I ordered a Nexus 7. This may come as a surprise, but I think it’s an interesting device.
First, I could use it to broaden my Android test-device pool, which currently contains only a relatively ancient Nexus One, a Nook Tablet, and a Kindle Fire, none of which have fast hardware or a remotely modern version of Android.1 It’s also nice for me to have a couple of Android devices for browser testing when coding Instapaper’s website and Marco.org.
But I also wanted to try it because I’m legitimately curious about what Google’s doing over there.
Most of my Android experience is on the Kindle Fire, which paired shitty hardware with shitty custom software to reach a bargain-basement price. The Nexus 7 seems to have combined mid-grade hardware with much better (and much newer) software for the same $200 price. It’s clearly a showcase of the best software experience and features that Google has to offer in Android today.
Finally, Android has something comparable to an iPod Touch: a non-phone device that runs a modern version of Android, contains decent (I think) hardware, and is very inexpensive with no cellular contract. What’s more interesting is that this role is being filled as a 7” tablet, not a 3.5” iPhone-like pocket device.
This will probably be the go-to device for people who want to try Android without much commitment or investment, such as iOS developers considering going cross-platform2 and geeky writers wanting to see what it’s like on the dark (or bright green) side.
I don’t expect this to replace my iPad, but I bet it will be a lot more interesting to geeks like me than the Kindle Fire.3
Even though Mobelux is handling the development and support of Instapaper’s Android app, I still want to be able to use it periodically so I know what’s going on over there. ↩
Responsible developers can’t, unfortunately, have the Nexus 7 as their only Android testing device: the vast majority of Android devices in use today are running much older software, and there’s a huge variety of hardware capabilities in the wild. ↩
I’m sure Amazon’s releasing a new Kindle Fire soon. I don’t care, honestly. The first one was so bad that I don’t trust them to ever make a good one, especially since most of the flaws are in software. Maybe the new one will run Amazon’s shitty software faster. ↩