The Nexus 7 came out as leaked, and while I must say that I like the improvements Google managed to put into Android 4.1 (“Jelly Bean”), I won’t get the first tablet to run it (officially).
Not that I wasn’t in the market for a 7” tablet – the 6” Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch really makes me long for a nice 7” tablet – just because you can carry it with you, wherever you go without needing to carry some kind of a bag – wearing a jacket is just enough.
However, the Nexus 7 not only runs on NVidia’s Tegra 3, it does not support any kind of a video out. Seriously, this makes the Tegra 3’s USP (its immense video power, if we are to believe NVidia’s marketing department) not worth much. And there are other shortcomings. There is no way to add extra storage (in default mode, I am sure that there will be some decent hacks), you are limited to 8 or 16 Gigabytes, which in reality is even less, as the OS and apps are placed on this scarce storage too.
Let’s come to a few good points. The price is pretty good, considering that this is real 2012 hardware and not some old stuff, and the way they axed features in order to make this price is actually pretty well done: The display (1280x800px; IPS) is decent. There is one camera, for video chat – which is the most useful camera purpose on a tablet, imho. Android 4.1 is even better than the already awesome Android 4.0. Google is finally building its own content eco system – and there we are back at the cons. Much like Amazons $199 tablet (Kindle Fire), this device is mostly a frontend to some kind of content store – only slightly less locked down.
Yeah, I must admit that I am picky. I don’t want a Tegra 3 because of nVidia being “not so good” to “horrible” at supplying Linux drivers. I say “nope” because there is no video output – I would love a 7” tablet to power a dumb Lapdock, like the one Motorola supplied with the Atrix 4G, or the Clambook – just for the use cases where you need to do some work, but wouldn’t necessarily need your real, full-fledged notebook.
But then, after all, the Nexus 7 is definitely not the worst choice for an affordable, 7” inch Android tablet for Android enthusiasts. It’s much rather among the best choices you can make, if you can live with its shortcomings (storage, connectivity) – I can’t.
It is one day before there will be likely a new Nexus Tablet, supposedly 7”, Tegra 3 and all – it’s all over the internet, if you care. I didn’t cover the last big trade shows at all, and over time I have had many devices in my hands which I didn’t cover except maybe for mentioning them in a few tweets or lines (Nokia N900, LG Optimus Speed, Sony Ericsson XPERIA Pro, Lenovo A750, Jiayu G2).
Honestly, I even shot a few videos I never published, because they were simply not good enough to be published unedited – and I didn’t prefer shooting it again last year for no reason – i am not that experienced at video handling, as I had to realize recently I can’t even rip DVDs without messing it up – audio is never in sync. I hate my own laziness, however, there are simply more important things in my life that need to be done than writing down (or saying on video) what exactly I think about a certain phone screen, or why this app is better than the other one. It’s not that work or private life steal the time of this blog, it’s simply that I am bored of most of what’s happening.
Don’t get me wrong: The mobile space has rarely been more dynamic in the past, not only talking of what one could call “spec sheet madness” (imagine someone would have told you in 2002 that there would be quad core phones with 2 Gigabytes of RAM in 2012). With Android dominant on smartphones, but not tablets and the soon to happen launch of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 with more interesting convertible devices which really come close to what I dreamt of 5 years ago (and which than seemed really unlikely to happen, imagine how poorly (in terms of performance) an ASUS PadFone would have been back then)), with Intel still trying to find a place in your trousers pocket (initial reviews of 1st gen Medfield phones like the Orange San Diego haven’t been overly positive, though mostly because the overall package is not great) and MIPS is trying to get a foot in the mobile markets, too.
Then there is digital reading, a topic that interests me really and has made my buy not only Apple’s iPad 2 in last september, but recently a Barnes&Noble Nook Simple Touch, which – as you must know to understand that I as a german guy bought this US-Reader, runs Android 2.1 (Eclair) and thus is hackable to a certain extend. Display technology is not really going much forward right now – while AMOLED and LCDs have been getting better and better, delivering better pictures at higher resolutions (300ppi may be average in mid range smartphones in 2013), power saving reflective technologies optimized for sunlight reading like PixelQi and Qualcomms Mirasol technology have not been exactly successful yet.
Still, finding the time to even write stupid stuff like this post will continue to happen only on rare occasions. So don’t expect anything of this blog in the near foreseeable future. I may post something, but more likely, I will not.
Just a few links, not too exiting – apparently the major things of MWC have happened already.
NEC LifeTouch Note, Android laptop, Japan only, 1GHz nVIDIA Tegra2 dual core, 7” WVGA touch screen, Android 2.2 (Froyo): JKKmobile, CrunchGear (What´s really stupid about this thing: This device has a back-facing 2 MP camera – would have been much more useful if it was front facing (think of video chat))
nVIDIA Tegra “Kal El” (Tegra3), Quad Core 1,5GHz “ARM madness”, said to be about as fast as the (first) Core2Duo – first products shall be out at the end of this year (engadget).
If you are interested in other ARM SoC solutions, that are in par with solutions already on the market, head over to ARMdevices.net
That´s about it, I guess – Intel AppUp Developer Day took place today and it was all about MeeGo from what I hear, and it was completely full – so there are still people interested in MeeGo (or they just wanted to grab ExoPC Hardware..) – it might be more than a dead duck in a swampy pond, e.g. a rising star.
Besides that, it leaked out that Microsoft won´t allow any GPLv3 (or compatible licenses) licensed software on Windows Phone 7.