In another busy week, Microsoft continued to promote Internet Explorer 11 by showing off some of the new features that will be available to Windows 8 users. At the same time, the company released a tool that lets Windows 7 users block the update. Microsoft also announced that it would speed up the approval process for apps submitted to the Windows Store, so initial certification can be complete within five days.
Moving away from the desktop, champagne corks were popping as it was revealed that Raspberry Pi has sold 1.75 million units. After the launch of Mavericks, Mihaita was taken with his MacBook Air, and I was quite impressed with the Tesco Hudl -- although it's not going to be replacing my Nexus 7 any time soon.
The Nexus 7 has gone down well with the team here at BetaNews (despite a few teething problems) and it's proving popular with a lot of other people as well. Part of the tablet's appeal is that it offers great value for money. But just because something is relatively cheap, it does not mean that it should not be looked after.
Whatever phone or tablet you have, there are countless protective skins to choose from and also various ways in which to stamp your mark on your mobile device. With a couple of Nexus 7's (Nexi?) to take care of, I thought I'd take a look at some of the options that are available. The official sleeve has been available for a while and the official case has been unveiled. At $50 it's worth seeing what else is out there as well.
Many people are settling into the idea that a 7 inch screen is the ideal size for a tablet. The extra screen space provided by a 10 inch model sounds great in theory, but it does result in a device that is slightly more cumbersome to take from place to place. Looked at in terms of portability, 7 inches is perfect -- large enough to make most tasks easy, but small enough to easily slip into a bag, if not necessarily a pocket.
The slightly smaller size also makes an important difference to the price tag, and there is a burgeoning market for tablets of this size. It is interesting to see that as the screens of phones gradually get larger and larger, the general trend for the tablet is to shrink -- the two are on a collision course!
Facebook's Graph Search is being updated to include more information from the social network. The personalized search engine previously allowed for searching of people, photos, places and interests when it was launched back at the beginning of the year. Now posts from you and your friends as well as status updates can be included in searches allowing you to get even more specific about what you're looking for.
Also included in the update is the ability to search for status updates, photo captions, check-ins and comments. There are various ways in which searches can be used to hone in on the content you're looking for, and natural language searching is the order of the day. Want to see the posts your online contacts have made about Microsoft's latest operating system? Just search for "posts about Windows 8.1 by my friends". Results can be limited by date as well, so you could search for "posts about Nexus 7 from the last month".
When I bought the first-generation iPad in 2010, I intended to use it for taking notes in college classes. Unfortunately, the iPad didn't come with an office suite and Microsoft's was not available. And so, I was forced to try a bunch of alternatives. Ultimately, I found one that stood out among the rest -- Quickoffice. I found it to be complete and a pleasure to use.
While my iPad is long gone, Quickoffice has followed me to Android with great results. However, Google bought my beloved Quickoffice in June 2012 and I became very nervous. My concern was that the software development would cease under Google's leadership. I am happy to say that my concerns were for naught -- Google announces today that QuickOffice has been updated and is now free.
In something of a surprise move, Google announces that the successor to Jelly Bean will not be Key Lime Pie as everyone was expecting but… KitKat. There are no details of just what Android 4.4 will have to offer, or when we can expect to see it, but the new KitKat website promises to "make an amazing Android experience available for everybody".
The name might seem like something you would expect to hear announced on April 1, but this is no joke. The Nestlé website confirms that the next version of Google's operating system will be named after the "popular chocolate and wafer confectionery".
Some weeks after the US release of the Nexus 7, Google’s 7 inch tablet has found its way to eager customers in other countries. In Europe, the UK, France, Spain and Germany get a little bit of Nexus love, while in Asia it is Japanese tech-heads who can now get their hands on the 7-incher everyone is talking about. As has become the norm with many gadgets, prices are comparatively higher than in the US.
There are 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi versions available and UK customers can expect to pay £199 and £239 respectively. In France, Germany and Spain, prices are pegged at €229 and €269, while Japanese Nexus fans can expect to be parted from ¥27,800 and ¥33,800 apiece.
If you're in the US, you've had access to the Nexus 7 for a few weeks now. I'm in the UK which means that, technically, I have to wait until August 28 for the release on my side of the Atlantic. But the nice chaps at Google saw fit to wing a unit my way so I wouldn't have to wait. Lovely.
