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Google preps revamped Nexus 7 to take on iPad mini

Google is reportedly working on a successor to the Nexus 7, one aimed at taking the fight back to both Apple's iPad mini and Amazon's Kindle Fire by shrinking the bezel to accommodate a larger and higher-resolution display.

The follow-up to the Nexus 7 will launch in July of this year, Reuters reported Monday. That would see the new tablet hitting the market almost exactly a year after the unveiling of the first Nexus 7.

According to sources familiar with Google's plans, the revamped Nexus 7 will feature a larger screen, achieved by shrinking the thick bezel featured on the current model. The new model's display will also see resolution bump beyond the current one's 1280x800, 164ppi HD display.

The report also has Google switching chip providers for the next model. Instead of Nvidia, which provided the Tegra 3 chip that powers the current Nexus 7, Google will reportedly adopt a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor .

One thing that will remain the same is the tablet's low-margin pricing. Google — which makes most of its money in online advertising — will apparently subsidize the price of partner Asus' manufacturing process for the new Nexus 7, as it did with the first model. The low price point for that model, along with the respectable internal tech, was a major selling point for the device.

Google is setting its sights a bit higher in terms of sales for the Nexus 7 follow-up. Reportedly, the search giant is looking to ship as many as eight million of the Asus-made tablets in the second half of the year. The previous Google tablet sold about 4.6 million units in the same span of time, and Asus' Chief Financial Officer David Chang revealed in October that the company was shipping around one million units per month at that time.

The new Nexus 7 will enter a small tablet segment much changed from the one that existed last summer. Apple's iPad mini is thought to have sold a significant portion of the Nexus 7's four-month total in the weekend after its release. Apple is also widely thought to be planning a mini follow-up that would pack a high-resolution screen.

In addition to Apple, Google must contend with Amazon, whose Kindle Fire devices — running a forked version of Google's Android mobile operating system — are among the best-selling tablets outside of Apple's iPad. Samsung, too, has re-entered the fray, rolling out the Galaxy Note 8.0, a stylus-enabled 8-inch tablet meant to reclaim share in the mini tablet sector that Samsung helped pioneer years ago.