Accessories can make a portable device better. If you own the ASUS-manufactured, Google-branded Nexus 7 tablet, surely there is a case protecting it; sometimes, anyway. Some can prop the tablet, but there's another option. Can a dock improve the user experience and even extend the utility? That's what this quickie review seeks to answer.
The Nexus 7 dock is the official issue, made by ASUS, and sold from Google Play for $29.99. I ordered mine in late January, for $39.99, from B&H Photo, back when only third parties carried the accessory. Since then, the retailer dropped the price by five bucks. B&H took my order when the dock was out of stock, but shipped 8 days later. If you want this thing, don't be deterred by availability elsewhere but forget Google Play, which isn't taking orders as I write. Expect to spend more elsewhere. By the way, I would have waited and paid less, had I known better.
Blink and you missed it. Registration for Google's developer conference opened at 10 a.m. EDT this morning and sold out fast. With so much candy to offer -- Android Key Lime Pie, Chromebook Pixel, Glass and Google Now -- I'm not exactly surprised. Google I/O 2012 was big, and this year's event promises to be even bigger. I got the "Google I/O is sold out" on the registration page around 10:48 a.m.
Google charges $900 for general developer admission and $300 for students or school faculty. The event takes place in San Francisco from May 15-17. Considering the goodies Google gives attendees, some people might sign up just for the hope of free Glass or Pixel (don't hold your breath). Last year, attendees got Galaxy Nexus, Nexus Q and Nexus 7. Oh yeah, Train performed live.
My joy at receiving Nexus 7 32GB HSPA as a day-after-Christmas present turned to deep disappointment just two weeks later. Google replaced the device, and a second runs down the battery in about 15 hours, whether sitting idle or actively used. Near as I can tell, and others share my problem, Android 4.2 is root problem. My woes with the replacement tablet started with the point-two update, while others suffering similar misery report troubles with 4.2.1. Google really needs to fix this problem. Fast.
I wasted many hours troubleshooting. The prescribed fix is restore and reset, which I've done about a half-dozen times. No change. Perhaps the cellular radio drains the battery fast. I removed the SIM. No change. Maybe one of my apps keeps Nexus 7 from going idle. I restored and set up with my wife's Google account. No change. The battery app consistently lists the "screen" as top consumer, which suggests something prevents the tablet from going idle. Last night, I charged up. Nine hours and thirty-minutes later, there is 45 percent charge. At that rate, I'll set a new record: 16 -- maybe even 17 -- hours to zero. What a lucky day this is.
One year ago, March 6, 2012, Google renamed Android Market, and nothing is the same sense. The rebranded Google Play pushed forward a transition started in November 2011, with the broad expansion of content beyond apps. The name change also represented something bigger, shift in emphasis away from broader Android to the search giant's siloed services and brands. Google sought to imitate Apple while tackling wild Amazon.
On Play's first birthday, Google Android -- not the skinned software Amazon, HTC, LG, Samsung and others ship -- is a 98-pound weakling gone super steroids. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company sells apps, ebooks, gift cards, magazines, music, movies, TV shows and devices through the online store. There were no devices available a year ago, but now accessories, Chromebooks, smartphones and tablets. Three different computers are available, including the new and Google-branded Chromebook Pixel. Also: Two different Nexus 4 smartphones and Nexus 10 tablets and three Nexus 7 slates -- four if counting 32GB HSPA+ models twice, with different cellular SIMs.
Little less than a week ago, after replying to tweets from disgruntled users, Verizon revealed that the Galaxy Nexus will "soon" receive a software update. The big red did not provide any specifics and, judging by its past track record, "soon" means "months down the road" as updates usually roll out with the speed of a snail cruising down the highway in rush-hour traffic.
But great news! Well, sort of. Less than a month after Google rolled out Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean for the other Nexus devices, the Verizon-branded Galaxy Nexus has also received the latest iteration of the green droid operating system albeit via an OTA (Over-The-Air) update file. The OTA update was uncovered by enthusiasts, but comes straight from Google's servers which means that it might hit all devices "soon" (as Verizon likes to say).
We've had to wait a tad longer than expected, but it's finally here. The team behind the popular custom Android distribution CyanogenMod unveiled the second monthly release based on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, more than a month after the last build.
Like it usually happens with monthly builds, with CyanogenMod 10.1 M2 the focus is on stability improvements rather than introducing numerous new features that have yet to pass rigorous testing. As a result some of the latest features found in nightly builds may be left behind for future monthly releases in order to provide a custom Android distribution suited for daily-driver use.
Two weeks ago my colleague Alan Buckingham expressed his disappointment for the lack of software updates on the Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Because of it, he even suggests that "Google should NEVER let Verizon sell another Nexus device". Is all hope lost?
