Google’s Nexus 7 Android Tablet is here. The tablet is built by ASUS, which really makes me wonder what Google plans to do with Motorola Mobility.
The Nexus comes fully packed with goodies:
• It runs the latest Android OS 4.1 Jelly Bean, which is optimized for smaller tablet screens, magazines and movies. • 1280x800 IPS display coated in “scratch-resistant glass.“ • Front-facing, 1.2-megapixel camera. • 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm case • Two flavors 8GB ($199) or 16GB ($249) of storage, plus 1GB of RAM, and NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3 SoC processor. Don’t worry about the Russian-like specs, it simply means it is fast, really fast. • GPS and Bluetooth and 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Micro USB, plus NFC. • The 7 stands for the tablet’s size, 7 inches, which as I have said many times, it is the perfect size for a truly portable device. • Accelerometer, magnetometer, and a gyroscope.
The Nexus 7 seems, at least on paper, the ultimate Kindle Fire killerif it ever ships! Lenovo, with its incredibly terrible customer service and tech support doesn’t need a competitor to kill itself. I believe the iPad will remain the global tablet leader through the next 3–5 years, but it will start losing some significant market share. Apple’s biggest advantage has been the App Store which now has more than 650,000 downloadable applications that include games, news and travel tools for the iPhone and iPad. Google has been catching up and Google Play (previously known as Android Market) currently offers more than 500,000 apps.
We just updated our wildly popular chart to include Google’s brand new system. Here are the side-by-side specs (click on it twice to see it full-res):
UPDATE: July 9, Is Google selling the Nexus 7 at a loss?
Shocking but true: Once upon a primitive time, there were no ebooks. For the past 15 years or so I’ve read an average of 50 books per year, or roughly one book per week. Now, my annual average is close to double this number—all thanks to ebooks, and, more specifically, because of the Kindle reader app and the public library system.
If I buy a book, I’ll read it 20% of the time, since I always use the “I’ll read it tomorrow or next weekend” excuse.
If I check out a physical book from the public library, I’ll read it 50–60% of the time. This situation has an added bonus—since it takes time and effort to pick up and drop off the library books, I make sure that I only get the ones that I really want or need to read.
For the past six months I’ve been getting ebooks in the Kindle format, from both the public libraries in Manhattan and Brooklyn (for some odd reason they work as separate entities) and from Google and Amazon’s vast selection of free ebooks. I am reading them (and this means finishing them) about 80% of the time. So, not only have I doubled my annual reading productivity, but I am finishing 80% of the books I check out as opposed to 20% of the books that I buy.
A few things might explain this surprising improvement. First, I carry the books with me all the time, either on my phone, tablet, or laptop. The Kindle Cloud seamlessly syncs all the books, bookmarks, and even highlighted sections and notes!
Second, since there is a set deadline for the book to expire (you can read Kindle books for seven or 14 days with NO option to renew) I am fighting against time and (mostly) read them in “chronological” order, which means that I read them by expiration date.
And third, the wait time to get Kindle books from the public library can be REALLY long, especially at the Manhattan branches. Sometimes there are 15 copies available and 250 people waiting for them. Since people can check them out for up to 14 days, the wait to get a book can take years, so it’s best to read it while I have it.
Reading on a tablet is visually compelling, and highly portable. Nothing beats the romantic vision of reading a great book on a rainy day while seated next to the fireplace in that cabin on the lake. But reality is quite different. Being able to read on long subway commutes or while waiting for a boring presentation to end is a godsend.
Some of you may remember our hugely popular post “7 reasons not to buy the Kindle Fire” where we listed all the things we wanted to achieve with a new Lenovo tablet. Well, it’s been six months and it seems like a good time to review what has happened.
First things first. Lenovo sucks. That’s the nicest way I can start this article before I get R-rated. What started off as a little experiment turned into one of the most frustrating and time consuming purchasing experiences I’ve ever had. Since I received the Lenovo Ideapad A1 the GPS didn’t work and the Micro SD card became disconnected every so often. Sometimes I would lose Wi-Fi connectivity, and every now and then the tablet would restart magically—but overall it was working.
Two months ago the Micro SD card died. Since it was the brand new Amazon brand, I thought it could be a defective card. Getting a replacement from Amazon was a breeze. The tablet was able to read the card again and I assumed the problem was over. It was, for about two weeks.
After wasting more time than I should admit formatting the card and trying every trick in the book, I called Lenovo. After almost one hour of speaking with different tech support employees in India and being transferred several times to even more clueless and helpless agents (a process that became the standard), I was given a repair ticket.
I was to send the tablet to Texas (I had to pay one-way shipping) and they would fix it in approximately seven days. The problem? The only app that was working was the Kindle Reader, and I was reading like never before (read my recent post about how I’m reading almost twice as many books now). I was hooked.
It was the perfect catch-22. One great app was working, I was still able to check email and news, but all the other apps that I needed to work like Evernote, Google Docs, PDF Reader, and Dropbox required an SD Card. I called again. Would a firmware update fix the issue? “Maybe,” I was told an hour later. Would they keep all the apps I had purchased and installed? “We don’t know.” was the very helpful answer.
Then I ran into another problem. The tablet would not update its own firmware. I tried everything: changing the tablet’s settings, connecting to my MacBook Pro, installing the firmware tethered to a Windows XP tower, connecting a laptop running Windows Vista, nothing.
So, I gave up and sent it in for repair. Two weeks later, I followed up. They had received it, but they were waiting for some parts. An hour later I was told that the parts would arrive in approximately SIXWEEKS. So let me get this straight. I get a lemon, send it in for repair, have to pay for shipping and have to wait two months? I’ll make the rest of the story short. I was finally able to escalate my case to someone at “Customer Advocate/Customer Complaint Resolutions/Customer Satisfaction Programs” (I am dead serious, this is her title). After three or four phone calls and nine emails she finally gave up and sent me a new Tablet, which I received last week. How long before it breaks? I’ll keep you posted.