Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Nexus: The best of Google, now in three sizes (googleblog.blogspot.com)
603 points by cleverjake 1606 days ago | hide | past | web | 456 comments | favorite

And someone finally implements the killer-feature for the "Family Tablet": Multi-Account Support:

> But what makes Nexus 10 unique is that it's the first truly shareable tablet. With Android 4.2, you can add multiple users and switch between them instantly right from the lockscreen. We believe that everyone should have quick and easy access to their own stuff -- email, apps, bookmarks, and more. That way, everyone can have their own home screens, their own music, and even their own high scores.

Doesn't Windows 8/RT do this too?

Yes, it does.

And the new Nook HDs from B&N.

Isn't that the same as the Nexus (IIRC the Nook HD is based on Android 4.0 with some B&N specific changes and some 4.1/4.2 bits back-ported).

Surface beat them by 3 days ;)

with kid's corner feature to boot so that you can have fine grain control over what the kids have access to.

I hope the google version is extendable by apps so someone can implement this.

Unfortunately it's not running on Linux and it's running Windows.

why is this relevant to the end users?

And just $399 for the 16 GB version!

And with that crazy resolution.

Why is it we have amazing 16:10 2560-by-1600 in a 10" tablet but commonplace laptops (13-15") rarely surpass 1680x1050 or even worse 1366x768? Sometimes, on high-end models, you can pay an extra $200 to "upgrade" to 1920x1080 (I'll leave my rant about 16:10 vs. 16:9 for another time).

Technology is so ridiculous at times.

> Why is it we have amazing 16:10 2560-by-1600 in a 10" tablet but commonplace laptops (13-15") rarely surpass 1680x1050 or even worse 1366x768?

Because Windows and Windows apps don't support resolution-independent UI scaling.

> Sometimes, on high-end models, you can pay an extra $200 to "upgrade" to 1920x1080

Because they know they can rip you off, and because it's a lot more expensive to produce high resolution displays (or rather, displays of any resolution) when they're being produced in small quantities.

> Because Windows and Windows apps don't support resolution-independent UI scaling.

This is not true. Windows has had very good support for custom resolutions since Vista. Windows 7 actually looks great when set to higher resolution. Windows applications is another story, but the number of DPI aware applications is growing http://www.rw-designer.com/DPI-aware

"Windows," if defined as "the windowing library", does. Even Explorer doesn't work correctly at 200% DPI scaling (you get a tiny nav bar and a really long search bar). It's junk.

What's worse is that VS2012 is nearly unusable because IntelliSense explodes all over the screen. I have many sads when I have to deal with that on my rMBP.

you can drag the splitter between the navbar and searchbar to adjust the sizes as you see fit...

VS2012 is still a problem though

At 200% DPI, I can't even find the splitter. Like, my mouse cursor doesn't change to the two-headed arrow.

Windows seems to have to have the support, but is not widely used http://techreport.com/review/23631/how-windows-8-scaling-fai...

I didn't see a list of DPI aware applications at the link you gave me, is that a typo?

that was not the list of applications, but a guide on how to write one with and example at the end

I want to know what applications are already DPI-aware and could run on say...a Retina MacBook Pro running bootcamp and Windows 8. As far as I can tell, there are no such apps yet, even Microsoft's own Office. But I would be happy to be corrected!

> Because Windows and Windows apps don't support resolution-independent UI scaling.

I upgraded my HP 17" laptop panel to 1920 x 1200 (bought less than $200 on ebay 2 years ago). That was on Windows 7. I don't notice any visual issues. Just upgraded to Windows 8 and all Windows apps look just fine too. So applications aren't real issues here.

1920 x 1200 is nowhere near 2x resolution. Its more like 1.2 or 1.3.

Indeed. 1920 x 1200 on a 17" screen is about 133 dpi, not even close to the 300 dpi on the Nexus 10.

Because Windows and Windows apps don't support resolution-independent UI scaling.

Yes they do. It's just not automatic - you tweak it in control panel to suit your preferences.

> Because Windows and Windows apps don't support resolution-independent UI scaling.

If I'm not mistaken the new, formerly known as "Metro", UI is vector based and any applications built with the WPF which includes all Windows 8 GUI based applications (at least the non-html one's) are of course vector based so it's simply up to the designer/developer to scale it however they want.

Not completely true. The metro app developer will still have to include pixel art at varying resolutions since these do not scale automatically very well.

XAML is very vector orientated, most apps will (should) not include pixel based art-work unless really necessary.

unless you develop metro apps using javascript/html - then you can use vector art.

Larger screens are much more expensive to produce than small screens unless the defect rate is very low. For this reason new LCD technologies are always perfected on smaller screens before migrating to larger screens.

Because of the leading desktop operating systems, only Apple has started to divorce screen resolution from UI element sizes, and even that support is half-assed.

People are giving you software answers, but I think the answer is actually about hardware. Monitor manufacturers realized they could brand their screens as "1080p HD" to match them up to the TV marketing pitch. Why bother trying to make a screen with 1600 vertical pixels when you can just use that magic word, 1080p?

My 15" laptop has native resolution of 2880x1800 (though I typically use it scaled to 1920x1200). It did cost a lot, though, so despite being a best-selling model it may not be 'commonplace'.

Apple's Retina displays (in the new Macbook Pros) have very high resolutions. The latest Macbook Pros have either 2560x1600 or 2880x1800 native resolution, depending on when you bought it.


@merrit - Because it has not been a focus of laptop manufacturers. Instead the focus has been faster CPU's or bigger hard drives. Going premium on the display, means you have to cut on something else to deliver the laptop at the same, and I don't think Intel is going to cut on their CPU prices anytime soon. In some laptops, Intel's chips take up to 40% of the BOM price. That leaves little wiggle room for experimenting with high quality displays.

The good news is that the popularity of high resolution tablets will also force laptop makers into a trend with higher resolutions, too. Asus for example is one of the leaders of this trend, and has even 11.6" laptops with 1920x1080 resolution.

My eyesight isn't great, but I can't tell the difference between the resolution on my "retina" devices and resolution on other screens. Can most people tell the difference?

If not, this marketing and competition on resolution may be distracting us from issues that have a bigger impact on our usage experience.

I'm 20/40, and it strike me as amazing up close. Desktop distance -- not so much. I have a 27" iMac, and I can barely tell there are pixels. But since iPhone 4, it's been Retina all the way. The Retina 4G iPad arguably changed my life. All of a sudden I can have a full page of a pdf in bed, triple-clicked to negative color, and the text is still perfect. Naturally as soon as the Retina macbook came out, I was in heaven: I can line up two full-width documents, read one and type another (usually one is in LibreOffice, the other is in Papers or Chrome, but emacs is behind LibreOffice).

So with a briefcase full of Retina, I'm quite happy. But the 27" iMac still feels like the most spacious screen. The other thing the Apple hardware has going for it is that I can tether my MacBook to my iPad's 4G network via bluetooth, so the iPad doesn't even have to come out of the briefcase to be incredibly useful, and saves me having to have another data plan. I note the Nexus 10 does not come in a 4G model. That seems crazy to me.

I have slightly worse than 20/20 vision and I see a huge difference. The retina iPad that I had was amazingly clear compared to my 1600x900 17" laptop screen and my 1200x800 tablet. I recently looked at both the retina macbook and an asus 13" ultrabook in best buy last week. The macbook retina's screen was noticably sharper than the asus' 1080p screen, but 1080p on a screen that size still looks absolutely amazing. I would honestly be happy with either one.

Video and images look about the same, but text looks _much_ better (comparing an iPad 1 with an iPad 3, and a 13" MBP with a retina 13" MBP).

The biggest advantage for me is the ability to change resolution (on the MBP) without having a poor display due to using a non-native resolution.

Definitely makes a big difference for me, and most people I talk to. Reading on a "retina" display is vastly nicer.

I can but when it comes to text. Images not so much.

Laptops have gotten nicer but it's still rather hard to find a 19" desktop monitor with a nice DPI.

Actually 16Gb storage is not enough considering the pixmaps for games etc. will now eat a lot more space. I hit the same issue with my 16Gb iPad 3.

This being Android, I'm a bit disappointed that it does not appear to have a microSD slot. There is also a relatively heavy premium for 16Gb more internal flash.

> There is also a relatively heavy premium for 16Gb more internal flash.

Market segmentation. The goal is to make more money off people who don't care much about the price without losing those customers who do.

The rationale for ditching microsd slots is that different volumes (mount points) for the built-in flash and the microsd flash complicates the UI, and creates dissatisfaction when someone runs out of space on one while having plenty of space on the other.

The modern usage pattern seems to be get enough built-in storage for what you want to do, then use wifi or usb to transfer stuff between the device and the cloud or a desktop with a larger collection of media.

@mtgx Thanks. Maybe also you could explain why we have to reply to one another in this fashion. HN is the 1366x768 of discussion platforms.

This is actually a feature of HN. There is a "cool-down" timer between when you make a post and when people can respond to it. It increases exponentially with the level of nesting. The idea is to discourage flame wars by forcing people to think a bit before replying.

I actually think this is a pretty effective strategy. However, it does impede productive discussions and conversations, sometimes. Oh well, c'est la vie.