On its Twitter account, replying to the post of a disgruntled user, the big red has confirmed that the Galaxy Nexus will receive a software update, presumably to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean or newer. The carrier did not provide an exact release date and only suggested a rough estimate -- "soon".
Forget about the boring Apple iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S III for a moment, because while they may be impressive in their own right, both handsets now pale in comparison to the HTC-built Google Nexus One. The three year-old smartphone is the first to reach outer space and is circling around the Earth right now -- a feat that easily tops any other hardware or software feature.
HTC claims the Nexus One is the "world's first smartpho-naut" after the Android-powered device skyrocketed onto orbit from India, aboard the STRaND-1 nanosatellite. And that's not the best part. The STRaND-1 features WARP DRiVE (Water Alcohol Resistojet Propulsion Deorbit Re-entry Velocity Experiment) and electric PPTs (Pulsed Plasma Thrusters). How cool does that sound?
My colleague Mihaita Bamburic posted his first impressions on the preview version of Ubuntu Touch yesterday, and now Canonical has announced its intention to bring the early version of the mobile operating system to a further 20+ devices.
Originally only available to install on the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10, the developer preview gives installers an early start with Ubuntu Touch, but it’s currently a taster, more than an actual, fully usable operating system.
The LG-made, Google-branded Nexus 4 made quite a splash when it debuted, but some of that attention was for the wrong reasons. The phone was almost impossible to grab, even at launch. Since then, supply problems have continued, extending from the T-Mobile online and brick-and-mortar stores to the Google Play Store.
If you think demand issues were bad before you may not have seen anything yet. Today T-Mobile dropped the price on the Android 4.2 handset all the way to zero.
When the BBC launched a dedicated sports app for iOS devices a month ago, it said it was working on an Android version and expected to release it in a matter of weeks. Well the good news for sport-loving Android owners is that day has finally arrived.
The new BBC Sport app is compatible with devices running Android 2.2 (Froyo) and above, and has been optimized for screens up to 7-inches so should display perfectly on devices such as Google’s Nexus 7.
Google Nexus smartphones are known for a few good things -- they tout the latest unadulterated version of Android, the hardware inside is decently fast, the build quality is surprisingly good, and the price doesn't burn a hole in the pocket. But if there's one area where no Nexus smartphone shines, it's definitely in the camera department.
As a Galaxy Nexus owner I have often faced a camera dilemma -- do I shoot bad pics just to have them, or stick with taking a mental snapshot. More often than not the latter seems to be the way to go. It's not that the cameras are overly bad, it's just that in order to take a remotely-decent picture I'd have to fiddle around with the software and by the time I found the good setup the perfect moment will have already passed. And don't get me started on noise or clarity. But it appears that will soon change as Google is finally making the camera a priority.
Canonical says it will be publishing images and open source code for the Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu for Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 on Thursday 21 February. So if you have a spare compatible handset -- or you don’t mind converting your existing phone -- you can try out the fledgling mobile OS in time for the weekend.
The aim is to encourage developers to create apps for the new operating system, but enthusiasts are welcome to take it for a spin too. According to Canonical, tools that manage the flashing of the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 will be available on the same day as the images, along with detailed installation instructions.
I can't say if rumors flashing across the InterWebs yesterday are true about Google opening retail shops this year. Not that it matters. The search giant should open stores -- and lots of them. Timing is right, too, and who could have imagined two or even three years ago.
Make. No. Mistake. In the 22 months since returning as CEO (following a 10-year hiatus), Larry Page has injected new vim, vigor and vibrancy into the Google empire. The company is now one of the most disruptive forces across techdom. Android Market branding to Google Play, Google+, Google Now, Nexus tablets, low-cost Chromebooks and stores selling them inside major retailers all debuted during his watch. Then there is ever-tightening cross-integration of products and services creating one of the most formidable cloud applications stacks available anywhere. Google Now, Google Play and Android and Chrome OS devices are reasons enough for retail stores, because the company has a digital lifestyle to sell.
Google, in conjunction with LG, released the Nexus 4 on November 13 2012 and it has largely been difficult to get ever since. At the time of writing the Google Play store claims the device will ship in "1-2 weeks". However, Google would like to help out potential customers who are looking to get the handset a bit sooner and, to that end, the company has created a way to get a Nexus 4 today.
The search giant has launched a finder web site to aid you in locating a Nexus 4 close to home. Of course, this means the locations of T-Mobile stores around you, but at least you learn where the device is actually in stock. Customers can choose from distances ranging from five to fifty miles, depending on how far you wish to drive to grab your new phone.