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back to article Apple KILLER decloaked? Google lovingly unboxes Nexus 7 Android 4.3 slablette

Google has been showing off its new Nexus 7 fondleslab running the latest version of Android, including a 4G LTE version that's the first hardware to allow 4G reception from a variety of competing carriers. "By the end of the year, consumers are going to buy more tablets than PCs. That's an amazing statistic," said Sundar Pichai …

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Anonymous Coward

Nice but...

I think it's becoming way over due for these things to be equipped with something better than just 32GB of storage.

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JDX
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Re: Nice but...

So buy one with an SD slot.

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FAIL

Love to, but...

...it doesn't exist.

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Re: Nice but...

32GB is a lot of apps. You keep your personal data on Drive/Dropbox/your local NAS/whatever.

At least that's how it's supposed to work in Googleland.. and how it does work for me. My tablet has almost nothing actually on it. It's a streaming target from my big hard-disked media server and the internet.

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Big Brother

Re: Nice but...

You keep your personal data on Drive/Dropbox/your local NSA/whatever.

There, fixed it for you

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Silver badge

Re: Nice but...

If I'm at home, I'd rather watch videos on the big TV (or at least a laptop) than a tiny screen that I have to hold. Tablets make great portable media players (after all, that was what they were called in 2009 and earlier, before the media had to come up with a new name to pretend Apple had invented something new), but if you've only got a Wifi device, or your mobile connection isn't unlimited (or you're watching on the tube etc).

32GB is a lot of apps. How many blu-ray quality films is it, to make use of that Full HD screen?

The only feasible solution is USB OTG, which works, though I'd rather more memory or a microSD.

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Thumb Up

Re: Nice but...

Fortunately for you they announced the Chromecast too. So you can browse your NAS with chrome browser and then stream to the tv in FullHD. $35 and includes 3 months Netflix. And supports 1080p netflix too.

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Re: Nice but...

"Chromecast", Dropbox, Drive, whatever. All of it no use at all if you have shit mobile connectivity. Google, I love your tablets but, FFS, give us back our goddamn SD slots!

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Re: Nice but...

The more storage offered the better. High capacity built-in or SD Micro are always welcome but check out:

Seagate Wireless Media 1 TB (Excellent device & works with everything - Android, iOS, Mac, PC & Chromebook).

SanDisk Wireless Media Drive & Wireless Flash Drive are other options (just announced).

Think Asus, who make the Nexus 7s, recently announced a new tablet which includes SD Micro to replace existing models.

No shortage of choices.

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Bronze badge

Re: Nice but...

"32GB is a lot of apps. How many blu-ray quality films is it, to make use of that Full HD screen?"

One?

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Re: Nice but...

32GB is a lot of apps. You keep your personal data on Drive/Dropbox/your local NAS/whatever.

At least that's how it's supposed to work in Googleland...

Which might be fine if you're glued to your sofa, but if you ever leave home you will be at the mercy of cellular network providers who don't seem able to manage consistent coverage over even the well-populated parts of the country (and I'm talking about the UK here, the position is worse in more sparsely populated countries) and who charge an arm and a leg for the privilege of using it.

How much would it actually cost to put 64GB rather than 32GB in one of these things, anyway? I'm guessing the parts would only be an extra tenner or so...

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Happy

Re: Nice but...

"How much would it actually cost to put 64GB rather than 32GB in one of these things, anyway? I'm guessing the parts would only be an extra tenner or so..."

Unfortunately, you guess wrong.

Because of the size of these things, the parts are packed pretty tight, so you don't make a product that can take 4x16gb and then leave three slots empty on the cheapest model; you make the device use a single memory module and change the capacity of the module.

I haven't checked prices recently, but last year if your 16Gb module was £X, then a 32Gb module was about 2.2 x £X (let's call that £Y) and the 64Gb module was about 3x£Y (let's call that £Z). 128Gb modules were something like 6x£Z, but I think they're getting closer to 3.5x now so we might start seeing that capacity option this year.

Also, I'd kind of expect that someone like Google might just have some data about what capacity tablets people are searching for - particularly in price comparisons - and that might make them tend towards particular capacities and price points. That's *my* guess for this thread :-)

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Joke

Re: Nice but...

NSA? Just store it on /dev/null ... just as likely to ever give you back your personal data.

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Re: Nice but...

You have to remember Google make virtually nothing on these tablets. They are supposed to be gateway drugs into selling you adverts and services. Giving you an SD card or more storage may encourage you to put content on the device that was not downloaded from the Play store or streamed to you from one pf their partners.

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JDX
Gold badge

Re: Love to, but...

