ASUS reveals Nexus 7 conceived at CES, ready four months later

When the ASUS MeMo 370T appeared, and then swiftly disappeared at CES, rumors suggested that the $250 7-incher had been poached by Google as the basis for its Nexus tablet. Fast forward six months, and we got confirmation at the Google I/O developer conference, with the introduction of the Nexus 7 and its official model number, ME370T. However, its journey from budget ASUS tablet to Google flagship has remained a mystery, until now.

Forbes​ recently sat down with ASUS' execs, where they were given a more thorough breakdown of how the Jelly Bean tablet came to life. Specifically, ASUS UK and Nordic head, Benjamin Yeh, said that the idea of the Nexus 7 was first conceived after a meeting of ASUS and Google bosses at CES in January --

"Our top executives met Google’s top executives at CES to talk about opportunities and how they saw the future market. That’s when we came up with the idea of the Google Nexus 7 by Asus. That was in January, and mass production started in May."

Yeh notes that the average timeframe for bringing this kind of product to market is 6-12 months, making the Nexus 7 a remarkably quick turnaround. However, we should note that ASUS  and Google didn't have to go completely back to the drawing board in January -- they already had the MeMo 370T as a template.

Elsewhere in the feature, ASUS UK marketing manager John Swatton goes into further detail about the display technologies and battery efficiency of the Nexus 7. ASUS reduced the tablet's weight and thickness, and improved screen quality by incorporating the touch sensor and protective top layer in to the same pane of glass, and also introduced a "full lamination" or "zero-air-gap" method for bonding the LCD to that glass. Sony has employed this method before in phones like the Xperia Arc, and Apple is rumored to be using something similar in the iPhone 5.

On battery efficiency, Swatton says ASUS spent a month testing each point on the PCB to check for heat generation, a telltale sign of battery-draining electrical leakage. And on a similar note, NVIDIA's Tegra 3, with its low-powered "ninja core" for background tasks, also helped out here.

It's always fascinating to get this kind of insight into the creation of a major product like the Nexus 7, and all the minute details that must be considered along the way. Judging by our own review, as well as initial sales of the tablet, it looks like ASUS and Google's hard work has paid dividends.

More: Forbes

Alex Dobie
Executive Editor

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

  • I wonder if this will be a trend for future devices coming to market and in the users hands. This would be a great way to get a competitive edge on competition.
  • I wonder what the shelf life will be. In other words, is something better already set to be released in a few months from now?
  • Not for the low low price.
  • 12 months just like any nexus devices.... so u have to wait 11 more months...
    but there are rumours that Nexus 10 is already in development
  • So this must be why they didn't have time to glue the screens all the way down...
  • Mine was fine, everything in working order. Shame you had a dud but that's no reason to believe that every unit is faulty.
  • 16 gig perfect here :)
  • I've been through 3, all with legit problems with the glass.
  • I returned my first one last week. My second just got here today. This one also has a separation issue.
  • That's what happened to me on all 3. 2 of the 3 were just downright creaky, and the third would stick for about 2-3 minutes and then pop back up. I finally just gave up...maybe I'll try again in a month or so when Google/Asus get their stuff together.
  • I like the nexus 7. If I didn't have my acer a500, I'd buy one.
  • If I didn't have my OG Asus Transformer/and dock, I would be all over the Nex7. I kinda want to hang on to all the functionality that getting a Nex7 would take away. Wonder when my OG Transformer will get Jelly Bean?
  • "..and Apple is rumored to be using something similar in the iPhone 5" You can bet that Apple will get credit on this as magical/revolutionary/FIRST!!
  • Yup. They will also file a patent on it and then sue Asus for stealing the technology.
  • And then create the iPad mini and sue all other 7 inch tablets for being too rectangular and too close to the new size of the mini.
  • Interesting to see that back then it had a microSD and microHDMI. Not surprising, just interesting. Damn you google. That is the nexus' one vice. edit: also noticed that at that time it was 16GB/32GB. So they specifically decided to restrict the storage. Interesting again.
  • No air gap in the display? Cool. I've also been getting freakishly good battery life. Easily two days. Love the N7.
  • My first Nexus 7 got a dead microphone. The second one has a terribly lifted screen. Both of them had messed up display calibration. Obviously, ASUS and Google don't know how to do quality control. Don't get me wrong. I like the tablet.
  • My 16GB is fantastic. I went ahead and took the back off after I got it and tightened the screws a bit as it had just a tad bit of lift on the left middle. After a week it has lifted up ever so slightly but no creaking or other issues with the tablet. It's minor and if it gets bad later that's ok. The warranty is 12 months so I'll just worry about down the line and if I need to I'll send it in. Once again, it is usually NOT the glass separating. It is the spacing and design of the screws and left bezel (and its various parts). This causes the whole display on that left side (not just the glass portion) to push up. If they had slightly curved the bezel more or seated it with different fasteners, it would never lift out. That's why tightening the screws allows it to come back down to flush. If it was glass separation it would be coming out above the bezel no matter what you do. It is possible that the silicone they use for the bonding could come apart but it is much more unlikely. Having said that, the perfectionist in me is driven bonkers if I really look at the side and see a slight difference on the left when held at certain angles. All I know is, I still love my Nexus 7.
  • It shows that the device was rushed. I tried a total of four. Two from the Play Store and two from Walmart. All had the glass issue on the left-hand side. I'm not sure what I'm going to do now. All I know is I've had it with Asus. I went through three Transformer Pad 300s which were all defective, and I also tried the Infinity which had dead pixels, sounds dropouts (requiring a reboot), and horrible performance.
  • Please note that before the N7 came out, during one of the podcasts, I asked Jerry about the 370t and that he agreed that if he got two, that he would send me one. So... How many nexus 7s do you have now Jer? but in all honesty, developing this that quickly was still impressive, and I am glad they added a front camera.