As I wrote in the last blog entry, Google's Nexus, made by Asus, has been "due out any day" and they finally officially announced it today. It's obviously meant to be a Kindle Fire competitor. Coming almost a year later than the Kindle Fire, it has the latest features of course.
Like the 2011-Economy model Kindle Fire though, the $199 price gives you 8 gigs of storage and No SD card slot, the latter omission a surprise to many.
Many of us use the cell-phone sized Wi-Drive for external portable storage with the Kindle Fire (and even with the iPad), and it streams files simultaneously to up to 3 devices and works very well.
A 16-gig Google Nexus tablet will cost $249. It won't have an SD card slot either though. Note that the Nook Tablet does.
An 8-gig tablet will no longer do it, although it barely did before, and the new Android games that are popular can use up most of the app storage space. So, 16 gigs is the minimum, and the Kindle Fire 2 too will also have to offer that and should have before.
But the Nexus has definite advantages over the current Kindle Fire (although as reported today, a 'credible source' told CNET that Amazon is due to announce a 2nd Kindle Fire model on or about July 31).
The more noteworthy specs
Engadget's Jon Fingas reports that, as the creator of the operating system, Google has "the first and currently only tablet shipping with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), which has optimization for smaller tablet screens, magazines and movies."
"What we get for the money: that quad-core Tegra 3, 1.2-megapixel front camera, NFC and 1280 x 800, IPS-based LCD are traits we'd normally look for in a pricier tablet. How much pricier, you ask? Google is asking just $199 for a dainty 8GB model and $249 for a 16GB version -- that's a lot of speed for the money, especially with a $25 Google Play credit and a slew of bundled content. There's no SD card slot, however" [as mentioned above because it's such a disappointment to many].
So, that is a FAST 7" tablet. Now, many of us wait to see what Amazon might be smart enough to offer because they need to offer something more substantial this year.
While the first Kindle Fire work was outsourced, this one has been rumored to be Amazon's own to manage or mangle, so it'll be interesting to see. I already have what is considered one of the best two Android 10" tablets out there (Samsung's, in my case), and I do love to use it, but it's still the Kindle Fire that I pick up everyday to use at home and to take out with me, so there is something about it that works for me and, it seems, for many others.
Despite my previous computer background, my everyday needs are fairly simple. I just want to read, browse the web, and listen to some music and not infrequently watch a TV series program that I missed on my TV and which my OnDemand cable doesn't offer. That's easily done.
GAME players will run out of space faster however, and people who are app-happy and want to have them all available, rather than store most of them on the cloud until actually using them, just need more storage space. I mainly wish Amazon had added more internal storage space and an SD card slot for the usual storage expansion capability.
The new Kindle Fire coming (and we know it is, because of all the activity in Europe, and leaks to CNET are for a purpose).
At this point the Kindle Fire 2 needs to have a 1280px long-side display though I've been happy with the 1024 x 600, but this gadget game is about ever-increasing best specs and now iPad's 'Retina' has set higher expectations (and higher storage needs for iPad owners), although with smaller screens the current displays for KFire and Nook Tablet still look very good, which surprised a friend of mine who uses an iPad 3.
Here's Engadget's Google I/O 2012 event-details page for those more interested in this.
The Bits blog at the New York Times, by Brian X Chen (didn't he work for Wired?) adds that the v4.1 Jelly Bean Android system "will have smoother animation and the ability to transcribe speech into text, according to Google."
TNW (The Next Web) has a good events page too.
They mention that the new OS version has a predictive keyboard, and Google Voice Search (which I have on my Samsung Galaxy S2 smart phone and it's really amazingly accurate and understands my mumbling somehow).
As someone more interested in privacy of movements, I'm not that keen on the "google Now" feature, since they explain that it "figures out where you commute to work and...gives you a faster route if there is a lot of traffic. When you're at a public transit stop, Google Now tells you when the next one arrives." Others will find that a neat thing and very helpful. I'd prefer Google not always 'know' where I am (it reminds me of sci fi stories and seems to give larger entities a bit more control over the crowd, at least our buying and going habits), and, besides, enabling the GPS feature can really drain the battery, so I leave mine off.
My phone lasts a long time and that's more important to me, to say the least. I like that I can turn ON GPS and get traffic info and directions when I want, though.
The movie partners for the Google app store (called Google Play -- formerly known as "The Market" or "The marketplace") includes "Disney, Bravo, NBCUniversal and more." They'll of course be paid features. Google's store used to offer video only rentals but will now offer complete purchases (movie and tv) and magazines.
That should give you enough information. It will ship in mid-July and people can order now. I'll wait for the Kindle Fire announcements though, as I am actually still enjoying my KFire without having to spend more money yet. If Amazon offers something substantailly better, I may spring for it.
Right now a faster, maybe visibly sharper-display tablet with no SD card slot is not that attractive to me yet, and the $199 version still has only 8 gigs of storage space, which is really odd and false economy for something so forward-looking otherwise.
I'll say one thing, if anyone decides to buy it, get the 16-gig model rather than the 8-gig one, as in no way with game apps today will you want to spend another $200 on the latest device ("saving" $50) to be limited to forever watching how much space you have for apps and data and wondering what to do about it, moving things back and forth. That would be false savings and no fun.
An important consideration (Update)
In the meantime, think about any contacts you've ever tried to reach in email or on the phone with Google customer support for any reason. I am pretty sure this will come to be a very important factor in all this. Have they ramped up a team to handle this? They tend to leave forum-help to volunteers and work behind the scenes developing a lot of useful programs. So, this will be something to watch.
Also, current Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet users should actually go handle a full Android device first, with its entirely different user interface, to know what that's like, but I read that Google has made the Nexus interface considerably more easily navigable than you'll see on generic Android tablets.
Current Kindle Models for reference, plus free-ebook search links
Kindle Fire 7" tablet - $199
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $79/$109
Kindle Touch, WiFi
Kindle Touch, 3G/WiFi - $149/$189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189, Free, slow web
Kindle DX - $379, Free, slow web
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £89
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - £109
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi, UK - £169
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $109
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi - $189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources. Top 100 free bestsellers. Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.
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