>>...it doesn't exist.

Android tablets with SD slots don't exist? Or one specific tablet doesn't support it... if only there were a multitude of Android products available.

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Anonymous Coward

In the land of perfect data connectivity perhaps...

Meanwhile in large chunks of the real world mobile data coverage is full of holes, making streaming unreliable to impossible. Then there's the small matter of international roaming charges.

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Re: Nice but...

"They are supposed to be gateway drugs into selling you adverts and services. "

Which means people have a choice. Buy a Nexus 7 and accept that it is Google's spec, or buy better specified tablet which will be higher priced by virtue of the need to earn the margin at point of sale, and because the better spec costs more.

An unfortunate side effect of selling the Nexus 7 at such low margin is that the economics of paid for repairs are questionable, making it essentially a disposable device. I'm not sure I like that aspect.

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Re: Nice but...

A Freudian slip? I presume you meant Network Attached Storage NAS not NSA - However, with all cloud storage where you put your data outside your physical security perimeter you may as well be storing it with the NSA due to cozy agreements with the security services by the software/hardware suppliers and the various entities involved.

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Re: Love to, but...

would the fruity fanboys understand your comment or does it need spelling out to them lol ;better not to mention that some have both sd and micro sd slots...lol

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nice but...

Still runs Malware

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nice but...

My music archive is huge and wouldn't fit on a 64GB drive. I'd get it for travel and the commute where Wifi is not available generally. I would burn through my data plan in a week with Google Music. I have a huge card in my Razr Maxx HD which takes care of business. It's a lot smaller than the Nexus 7.

Sorry. Deal breaker. I've been waiting too.

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Facepalm

Re: Nice but...

If you put an SD slot you have to pay Microsoft $8 - $25 per unit for the FAT/exFAT patent license, or be incompatible with most of the devices so formatted that will be inserted therein and suffer returns thereby, and/or suffer injunctions against the import of your product at the FTC. The hardware itself is $0.02, and the silicon and OS natively support it. Microsoft will use that license money to continue to try to kill Google in mobile, as that is what Microsoft allocates those revenues to. Therefore one of the conditions of Nexus devices is that they not have that slot hardware, because paying a competitor money to kill you is not an optimal strategy, and not delivering customer expectation that their camera or phone formatted exFAT uSDHC card will work in their Nexus tablet destroys brand value. SD is for Google a no-win scenario because Microsoft got in early and made their crappy disk format ubiquitous.

Nexus devices are not ever going to have SD slots. They don't need them. Google has worked around that. It's not about Google forcing you into their cloud as a proprietary strategy, it's about Google not paying to have themselves killed because they are not stupid. Get over it.

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What year is that?

"And by the first half of this year almost one in two tablets sold will be Android."

In my world the first half of this year is already gone.

0 is almost 1. So I suppose it's true. But meaningless.

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Silver badge

Re: What year is that?

0.98 is close to 1, as is 1.02

Can you only deal with integers? Or maybe just whole numbers, if negative values are too tricky?

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Bronze badge

Re: almost one in two

I got a little hung up on that also.

almost 1 in 2, is that like 4 in 10,

or more like 49 in 100

or even, like 499 in 1k?

or even smaller margins than that?

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Anonymous Coward

It only just clicked

They're always throwing that statistic of "soon tablets will be outselling PCs" etc, and it just clicked as to why. It isn't because people want tablets more or that they're far more popular. It's just that you don't need to upgrade your PC as much these days (or buy a new one)

My PC is well over 5 years old now, and yet it can still play new games perfectly fine, as it gets older in the tooth I can upgrade the graphics card or the RAM, that doesn't count as a 'new PC' being sold.

On the other hand 3 years ago I could have bought a top end tablet, it would have been sluggish on some apps, it would gradually slow down more and more and a year later a new tablet would come out with a far superior screen, better CPU and more RAM. Buy that and soon there will be more apps which bog it down, the next year comes and a new top end tablet comes out with even more RAM and an even faster CPU etc etc.

Gains from PC hardware are rather small and generally aren't needed. If they are needed a lot of people will just upgrade their PC (or get a shop to do it for them) rather than buy a whole new machine, tablets don't really give you the option to upgrade, and the new versions of tablets have notable improvements over the older versions.

Why am I rambling like this? Because people take the whole 'tablet outselling pc' thing too seriously. PC is still a far more popular platform, it's just that fewer people need to buy new PCs compared to those buying tablets.

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Re: It only just clicked

All well and good, as long as you don't earn a living selling PCs.

