Nexus 7

Google talks Nexus gadgets

Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, Nexus Q... Who would have thought just a year ago that Google would ever be able to build its own family of branded consumer electronics products so rapidly and much in the way Apple has built its iPhone, iPod and iPad lineups. Now, I opined in May that Google becoming a handset maker could spell trouble for Apple, not just concerning the iPhone maker's thermonuclear war on Android but also realizing the vertical integration advantage this acquisition makes possible - even if we have yet to see Motorola-made Nexus phones born out of that partnership.

But Google becoming a hardware company changes market dynamics drastically, especially with much of the innovations in the Android camp happening in software right now. John Lagerling, Google's director of business development for Android, sat down with Brian Chen of The New York Times to talk Nexus devices and how Google goes about designing them, here's what came out of him...

iPad mini fares better in drop tests than Nexus 7

The iPad mini just went on sale this morning in 34 countries and warranty firm Square Trade already has drop tests done. Thanks to its unibody aluminum body and rigid construction, this is perhaps the most durable iPad yet. At any rate, the smaller iPad seems to withstand drops a little better than Google's Nexus 7 and the regular-sized iPad, even if the display on all three devices was completely shattered in the unforgiving face-down drop test.

As a Nexus 7 owner, I was honestly disappointed with poor build quality and especially how loosely the screen fits inside the frame. Of course, these drop tests are not very scientific and you shouldn't read too much into them though the video does a good job highlighting the iPad mini's rigid construction. Build quality and sturdiness, in addition to design, apps and other perks, certainly help justify the $130 premium compared to other popular seven-inch tablets on the market. Go past the fold for more drop test videos...

Amazon releases its first (and free) mobile game

This above is a trailer for Air Patriots from the recently launched Amazon Game Studios, the online retailer's first foray into the mobile gaming space. The game is available on Kindle, iOS and Android devices via Google's Play Store, Amazon's own Appstore and Apple's App Store (aren't you getting tired of so many unimaginative monikers already?).

The iOS version is provided free of charge as a 83MB universal binary download with native support for all iOS form factors and Retina graphics. Though the Play Store page originally suggested that Air Patriots couldn't run on the Nexus 7 tablet, Google said it was a "minor hiccup" and has updated the entry...

Asus says Nexus 7 sales are approaching 1 million per month

As Apple launches the iPad mini on Friday, the company will, for the first time in recent memory, be entering a crowded, well-established marketplace. Both Google and Amazon have been successfully selling 7-8-inch tablets for quite some time now.

We'll never know just how well Amazon's Kindle Fire HD is selling, as they don't release sales figures, but we do get a glimpse of Google's Nexus 7 numbers this morning. And they're pretty good. Asus' CFO says they're moving almost 1 million per month...

Analyst thinks the iPad mini will be the priciest seven-incher

Is Apple's upcoming iPad mini aimed at consumers looking for an inexpensive tablet or folks seeking an Apple tablet that can be popped into a jacket pocket?

That's the real question facing observers as the Cupertino, California company prepares to introduce its 7.8-inch product tomorrow. The answer, of course, will tell us just who Apple thinks its rivals are in this space...

Google readying 3G Nexus 7 as mini iPad slowly crawls into view

Google on June 27 entered the tablet race with a seven-inch slate named Nexus 7, but only the WiFi model was initially made available. The decision to pass on cellular connectivity was met with criticism by some reviewers who pointed out that WiFi-only capability severely cripples the tablet's usability, even if one can just as easily use their mobile phone's cellular data as a wireless hot spot for the device.

Google was likely governed by cost considerations (it sells the Nexus 7 below cost and makes up with content purchases on its Google Play digital store). Just as we expected, the Internet giant appears to be ready to offer a 3G variant of its slate. The 3G Nexus 7 is said to arrive in mid-October, just in time for the holidays and to conveniently counter Apple's rumored October unveiling of the iPad mini...

Report: Apple using MacBook supplier AU Optronics and LG Display for iPad mini display

As we get closer to the expected October launch of Apple's "iPad mini," details are emerging about how the Cupertino, Calif. company is reshaping its supplier base in the face of growing demand for handheld devices. AU Optronics, which made MacBook displays, is now building parts for the smaller iPad, Bloomberg reports Friday.

LG Display is also among the suppliers for the smaller tablet, according to Bloomberg.

Another reason why Google lags behind Apple: Customer service

Not to pile on after Sebastien's review of the Nexus 7, but I just had to share this little tidbit of information.

I emailed Google customer service over an issue that I had with the Nexus 7, and I received a response. The problem is, the response came 17 days later. Yes, a one followed by a seven. 408 hours after the fact.

It's just another reason why Google has a long way to go before they can come close to the Apple experience...

An iPad user reviews the Nexus 7

A review for an Android device is probably the last thing you'd expect to read on iDB. For those of you who are paying attention though, you probably noticed Jeff's review of the device a couple weeks ago, and now that I've been using the Nexus 7 for a about two weeks myself, I'd like to share my thoughts with you.

Of course iDB is an Apple-focused blog. Of course we are biased towards the iPad and just about everything iOS, but when a device like the Nexus 7 comes out, we feel that we owe it to ourselves and to our readers to have a look at it. After all, it's good to have a point of comparison, especially if we are going to look down on Android as we often do here.

Now that we have the housekeeping stuff out of the way, let's dig into this brief and honest review of the Nexus 7. Does it live up to the hype? Is Android better than iOS? Can the Nexus 7 replace my iPad? A few questions and more that will be answered in the next paragraphs…

The Nexus 7 “Smart Cover” in action — how should Apple respond?

Today I received my Nexus 7 "Smart Cover". Okay, it's really just a bulky case, but it closely mimics the function of Apple's innovative means of screen protection. I ordered it simply to compare it to Apple's original version of the Smart Cover.

As you have probably heard, the Nexus 7 contains an unadvertised feature — magnets on the front right-side of the device, which very much imitate the iPad's sleep/wake functionality.

Should Apple be upset with this unadvertised feature?

5 things iOS can learn from Android

It's no secret that both Sebastien and I purchased Nexus 7 devices from Google. We may have differing reasons for our purchases, but one reason we share in common is the desire to see how Google is performing in the tablet space. This is especially so with the Nexus, since it's the flagship that's guaranteed to run stock Android with no additives or preservatives.

The Nexus 7 is the first Nexus device I've owned, and I've come away quite impressed; read my thoughts on the Nexus 7 for more details on that. I've even been able to identify a few things that Google is doing well, and that Apple could stand to learn from. Items like widgets, and offline dictation, to name just a few...

My thoughts on Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 is now available to the masses, and I just received mine yesterday. It's a good device, but it's not without its fair share of issues. The device is a small 7 inch tablet that features solid design, but it lacks the elegance of the iPad. For $199, I think that pretty much goes without saying. Actually, something strange happened with my Nexus 7 order - I received a 16GB Nexus 7, instead of the 8GB version that I ordered. Is this Google's way of kissing up to a known Apple guy? Who knows, but you won't find me complaining about it.

Since you've probably heard a million different opinions about the Nexus 7 already, I'm going to keep this short and concise. First of all, let's talk about the good...