But instead of waiting, people just reply in the wrong place which both defeats the purpose and makes threads harder to read. I can't think of any better solution, though.

To expand on tikhonj's comment, you can circumvent this "feature" by clicking on the "link" link next to someone's comment - that will allow you to reply to them regardless of the "cool-down" timer.

As I understand it in the US the taxes are added after the displayed price, how much would that be in the end? In Europe it seems to cost €399 which is 30% more!

In the US taxes are a combination of city, county and state. For example there are often city ordinances adding 0.25% to the sales tax to support something or other. For example here are the sales tax rates in California by city or county, varying between 7 and 10%: http://www.boe.ca.gov/cgi-bin/rates.cgi

The voting is ludicrously complex (Americans like things that way!). For example many bureaucratic positions are elected. Consequently when people go to vote, they have to vote on a lot of things. Here is the California voter guide: http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/pdf/

Here is what someone in my city would see as their ballot: http://www.votescount.com/nov12/root1106/ballots/bt000039.pd...

It starts out with Obama and Romney, heads into Senate & Congress, then the state senate & assembly, then into county positions and finally city positions. Then there are propositions for the state, county and city.

After that digression, the California sales taxes for purchases made in person are based on where the store is. Except for cars which are based on the purchaser address. For distance purchases (eg internet, mail order) they are based on where the business decides its tax presence is. Amazon for example took that into account when deciding where to have their presence on opening in California and actually got some tax concessions from the "lucky" cities (yes corporate welfare is well established in the US).

For sales where the purchaser and seller are in different states no sales tax can be charged. Most states then have a provision requiring the purchaser to report these purchases and pay a "use" tax whose rate is identical to the sales tax rate. As far as I can tell many do not report this.

Sales taxes in the US vary by state. Further, not all merchants will charge sales tax for either state when shipping between states -- this generally depends on whether the merchant is considered to have a business presence in the purchasers state.

It depends on which state you're in I believe.

Shameless Plug: Kytephone (https://www.kytephone.com/) adds a de-facto multi-account support to any Android phone or tablet running 2.2 or above.

It's aimed at adding accounts for kids and while it's not as extensive as the baked-in one (kids can't have their own gmail account for example) it does come with goodies such as time limits for games.

>kids can't have their own gmail account for example //


Kids [under 13, dependent on region] "can't" have their own gmail account anyway, it's against the rules.

Right, and what percent of the population do you think cares about some rules, some suits from Google made up?

Hence "can't".

If you do want to obey the rules there's probably nothing in the rules about not using an account created by a parent, indeed acting as agent for that same parent when creating the account is probably within the rules too.

Nice catch, that's a huge step forward. But is that not on the nexus 7?

It is an Android 4.2 feature so I'm sure it's also on the Nexus 7 and Nexus 4. But those devices are smaller and less likely to be shared so they are not playing multi-user up in those marketing materials I suspect.

Hopefully it will be available on phones, as a 'Guest' mode would be perfect for lending your phone to someone to make a quick call or text message.

Nope :-(

"Available only on tablets.", see http://www.android.com/whatsnew/

Well that's disappointing. I suppose they thought the UI was too confusing to put it on smaller screens?

They probably also thought (understandably?) that the use-case for a tablet is more likely to involve sharing than a phone.

The UI is on the lock screen, so plenty of room. More likely (1) Honeycomb style rush job and (2) "everyone should have their oen phone"

Well, it makes a little less sense on phones, since unless you switch the SIM card, you are still treated as the other person as far as the phone network is concerned. It would be a little odd to be logged in as one person, but the phone network treat you as the other. And since there are features like importing and exporting contacts from the SIM card, those would be more complicated in multi-user scenarios.

I think there's a certain sense that a phone is a much more "personal" device than a tablet. While it would probably be possible to add multi-user support, it would be more difficult, and be less useful, than on a tablet.

While I personally find it annoying, I know many parents that hand their phone to their young children to play games or music. Multiuser support is very much in demand on phones, even if it offered nothing more than a safe guest account.

With kid's corner feature in windows phone 8, you can have fine grain control over what the kids have access to.

Either there's some hardware security thing (equiv to ctrl-alt-del interrupt on windows) that is needed, or perhaps they are wary of rolling it out as a universal feature (could be confusing for phone users who update)?

It's already being exposed in CM anyway.

I could even do with a guest mode that would allow the poor fellow to browse the internet (only on WiFi, even)... :(

I believe the recent Nexus 7 update was 4.1.2 and not 4.2, so this feature is (unfortunately) still missing for Nexus 7, as others have affirmed.

4.2 is officially due on November 13. We shouldn't really be expecting it before that.

Although it is a Nexus device (And a new one) so I'm sure it will be updated soon.

It may be related to patents:

"Why Android Jelly Bean 4.2′s Multiple User Account Switching Is Tablet-Only? (Hint: Nokia Patented It For Phones)"


Yeah I've been wondering which tablet/pad to recommend to my parents. They arent that much into computers, and I dont think they want to have two tablets lying around when one is all they need. So for them the nexus 10 sounds like a good choice, provided that the multi account implementation allows them to keep their emails private. From the google info page it sounded like you didnt need passwords to switch accounts, which I found a bit odd. Will wait for the reviews for specifics.

I like that. Makes switching easy.

Will phones get this? Or other-size tablets?

Does anyone know when the 4.2 update will go out?

Nope :-( "Available only on tablets.", see http://www.android.com/whatsnew/

New versions of Android usually roll out to Nexus devices days or weeks after the release of the new hardware. So you should expect November 13th + X days.

In that case, :( and :). Thanks for the reply!

If you're comfortable running unofficial ROMs, I'm pretty sure ROM developers will have multi-user support running on phones as soon as they get the source code.

Cyanogen has had this for quite a while. I used it on my Gtablet and it worked pretty well.

It was in 4.1 all along. Cyanogen just put their own version of the finishing touches on it.

Having different users log in using different pattern unlocks is huge.

On a phone, wouldn't you need to also switch the SIM card? It seems to me that switching accounts on a phone might not be practical if the device still answers to the same phone number. Am I wrong?

Usually, yes, but I might just need a guest account for people to use apps/games without overwriting my data, surf the web, etc. It definitely wouldn't be useless.

I, for one, never want to use someone else's poop phone...even a friend's.

Both Gnome and KDE became touch-ready over the years. They of course have this feature. I just wonder, does any manufacturer sell their tablets with these?

They have not became touch ready. Their desktop shells have, the actual applications all still have cascading menu's for god sake's. As a platform they are ready, as an ecosystem, not even close. And few if any of the stakeholders are focusing on the actual applications, so i wouldnt hold my breath.

Both Gnome and KDE became touch-ready over the years.

As someone who has loaded Ubuntu onto my Asus Transformer tablet, let me tell you, no they haven't.

Flagship Android device, unlocked, without contract, for $299.


From the marketing video it looks like Android 4.2 gained Swype-like keyboard.

It seems that they're no longer using tablet UI, even on Nexus 10 (i.e. it has status bar on top, navigation buttons are in the middle of the screen). That's weird, and I definitely don't like it, but it might not be that big of a problem.

Yeah, these prices look almost too good to be true. Other Android vendors may be getting some serious indigestion from this.

You can't imagine that Samsung will be thrilled about the Nexus 4. The Galaxy S3 suddenly looks poor value, and that's their flagship device. It was selling in big numbers, and although it's cheaper than the iPhone 5, presumably it's still a very profitable device.

If Google are determined to sell high quality devices at cost to gain market share, and can make the general public aware of this (non-trivial), Apple may find itself as the sole company making big profits from actually selling phone hardware.

That said, only Samsung with their Galaxy brand have come anywhere near the marketing impact of the iPhone, so if Google really want to make an impression, they're going to need market these devices at a level that they've never managed before.

You have to wonder whether Motorola are best pleased about it either - it's hardly a ringing endorsement that Google have farmed the Nexus 4 out to LG rather than use the device manufacturer that they own.

Google said the Motorola integration will take 12-18 months. The Nexus 4 was probably being designed before the acquisition.

I'm waiting for them to shut Motorola down. It's generating huge losses, yet Google is doing nothing with it. And they've stated the patents are all Google values.

These devices have 18 month lead times. Give them some time. The next round of devices from Motorola should be heavily influenced by Google by then.

The Nexus 4 maxes out at 16gb available storage and there's no expansion. It only really competes with the base model S3.

It's Samsung's own fault they haven't got the 4.2 update out properly yet.

While I have no hard figured I believe the cost difference is because Google is probably selling these devices at or around there cost. They are selling them (like how amazon does with their tablets) as content delivery systems. Simply as a way to get more people to into the google ecosystem.

Other companies must sell their devices to make a profit, google does not. As long as they are close to making even on device cost they can make up for and exceed it elsewhere.

I thought Apple's app store makes a fraction of what they make on the phones?

Although Google's profit's are in the billions, so are their users. Their profit per user is actually pretty small to be running an at a loss hardware device.

And we can't pretend that people don't use their ecosystem on other devices anyway.

I honestly have no clue at what Google are trying to achieve sometimes. I mean it makes sense for Amazon, but Google? Not so much.

I think it makes sense for Google because the more devices they have in the wild, the more advertisements they can serve. Also, the more data they can get from users (location/maps/statistics). And I very much doubt that they are selling these at a loss. More like breaking even.