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Silver badge

Re: It only just clicked

Hear hear. Also there's the point that tablets are becoming much cheaper (indeed, even the £500 tablets, whilst they seem overpriced for what they do, are cheaper than what many laptops sell at). So it means people can upgrade them more often, or are more likely to have one per person whilst they might still share a PC. Long term I think tablets will sell more than PCs, but it's not because they're intrinsically better, or people want touch-only devices or anything else, it's simply they're way cheaper. It doesn't mean that PCs are going to disappear.

I don't have a huge problem with Google showing that slide, it is a launch after all and they want to make their announcement sound as impressive as possible. But the media will run with stats like these, and continue to claim how "PCs are dying" (oddly in articles no doubt typed at a keyboard).

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Re: It only just clicked

"PC is still a far more popular platform, it's just that fewer people..."

Are buying PCs. People adore their PCs the most. They just BUY them less than tablets now. So PCs are fine. They're loved. They are not abandoned wretches. They'll sit there in the corner, turning grey with dust mostly unused, as we buy and embrace and use our new tablet and smartphone and converged devices. But they were our first love and we still hold them so dear that years from now we won't unplug them from the wall, drag them to the stoop and put them in the yard sale for $5 just in case we MIGHT have to pull up the quickbooks accounts from days gone by.

Purely logic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It only just clicked

" It isn't because people want tablets more or that they're far more popular. It's just that...."

...the Nexus 7 is so flimsy and unreliable that Asus have to build two just to get one working through to the end of the miserable one year warranty.

In this house, we have two. One was DOA on Xmas day, and the other has just been replaced due to failed motion sensors.

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Happy

Re: It only just clicked - YESS AND NO!

Yes, PCs are lasting longer - at work what I used to depreciate and replace over 5 years now is re-lifed for at least one, maybe two more years. Processor power has overtaken software load in all but the top end games. And now I'm buying tablets too, but they live hard lives and I depreciate over 3 years...

No, think about home users. At home I have four people, one "games" PC (5 yrs) and one media PC (3yrs) and one netbook and we all share them. Tablets - we're catching up, but counting phablets (5.1 inches must count right?) we've gone from zero to three in under a year, and I expect there'll be at least two more next Christmas. I think that's why the outsell will continue: PCs are predominantly shared *home* resources, whereas tablets are *personal*, and we're still playing catch up!

Whatever, tablets should keep outselling until the inventories are more balanced - then we'll see!

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Re: It only just clicked

".the Nexus 7 is so flimsy and unreliable that Asus have to build two just to get one working through to the end of the miserable one year warranty"

Is this the general experience of these, Reg readers?

I was thinking of getting one, partly influenced by the impressive build quality of my Asus laptop, but if they have been built down to a price and won't stand up to the usual treatment a portable device gets then I won't bother.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It only just clicked

Exactly. This is the real trouble Microsoft and Dell and such like face. For the time being (and maybe for a long time computers have peaked). A cheap supermarket no brand laptop bought 4 or 5 years ago is still perfectly adequate for most users. The same is happening to mobile. At retina quality display, quad core processing the only genuine improvement we're all waiting for is battery life.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It only just clicked

I'm typing this on a Nexus 7, and the build quality is excellent. I've not bothered getting a case for it, as the rubberised back doesn't mark easily and the screen feels solid. I've even accidentally sat on the devices couple of times , including occasions when it was in my back pocket. I weigh 97kg (not a lardarse, I lift weights a lot), and the Nexus coped with that.

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Re: It only just clicked

There are several well-known build quality issues - screen lift (screen lifts up a few mm on left and creaks when pressed), temporary burn-in (visible "shadow" when switching to dark background), severe lagging when you run low on space due to cheap flash memory controller. When I first bought the Nexus 7 it was amazingly fast but now it lags like crazy all the time. Hoping that Asus fixed these issues with the new model.

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Re: It only just clicked

Another one I forgot is audio glitching, which was really bad on release but was mostly fixed in subsequent updates, but the sound quality from the headphone jack is very poor (more noticeable with high quality headphones, can hear electrical interference noise like early on-board PC audio).

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Re: It only just clicked

I went through 2 of the 16GB N7's - each time I sent them back complaining that the system was as slow as molasses when you began to fill up the memory. Both times they replaced the glass and sent it back as 'fixed'. I don't think that they officially addressed that issue. Horrible.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It only just clicked

Not really. What we're REALLY waiting for is a new technology that produces cost effective, high res, bright colourful screens that you can see in full daylight, like those olde worlde paper magazines...

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Re: It only just clicked

"In this house, we have two. One was DOA on Xmas day, and the other has just been replaced due to failed motion sensors."

In my house I would have returned the doa one by dec 27th!!!

