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An iPad Lover’s Take On The Nexus 7 (techcrunch.com)
231 points by answerly on July 16, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 148 comments

I actually think that post-ICS and especially with Jelly Bean that Android is a superior tablet OS to iOS, at least for me. There's basically no feature on iOS that I miss when I'm on Android, but a few (eg. custom keyboards, the overall intent system, etc) that I miss when I'm on iOS.

iOS still kills Android for app availability though (especially when it comes to "tablet optimized" apps) and between that and iOS ecosystem lock-in, Android/Google still has some catching up to do to make tablets a true two-horse race.

> iOS still kills Android for app availability though (especially when it comes to "tablet optimized" apps)

I keep hearing that. But never seen it backed up. Based on exactly what does people say this? There's no efficient way to "count" Android tablet optimized apps. So how do you compare? Is it because there are some major apps that still works bad on Android tablets? If so, which ones?

I remember when Honeycomb just came out. It was terrible, most apps I'd download looked terrible, and I furiously uninstalled many of them. It was so frustrating. But it has been a long time since I don't feel like that anymore. Today, every app I use on my phone is nicely optimized for my tablet as well. I literally cannot think of a single example of one app I'm missing tablet support for. Yet, the "Android still doesn't have tablet optimized apps" meme didn't stop.

But maybe I'm just living under a rock and haven't been using the same apps as others. So I humbly ask, could anyone please give me an objective argument for this point to understand if there's actually still any merit to it?

I use skritter.com for practising Chinese. They recently released an iOS app after several months work. There is currently no plan to produce an Android app, partly because there is a partial web / flash solution available on Android, but I assume also that the numbers didn't add up for putting the work in to porting the iPhone app.

This is a must-have application for learning to write Chinese in my opinion, to the extent that people would buy an iOS device just to use it. There is no equivalent for Android. I carry around an iPhone as a work phone, and pretty much only use it for this.

So learning Chinese is a little niche, but I'm sure there are other niches where people rely on a particular app, this app is not available on Android, and so they wouldn't switch for this reason.

>There is no equivalent for Android.

Have you tried MonkeyWrite? http://www.monkeywriteapp.com/

(Android only)

Just tried it, nice enough, but not really on the same level. I'm up to 1,500+ characters on Skritter after hundreds of hours, I think that whole app with all the add-ons would take about 30 minutes to get through for me. Doesn't look to have spaced recognition like Skritter does either.

Interesting but you aren't really answering his tablet specific question. Looking at the screenshots of this app it appears to just been blown up on the iPad. That's the very thing that people criticize Android apps for doing.

I don't use on iPad but guess it will come there before Android. You're right I'm not answering tablet specific questions, just looking at app availability versus iOS.

There is a truckload of apps that are iOS only. iA writer, paper, penultimate, infinity blade, just off the top of my head. Great quality apps abound, and usually their iPad versions make great use of the screen real estate, instead of just rescaling the interface.

Lots of others have started on iOS and were only released for Android much later (Flipboard, Angry Birds, Instagram).

> could anyone please give me an objective argument

I think it is really subjective and about the "long tail" of apps. If I say that OmniFocus locks me into the Appleverse, someone else will mention an Android-exclusive app and we'll (objectively ;)) discuss for hours. Carcassonne and Anthill may not have worthy Android ports, but I'm probably missing out on Google's best-in-class maps.

The shopping experience may also have a lot to do with each platform's perception. The Play front page[1] looks absolutely uninviting to me. In iTunes or on the iPad, I usually scroll around and discover apps by topic. What do I do in the Play store if I know all the front page apps already (not hard)?

[1] for those of us who are abroad: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:https:/...

IMHO all appstores actually fail when it comes to app discovery. It comes down to lists of apps and full text search in app descriptions, ranked by such poor metrics as number of installs or user ranking.

If you need an app for iOS or android, do the same thing you do when you need an app for the web:

ask a search engine!



That works when you know what you want, i.e. for the first handful of apps. And on almost every tablet I've seen, games outnumber apps.

And when this thread got me curious and I was googling for Android versions of games I like, I had to dig through pages of spam to realize there was no port.

> What do I do in the Play store if I know all the front page apps already (not hard)?

Click on the categories link on the left side, and then browse.

Or select on any app you like and use and scroll down to "Users also Installed" and "Users also Viewed". This is a great way to find cool stuff.

It's also unclear if the grandparent is talking about the literal front page of "featured" apps, or the infinite scrolling list of "top" apps by all the categories (currently: Paid, Free, Grossing, New Paid, New Free, and Trending).

I mean, I'm sure one can ding the Play Store for UI wierdness in places, but discoverability has never been one of its flaws in my view.

