The Google Nexus 7, the original Android tablet by Google, is now available through Google Play here in Australia.  If you want to have a first hand look, check this website and you will get quite a detail of it.  Or you can check this link out to see a comparison with other current 7 inches tablets.

I have a few hesitation and have not decided to embrace it.

The Google Nexus 7 is targeting another user market, probably not the one dominated by the iPad.  A report in The Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday mentions that many schools in New South Wales are buying more iPads for the classroom. Moreover, there is an ongoing trial to see how students will benefit from using the tablets.  The results have not been confirmed.  It is totally natural for us to study how these devices are used and how the apps help students learn far better than the conventional way of using textbooks.  But one thing for sure is that the tablets are no longer a device for playing games (what’s wrong with playing games?). I remember three years ago when the first generation iPad has just been launched, an academic from a university in Melbourne showed me how good it is for learning and teaching using apps.  He left the device behind in my office to play around for a couple of hours.  Thanks to this gentleman who was willing to share with me a new device which was not yet recognised.  Today when you still considers the tablets are only for games, I reckon it is time you had to change your mind set.

There is obviously nothing wrong for the NSW Department of Education to carry out a study on the effectiveness of these tablets. However, is it a bit late?  I do not know what time the results will be released.  Probably when a significant finding is made, there could be other new devices available on the market.  The schools are always reacting a few seconds in delay. It is not a problem because every new investment is a business case.  Today the students and parents are leading the learning path. Many parents are funding schools to purchase iPad to be used in classrooms because they no longer think the schools are doing things fast enough to cope with the change.

So the Google Nexus 7 comes as no surprise to us.  But I don’t think it aims at the schools. From the size it is not going to take over the place of iPad.  However, I have the following points to ponder:

  • Size:  perfect size (7 inches) for a mobile device on the go.  The weight is just right.  Leave your iPad at home and bring the Google Nexus 7.
  • Storage:  there is a 8GB or 16GB version. Buy the 16GB one. We may expect a storage expansion by means of a Micro SD card slot.  Sorry.  The Google Nexus 7 is following the Apple iPad style: no extra storage offered.  I reckon this is what Google wants to provide:  the cloud solution.  Remember the Google Drive?  My experience of downloading a 1GB file from the Google Drive is really insanely long.  It took me more than 45 minutes. While writing this post I am also uploading a 1GB file to Google Drive, it has taken me 2 hours to upload only 45% of the file. Google, you must be kidding!
  • Media:  I do not know what format of music, video or image files the device accepts.  I reckon it should accept all the normal formats.  But of course its limited storage capacity means it is not a tablet for the photographers to store too many image files.
  • Connectivity:  only WIFI available.  I guess a 3G or 4G version may be available in the next version.  It makes sense if you need to connect to the internet through cellular connection in some open areas.  Normally the microUSB connection is able to transfer some files to and from the device.  I need to know the details of this function.  Does it accept a card reader?
  • Browser:  Google Chrome is the official browser and I hope it should perform better than Safari on the Apple iPad.  On using the iPad I could not find a way to attach an image in Safari to upload to my website.  If this works, I could take the Nexus 7 for a short trip, writing my posts and uploading a photo may be possible.
  • Apps:  It is said at the moment there are as many as 600,000 apps available in Google Play.  But the maximum storage of the Nexus 7 is only 16GB. It could be a problem of installing apps with such a limitation of space.
That said, from what the specifications provide, the Google Nexus 7 is a nicely built device and a bold step Google want to enter the tablet world seriously. Of course both the Google Nexus 7 and the Apple iPad are not the perfect tools for photographers (I will bring along my Windows netbook for my next trip).  But if you are thinking of having a handy tablet for everyday use or elearning, the Google Nexus 7 won’t disappoint you at this price.
For me, let me think…  How about waiting for a version with cellular connectivity or go for a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0?
Featured image: on the ferry. Elmarit-M 28 mm, ISO250, f6.7, 1/30 sec

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