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Re: It only just clicked

Have you checked the increased sales Chromebook devices?

Main reason for the PC slow down is that most people can do most jobs they need on the web now such as Facebook / lightweight games / maps / email / Google docs / watch media. There are not so many people who need horsepower to do S/W development / video & photo editing / hardcore gaming. Previously the circa. 500US$ laptops used nearly exclusively for web browsing were the only choice.

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Note to laptop manufacturers...

How come a small $269 fondle slab has better screen resolution than most laptops costing up to, and over, £1000?

Really, it is hard to get a laptop beyond 768 lines now, and most over £1000 are still piss-poor at 1080 lines (Macbook retina and Chromebook pixel excepted). And you wonder why customers are unimpressed?

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Pint

Re: Note to laptop manufacturers...

This!

1920x1200 is just nicer than 1920x1080, and is so hard to find laptops that do it, and the desktop monitors that do are twice the price of 1080p

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Re: Note to laptop manufacturers...

I'm not sure why 1080 is piss poor, and 1200 is good - it's not that big a difference I agree that the obsession with 1366x768 is annoying, but Apple and Google are no exception, as you've got to pay for those high resolution devices. Samsung also do ones with similarly high resolutions.

I wonder if the issue is cost - I mean, a Nexus 7 is cheap, but it only has a 7" screen. Consider how even 10" tablets are significantly more expensive.

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Re: Note to laptop manufacturers...

It's not entirely fair to compare a 7 inch screen to those that range between 10 to 18 inches and resolution isn't the only consideration of a display but I do see your point.

Given most laptops would be running Windows you wouldn't necessarily want an ultra high resolution display as without adjusting the DPI scaling it can be harder to use.

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1080 vs 1200

If you are drafting a royal birth announcement for foolscap there is not much difference in useability but for those targeting A4 the 120 pixels make a very surprising difference. Of course, affordable 1440 would be better. Indeed, for many uses, a 17" pivoted to portrait would be an acceptable option. (Sorry about the non-laptop aside.)

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Stop

Re: Note to laptop manufacturers...

Couldn't agree more.

When shopping around for a laptop, I get increasingly pissed off at how many are still running 1360 x 768, especially when it's a supposed "premium" product.

Even 1440 x 900 shows at least some thought has been given on the screen spec, especially on 13" and lower models.

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@Mark.

1080 is piss-poor at £1000+, but would be adequate at £350 for a basic laptop, after all you can get a 20" 1080 monitor for under £100.

I think 1200 is the minimum for "serious" use of a computer, and that means not as a media consumption device but actual editing/coding/etc. As pointed out 1440 is better still, as is 1600, but the cost becomes a bit high (having said that, the Dell U3014 monitor is 30" and 2560 x 1600 lines and can be had for around £900).

I don't particularly want "retina" resolution as I can't work at a viewing distance of 20cm or so to benefit from that, but I maintain that the current 768 lines is utter rubbish and that 1080 is piss-poor if you are paying £1000+ to avoid the 768 rubbish.

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Thumb Up

Re: Note to laptop manufacturers...

I think your mention of Windows is spot on here. I've just read this review of a 4K monitor and from this article it is obvious that many Windows applications, including those from respectable vendors like Adobe, do not deal well with DPI scaling (I do realize mention of Adobe and respectable in the same sentence might be arguable point for some, let's just skip over it).

Since almost all laptops are sold with Windows only, this would mean that high resolution screens might potentially lead to serious customer disappointment, simply unable to see the icons and/or use application of choice without magnifying glass. Of course one might simply blame application vendors for not supporting DPI scaling well, rather than Microsoft, but the truth is that vendors often do not bother to add such a novelty feature unless they are forced to, because writing and maintaining GUI code is difficult enough with the APIs provided by Microsoft, without extra complexity of DPI scaling on top of it.

So yes, Wintel block is driving PC platform to its (very slow!) demise, just like happened before with other monolithic blocks. I do hope alternative takes its place before too long.

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JDX
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Re: Note to laptop manufacturers...

The only reason tablets have such high DPI is because the manufacturers have decided this is an area they want to compete on. And then more pixels needs a better CPU to drive it and a better GPU for games.

Laptops haven't yet succumbed to this, they fight on other factors.

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Re: Note to laptop manufacturers...

True JDX. However declining notebook sales prove the OEMs have those other factors partly wrong by not giving consumers many reasons to upgrade their 5+ year old devices, except when targeting users where weight is the overriding concern. We are seeing some innovation like Surface etc. but watching these OEMs slowly learning from mistake after mistake is far worse than watching paint dry. Display resolution is one of those factors.

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