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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?

My Transformer ate an Ice Cream Sandwich!

My Transformer ate an Ice Cream Sandwich!

icsdroidcartoonAfter much waiting, and heaps of anticipation, the update for Android’s firmware to Ice Cream Sandwich was available for download!

I jumped into it as soon as I had recharged my poor tablets overworked battery. The whole process (using my parent’s less than stellar wireless network) took about 30 minutes. Pretty good considering it was a complete upgrade. My husband’s took far less time using a cable broadband connection.

My first impressions were a bit Magpie “ooh shiny”, but I did notice that my general interface was snappier, and seemed to be a bit more crisp looking.  Part due to the new font “Roboto”, it’s very sleek.  I really like how sharp it looks.  lockscreenMost noticeably, however, on the lock screen was the new font and the ability to unlock directly to the camera. Nifty!  The face recognition unlock seems to be missing on the Tablet, which I was a little disappointed about at first.  But after reading some reviews of it from the phone side of things, given the amount of problems they’re having with it, I can wait until they sort it out.

homescreenMy homescreens weren’t that different, apart from a few icons being updated.  There is now, though, a native Google search and voice search icons in the top left corner that eradicates the need for the search widget to take up real estate on your homescreen at all.  LOVE that!  The notifications area has been updated. New font, larger time, power control bar, screen brightness control and overall it’s much more appealing to look at.notifications

One of the things that I just LOVE about ICS, is when you tap on the “recently opened” apps icon, if there’s an app open that you want to close off, you no longer have to go into app control.  You can simply swipe it off the list!  Huge time saver right there!

recent

There are a few new apps and changes to existing apps that I can see being helpful. One of which is the ability to add passwords to apps. Particularly good when allowing my son to use my tablet for some DLNA media viewing, I can password my Plume, Email and Google+ apps so that he can’t accidentally open them.

The settings area is completely different.  Things are now much easier to find, without too much drilling down into areas, only to find that it was on that other screen you didn’t choose.

settingsI’m sure as time goes on, I’ll find out more about what this new incarnation of Android OS can do.  It’s been on my tablet for a day, and I haven’t spent more than an hour or so with my tablet.  So once I’ve had a chance to play more, and push it around a bit, I’ll be back with more of a love/hate list.

 

 

Tech Unboxing – ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and Keyboard Dock

Tech Unboxing – ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and Keyboard Dock

I’ve been wanting to do an unboxing for a while now, but until now I haven’t had something new to unbox.

I have been (sometimes not so) patiently awaiting the release of this product for almost 16 months now.  When tablets started gaining real momentum after the release of the iPad (even though tablets have been around for at least a decade), other companies started seeing what they could do.  It was also around the same time that multiple companies were entering the e-reader market.

Back at Computex 2010, ASUS announced a tablet and 2 “Eee Pads”.  The Tablet was an LCD e-reader with capacative touch for taking notes, and the two tablets were the original EP121, which was dockable with a keyboard/battery and running Windows 7,  and an EP101TC, which was not dockable and running Windows Compact 7.  There was no talk of Android at all.  These devices (and other e-readers) were slated for Q4 2010 / Q1 2011 release… but never happened.  This led to many emails/tweets/phonecalls to various parts of ASUS and their PR company, to no avail.  There was just no firm release spec/date at that stage.

Then at CES in 2011 (Jan 4th), the devices as they are now, were unveiled.  The Husband & I were both thrilled and disappointed.  There was no mention of any e-readers (I was really hoping the DR-950 would be amongst them), but the tablets were great!  The specs and forms had changed somewhat, but we both found one that suited us.  The Husband was feeling very affectionate towards the EP121, which was now non-dockable, but had a faster processor (i5) and came with a bluetooth ‘desk set’ (keyboard/mouse).  For what I was wanting a tablet for, the TF101 was exactly what I was hoping for.  A dockable (which is a keyboard that doubles as an extra battery) tablet running Android 3.0 (Honeycomb).  Having held one of these, I know that it’s the perfect size, even with the keyboard attached.

They were launched in the last month, and have been all but impossible to find in the stores.  Thankfully we were able to secure one fairly quickly.

This is just me pulling it out of the box, and what it has.  Soon I’ll be doing a video on the Android Honeycomb Tablet interface and my first ‘impressions’ on the Transformer.

This product was purchased by us, and all opinions are my own.