New Google Nexus tablet proves more than a match for larger iPad
by Alan Zisman (c) 2012
published in Business in
Vancouver 28 August, 2012 Issue #1192 High Tech
in 2010, Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs suggested that no one wanted a
seven-inch tablet – Apple’s iPad has a 10-inch screen. His reasoning –
seven inches was too large to fit in a pocket like a mobile phone but
too small for more data-rich tablet apps.
And none of that first generation of non-iPad tablets sold particularly well.
Google wants to prove Jobs wrong. Its new Nexus 7 tablet, manufactured
for Google by ASUS and powered by Google’s new “Jelly Bean” Android
mobile operating system, has a seven-inch display and an attractive
price: $209 with eight gigabytes of storage, $259 for a 16-gigabyte
The low prices don’t equal low-end specifications.
Apps open quickly, screens display smoothly and links and special
effects run without a hitch – which was not the case on other Android
tablets I’ve tested. Google claims a goal developing Jelly Bean was to
make Android feel “buttery.” It has succeeded. It’s only useful,
though, if there are apps for it. Apple boasts a huge library of
tablet-optimized apps, while relatively few Android apps have been
designed for tablet use.
But the seven-inch screen of the Nexus works to its advantage in this
case: Android apps designed for mobile phone screens work just fine.
The seven-inch screen is easier to type on than phone screens but not
as touch typing-friendly as the larger iPad. I type with all my fingers
on an iPad, here, though, it’s back to two fingers.
The smaller size works well for eBooks, however – perhaps better than
the larger iPad. You can hold it in one hand and fit it into a large
pocket. Battery life is at least the equal of the iPad – about 10
hours. Like Android mobile phones, the Nexus 7 is integrated into
Google’s collection of online services. You can use it without being
plugged into Gmail and the like, and it supports businesslike Microsoft
Some negatives: like an iPad, there is no option to increase storage
with a memory card. The much more expensive iPads offer between 16 and
64 GB of storage compared with a choice of just 8 GB and 16 GB for the
Nexus 7. IPads have Wi-Fi only and Wi-Fi plus mobile digital options;
the Nexus 7 is Wi-Fi only. There’s no back-mounted camera, just a
low-resolution front camera for video. A big minus for some users – no
video output connection so no easy way to display a presentation.
Like the iPad, there’s no Flash support.
But overall, I like it a lot. I’ve been using it regularly for email,
social networking and web browsing, and it makes going back to my
laptop feel like driving a truck – something that’s useful for the
My iPad now feels like the family sedan. But most of the time I’d
rather use the affordable Nexus 7, which feels more like driving a
peppy sports car for most of my city driving.