Last I checked it was the other way around, iTunes and the App store are basically run at cost to get people to buy more devices.

No, but the profit made is tiny in comparison to the giant margins they make on iOS devices ($700 iPhones that cost $175 to make really pad the bottom line).

It does not cost $175 to make, that's just the estimated bill of materials (BOM) cost. The actual cost to manufacture includes labour, design, shipping, testing, storage and dozens of other things.

Apple's gross margins on its devices, essentially the selling price less the manufacturing costs, is about 30-40% company-wide. That translates into an operating margin (which includes all costs) in the 20-30% range.

That's high for a consumer electronics company, but not as high as the $700 - $175 comparison makes it sound.

The entry level, 16gb iPhone has a profit margin that is bigger than average, but not huge. The 64gb iPhone on the other hand.. it's like printing money. The markup doesn't even begin to compare to what the bigger storage actually cost to Apple. Apple makes a LOOOOT of money out of the customers who have bigger needs than average.

That's been Apple's strategy forever, people who want more have to pay a lot more than what it's really worth. I can remember the entry level iBook (during the PPC days) being sold with goddamn combo DVD reader/CD writer drives in a time where EVERY SINGLE PC LAPTOP SOLD, even the cheapest crap, had a DVD writer. Just to push people onto the higher profit margin.

I love Apple products but they really know how to milk their customers dry. Hacker News's audience wouldn't fall for that, but I can remember the markup on ram, when they still sold devices with 1 or 2gb of ram when the competition had 4gb on their cheapest stuff, with huge markups on the online apple store if you ordered a laptop with more ram. People here know how to put more ram in their computers and know not to order a macbook with "Apple's ram" (... a traditional thing that is going to die with the retina mbp and its soldered ram), but the average joe just got ripped off hardcore.

If you only look at their entry products, like the 16gb iPhone, the 21" iMac, the 11" MBA, yeah, Apple seems reasonable. Any other Apple product ? the margins on those things is something no one else could pull off without getting lynched.

>If you only look at their entry products, like the 16gb iPhone, the 21" iMac, the 11" MBA, yeah, Apple seems reasonable. Any other Apple product ? the margins on those things is something no one else could pull off without getting lynched.

This is a pretty common case of price discrimination. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_discrimination

Apple is certainly not the only company that does it. However they do commonly have a higher profit margin than their competitors.

I remember how ridiculous Apple's RAM prices used to be and you're right about their pricing strategy on iPhone storage representing a large markup. As I said, Apple's margins are high for a consumer electronics company, partly because they're able to employ those pricing tiers.

The point of my post wasn't to defend Apple, it was to show that comparing the selling price and bill of materials figures to highlight profit is simplistic and wrong. What actually matters is gross margin and operating margin, both of which are made public so there's no need to refer to the estimated BoM as the OP did. This applies to all companies, the all-too-common misunderstanding of BoM figures is a pet hate of mine.

Point taken, and I'm not really hating on Apple either so I don't really think of you as "defending" them, I'm just stating my thoughts about their strategy.

Apple completely changed the way I look at mobile devices. My first smartphone and tablet were the iPhone and iPad. I just wish they'd be more reasonable on some points, but they're obviously too successful to change their strategy unless a strong competitor shows up (and I hope that Google's strategy with the Nexus pays off).

I also am part of those who switched to Android but think that Apple had some reasonable arguments against Samsung that made them go wild against them. When you go as far as to make the charger look like an Apple charger you know there's something wrong going on. Samsung clearly tried to ride on the popularity of Apple products by making it look as much as possible as the iPhone and iPad, be it in the packaging, included accessories, look, early TouchWiz releases... there's a reason why TouchWiz on the S3 isn't like TouchWiz on the first Galaxy phones.. The customization on early Samsung android devices went too far toward Apple's direction. Even the "hardware" buttons, making the home button prominent and the other two android buttons more invisible in the design, and still keeping the home button as fully hardware on the S3 rather than going onscreen or capacitive like the other android OEMs.

Apple makes great products, but I feel like they're trying too much to milk us as much as they can.

Heh, I think we may both have misunderstood each other. My apologies.

I agree though, Apple's price discrimination may be understandable but as a customer it can really grind sometimes. When I went for an iPad I decided on the 16GB model for cost reasons and regretted it ever since, but the price jump to the 32GB was big enough that I shied away from it. It was annoying that the premium for a component that cost a fraction of what they charged created an uncomfortable dilemma for me that as a customer I shouldn't really have faced.

In all I'm excited about the level of competition, with MS's Surface bringing in another interesting angle, and I hope it continues for a long time. For one, though I have an iPad already I'm pretty sure I'm going to be picking up a Nexus 7 soon.

> Apple's gross margins on its devices, essentially the selling price less the manufacturing costs, is about 30-40% company-wide. That translates into an operating margin (which includes all costs) in the 20-30% range.

Of course there are other expenses (those $10M Apple Stores don't build themselves), but you're incorrect about the operating margin. For Q4 2012 AAPL had an operating margin of 34% (gross margin was 40%).

The last figures I saw matched what I put in my post, though they may be older than I realised. Thanks for the correction.

ZTE just announced a phone with a retail price of 999 yuan ($160). If they can eek out a profit margin, makes you wonder what the real manufacturing cost is for the big players.

"ZTE U950 smartphone packs a 1.3GHz Tegra 3 chip, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage and a 2,000mAh battery beneath the 4.3-inch display."


But you can't buy one of these through verizon, you have to pay the full price. Most people will still get the other phones at the "discounted" price after 2 year contract.... It just seems like the path of least resistance for the consumer.

But Google doesn't make the devices, LG does.

Other vendors have already failed, except on the low cost. Samsung rules the phone market, it is everyday closer to become synonym with Android and could be tempted to secede like Amazon.

That is not a good situation for either Android or Google - and except Google breaking the price, there is little else that can revive the market a little bit.

They already did in China. My wife bought a Galaxy S2 in January, and it came with Samsung Apps instead of Google Play, no Google Maps, no Gmail or Google Talk etc. Yes, it's a legitimate Samsung product, not some Chinese knockoff.

She's hugely disappointed with it and refuses to buy any more Samsung products. (It doesn't help that she refuses to let me root it and install CyanogenMod, but you don't expect to have to do that if you're paying the equivalent of over $600 US for a phone)

I wouldn't assume that was Samsung's choice. Isn't that a legacy of old disagreements between Google and the PRC?

I know that Asus Transformer Primes sold in China did not come with Google services, either, though buyers quickly learned that using a US/Taiwan/International update file would restore functionality fairly easily.

China's situation does have something to do with it (you can't buy paid apps on Google Play here, YouTube is blocked and Google search frequently has 'technical problems'), and that's probably Samsung's excuse, but other manufacturers manage to keep Google services on their phones (although often alongside their own or another 3rd-party app store). I think it's just Samsung taking advantage of the situation to avoid paying Google's fees, not a case of gapps being legally banned in China.

Good luck if Samsung thinks they can strike it out on their own without Google Play, Google Maps and Gmail.

Nexus 7 devices are being sold at a loss, so I suppose in one sense yes, the price there is too good to be true.

I'm not quite sure whether there was ever an original source for this claim other than a bunch of tech blogs parroting each other, but iSuppli shows that this was false, at least as of July 11th:


Sure, if you add in the $25 Google play credit, and leave room for some margin for Asus (since Google is just a reseller), you might get close to breaking even, but as far as I can find, the Nexus 7 was never sold at a loss.

I stand corrected; thanks.

It's not sold at a loss, but with a very low profit margin. At a loss would mean that they're actually bearing the cost of manufacturing the device even after they got your money, which is not true.

They also get a much higher profit margin on the 16gb (now the 32gb for the Nexus 7) than on the 8gb which is what a lot of people will buy. There isn't a $50 cost in manufacturing a device with 16gb more of storage but there is a $50 markup for the customers who want more local storage. Storage is much, much cheaper than what you're paying for when you buy a tablet or phone with bigger SSDs. The profit margins on the 64gb iPhones are INSANE compared to the profit margins on the 16gb.

The base, $300 Nexus 4 is going to have a paltry 8gb. Most of the heavy users are going to spend the $50 more for the 16gb, while the $300 will still be there to please those who have to be more careful with their money.

When you factor in the huge R&D costs, the cheapest models are definitely sold at a lost.

If the device is free (or close to cost) then buyer beware... The device is not the product; you are!

> Nexus 7 devices are being sold at a loss

Back in June... and only for the $199 model...

What I heard is that Google isn't making money on them, but ASUS is.


Very impressive pricing!

On the other hand, it doesn't support LTE. When will Google realize that basic things like fast network speed are more important than fancy things like face unlock and NFC.

LTE is not as important as you make it sound.

Mobile bandwidth is still expensive, so you only get a couple of GB per month for a decent price and if you want more, you have to shell out a lot of cash.

I don't know how it is in the US, but here in Europe (at least in my country, Romania), the 3G connections are pretty good and 4G is coming, but it's not there yet.

And I can't picture what you'd want to do with an expensive 4G connection. With my 3G connection I can watch Youtube videos just fine. But it really does work at around ~ 20 Mbps (HSPA+), which is like ~ 2 MB/s, so if I'm not careful, I can burn thorough my 5 GB plan in a couple of hours. And from personal experience, few people have more than 5 GB of monthly bandwidth.

