Google I/O 2013 rumours: New Nexus 7 and Google Wallet on the way

Google I/O 2013 kicks off in just two days, and the tech media is champing at the bit to find out what the search giant has to offer. Perhaps a new, low-cost Nexus 7 tablet? Or a Wallet update that ditches the proposed physical credit card?

According to various reports, both are expected at this week's event.

First up are reports of a revamped Nexus 7 tablet with a 7in, high-resolution 1,920 x 1,200 touch screen; the existing model comes in at 1,280 by 800. According to 9to5Google, which cited KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the new Nexus 7 will also have a 5-megapixel rear camera, a Qualcomm APQ 8064 processor, and wireless charging.

Ming also tipped a lighter and thinner tablet, placing a new Nexus 7 near or below the size and weight of Apple's iPad mini, the site said.

The most surprising aspect, though: The tablet's entry-level prices will remain at £159 and £199, Kuo said — a move that will lose Google an estimated $5 to $10 per unit sold.

Kuo did not immediately respond to a request for a copy of his report.

Meanwhile, the rumoured Google Wallet credit card may not be happening. Reports surfaced in November that the company was launching a physical embodiment of the online payment service, which would roll all of the user's cards into one. Google offered no confirmation at the time, but All Things D has reported that next week's Wallet update will come without the attached plastic. Citing unnamed sources, ATD said the card has been cut.

Excitement about Google Wallet has been hampered by the application's use of NFC technology, which is still a niche function for many smartphone users who don't have access to the devices or readers necessary to make transactions.

Next week's update could push the digital wallet in the right direction, though. According to ATD, Google will provide new rewards, offers, and loyalty points from a larger group of merchants, in an effort to compete better with Apple's Passbook. However, the improvements apparently won't be linked to Google Now.

The three-day conference will inevitably include a host of other news, and possibly the premiere of a new Maps interface. The unofficial Google Operating System blog reported on Tuesday that the search giant is testing a new look for Google Maps that sheds the traditional sidebar in favour of floating boxes on top of a full-screen map.