Good point about "People also liked".

I meant the literal front page of both stores: Clicking the "App Store" tab in iTunes (same as opening "App Store" on the iPad), vs. going to the page I've linked.

Both stores have categories, but I don't enjoy browsing through them. By topic, I meant the hand-picked thematic groups of apps on the App Store front page, like "Racing Games", "Cookbooks", "Fun for Two Players", "Apps for Travelling" etc. - I really enjoy those. Everything that is hand-picked feels a hundred times more interesting than an automated list to me.

Another example. I'm in Hong Kong and I see them advertising a real time next train app on the MTR, i.e. subway system. iPhone only. They support Android, but iPhone comes first:


Most significant Android apps look "okay" on tablets these days in the sense that they are using Android layouts and the icon bitmap dpi system so that when they are scaled up to tablet resolutions they look pretty good, but outside of Google's own apps, very few of them are really "tablet optimized" in the sense that they make extensive use of dual-pane fragment-style UI concepts. Generally they are just bigger, decent looking versions of the single-screen-per-view UIs as seen on Android phones and they feel like that, which isn't horrible, but isn't really taking advantage of the larger (usually) higher resolution displays Android tablets have over phones.

Any examples, though? Honestly that's my experience with the iPad too -- outside of the core apps most stuff looks pretty mediocre, and mostly the same as on an iPhone.

I strongly prefer Android to iOS, and I have both android (Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.0 and Asus Transformer) and Apple (iPad 1 and 2) tablets. One app I use quite a bit on the iPad is DirecTV. It makes TV watching a better experience by providing a nice interface to control your TV, search through the guide and movies, your recordings, and on-demand content and you can even stream shows to it. Contrast this with the Android version, which is a dumb guide with very limited features. It's really a night and day difference.

I think Android will catch up, but it's not hard to find examples like this.

Isn't this a difference in what DirecTV has implemented in their applications? I read the OP as asking for applications that do not function on an Android tablet or function significantly different on an Android tablet vs. an Android phone.

It's pretty clear you've never actually seen an iPad app.

Because if you had then you would know that just because you can view a "mobile" website on your laptop it doesn't make it optimal. iPad apps are specifically designed to make best use of the real estate and there are a number of iPad-only UI concepts.

This is a google device, not a run-of-the-mill Android device (most of which are not on ICS much less JB).

This point is very important - it makes the device more like an iOS one - more likely for updates, more fine touches as Google's cred rests on it.

If we see other tablets of similar calibre to the nexus7, then yes - you can say "Android" compares/best iOS. But for right now, it's nexus7 vs. iPad or Kindle Fire.

This is a google device, not a run-of-the-mill Android device (most of which are not on ICS much less JB).

I think almost all brand name tablets are on ICS now.

This point is very important - it makes the device more like an iOS one - more likely for updates, more fine touches as Google's cred rests on it

Have you actually used something like the Asus Transformer?

It's very, very good. I have a MBP, Linux Laptop, Windows Laptop, iPad2, iPhone 4, Galaxy S, an old 7" no brand Android tablet and the Transformer with a keyboard dock, and the Transformer gets the most use for general email/web browsing use.

> I think almost all brand name tablets are on ICS now.

I thought so too. Some are. Shockingly enough, I believe the Samsung tabs they gave out last year at I/O are still on 3.x. Tried to update my coworker's before heading to I/O with it and ended up with a newer version of Honeycomb. :/

According to http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=328795820483403 (which is the official Samsung channel) ICS should be on the following tablet devices now: GALAXY Tab 10.1, GALAXY Tab 8.9, GALAXY Tab 7.7 and GALAXY Tab 7.0 Plus.

That's from December 2011, but sometimes there oddities in the rollout, especially with regional variants.

They said that then, yes. They have not, however, actually done the rollout, at least for the Galaxy Tab 10.1. Retail, or the I/O giveaway variant, for that matter.

> It's very, very good. I have a MBP, Linux Laptop, Windows Laptop, iPad2, iPhone 4, Galaxy S, an old 7" no brand Android tablet and the Transformer with a keyboard dock, and the Transformer gets the most use for general email/web browsing use.

I'd bet the Transformer is intended to disrupt the MBAir/ultrabook and will likely compete directly with the forthcoming MS Surface tabs. I like what I hear about it though I haven't used one (friends who have them are favorable).

Do you detach much or simply use the keyboard dock? How is the trackpad? Do you use it with mouse?

The idea of the Chrome/Android ARM laptop is very exciting - I was seriously hoping Apple would have already released an ARM-based MB Air-alike - it would redefine the product in a great way, IMHO.

How much time could you possibly spend with each of your devices?

>But for right now, it's nexus7 vs. iPad or Kindle Fire.