At home I have Wifi, at work I have Wifi, all the coffee-shops I go to have free Wifis for clients, most hotels have Wifis too. The only instances where I use my 3G connection is when I commute between places or if I end-up with a shitty Wifi connection and in such instances I just browse the web casually, or read email, or read Twitter/Facebook updates. Which is what most people do.

The only heavy-usage of my 3G connection has been for Skype. But Skype works surprisingly well for me over 3G (YMMV of course).

> LTE is not as important as you make it sound.

Except you then go on to explain for a couple paragraphs that it doesn't matter BECAUSE <insert a ton of active device management>.

Here is my process for connecting with my LTE phone: I turn it on. Speed is as fast as WiFi all the time. I have a 6GB plan and have never had to worry about hitting it. That's it.

I haven't used a free WiFi network outside of work in a year. LTE is way faster. Just like the touchscreen on the front of the phone, you don't know you want it until you have it. Then, you'll never give it up.

Let's be honest here, speed isn't as fast as WiFi all the time. It's as fast as WiFi, with much higher latency, in the times you're within good range of the proper cell tower. Sorry, but its not the same as WiFi when you're sitting on the can in the windowless bathroom on the 8th floor of a big office building.

It is almost universally faster than free WiFi (i.e. at a coffee shop), which is what the post said.

I have unlimited data and a ROM that lets me tether, and it really is amazing how useful LTE everywhere is. There's no way this isn't the future of internet connectivity in general. (Unless everyone using it would somehow saturate the available spectrum?)

A big part of how much faster LTE is than HSPA+ (which the Nexus 4 ships with), is the fact that most LTE networks are massively under-utilised.

HSPA+ can run at 42Mbps in theory, but network congestion makes that a pretty much impossible situation in reality.

As more people join the LTE networks, they will get slower and slower, just as 3G has in crowded areas.

Hence why I couldn't be happier that Google is continuing to limit the Nexus line to 3G. That's the price of keeping costs low.

Much higher latency? I just tested 22 ms with my iPhone 5 on my home WiFi network, and 44 ms with LTE. Granted, that's a factor of 2, but 44 ms is pretty darn acceptable for any Internet usage, let alone mobile phone usage.

True, that one situation has caused me to switch on WiFi. However the rest of my office building and city is blanketed in pretty decent LTE coverage.

Latency is as low as 2ms. I never have latency problems on LTE.

Except I only do device management because the limited data plan is a problem that doesn't go away - and you have it too, because you're limited to 6 GB and that's not much.

This month I've been following the Coursera course on functional programming with Scala, while listening to other podcasts and stuff I follow. I like doing that in the morning, while drinking a coffee at a nice place. And because I wasn't careful about turning Wifi on (it was off for some reason), I depleted 2 GB of bandwidth in 2 hours, which was the bandwidth I had left - the connection was so good I didn't even realize that I was on 3G.

Also, I'm probably in a much better position than most people, because my monthly plan does not come with a contract, being a PrePay (PrePay plans are very competitive in Europe, especially Eastern Europe, compared to the US at least). So I can recharge as needed.

But other people are not so lucky and once you blow past the allocated bandwidth, the prices are freaking huge on a contract. I have an acquaintance who's kid watched movies on his phone and ended up with a 300 EUR bill.

So btw, if you're telling me that you don't do device management, just wait until you'll be a father.

Well, I live in Hungary (right next to you) and our pre-paid plans suck. Calling costs 2-3 times as much as on contracts, same with texting. A 3G plan with 3GB unlimited (that is they slow you down until the end of the billing cycle) costs 3500 HUF. For 4190 HUF you can get a 4G plan with unlimited browsing and 5GB for other purposes.

Using your home internet connection for intensive streaming instead of your data connection isn't device management.

As fast as WiFi? I'd hope it is faster. My home internet is 15mbps, this phone does 21, LTE does 70 or something. Do you really need to download a song in 0.5 seconds? Isn't 2 seconds fast enough?

With the LTE speed of 70mbps, you could use up your 6GB in 11 minutes.

3G doesn't come close to approaching those speeds in most areas.

It's not about how long it takes to run a download of a media file, you're completely missing the point. It's about the drastically improved latency and responsiveness in downloading complex modern web pages, streaming, and caching stuff.

For example, The Verge homepage is almost as big as a song. If the question becomes do you need to make every page load .5 seconds instead of 2 seconds then "yes" wouldn't seem so ridiculous.

Why would I do that kind of sustained downloading on my phone? That's what the server & home internet connection is for. LTE on the phone isn't for blowing through 6GB In 11 minutes, it's for grabbing the data you need as quickly as possible.

At first I thought LTE is overrated, after using it for 2 weeks, its hard to go back. If you constantly on the go and need to check things out quick on your mobile, LTE makes the experience 'keeping pace with your move', there is less 'little waits'.

LTE isn't even available yet in my country and it's not the third world, but France. 300 euros is cheap for a smartphone like the Nexus 4, in comparison, the Samsung Galaxy S3 is 500 euros on amazon.fr and it's the cheapest price you can get for it, it's more like 600 euros everywhere else.

The lack of LTE won't be a dealbreaker for most people, and probably even those who live in the USA. $300 hits the right price point for a flagship phone and the upside of owning a nexus and getting Google's support is huge. I'd rather get an iPhone than an android that is not a Nexus. Both OS are constantly evolving and getting better, waiting for the carriers and OEM to get their shit together is getting old.

Honestly why do you want LTE?

You are going to burn through your data alotment very, very fast.

That's what I thought would happen before I got an LTE phone, but in practice, I'm not burning through it that much faster – I'm mostly just following the same usage patterns I had with 3G, just spending less time waiting.

I'm in the same boat. I don't consume media on my phone, like, ever though, except Subsonic and even then I relisten to my favorite music of the month enough that it gets cached quickly.

Yes. Some of us have unlimited plans.

What I like about LTE is the decreased latency (rather than the higher peak speed).

I had a 3G iPad, and now I have an LTE iPad. The difference is quite noticeable in the Bay Area at least. So for a tablet device I strongly prefer LTE at this point.

Not necessarily. I've had LTE since July and am very happy with it. I don't use crazy amounts of data, but when I am using it I like the zippiness compared with 3G.

With LTE everywhere comes bigger data allotments. It's very easy to get 10/10 Mbps with LTE.

Low latency. Reduction in the 3G "time to first data" lag.

Why? I'm perfectly happy with HSPA+. I'll take at least 3G everywhere over LTE.

Unfortunately they are selling it for £239 in the UK, which is more like $380 - Still an absolute steal for a headline retail price, but not quite the incredible £185 I thought it would be initially.

So for now, having paid only slightly more for my sim-free S3 months ago, it's not that good a deal.

Still patiently waiting for a nexus with a hardware keyboard like the good old days...

That's actually a lot better than the deal the UK got on the ARM Chromebook released last week, which was priced at $249 in the USA and £229 in the UK.

After taking 20% VAT into consideration, that's only a x1.07 premium compared to the US price as compared to a x1.23 premium on the Chromebook, which is actually unusually good. Often we see dollars converted directly to pounds.

Strange that the conversion is not consistent - can anybody speculate why?

> paid only slightly more

I see SIM free S3's selling for around the £500 mark. How much is the slightly more?

via Gizmodo: Quad-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2GB RAM, 8GB storage, 4.7-inch 1280 x 768 display, and an 8 megapixel rear-facing camera.

Impressive indeed!

Why 1280x768 rather than 720p? Is it for the software buttons? Otherwise it'd be odd to scale a pretty standard size for videos etc. or have black bars on the side.

720p screens often aren't 1280x720 anyway. Lots of HDTVs and laptops have screens that are labeled 720p and have actual resolutions of 1280x768 or 1366x768.

It is for the home bar, yeah.

That seems wrong. If a phone is held vertically, the 768 pixels is the width, not the height -- so the buttons take a chunk out of the 1280, not the 768.

Sure, but I don't think anyone is worried about maintaining a perfect 9:16 ratio for reading text or what have you. Generally when a device like that starts playing 16:9 content it forces a switch to landscape mode with the content centered and at the top, leaving a 1280x48 swath on the bottom for the home bar and the top 1280x720 for native-resolution 720p content.

I believe that's exactly the reason.

It's interesting they havent' done a front facing camera. That's big with the tween crowd.

Edit: I meant rear facing on the Nexus 7. Not front facing.

I don't see the point of a rear camera on a tablet. The kind of people who have enough spending income to afford a tablet usually own a smartphone, or even a feature phone, that has a rear camera. Why would you want a crappy rear camera on your tablet ? for a $200 price point like the Nexus 7, you'd never get anything better than what a cheap feature phone can do.

Any kid that has a parent that would buy them a Nexus 7 has at least a feature phone with a camera that'd be as good as what you could put on the N7, if not better.

If they have a feature/smart phone why would they want a 7 inch tablet? I would love the option of a good camera on the 7 that was one feature of the iPad that my niece really took too. The only problems being that the regular sized iPad is a bit too large for her and for me its a bit too expensive for her to run around with.

