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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?

I Want to Curl Up With a Good …. E-Reader?

I Want to Curl Up With a Good …. E-Reader?

I really enjoy reading and when I get the time (which is rare these days), nothing quite beats curling up on the couch with a good book.  So why would I want an e-reader?

Storage space is becoming increasingly difficult around these parts, with a growing boy, and two adults who each have hobbies that take up quite a lot of space (let’s hope the Boy enjoys either Music or some kind of Fibre/Fabric crafts when he gets bigger!), books actually take up quite a bit of prime realty.  While I have my favourites, probably 2 or 3 dozen books that I would want to keep in paperback form such as my Harry Potter set, I think I would rather have them stored digitally and then be able to carry around half a dozen or so to read snippets from (and subsequently bookmark) when I get an opportunity, without having to lug around the actual books.  It would also be exceedingly handy to be able to carry around a knitting pattern or two, for both actual knitting, and yarn buying on the go.

The market has recently been flooded with a wide array of e-readers, from the sleek iPad, to the utilitarian Kobo.  Each (and most in between) have features that you don’t like, and features that you wish you had.  Although I’ve not got one myself (yet), I know what I’m looking for, and with the announcement of each incarnation, I can pretty much immediately tick as a maybe or an “uhh.. no”.

Between my husband and I, we have narrowed it down to two ASUS models.

Soley upon spec reading, The Husband had pretty much narrowed it down to the Eee-Tablet/Eee-Note device from ASUS.  It seems like the perfect cross between a strict e-reader, and the iPad.  The features that stand out are:-

  • Size: the screen is 8″, rather than the 6″ of most e-ink devices (except for the Kindle DX).
  • Note taking ability.
  • SD expansion (unlike the iPad or Kindle).
  • 64 Levels of greyscale.  Most are 8 or 16.
  • Faster page turns because it’s LCD, not e-ink.
  • Release price between $199-$299 USD.
  • 2Mp Camera. We are unsure if it takes the photo in B&W, or if it stores in colour.

The features I don’t like (but they don’t seem to bother The Husband) are:-

  • Only 10 hours of battery (similar to the iPad), most e-ink devices are weeks between charges.
  • Weight, due to being LCD and it’s larger size, it will also be heavier.  Review from Endgadget said it was around the same weight as the iPad.
  • Internet Browser.  I have an iPhone, and viewing the ‘net in greyscale doesn’t excite me at ALL.

My tastes rudr-950n a little simpler.

I want an e-reader, but the 6″ screens leave me a little cold.

I would like to use it for knitting patterns, most of what I do is lace, so there are charts, and they’re TINY on the 6″ screen.  So my sights turned to the elegantly simple DR-950.

  • 9″ SiPix Electronic Paper Touch sensitive 1024×768 display.
  • 0.35″ thick (about the same as an iPhone)
  • 2Gb or 4Gb internal memory
  • SD Card expansion
  • 16 Level Greyscale
  • USB port
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • The system’s software supports text to speech, RSS and a nice mix of codecs including PDF, ePub and HTML.

There’s been no indication of pricepoint, however.

Unfortunately this is the part of the post where I get a bit ranty.  The Eee-Tablet/Eee-Note unit was supposed to have a “global” release this month, this has been updated to November.  No major issues, right?  Well, apparantly “global” really means “Northern Hemisphere”, as there is no official release date for Australia, or whether it will be released here AT ALL!  What the…? What’s up with that, ASUS?

As for the DR-950, there’s no information on that at all.  I have been on the phone to the Pre-Sales Customer Service, and they have no information on either device.  I have been on the phone to the Australian PR company for ASUS recently, and they aren’t able to find out any new information except for “Maybe sometime next year.”.  I have also emailed the Marketing department so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to find out something from them.

In the mean time, there are plenty of other e-readers and computers out there.

Speaking of other e-readers, Kobo has announced a new reader, which includes Wi-Fi and 16 level greyscale (which is double the original one).  Sure it is a strict reader and only 6″ screen, but it has a firm US release date of 1 November.  I have spoken to Borders, and whilst they don’t have a firm Australian date, they are trying to avoid the problems they had with the original devices release.  Being that each store got about 10 units 2 weeks after the US release, which were gone in a week, and then they weren’t able to get any more for 2 months.  This time, they said they will probably wait a little longer, but have more stock (and more frequent incoming shipping) from the get go.

Why don’t I just get a Kindle?  Bascially I’m not impressed with the propriety DRM, the fact it doesn’t handle PDF without some external assistance and it’s completely tied into Amazon.

So until I get a call, email or other form of notificiation, it seems I’m on a wait and see.

Are you waiting for a release date of these devices, or similar ones?  What are your thoughts on “global” releases?