Not really. The ASUS line of transformers have been getting updates very quickly and they're slated to get JB soon. The tablet situation has little to do with the phone situation. Most of the delays and horrid policies come straight from the carriers, not the OEMs. I expect the tablet market to remain competitive and upgrade quickly and fully expect the horrible phone market to be as shitty as ever, if not worse. Google needs to push the Nexus phone harder and make its motorola offerings non-Blur.

So their tablet will be at a higher API level than pretty much every Android device out there. You still can't use the latest OS features as a dev unless it's OK for the Nexus 7 to have exclusive features.

Or maybe Google has another go at direct handset sales, or they withhold updates to maintain parity across their flagship products.

At the moment being a "Google device" doesn't actually guarantee you anything.

Edit: I didn't think that through. The OS version is already out of sync! I guess that is what they will do.

My nexus 7 has JB, my Galaxy Nexus has JB, how is that out of sync?


Not everyone with a Galaxy Nexus will get it.

But my complaint is moot. I didn't really think it through. They are just going to stagger updates like they always have.

Jelly Bean added a bunch of stuff that I'm very happy to see as a developer. But it will take a long while for that to trickle down to the user level, even for people who get on Jelly Bean quickly.

On the other hand, this translates into bucketloads of low-hanging fruit if you're an Android developer.

> But it will take a long while for that to trickle down to the user level

If the Nexus 7 has the same success as the Kindle Fire (or better) then a large proportion of tablet users would be on JB.

…in the US (and maybe UK).

And France, and Germany, and ...

Scheduled for 'September', according to a Facebook post by Asus Italia that everyone is referring to:


I hadn't heard about that, and it still seems like a half-assed international release to me :(

Android is inferior to iOS. Google Android could be on par with iOS, that's exciting and I can't wait to try the Nexus 7.

But it takes only one glance at what is released under the "Android" name for me to definitively state: Android is inferior to iOS.

But that's the point of Android. There is very, very little centralized quality control so the spectrum of quality goes all the way from the Nexus 7 down to a $99 POS Walgreens Android tablet.

I know I'm not supposed to feed trolls, but:

> Android is inferior to iOS. > > But that's the point of Android.

The point of Android is to be not as good as iOS? Really? That's the point of Android?

Do you make the claim that all cars are rubbish just because some companies make rubbish cars? No. Different cars are different. Obviously. So it is with Android devices.

If one Android device is on a par with the new iPad (or at least in the same ballpark according to MG Siegler) then please judge that device based solely on that device, not on other devices that are similar in OS name only (not even version).

If you're comparing iOS to the full spectrum of Android devices out there, then please compare the full spectrum of iOS devices out there as well, including the iPhone 3GS which is, in this day and age, a POS cheapo smartphone (compared to top of the range Android phones at least).

I actually don't think he's trolling, or at least not in the way you're interpreting.

I could be wrong, but I think he just clumsily phrased his response. In other words, he was stating that the point of Android is to be a decentralized operating system. Individual deployments are not controlled by any one corporation, so there can be a lot of hit and misses. Therefore, I don't think he is making a general claim that the 'point of Android to be inferior to iOS'.

Disclaimer: I'm not claiming anything written above is my own opinion, I'm just attempting to clarify a possible ambiguity.

You're probably correct but then, why judge the Android OS as a whole based on the fact that there are a few rubbish devices out that run it?

Because some of those devices are cheap and sell (see the Kindle Fire as one example - massive sales, really not great - and yes I know it's a fork but it's still Android at it's heart).

Does that make Android crap? Obviously not but it does mean that there a hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people who have that perception (and are right because for them it has been crap).

Excluding the crap ones is no more a representative picture of things than excluding the good ones would be. Android is the sum total of all devices running with all the good (huge numbers, some great devices out there) and bad (fragmentation and massive variation in quality) that that entails.

"You're probably correct but then, why judge the Android OS as a whole based on the fact that there are a few rubbish devices out that run it?"

Because this is how Brands work. You don't get to say Android-Google and Android-Samsung unless you're talking to an analyst or a geek. For most Android owners, they have an "Android" phone. What brand? Uhh I dunno Google? Android?

Android as a brand is the collection of not just the superstar devices, but the shitty POS devices as a whole.

So as a brand, iOS > Android because the average of Android is weighed down by the crappy side of Cheap Android.

That doesn't mean that any one device is superior to any other one device, but rather that as a collective brand, the iOS brand is superior to Androids, and if you blindly buy an iOS device you're more likely to get quality than if you blindly buy an Android device.

I have to give Siegler credit for actually posting an objective review of an Android device.