The new iPad mini has a good camera but also an obnoxious price. It may be that refurbished iPad2 or even iPad 3rd gen are a better deal.

> If they have a feature/smart phone why would they want a 7 inch tablet?

Yeah you're right, why would someone want something that can achieve 9 hours screen-on battery life when they could just be content with killing the phone battery and taking the risk of not having enough juice left for an important/urgent phone call. There's also a huge difference between a 4" screen and a 7" screen, you don't really know how much until you've used both. The smartphone is good for quickly checking your mails and stuff like that, but the Nexus 7 is much nicer for browsing the web, gaming, reading ebooks.. reading books on a smartphone is not an enjoyable experience, but doing so on a Nexus 7 is. My experience with the Nexus 7 has also shown me that it's at the sweet point for a small comic/manga reading device. Any smaller and you can't really comfortably do that. Any bigger (like when I had the iPad 2) and it can be a bit too heavy depending on the way you hold it for prolonged use.

The smartphone can be a quick fix when you're not at home and not carrying your tablet (I don't carry my tablet all the time) but at home there is absolutely no way you'd chose to use the smartphone over any tablet, be it 7" or 10", when you're reading ebooks, browsing the web on the couch or watching movies in your bed.

Samsung did try to make a device that can be somewhat good at both, the Galaxy Note 2, but it's not really pocketable so it loses the appeal of a smartphone, and it's not as nice as a Nexus 7 for tablet use cases.

Nexus 4, 7 & 10 have a front facing camera. (Nexus 7 doesn't have a rear facing camera though)

Finally someone stood against anti-consumer carriers.

>> It seems that they're no longer using tablet UI, even on Nexus 10

Maybe this is for consistency. I find it a bit of a mental shift when I used the Nexus 7 with the tablet UI. I assume I'd prefer the status on top look & feel on the Nexus 10 as well. I know not everyone prefers status & notification on top, but I'm used to it and I like the consistency of it across phone & tablet.

Status bar up top is probably fine.

I would think though that sticking the navigation buttons in the center while in landscape mode would be aggravating. I would rather have the buttons rotate while the bar stays on the narrow end. That would even be consistent with the actual phone UI.

It seems that they're no longer using tablet UI, even on Nexus 10 (i.e. it has status bar on top, navigation buttons are in the middle of the screen). That's weird, and I definitely don't like it, but it might not be that big of a problem.

Good catch. This will hopefully be configurable on custom ROMs, as I'm with you on this one: I don't want this on my 10" tablet.

The $299 version is the 8GB version.

The 16 GB version is $399.

That's the phone, not the Nexus 10 tablet which is $399.

*16 GB is $349

$359 here in Canada. Unbelievable price. That's how much I paid for my Galaxy Nexus USED!

Yeah really impressive, two weeks ago I was about to purchase the Galaxy SIII with a 2 years contract for $500 dlls (yeah really that's the price here in my country).

That would be a really bad mistake...

Here's a video by the verge which provides a lot more detail, hands on demonstrations, and interviews with the Android team. http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/29/3570034/inside-android-bu... http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6...

"Sorry! Devices on Google Play is not available in your country yet."

Yeah, but I'd like to window shop and know what the neighbours are paying, perhaps ask someone over there to buy me one.

I really dislike this automatic geolocation enforcement that Google spreads liberally over all its stuff. At least Apple lets you look at, or even get things from, other country stores with minimal fuss.

(I know, proxies, bleargh.)

P.S. http://www.google.com/nexus/ now has info and pictures viewable anywhere. (Link found in melvinram's comment, thank you.)

Looking at the close-up images, will having the front-facing speakers located where you hold the device be an issue?

It won't be long before the usual suspects start claiming

- screen resolution isn't important

- multi-user accounts are overly complex

- low prices mean the devices are cheap and nasty

I'm eagerly awaiting posts of this nature from Marco, Gruber, and Siegler.

It sure wasn't long before the Google apologists started clamoring that you don't really need LTE anyway.

It doesn't matter what Apple or Google fanboys think, consumers have real choice in the Android market.

Some phones offer LTE, others have a removable battery, provide expandable storage, are waterproof, have wireless charging or even hold two sim cards. It's great!

But I've never thought LTE was necessary, even in the iPhone. Not something I want/need.

That's what I've always thought. A tiny 3-4 inch device with a dual core ARMv7 CPU and 8-64 GB of storage. Why does it need faster internet than what I can get at my house through a Broadband router (ADSL2 here)

In fairness to the usual suspects, their reviews of the nexus 7 were all pretty fair (and for the most part, favourable).

It didn't stop Gruber from complaining about the lack of cell data (which, thankfully, will be fixed when the $300 Nexus 7 flavor comes out).

And the lack of cell data was an entirely reasonable thing to complain about. I didn't say the reviews were exclusively positive, I said they were fair.

Thank you for rushing in and claiming it for them.

No LTE is a deal-breaker for me on the Nexus 4. I would pre-order one right now if it was included. I think I'll wait for the next great Android phone that has LTE. The Nexus S is a pretty good phone, so without an upgrade in internet speed I don't see any reason to upgrade.

As for the Nexus 10, I hope that it gets enough sales to start pushing developers to make tablet apps for Android, and for Google to make the split between phone/tablet sized apps better in the Play Store.

> No LTE is a deal-breaker for me on the Nexus 4. I would pre-order one right now if it was included. I think I'll wait for the next great Android phone that has LTE.

There's a good explanation of the LTE situation by The Verge[0]. If Google wants to release timely upgrades, they need to break free of carrier control. And since Verizon and Sprint devices require carrier approval, this will never happen. As for AT&T, their LTE coverage is so limited and the frequencies unique, so it doesn't make economic sense.

> The Nexus S is a pretty good phone, so without an upgrade in internet speed I don't see any reason to upgrade.

With AT&T, there will be an upgrade in speed from the Nexus S to the Nexus 4 (or to the Galaxy Nexus, for that matter). The Nexus S doesn't support HSPA+ (what AT&T is falsely claiming in its TV ads to be 4G - it's actually more like 3.5G), whereas the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 do.

0: http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/29/3569688/why-nexus-4-does-...

Oh I definitely understand why Google made the decision, it just isn't a decision that suits me. HSPA+ isn't enough of an upgrade for me to make the purchase, especially if 6 or 8 months from now there's a great Android phone that does have LTE.

I may end up buying the Nexus 4 anyway, but no LTE puts up a big resistance barrier that would otherwise put me in line to pre-order the phone.

Definitely not my experience. I'm sitting miles away from Walnut Creek, a town i the East Bay, and I have LTE on AT&T. I certainly have it anywhere closer to civilization, like SF itself or NYC. I wouldn't call AT&T coverage limited at all.

Well, your anecdotal data doesn't line up with the facts. There's a Verge article from a month ago[0] that contains LTE coverage information for Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. There's simply no comparison - Verizon is leaps and bounds ahead of AT&T. Just because you have AT&T LTE in your neck of the woods doesn't mean that the vast majority of Americans do.

0: http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/21/3367602/iphone-5-lte-marke...

The valid metric to observe in asserting AT&T's LTE coverage's uselessness is not relative standing. We should measure the number of people who can be reasonably expected to have LTE coverage a reasonable percent of the time.

That's a pretty useless chart. It appears to be just charting carrier claims.

I'm not saying you're wrong, but yeah, the chart is flawed. Dallas, TX shows Sprint for example, but Sprint's LTE in Dallas is notoriously bad. As in, many people never see it, and I've never seen one single person claim to get it regularly. I think I've seen it mentioned that the maps are "4 to 5 year" projections, but today's actual coverage is something like 4% of DFW.

Maybe he misinterpreted it like I did. It read a bit like you were saying AT&T's coverage was not only worse than Verizon, but also Sprint.

This "explanation" is a BS excuse.

LTE is mostly about increased capacity - no one reaches the theoretical maximum unless they camp under an antenna. So while LTE will improve the network as a whole, don't expect too much from it as an individual user - and don't break a deal just for that...

Says who? I've benchmarked my friend's Verizon LTE phone and gotten consistent 20 megabits down and 20 megabits up in a variety of locations across the tri-state area (NY, NJ, CT). This is better than cable modem service in a lot of areas.

How many LTE terminals are running in the wild ? Too few to provide the shiny new LTE network with a normal load. Enjoy your empty airwaves before the unwashed Youtube consuming masses bum rush the show !

That's great and all.

And what exactly do you need that for in your phone? To watch youtube in HD?

If you look at what happens after a user action in detail, you'll sometimes see a bit of upstream traffic, then a brief pause for serverside processing, then some downstream traffic.

Responsive interfaces have to do all that in a few hundredths of seconds. Say ten for routine clicks, twenty for actions that seem less routine to the user, as much as fifty for really exceptional actions. Even twenty is not very many, and shaving off one, two or four hundredths helps.

Does it seem stupid to say that a search available in 0.19s is better than one in 0.23s? But these things do matter.

Tethering. I like having decent speeds when I travel. Have you tried the abomination known as hotel wifi recently? I actually get better performance from a 3G phone with tethering than most hotel wifi.

It's 2012, dammit. Why can we not reasonably expect 100 megabits bandwidth in the continental US? I'd be happy with only 10 megabits, but with hotel wifi you can usually only get around 100kbps or less.

