do you think; did ASUS end up succeeding despite the tight timeframe it was working under? Do you think another few months of development would have helped avoid some of the issues that have crept up with Nexus 7 hardware?