No matter which side you favor in the tablet wars I think you have to agree that we're better off as hackers and consumers in a market with real competition. Rather than picking sides we should be happy that Apple and Google are pushing each other to improve their hardware and software at a rate we rarely see in consumer electronics.

I always wonder when I read a comment like this. Is 'objective' a proxy for 'positive'? Is the implication that his negative reviews of previous Android tablets were not objective? Or maybe I'm reading too much into it. Sorry for picking on you particularly but the word Objective is a very loaded one.

Objective, to me, means 'not based upon personal tastes, opinions, and biases'. So this review is completely subjective, as it's based entirely upon what he likes. Regardless, it is nice to see him set the homer hat aside and write an article that wasn't either heaping praise on Apple or scorn on Google.

MG Siegler is as subjective as any reviewer, but that's not what matters. What matters is that you can usually tell what he's going to say before you even read the article, as his views are generally that predictable. He seldom has anything negative to say about Apple, or positive to say about Google.

So the pleasant surprise here comes from seeing him break that trend and say something that couldn't have been written by Apple's PR dept.

Right so your definition of objective is "agrees with what I think".

And if he doesn't then he works for Apple PR.

Wait, what? The initial post and the GP are from different people. Also, the one you're replying to clearly states: "So this review is completely subjective". How do you go from that to 'your definition of objective is "agrees with what I think"'?

He said it's a pleasant surprise, he did not say that was his definition of objective. He clearly states his definition of objective and that this article does not meet it.

Were you trying to reply to someone else, or did you misread what I wrote?

And if he doesn't then he works for Apple PR.

Siegler's previous pieces very strongly give this impression.

Do they though? As a frequent reader of his blog, and related blogs I have always thought they read as someone who values the time Apple spends designing their product, which is why when Google release a product that is similarly well designed he values it too.

I think the fact that it's a positive review from MG Siegler means it's objective - since he's known to dislike Android devices. A negative review wouldn't necessarily be not objective, but a positive review must be objective.

It certainly does drive pageviews.

Keep in mind that all bought reviews are positive.

I can't speak for the parent but I would definitely say that much of Seigler's previous coverage of android has not been objective. He has long been an unapologetic apple fanboy, looking for negatives about android to pick on and ignoring obvious flaws in apple products.

> we're better off as hackers and consumers in a market with real competition

On the tablet market, the competition was decimated by the iPad, which was, objectively, overall better than any contender, and by a comfortable margin. Yes Android could potentially do stuff better than iOS, yes hardware could be non-crap, but what was going out of the door was not even in the same league at all. The only one that had real potential at some point was the WebOS based one†.

Until now.

The trouble was that if you had the balls to tell this fact you were irrevocably dismissed as an Apple fanatic.

I long for this tablet to be available outside North America.

†The Kindle Fire is completely under-specced in terms of quality. The Nexus 7 and iPad are both way better.

>Until now.

Now was 6+ months ago. You could get a nice fast Tegra3 tablet for a while now at a competitive price. The Nexus is really just an Asus TF201/TF300 shrunk down to 7 inches and with a hefty reduction in price.

>The trouble was that if you had the balls to tell this fact you were irrevocably dismissed as an Apple fanatic.

Or unaware of the last 2 Asus Transformer models (three now as the new one just launched) or even the budget Acer tegra3 tablet. Galaxy tablet isn't bad either, just slow to updates.

I've owned both the TF101 and the TF300 and really feel no need or want for an ipad. The Fire/Nook aren't tablets, they're appliances. If someone wants an android tablet, there are at least 2 or 3 very nice models for sale and 4 or 5 mainstream lower tier cheaper ones.

The Nexus is just a big price cut. Its the same hardware we've been using for some time. That's partly why its so cheap. The Tegra3 chipset is ancient by SoC standards (November 9, 2011.).


The trouble was that if you had the balls to tell this fact you were irrevocably dismissed as an Apple fanatic.

Trashing Android tablets hardly qualifies as an act of critical bravery. "There is only an iPad market" has been the mantra of opinion piece on the subject for as long as I've been reading them.

The truth is that we've had non-crap Android tablets for a while now but none good enough to seriously challenge the iPad.

Until now.

For values of "now" equal to "around this time a year ago".

The EeePad Transformer was the real game-changer in the Android tablet market. Solid hardware, recent versions of Android, great price.

It's worth noting that the Nexus 7 is made by Asus and is effectively a smaller Transformer Prime without the keyboard.

Guess Google didn't want to mess around when choosing hardware partners and went straight for the top quality.

If you mean the Nexus 7, then it is outside NA. You can buy one in the UK for delivery in August.

An objective review is an oxymoron. All opinions are subjective by their very nature.