Whats your use case for LTE? With most carriers in the world, 5 minutes of continuous LTE usage at the advertised speed will race you across any traffic limits and put you back into 64k stone age.

Every single thing you do that involves network access of any amount does it faster. Do you enjoy waiting for pages to load and apps to pull in data? LTE isn't about more data per se, it's about faster data. It's entirely possible to use it without downloading any more data and still benefit from it.

You are confusing latency with throughput.

If you are downloading 1MB of data the difference in delivery between the two speeds (42mbps vs. 72mbps) is 80ms (190ms vs 111ms) Hardly life-changing.

Latency is actually quite a bit better with LTE. That said, I moved from T-Mobile HSPA+ to Verizon LTE and it wasn't earth shattering. Both pretty much feel like WiFi and I agree with Google that it's not worth compromising several other aspects of a phone just to get LTE.

I don't think bandwidth is as important. I'd bet that the most waiting is incurred through the inherent large latency in the medium. Did LTE improve in that area?

Can you really tell the difference between 42mbps and 72?

No one gets near the theoretical maximums.

That's what I was thinking. And in that case, why do we even need 42mbps. My home internet is fast enough and is only 15mbps.

It was probably a deal breaker for a lot of the carriers Google talked to as well. T-mobile is on board for pushing the phone, but the others really prefer any new device to support LTE. It doesn't make sense for them to push devices that don't use the huge amounts of money they are putting into supporting and building out LTE.

This is a test period for the post Jobs Apple.

Apple has a loyal mac user base willing to pay an Apple premium. A business that won't just disappear overnight. They had a good head start on iphones. Combined with the obscure phone prices on plans, Apple can easily get their premium here. The tablet market they pretty much had to themselves.

Now Android really is mature. Great devices at great prices that compete with iOS devices on features and not just on price.

Lets see if they can keep up their margins.

Android still has a long way to go. I have the Nexus 7 (I should divulge I am an iOS/Cocoa developer) and I kind of like it, but it still has a cheap usability feel to it. The parallax is pretty obvious which translates into issues like laggy typing and occasional awkward pauses. The select/copy/paste is just bizarre. Video playback is crappy.

Android is to Toyota what Apple is to Mercedes. They both essentially do the same thing, will get you to the same places, but it's a different kind of ride. Some people like Toyotas, and that's OK.

I also don't think the kind of people that buy Android devices are the same people that buy iOS devices. Not mention the homogeny of the whole Apple experience and how much smoother that gets with each iteration of OSX and iOS. I can pick up one device where I left off on another one. Because Google doesn't own that kind of end to end experience, it will be hard for them to compete on a whole.

The qualitative arguments are valid enough, and I won't try to dispute them except to point out that most of what you argue is lets-just-say-controversial and not uniformly agreed upon.

But the car analogy is just bad. Mercedes sells cars into different markets with different feature sets than Toyota. People don't buy a Camry expecting it to accelerate like a E350. And the "polish" features are things like Leather Seats and climate control, which are objectively measurable.

Compare the Nexus 10, which by basically all objective measures is a better piece of hardware than the retina iPad. All that Apple has on it is brand and opinion.

Even Mercedes can't sell cars on brand and opinion alone.

I agree that the analogy is wrong: Apple & Google are competing head-2-head, Toyota & Mercedes generally don't.

But it's interesting to think about why. It's typical that as market categories mature, we get segmentation. Start with the model T, eventually you have luxury SUVs, sportscars, minivans, large sedans, smarcars....

A lot of these things you're saying have to do with just being aligned with the Apple universe.

> I can pick up one device where I left off on another one.

I would argue that seamlessness across devices has historically almost always been stronger on Android than iOS (although they're pretty similar right now that iCloud is fairly caught up with Google's cloud offerings). It's changing OS that's a hassle.

> The select/copy/paste is just bizarre

Really? I found this quite intuitive and feature complete; I don't really know what it's like on iOS, are you sure you're not just used to a different way of doing things?

I didn't have your laginess issues with the N7 but I'm sure your complaints are legit. Nevertheless I think they will vary from device to device; it's not clear that Apple could build a $200 tablet with those specs that didn't ever lag. Knowing Apple, if they couldn't they just wouldn't.

On paper the N10 looks considerably better to me than the iPad (lighter, has better screen resolution, etc.). That's BMW vs. Mercedes not Toyota vs. Mercedes. We'll see if it lives up to its specs but if it does I don't think there's much left to the argument that Apple products are on the whole better rather than different.

What is parallax, in the context of the Nexus?

"I also don't think the kind of people that buy Android devices are the same people that buy iOS devices."

Really ? I used to own an iPad 2 and an iPhone 3g. Because they were much, much better than the competition at the time. I sold my iPad 2, got a nexus 7. I'm going to buy a Nexus 4 as soon as it's released. I don't understand your point about laggy typing with the Nexus 7. Did you hit the bug on the 16gb that starts when you have your internal storage filled ? (yeah, I agree that this kind of bug shouldn't even exist, but if you've filled your N7's ssd and ignored this bug you don't really know how smooth the device can be) I've always been good at typing, I get a very high word-per-minute on a real keyboard and a satisfying wpm on touch keyboards with good prediction, I admit I use swiftkey rather than the built-in android keyboard but I haven't noticed a lag so far. The experience has been stellar for me, everything runs as smooth as my iPad 2 but I now get the functionality I have always desired, such as a real filesystem access, the ability to disable built in apps and use a third party app as the default (Android Intents) and so on.

I admit that android is lacking in tablet apps, but that's almost certainly going to be solved with the release of the Nexus 7 and now the Nexus 10, because past android tablets really sucked and you couldn't count on them to get OS upgrades. With the Nexus 7 and 10, developers will have a good reason to come to the platform. The Nexus 7 is already outselling all the other android tablets combined I think. JellyBean and ICS fixed a lot of what was wrong with the UI and smoothness. When it comes to the core OS itself, I now consider Android on par with iOS, which wasn't the case for me during the days of 2.x and honeycomb for tablets. Why do I like android better than iOS now that they're on par (IMHO) ? the ability to customize the OS, even without having to root the device. I didn't root my N7 nor did I install a custom rom. But I'm using a third party launcher, keyboard and lots of app that CAN'T exist under the iOS ecosystem. I've always wanted to use Android, but bought iOS devices in the past because they were objectively better and too good compared to the subpar android releases, my desire for a more free (as in freedom) ecosystem didn't outweigh the cons of early android. But in 2012, with Nexus devices ? iOS is dead to me.

I'm not saying iOS sucks. I still like it a lot, and think that Apple truly changed the market and I doubt the competition would've become as good if Apple didn't release those devices. But I absolutely can't stand the walled garden and only submitted to it because of the lack of real competition, until now. If Apple gave us the kind of freedom with expect on a computer, be it an OS X laptop or Windows 8 laptop, I would have no qualms in coming back to iOS, and buy the next iPhone or iPad. But with android getting much better than it used to be, and iOS being still as constraining as it was in the past, hell no! Waiting for the jailbreak when new devices are released, and waiting before installing os updates because they break the jailbreak is not for me. Android allows me to do things you'd need a jailbreak on iOS, but not something like rooting or unlocking the bootloader on Android. Btw I'm not a software pirate, I buy the apps that catch my interest, I don't need "full freedom" but android gives out far more freedom out of the box than iOS and some of those freedoms are truly useful. Swiftkey is the best virtual keyboard I've ever used, your mileage may vary. You can't replace the keyboard on iOS without jailbreaking. You can't have a keyboard with symbols for programming without jailbreaking. Why ? Why should we let ourselves be shackled by Apple so much ? Windows 8 (RT and Phone) is going the wrong direction too. Sideloading shouldn't even be a word. Installing apps outside of an app store shouldn't be considered a specific, niche use case.

I don't know what's more insane: the N10's 2560 x 1600 screen or how hard is to find a laptop with a measly 1080p screen for twice the price of that tablet.

The N4 is bonkers too. Sure there are other phones with HD screens now, but with a quad Krait? the only other I know is the Mi2, and good luck getting one at launch.

The N7 with cellular is really tempting since with a little hack you could have a tablet+phone hybrid (using a Bt headset). Too bad it still uses the Tegra3, a SoC that couldn't keep up with the dual Krait.

But overall I think Google just brought a gun to knife fight...

Hopefully this starts the ball rolling on Android tablet apps. I really love my Nexus 7, but the app selection is definitely inferior to what's available for iOS.

What kind of app do you find yourself wishing for? The apps I use the most are the default apps, i.e. Calendar, Mail, Chrome, Reader (google version) and Google+/Facebook/Twitter.

I'd be interested to know if there's something like Papers or BibDesk for Android. Something where you can browse ArXiv, save PDFs for later, and then read and optionally mark up what you've saved. Integration with bibtex would be nice as well.

If you are looking for a PDF annotator, I really like EZPDF ( https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=udk.android.re... )

A good PDF reader is the minimal requirement, but the organization is more important than the annotation for me. Possibly something like Zotero online would work, but I'd definitely want to see a review or find a store where I could play with one for a while.

Official scrabble app.

Scrabble on iPad is awesome. Also, please dont mention Words With Friends.