I was already aware of the experiences of my colleague Alan Buckingham who, stateside, had received his Nexus some time before me. He was understandably disappointed to find that the tablet he was sent was unusable; it would not boot.
For anyone looking to tinker with their Android, access to factory images is essential. After something of a delay, Google is making available factory images and binaries for the recently released Nexus 7. Listed under the product name Razor, the images and binaries are freely available for all to download.
Anyone who is a fan of trying out custom ROMs needs access to an image so things can be restored to their factory fresh state should something go wrong. The image download is based on build JSS15J and weighs in at 360MB.
We've all done it -- put our hands to our pocket only to discover that the phone we thought was pressed close to our body is in fact missing. But where? That's the question. Android Device Manager is Google's latest solution to help you hunt out your hidden handset.
You could get a friend to call your phone -- that would seem like the obvious thing to do. But it's no help if you have put your phone into silent mode. Android Device Manager is able to call your phone and make it sound, even if the volume is turned down, so you can quickly determine if your Droid is nestling down in the back of the sofa or in the back of your car.
Rest in peace, iPad mini. Google killed you. The question then: Is it murder or manslaughter -- or justified homicide, putting the Apple tablet out of our misery?
Three days using the new Nexus 7, I can't imagine why Apple let Google, and partner ASUS, seize back-to-school buying with the tablet. I don't refer just to the instrument of destruction but the means. The 2013 edition is widely available through major US retailers, including Amazon and Best Buy. By all indications there is inventory to meet demand, not the typical supply shortages, although the 32GB WiFi model is unavailable this weekend from many retailers -- but Google Play is stocked.
On June 30, the day after my most recent one-year contract expires with AT&T U-verse, I will cancel the service and cut the cord. Last night, while I watched some last-minute Prime Time before it's gone, Apple commercial "Our Signature" aired. The ad is a concise, tweet-like mission statement that encapsulates all of what the company's product design is about. The spot sums up all anyone need know about the fruit-logo company in 60 seconds.
"This is what matters. The experience of a product. How it makes someone feel. Will it make life better", the commercial begins. Yes. Yes. Yes. This is what I have written about Apple for a decade -- that the company's products and marketing are aspirational. That the design goal simply is to make people feel good, to inspire life will be better for choosing the Apple way.
I am a longtime Android user and fan. However, my Nexus 7 has been running very slow. Needless to say, I am in the market for something to replace it. I was planning on looking for another Android tablet. Heck, like my colleague Joe Wilcox, I even collect Android collectibles. However, I am currently having a sordid love affair with Microsoft Windows 8. Everyone who hears about my love for Windows 8 on the desktop tells me that the operating system will really shine on a tablet. And so, I decided to explore an Android alternative -- a Windows 8 device.
When looking for a Windows 8 tablet, there were only two things I knew I wanted -- great build quality and for it to be light-weight. However I knew for sure what I didn’t want -- Windows RT. I expect Windows RT to slowly grow and gain momentum in the future. However, that time is not now. I need to get work done with my tablet so I must have access to Windows x86 apps.
Finding the right keyboard for Android can turn into a lengthy mission. There are few stock keyboards that cut the mustard and timesaving, gesture-friendly alternatives such as Swype and SwiftKey have gained a massive following in recent months. Not wanting to feel left out, Google is making its own stock Android keyboard available in the Play store.
Despite being a stock keyboard, Google Keyboard is surprisingly good -- Nexus users should not be surprised at this as this is the keyboard they are used to working with. Unlike many native keyboards, this one goes above and beyond being a basic onscreen input device for typing letter by letter. Well above and beyond.
Something strange happened last week. My ultra-fast Nexus 7 started to freeze and run slow. The problem persisted for about a week and I feared that the tablet had become a paperweight. I turned to Google Search to research the issue and as it turns out, I was not alone. Other Nexus 7 users (and other Android device users) were reporting the same issue -- if the device uses most of or all of the available storage, then the operating system is slow. When I say "slow", I mean painfully slow. Users were reporting that they needed to keep at least 3GB free to keep the tablet running properly.
As a test, I wiped all data from my device and rebooted. Amazingly, the device ran as well as the day I bought it. Unfortunately, the solution raised a much bigger problem -- I could not use all of the storage space that I had paid for. Was this a case of false advertising? Did Google lie to me about the available storage? I decided to contact Google for confirmation.