John Siracusa's reviews of Mac OS X are the kind of reviews I would consider the closer to "objective". The amount of technical and factual data he gives leaves much less room to subjectivity than say, this review.

I love John Siracusa's OS X reviews, but they too are subjective, like all reviews are. Saying a person's opinion is subjective is like saying he or she has a perspective. Everybody has a perspective, you can't escape yours.

A review cannot be more or less subjective, it can only be good or bad, which in turn, is also subjective. So consider that: the next time you call someone's review subjective, you are making a subjective review of that person's subjective review. But that's much better than calling someone's review "objective", because at least you're making sense.

That is like saying: Since we can't cool something to absolute 0 Kelvin, all termometers are valueless.

You have to look at how wrong things are, too..

If I wrote a review of a game in my favorite sport where my home team played, it would not be objective. And another review by me of a sport I don't care about, between teams I don't know, might not be objective either (if women play, one team might be better looking. Or whatever.).

But those reviews would not be EQUALLY subjective...

For another example, consider evolutional biology. Some people have a deep and emotional connection to the scientific model -- while some other people have emotional connections to political ideologies...

Sorry, but you pressed one of my buttons.

> That is like saying: Since we can't cool something to absolute 0 Kelvin, all termometers are valueless.

No it's nothing like that at all. It's like saying it's better to acknowledge your perspective than to pretend you don't have one.

It really depends on what you perceive as objective. I'm not sure I would call it objective, but I would certainly call it a bad review. Every other sentence contains an Apple reference. While this is to be expected when Siegler writes a review, this is a way too narrow view for a good review.

His conclusion is basically, that there is room for an iPad Mini and Jelly Bean is faster and not much about the Nexus7 itself.

I don't understand why people praise a journalist for doing his job (that is, not being a total Apple fanboy). I guess I have different standards towards (tech) journalism.

It's nice to see real discussion about good products, rather than hearing the opinions of thinly veiled loyalists.

As a person who is often mistaken for being an apple fan because I'd rather people discussed each platform factually rather than sharing false information that smells of a loyalists agenda, I'm pleased to see TC putting out a balanced review.

Awesome! Now if Google can just distribute it beyond the initial five launch nations, create meaningful product support, rework a half million third-party applications, and answer growing malware concerns they'll have a sweet two-month sales window all to themselves before you-know-who barges into their market.

I want one anyway.

> Now if Google can just distribute it beyond the initial five launch nations...

That's still much better than the Amazon Fire which AFAIK isn't even sold outside of the US.

See also this article from The Verge: http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/28/3122716/nexus-7-internatio... ("The Nexus 7's most important price is £159, not $199").

Amazon's media stores are all but nonexistent outside the US, and the Fire is sold at cost with the expectation they'll recoup on media sales, so it's not surprising they haven't released it elsewhere. Google's non-US media stores are pretty bad too.

Amazon Fire is available in Australia I know that much.

And why compare yourself against Amazon when Apple is rumored to be launching an iPad Mini which will be sold in 30+ countries almost immediately after launch.

There's available and "available". I have do doubt there are at least a few importers who buy Kindle Fires in the US and are selling them in Australia, but that's not the same as the Kindle Fire truly being available in Australia (the way the Nexus 7 is). Unlike other Kindles, Amazon will refuse to ship a Kindle Fire to Australia. I think that's a pretty clear statement from Amazon on Australian availability.

As much as a I love the idea of a 7 inch tablet, there's just one thing that I really really use my tablet for and that's reading PDFs and old scanned comic books (guilty pleasure). The size of a ~10" tablet is more or less perfect for this despite the difficulties in handling the size of the device while in bed vs. a 7".

I can see a 10" being a little too heavy to hold after a while. A 7-8" is at the right weight / size to hold with one hand then switch to another without getting to tired too quickly.

Browsing is tricky as clicking on tiny links take more work, I find I need to do a lot more zooming in on the 7".

Another advantage of many 7"-ers is they can charge from the USB port. If for some reason you also have your laptop with you, you can often plug the tablet into it and it will charge (albeit much slower than from the wall charger), most 10"-ers cannot do that.

I have to disagree on this. 7 inches are so much better when you want to read on the crowded NYC subway. I already tried with an iPad and it's a whole lot more inconvenient.

PDFs with images - ie, technical manuals or papers - still don't see it for a 7" screen. Reflow don't help much here.

The Nexus 7 has the same resolution that most 10" tablets have now, so why would you need reflow? Shouldn't everything look the same as on the current 10" tablets, just sharper?

It might be because my eyes are still young, but I prefer smaller screens with a high pixel density to larger screens with a lower pixel density.

>It might be because my eyes are still young

It is because your eyes are still young.

Even though it's sharper, that does almost nothing if the text is too small to read comfortably.. Cramming a PDF into a 7 inch screen is not going to work as well as on a 10 inch screen.

I have a Galaxy Tab 2 7" (which is a mouthful) and read a couple of Hyperink PDFs on it. It was not comfortable. Kindle books work great, and I presume the Hyperink ePub files do too.

I'm just concerned that the size of the text will simply be too small (regardless of DPI).

7" is definitely a good size for tossing in a courier bag/coat pocket though.

7" is damn portable. I need dedicated pocket in my bag to hold 10.1" tablet. I can put 7" tablet in any outer pocket or jacket pocket.

Do you ever take hand-written notes on PDFs? This is my killer-app, and I'm desperate to find a tablet that does it well.

I do not. My best guess is one of the Note Series might work for you.


uPad on the iPad works pretty well for me for this though having tried a few different apps I quickly became aware that individual workflows and requirements vary massively for the seemingly simple requirement "taking notes on pdfs".


Have you used a tablet with a native stylus? I have heard that the iPad's capacitive screen doesn't handle this so well.

I've got a cosmonaut stylus which I'm pretty happy with on the iPad.

Broadly speaking I don't like a the idea of a tablet with a stylus as it would be better for a small number of use cases but worse for a far larger number.

The screen doesn't handle detail brilliantly for handwriting but uPad gets round this by giving you a larger writing area which it then shrinks onto the actual document. Basically you write an inch high and it crunches it down to about 40% of that. It works pretty well, though I'd still use the keyboard for significant text input - it's completely workable once you get used to it.

Author talks about some mysterious elements of force in iPad that Android doesn't have. I am not sure what he means.

What I read from this article is: "Apple should release a 7" iPad and I will buy it at once. I am sad I have to use a Google product now but this 7" form factor is really irresistible".

A fair review. It is really a good move that Google offers a device to him.

The saying goes, keeps your friends close, enemies closer :)

Let's hold on a sec and put things in perspective. Although MG is regarded by some as an Apple fan boy, this is not the first time he has been enthusiastic about a non-Apple tablet. http://m.techcrunch.com/2011/09/02/amazon-kindle-tablet/ and we aren't still aren't sure what the prospects are for the Fire. This is important to note because although Amazon has a strong commerce offering and can provide music and videos, it's own tablet lacks in apps. The Nexus offers plenty of apps, in my opinion, but the music and video offerings are pretty weak right now. The iOS ecosystem still offers it all, with a strong retail presence to boot, and if Apple introduces a 7ish" tablet at a good price point, I'm not sure how this will stack up then.

Why would you want to hold your tablet with two hands, other than perhaps gaming? But I figure it should be easier to play them if it's smaller. You're using the iPad with 2 hands, because you don't usually have a choice.

I do think Google needs to make the next version 7.7"-8", though. I think 7" is a little too small. Basically they should make one that is as large as possible (but up to 8"), which you can still hold easily with just one hand. From what I've noticed I think Samsung's 7.7" tablet qualifies for that.

> Why would you want to hold your tablet with two hands, other than perhaps gaming?

Only slightly related, but: Is there any data on how people use tablets? I feel we're just making guesses based on smartphones all the time.

Example: My iPad spends the whole breakfast standing (in a case) on the table with me only turning eBook pages. Then it spends the evening somehow tucked into the bed as a movie machine. When I read in bed after that, I always read sideways and I'm happy that the iPad is so wide.

I could never connect with the Kindle ads because it wouldn't occur to me to hold the iPad (or a magazine or thick book) freely to read.

Other people may be obsessed with BT keyboards or other gadgets even.

The same reason everyone doesn't read books with one hand.

It's more comfortable to hold it with two.

Don't be silly. I read books with one hand all the time--small books, paperbacks, thin hard-bound books. Enormous 700-page O'Reilly books? No.

In his review he says that he accidentally has pressed the software buttons while playing games. I don't know about Jelly Bean but on my TF101 ICS there's an explicit option to enable locking/unlocking of the soft buttons if you check the advanced page on the system settings. Once that's enabled, a small "slide to lock" padlock is constantly visibly in the middle of the status bar screen. So the next time when you want to play or something, just slide to lock the soft-buttons.

That is an ASUS only thing it seems. I have not seen it on other tablets yet. And it is very useful, especially if you let your kids use the tablet.

Wow. Someone not only discovers that a 7" inch tablet is smaller than an iPad, but that a smaller tablet is also a thing unto itself with special use cases. Welcome to 2010.

I hope the experience using it is nothing like the unboxing...


How does the screen of Nexus 7 compare to Retina display iPad offers?