I agree. High quality board-game apps seem to be the biggest gap on android tablets. I love Elder Sign: Omens https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fantasyfli... but that's the only one I've found to be really high quality. Carcasonne and Catan aren't as good as their ios equivalents.

While I'm plugging tablet board game apps, this implementation of backgammon is Awesome. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.njsoftware... It regularly wipes the floor with me on higher difficulty levels, and has a lot of really nice features.

> High quality board-game apps seem to be the biggest gap on android tablets.

Probably because Android has traditionally focused on 7" tablets. Board games are the one area where I wish my iPad 3 was bigger. :(

Apple is still miles ahead when it comes to real time audio processing apps. The obvious example here being garage band, but on the less obscure side there are a ton of guitar amp/effects apps on iOS (which are awesome if you play guitar) for which there is absolutely nothing even remotely equivalent on android.

My understanding is that the android api has improved recently with respect to the ability to support these types of apps, but for whatever reason there's still a noticeable lack of these apps.

I'd also add that outside of the US there's still a huge lack of content (i.e. movies, music), compared to what's available on iTunes. I'm not sure what the difference is like inside the US


Couldn't you just use Google Maps? You can mark certain areas of the map to be cached for offline usage.

Have you tried Google maps offline mode map downloading? Might not allow downloading such a large area but worth a shot.

Decent music production apps. My understanding is that Apple is ahead there due to better sound SDK and hardware standards, lower latency.

Google now has a standard for low-latency devices:

> 5.4. Audio Latency

> Audio latency is broadly defined as the interval between when an application requests an audio playback or record operation, and when the device implementation actually begins the operation. Many classes of applications rely on short latencies, to achieve real-time effects such sound effects or VOIP communication. Device implementations that include microphone hardware and declare android.hardware.microphone SHOULD meet all audio latency requirements outlined in this section. See Section 7 for details on the conditions under which microphone hardware may be omitted by device implementations.

> For the purposes of this section:

> - "cold output latency" is defined to be the interval between when an application requests audio playback and when sound begins playing, when the audio system has been idle and powered down prior to the request

> - "warm output latency" is defined to be the interval between when an application requests audio playback and when sound begins playing, when the audio system has been recently used but is currently idle (that is, silent)

> - "continuous output latency" is defined to be the interval between when an application issues a sample to be played and when the speaker physically plays the corresponding sound, while the device is currently playing back audio

> - "cold input latency" is defined to be the interval between when an application requests audio recording and when the first sample is delivered to the application via its callback, when the audio system and microphone has been idle and powered down prior to the request > - "continuous input latency" is defined to be when an ambient sound occurs and when the sample corresponding to that sound is delivered to a recording application via its callback, while the device is in recording mode

> Using the above definitions, device implementations SHOULD exhibit each of these properties:

> - cold output latency of 100 milliseconds or less

> - warm output latency of 10 milliseconds or less

> - continuous output latency of 45 milliseconds or less

> - cold input latency of 100 milliseconds or less

> - continuous input latency of 50 milliseconds or less

> Note: while the requirements outlined above are stated as "SHOULD" for Android 4.1, the Compatibility Definition for a future version is planned to change these to "MUST". That is, these requirements are optional in Android 4.1 but will be required by a future version. Existing and new devices that run Android 4.1 are very strongly encouraged to meet these requirements in Android 4.1, or they will not be able to attain Android compatibility when upgraded to the future version.

> If a device implementation meets the requirements of this section, it MAY report support for low-latency audio, by reporting the feature "android.hardware.audio.low-latency" via the android.content.pm.PackageManager class. [Resources, 37] Conversely, if the device implementation does not meet these requirements it MUST NOT report support for low-latency audio.

For me it is that an Android app comes, but it always comes much later. PG has mentioned that iOS almost always comes first with Y Combinator startups, for example.

When bored I'll browse to see if there is a new app, but it is always the same. Sales are bad too as I generally have purchased more than 85% of what Google decides to put on sale.

A high quality simple sketching app like Paper by 53 on the iPad.

I've done a lot of research into this category on android, and there are a couple of good ones.

For real drawing, Adobe Photoshop Touch https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.com.adobe.... Autodesk Sketchbook Pro https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.adsk.sketc...

For simple and very responsive line drawing, Quill https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.write.Quil...

If your use case is more diagrammatic, try Skitch https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.evernote.s...

Thanks, I've been trying to use Sketchbook Pro for a while and somehow it gets overwhelming. I'll give Quill a go.

There's still definitely space for a proper drawing app on Android.

You know, I have a feeling that this might come, in major (but non integral) part from the Android SDK. Objective C & Cocoa just have an extra layer of polish to them that I believe contributes highly to the resulting level of quality of the app

I'd agree with that. I switched from an iPhone 4 and an iPad 2 to a Galaxy Nexus and a Nexus 7, in part because of a new job as an Android developer and in part because I just couldn't put up with the OS anymore. I absolutely hate Objective-C and Xcode, but even I have to admit that the Android SDK is kind of crap. Even in Eclipse its integration isn't very good (though I use IntelliJ as my IDE, which is finally catching up) and the documentation is just awful, badly-written stuff that desperately needs the attention of a good technical writer or twelve. I can totally buy that app quality is negatively impacted because very little makes sense and there's not a lot of documentation to straighten you out.

It's been a while since I jumped into Android dev, so I'm curious if you could elaborate more on the things you are finding annoying and/or confusing. Also, are there things about Android development that you like more than iOS development?

I never did iOS development in anger; I just really, really don't like Obj-C or Xcode from dealing with OS X programming. A few things that come to mind off the top of my head:

-Again, the documentation isn't well-written. It almost all feels like it's written either by an engineer with little writing experience or a technical writer without engineering experience. There have been times when I've had to re-read passages over and over again because I genuinely couldn't parse what they were trying to say.

-The insistence on weak typing everywhere is insane. Intents are sloppy, weakly-typed junk; Messages ditto. The R auto-generated class isn't bright either--even if you need an integer index, at least wrap it in a type-safe class to eliminate the possibility of passing the wrong thing around. I really do genuinely like working in Java, but I like working in well-designed Java. This is the same company that made Guava, which is perhaps the most elegantly designed API I know of in Java-land. But many of Android's APIs treat classes as an incidental hindrance.

-Dalvik blows. There is nothing good about it and there's so much that's bad about it. The class limit is crippling, and the lack of hot-loading is prohibitive. (I write games in my spare time, I'd love to be able to use Groovy as a scripting layer, but that's not going to happen.)

-This might sound crazy, but XML is a machine-readable format. People know that, right? Okay, great. So why are the tools for building layouts so much junk?

Not on this list is fragmentation, because I don't find that to be a real problem for my purposes. My app for work is 4.0+ only, and I test on a Galaxy Nexus; if it works there it'll work on a SIII or an Atrix HD or whatever else somebody wants to try. (We're outsourcing wide device testing to uTest, but our app isn't done so I haven't had the opportunity to try their services.)

I think many of your points are valid. In any large SDK there will be rough edges, and you have pointed out several of them. However I would like to post a contrary opinion, just because I know that many people who have never done Android development will read this and think 'yup, android development blows'.

I've been working with the Android SDK for a few years now, and I haven't found any of the things you mentioned to be a major hindrance.

Personally I think the documentation is just fine - Perhaps I haven't been poking around the same corners of it that you have, but the tutorials have always been helpful and the design guide is very good.

The weak typing is again an annoyance. However in all my time I can say, that I have only run into one bug that was caused by weak typing and that was on the R auto-generated class. Typically your strings are a R.strings, colours are at R.colours, etc so it makes it pretty easy to spot if you are passing a string through where you should be passing a colour.

I did java dev back in the 1.1 and 1.2 days - now that JVM sucked! Dalvik, again I have never had any problems with.

As for the GUI design tools, they are probably some of the best I have seen. Definitely better than the tools that I was using to do Swing dev work back in the day.

So yes, all those things you mentioned could do with some more polish. But I have found my Android dev experience to be good one and the android SDK is more than adequate to develop some pretty hefty apps!

Typically your strings are a R.strings, colours are at R.colours, etc so it makes it pretty easy to spot if you are passing a string through where you should be passing a colour.

Here's the problem. Say you need to pass around a specific resource (reusable code somewhere in your app):

   void doSomething(int stringResourceId)
                     ^ THIS IS WRONG
The problem is that the R bullshit essentially decontextualizes what that actually means. This is a statically typed language. It should be used as a statically typed language.

And comparing the GUI design stuff to Swing is ignoring the ridiculous number of vastly better systems everywhere else. SWT is great. Microsoft, too, nailed it with WinForms and WPF/XAML kick an unreasonable amount of ass (though I won't use it because, derp, Windows). Swing sucked from day one.

Your post disagrees with me, and that's fine, but I get a vibe of "good enough" out of most of it and we should, as a culture, be better than that. Android isn't. It is precisely "good enough," and that sucks because the Android people are obviously very smart people who could be doing vastly better.

Well, we should aim to do better than 'good enough'. There are some bits of android that absolutely rock:

* I really like that the OS can handle so much of the scaling and resizing for you as you move from a 3 inch phone all the way up to 10 inch tablets

* I think google is to be commended for building an eco-system that involves so many different hardware devices, manufacturers, etc

* The latest look and feel in 4.1 and 4.2 is turning out really well. A well designed android app looks great [1][2]

* The intents system and the way you can link together different apps is very innovative. I wish iOS would copy it!

