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Android and New Opportunities

Android and New Opportunities

Being a gadget freak, and an avid Android user, one of the websites that I have in my RSS feed is Ausdroid.  At the beginning of this month, there was an open call for a new writer for the team.  Given from time to time I like to flex my writing muscles about techy stuff, I thought I’d throw an article into the ring.

My Nexus 7 mini-review on Ausdroid

I wrote up a mini-review on the new Google Nexus 7 tablet and submitted it.  Apparently it went over well, and got quite a few comments and questions.  I was quite thrilled with the response and the feedback from this article. (click image to go the article)

My Pinterest App review on Ausdroid

A few days later Pinterest released their first app for Android, alongside a new iPad app, and an updated iPhone app.  I knew I had to do a write up on it, from a Pinterest users perspective.  Almost 800 words later I had another article ready for publishing.  I approached the Dep. Editor as to whether they’d be interested in another article, and sure enough I was encouraged to submit it.  It only went up yesterday, so it hasn’t had many hits yet.  (click image to go the article)

It seems, though, that my writing style, and approach to the subjects was what they were looking for though.  I was offered to become part of the Ausdroid team, their first female member, and I accepted.

I’m very excited about this new opportunity, and I look forward to finding new and fabulous things to write about.  I will still be populating this blog with tech stuff, but all of my Android articles will be published over at Ausdroid.  Go and subscribe to their RSS for all the Aussie Androidy goodness, from yours truly and the rest of the Ausdroid team!

Google Nexus 7 Tablet

Google Nexus 7 Tablet

Well, there is yet another Android tablet contender in the marketplace, as of yesterday.  Google revealed, and set up for pre-order to ship mid-July, their own Nexus range offering in the Tablet market.

Manufactured by ASUS, this 7″ tablet may just be what the market needs to push the various manufacturers to do what they do, but better.

  • Google Nexus 77” 1280×800 HD display (216 ppi)
  • Back-lit IPS display
  • Scratch-resistant Corning glass
  • 1.2MP front-facing camera
  • 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm
  • 340g
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth
  • 8/16 GB internal storage
  • 1 GB RAM
  • Micro USB
  • 4325 mAh (Up to 8 hours of active use)
  • Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
  • Quad-core Tegra 3 processor
  • Microphone
  • NFC (Android Beam)
  • Accelerometer
  • GPS
  • Magnetometer
  • Gyroscope

On paper this little pocket rocket sounds awesome!  There are a couple of things that are noticeably missing.  Firstly is an “outwards facing camera”, where most tablets have two cameras, the Nexus 7 only has the front-facing camera, mainly for video calls through Google+ and the like. For me, this is not a big deal as I really don’t take photos with my tablet.  Too cumbersome and awkward.  I don’t take nearly enough photos, but when I do, it’s usually with my phone, and sometimes with an actual (shock, surprise) digital camera.

The other thing the Nexus is missing is expandable memory.  Available as an 8Gb or 16Gb fixed memory tablet, it does feel a little limited as to the useability.  Google have released this as a “media consumption device” and are really pushing “cloud storage” through the Play store.  However, currently owning a 16Gb Transformer, and I’ve never really come close to filling it up.  I’m also not in the habit of leaving things on my tablet that I’m done with.  Books I’ve read, movies or TV shows that I’ve watched I generally take off the device and store on my home PC.

The only way to order the Nexus 7 is through the Google Play store.  This is both brilliant and a bit of a pain in the butt (which requires signing up to Google Wallet if you haven’t already).  One one hand, you have direct dealing with Google, which probably keeps price down, it certainly keeps the price consistent.  However, there’s no real way to get a look at it before purchase.  There are plenty of  “hands on” YouTube videos, so you may get an idea of whether it’s for you or not.  There aren’t much in the way of accessories right now, although the Play store has a cover and additional chargers on notification for order.

Price point on the device is really good too.  At the Google I/O Keynote, the screen behind the presenter said the price was going to be $199, which means starting at $199 for the 8GB offering, the 16GB has is $249 for the American market.  In Australia, once again it feels like we are being punished for not living in the US, and we’re being charged an additional $50 per unit. The shipping cost to Australia is $20, which means for $268.99 and $318.99 you can have one of these in your hands in Australia.  The only other ‘branded’ tablet of similar configuration on sale at Officeworks for $388. 

Later this year, I had planned on purchasing an e-reader and upgrading my tablet to something thinner and more portable, which would have set me back around $1,000 total.  Instead, I think I’ll get myself a Nexus 7 tablet, it will serve the purpose of both devices.  I only have small hands, so the 7″ screen is actually perfect for me.

What about you?  Does the Google Nexus 7 fit into your technology needs?

Google Plus .. Why Oh Why?

Google Plus .. Why Oh Why?

The latest Android update to the Google+ app is terrible!

Utilising white text on black screen, a new transition on scrolling that can induce motion sickness and awful image previews in posts I think that the app developers at Google have taken a step backwards in the positive user experience area.

I know you can’t please all of the people all of the time, but surely this new update makes fewer people happy than finding that they’re enjoying the G+ experience less.

I sent them some feedback “in app”, and I hope that anyone who finds this update less than brilliant (or nausea inducing like I did), will do the same.