In terms of density, it's between iPad 2 and iPad 3.

iPad 2 has a dpi of 132, Nexus 7 213, and iPad 3 264.

Nexus 7, while not "retina", is closer to iPad 3 than iPad 2.

No. You usually hold a 7" tablet closer to your eyes than a 10" one. So, for its pixels to appear the same to your poor eyes as pixels on an 246 ppi iPad 3, it must have a pixel density of 290 or so.

You don't have to hold it any closer. I assume that there would just be less on the screen. Better to optimize for reading comfort than packing as much as possible on to the screen.

I think what I said is true. I can't understand why it's been downvoted...

I didn't downvote you, but I'm skeptical of the claim. They're both hand-held devices. I don't generally hold my Galaxy Nexus closer to my face than my iPad.

I personally do hold an smaller tablet closer, but I might be wrong and most people don't do it. You're the living example :)

FYI: I downvoted you because telcodud was explicitly not making a claim that Nexus 7 is "retina," and in your retina-calculation math you completely overlooked the actual (and correct) answer to mycodebreaks' question:

> Nexus 7 [is] not "retina"

> Nexus 7 is closer to iPad 3 than iPad 2.

What you did end up saying is correct but unrelated to the post you were disagreeing with.

I absolutely don't mind a downvote; I was just confused because I thought I was horribly wrong... My point was that it's not closer to iPad 3, it's really between iPad 2 and iPad 3. Anyway, it's not important :)

Well, it's between iPad 2 and iPad 3, and probably closer to the iPad 3 like telcodud said... you're both right to a degree, but the tone of your initial comment rubbed me the wrong way, sorry. I gave you back an upvote :)

I didn't down vote, but how did you come up with 290 as a value?

I actually did the math in my head (Thales) and thought 290 might be just about right, but if you want to be more accurate, use http://bhtooefr.org/displaycalc.htm . The number at bottom-right is the distance "at which individual pixels will no longer be distinguishable", a.k.a Retina.

Retina iPad 3: 2048x1536, 9.7" display, distance: 13", PPI: 263

A contrived Retina Nexus 7: 1700x1130, 7" display, distance: 11.75", PPI: 291 (I adjusted screen resolution so the distance is about 11.5")

I tried to do the math myself, but failed miserably. This article on TUAW has some formulas: http://www.tuaw.com/2012/03/01/retina-display-macs-ipads-and...

And on what do you base your assumption that a Nexus 7 is held closer than an iPad?

All those numbers presented seem to be tailored to fit your "calculations". (11,75" vs 13" .. how do you come up with that?)

The 13" inch, I measured (really! with a tape measure - just before posting that comment). And as I said, I based my assumption on myself and how I always use my iPad and when I used a friend's Galaxy tab a while back; We actually talked about it and how you hold it closer than my iPad. Not a lot, bu by an inch or two. So, that's how I "came up" with 11.5" and tailored the resolutions to give me a number close to it... :)

Your lap is closer holding a smaller tablet? That's awesome!

read the title and i know it's gonna be Siegler.

Well that's because it's his "line" of review posts. He has done many of these before.

Am I the only one that thinks Asus isn't getting enough credit for the Nexus 7?

Actually, most reviews I've seen specifically mention Asus. Seems like they're in a winning situation: they're just about the only people making a profit on the Nexus 7.

Does their logo appear anywhere on the device?

If you look closely at the bottom of this photo, yes. http://www.google.com/nexus/a-images/tablet-n7-features-usho...

Why after a few years is noone able to build a 10 inch tablet? I honestly don't care how good an Android tablet is, I'm just so accustomed to the iPad form factor that I won't give it up. To get me interested, an Android manufacturer needs to come up with a bezel-less 9" or 10" tablet with more screen real estate than the iPad.

I've had a Transformer Prime for several months and have been enjoying the supposedly unobtainable Android tablet experience that everyone is waiting for. It runs stock ICS and has a 10.1" screen, and I actually wish it had a bit more of a bezel. I really don't understand why people are ignoring the Transformer Prime.

And the Transformer Infinity is coming out tomorrow, with a 1920x1200 screen, fixes to the Transformer Prime's GPS/Wifi issues (which I have not personally seen), and a micro SD slot & HDMI out (two of the things missing from the Nexus 7).

Ignoring good products seems to be a big issue with Android - with phones, people are complaining about skinning and lack of updates when the Galaxy Nexus is just sitting there waiting for buyers (I've already got Jelly Bean running on my GN).

> Ignoring good products seems to be a big issue with Android - with phones, people are complaining about skinning and lack of updates when the Galaxy Nexus is just sitting there waiting for buyers (I've already got Jelly Bean running on my GN).

One of the main selling points of the Android ecosystem is "Look at all the device choice you have".

It's hardly surprising that if you sell people on that then turn around and say "Of course if you want an experience that doesn't suck, here is a list of about three devices that will provide that experience" they don't exactly heed that advice.

Pinning the issue on consumers just doing what they're told both misses the point and passes the buck. The market shouldn't be flooded with shitty Android devices that are quickly abandoned by carriers and have no reason to exist. Having HTC or Motorola written on the back doesn't mean anything. Google should be holding their hardware partners to a certain standard and they aren't.

That isn't the consumer's fault, that blame lies squarely on Google. They have the power to enforce this via their Google services contracts and they choose not to. It shouldn't be a choice between getting the device you want and getting one of the good ones.

I bought a Galaxy Nexus phone for my girlfriend so we wouldn't have to worry about updates anymore.

It's still stuck on 4.0.1 with no update in sight...

That doesn't sound right. I had to root and install a custom ROM to get Jelly Bean on my (Verizon) Galaxy Nexus, but I have family members with (also Verizon) Galaxy Nexuses that are unrooted and have locked bootloaders. They've already got 4.0.4.

Have you tried checking for updates in the settings? Maybe your girlfriend dismissed the update notice.

I checked the update notice. It says it just checked now and there are no updates.

Google Nexus is actually not a phone model but a collection of many models which are only invisibly different. Some of them get updates, some don't, even though all are advertised in the same way.

This is the model:


And it is a "yakjudv" (Australian build) according to the System Information app. It seems I'm waiting for some Australians to let the updates through (if they go through at all). When I bought it from Amazon, it was advertised as a "Pure Google Experience".

I think Google really messed up again. The "Google Nexus" should have been a simple and uniform experience, and not a bunch of branded-phone-hell.

I understand your eagerness. I had been mashing my update button for several days after the OTA update was announced. Evidently these things roll out over the course of weeks, which is not necessarily what you would expect if Windows or Apple o/s updates are your frame of reference.

I was able to "trick" my nexus into updating, by clearing the data from the Google Data Services Framework. That seems to work for some people. Unlocking and flashing is an option that some power users take--particularlly those with LTE phones where there is no OTA yet.

I just cleared the data again, forced-stop, and checked for update again -- and it successfully checked and says I'm still up-to-date with my 4.0.1 Android.

It's probably not the answer you want to hear, but you should root it. Rooting and upgrading my cheapo 2.3 phone to 4.0/CCM9 completely revitalized it. Rooting is the true magic of the Android ecosystem.

Jelly Bean is a development preview at the moment. I suppose that, like iOS 6, you have to enroll into the developer program to get it.

No it isn't? OTAs for Jelly Bean have been going on for a few days now.


That OTA is for the GSM model of the Galaxy Nexus, which is for T-Mobile, AT&T, (and most of the non-US countries) and gets its updates directly from Google. The post above is talking about the Verizon model, which does not get updates directly from Google (because you didn't buy it directly from Google), and is instead forced to wait for updates from Verizon. The only other option is to unlock the bootloader and install a community ROM.

4.0.1 is multiple versions behind even the 4.0 branch though. 4.0.4 is already available in the Galaxy Nexus models that run the Google-maintained version.

The Galaxy Nexuses (Nexii?) we have at work updated to Jelly Bean on Friday. Check hers again.

I checked it today.

Damn, not sure what's up then. Are you in the US? Ours got the updates just sitting on wifi, no SIM card inserted.

I'm in Israel, got phone from http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005XYU45E/ref=oh_details_o...

It is a "yakjudv" firmware which doesn't get updates.

Apparently Google is advertising their Nexus line as auto-update (http://www.google.com/nexus/#/galaxy/features) but then does all of the "yakju" 3rd party firmware fragmentation which invalidates their own promise.

I doubt I'll buy a Google phone again.

Hi, running iOS 6 Beta 2 on my iPhone 4. We have it running on an iPhone 3GS too.

I used to own a really nice Android HTC G2. 'Cept the updates didn't seem to be rolling in.

Got tired of that quickly.

I will second this, I had an iPad, sold it, hot a transformer prime and it's pretty much the perfect device. I've never had a problem with it, it's powerful, Android is just great, I'm generally very very happy with it.

To put it bluntly, people so accustomed to the iPad form factor aren't a market it would make sense for Android manufacturers to chase.

Hell, there's an Android 13" tablet out there (toshiba?) - more sizes by far than Apple's offerings... that's never been a gripe, IMHO.

Probably because Apple has sewn up all of the suppliers of high-quality 10" LCDs.

I was under the impression these screens are made in giant sheets and cut to size.

Yep. And all the vast majority of those sheets probably go to Apple...

Never fight on the enemy's ground.

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