* Android is evolving at a really rapid pace.

There are some bits that are 'good enough'. You mentioned many of them. They get the job done, but are not necessarily the best way of doing things, or they need plenty more polish. I would add one thing to your list: performance. Project butter still has helped, but android still feels nowhere near as performant as the apple devices.

Finally there are some bits with just plain suck. Google HAS to do something about the upgrade story on existing devices. They can add features and optimise existing code until they are blue in the face, but it isn't going to do them one iota of good if 95% of the devices out there will never see the updates!

[1] - Checkout Instapaper and mint here. IMHO they look really good: http://developer.android.com/distribute/googleplay/spotlight...

[2] - http://androidniceties.tumblr.com/

Agreed for the most part, except for these:

I think google is to be commended for building an eco-system that involves so many different hardware devices, manufacturers, etc and Google HAS to do something about the upgrade story on existing devices.

Disagree on the first part, for one really big reason: the overwhelming majority of those manufacturers are anti-consumer assholes. Like, I would personally much rather that literally-literally every manufacturer who ship with a locked bootloader or who refuse to commit to three years of updates be blocked from using the Google apps on any of their devices (which is why I included the second bit). I realize Google will never do that, and the "screw you, this is how you do it right" attitude of the Nexus line is an okay "toe this line" approach, but I don't think it's sufficient.

The intents system and the way you can link together different apps is very innovative. I wish iOS would copy it!

The idea behind the intents system is groovy. The implementation is terrible. Intents external to my application are great, barring API problems. But within my application--I get the reason, intents are bad for this sort of thing because the information you can pass around is limited and not typesafe. You end up with global state or a lack of type safety and neither option makes me not want to throw things. I think I'd rather see the Activity model be more object-oriented--like, have startActivity() actually take an Activity and allow you to define a constructor.

That sort of error should be picked up by the lint now. Still, not ideal. Keep in mind that a lot of the android design decisions were made in order to get good performance on G1-vintage hardware with no JIT compilation.

For games, I'd definitely recommend the NDK, which lets you write cross-platform code with OpenGL. Or just go with Unity and C#.

I don't really have any interest in dealing with Unity (to me, it's not programming) or C++. I generally use libgdx for messing around/prototyping. I'd be more likely to go to Mono than the NDK, though that too is a lot of work.

>Dalvik blows.

The single thing that almost got Google into big trouble with Oracle is a weak point ;)

Yup. Different is not always wrong, but different-and-worse is.

The "iPad mini vs. other 7" tablet" battle has been going on for a week, but if nothing else I hope these new Nexus tablets force Apple to move away from $100 jumps for memory and $130 jumps for radio.

The ~$450 I paid for a 32GB iPad mini would net me two base Nexus 7s. Alternatively, for $100 less I can get an equivalent Nexus 7...with cell radio. Those jumps add up!

Just being available in the market at those prices will not force Apple to lower theirs. Only if you vote with your wallet and stop buying Apple products for those prices, they'll start to listen.

It can work either way. They could lower their prices, because otherwise people will move from Apple to the cheaper devices.

On the other hand, if the price conscious consumers move to competitors, they may raise their prices (because only people willing to pay a premium are interested anyway.)

Empirically, their are many examples of competition leading to lower prices. But the entry of low cost generic drugs have historically caused the associated branded drugs to raise their prices.

It's hard to predict which way it will work in the tablet market.

The screen for 10.1" model is great: 2560x1600 (300ppi) - iPad (3 and 4) are 2048x1536 (264ppi). Which means it has 30% more pixels (409600 vs. 3145728).

When can I start buying non-Mac laptops with this kind of resolution? It probably doesn't help that Windows doesn't have good support for scaling at high resolutions (although I would bet that Metro apps will scale fine due to the use of XAML).

I can't see pixels on my 1920 x 1200 Transformer Infinity, but I can't help but think more pixels is a good thing. Maybe we can finally get some 2560 x 1600 desktop monitors at reasonable prices around 20 - 22".

Probably a typo, the iPad is 2048 x 1536 (4:3 = 16:12), the Nexus 10 is 16:10.

Thanks. It was indeed a typo.

It's actually 10" not 10.1".

It's 10.055" according to the blog post, so either one is correct. It depends on whether you round to the nearest inch or tenth of an inch.

However, the screen is "PenTile" (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/PenTile_matrix_family), which means that each pixel is only 2/3 of what we'd usually think of a pixel. And it really does look like crap, even at high densities (such as on the Galaxy Nexus).

If you calculate out the number of subpixels (what actually shows colors on the screen, the important number), the 2048x1536 display on the iPad is still significantly ahead: https://www.google.com/search?q=2560*1600*2/3+-+2048*1536

According to The Verge, at least for the Nexus 10, the screen is Plane-to-Line Switching, so not Pentile.

Edit: and looking at the specs none of the current Nexus hardware is Pentile (4, 7, 10).

Google calls it "True RGB Real Stripe PLS", so definitely not PenTile.

Is there a confirmation for this somewhere?

Confirmed that PenTile is crap. I came from a OG Droid to Galaxy Nexus and was horrible not impressed by the PenTile screen. It is really noticeable when using low brightness.

Not all pentiles are equal. I have no real complaints about the Galaxy S II screen. (OK - a bit more maximum brightness and a slightly more natural default colour calibration...)

The Galaxy S II has a proper RGB matrix. Galaxy S and Galaxy S3 are pentile though.

I often wish the minimum brightness on the SGS2 screen were lower. Most of the time I run at the lowest setting, and if I use the phone in a dimly-lit room I further darken it with Screen Filter (to about 35%) to avoid overloading my eyes... Very rarely do I need to use the maximum brightness, except outside in bright sunlight.

A lot of reviewers raved about the Galaxy S II amoled

The phone comes with wireless charging built in. Looks like that's a first. Does it come with a charging pad as well?

I think I'd buy a phone just for this feature.

I don't know what you mean by "a first", but the HP Touchpad had built-in inductive charging.

also the HP/Palm Pre3. Neither Nokia or Google/LG are first with inductive charging.

I think even the Pre+ came with inductive charging built-in. Only the original Pre required the purchase of the replacement back.

It is not included. Optional accessory.

With regards to tablets, one of the next major battlegrounds is going to be in the enterprise, with Apple, Google, and Microsoft duke-ing it out. From that perspective, Surface makes a whole lot more sense. If they can perfect Surface, they will be in a fierce position to defend their enterprise territory.

With regards to the emerging enterprise tablet market, Google is playing serious catch-up. If Microsoft can come late to the game, but demonstrate the tenacity they have in the past, they might pull another "IE over Netscape" on Apple.

I sincerely hope that with regards to tablets, the next major battleground will be the desktop. I want a tablet that acts as a tablet on the go, but plugs into my mouse/keyboard/monitor at home and just replaces my desktop.

Performance is not quite there yet, but it's getting close. OSes are not quite there yet, but progress is being made there, too. I think it is only a matter of time and it might get there faster than we think.

The Lenovo Yoga seems pretty incredible, much more expensive though. http://www.cnet.com/laptops/lenovo-ideapad-yoga-13/4505-3121...

> faster than we think

Surface Pro, hopefully.

Surface Pro will not compete in the same space. Pricing alone will push it out of that space.

OK, but if you're looking for tablets that can be proper desktop replacements (as parent comment says), its not going to be cheap

This brings us back to the enterprise. People are going to be finagling a way to get the company to pay for their $1000 tablet.

Someone forgot to tell their marketing team: http://www.google.com/nexus/

Edit: Basically the website still has old info about old devices.

Maybe they're evacuated--these devices were supposed to debut at an event in NYC that was cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy.

But but... why use reason when you can make a facile, snarky observation instead?

Looks like they're halfway through fixing it: http://cl.ly/image/3K171Y0o3r3F

Not to be nit-picky, but all of the nexus 10 images up until the video section have horrible aliasing


New devices don't go on sale until November 13 according to the release so they've got a few weeks to update the site (and the Play devices store for that matter).

looks like they just pushed the update.

>Nexus 4 comes with wireless charging capability built right in. Just place your Nexus 4 on a compatible wireless charging mat to charge -- and retire the wire for good.

One's not included in the box though. I wonder how much they plan to charge for that accessory.

Now all we need is 3 SIM cards for the same mobile contract, so you can use all three devices without swapping SIM cards all the time and without paying for 3 separate contracts.

In the UK the last operator to stop doing this (Vodafone) stopped around 2004, the others in the 2-3 years before that.

Was really handy for a car-phone (remember those!) sim which meant the car rang pre-bluetooth days.

Less relevant these days but i also have an old BMW E38 i cherish which would benefit from such a setup were it available today.

I was just thinking about that. I've got a 2004 era Mercedes with a built in car phone and was wondering if I was supposed to get a distinct phone number for it, which seems preposterous.

I've seen "family plans" where minutes and data (!) come from a shared pool like this, although I forget where.

AT&T and Verizon both offer shared plans.

Except that you still do end up paying a monthly fee for each device you add to the shared pool.

Is there some reasonable way to clone SIM cards? I would be all for that if the providers are going to be buttheads.


Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact