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An iPad Mini user’s review of the Nexus 7 tablet

My experience with tablets is not really old. It started about six months ago when I got myself an iPad Mini. The Apple device was something I was very happy with but I was looking forward to the new Nexus 7 tablet being released in India.

Though the Nexus 7 was introduced in the US back in July, but it has been available in India only since the past week. As my iPad Mini is a hit with my family members, it is used by all of them. Hence, I decided to order myself a Nexus 7 on the Play store and sure enough I got the delivery in just a couple of days.

Nexus 7 on table
Nexus 7 (2013) running Android 4.4

Nexus 7 – Solid Hardware

The first thing that hit me was how small the device actually is. The iPad Mini is about 5.3 inches wide while the Nexus 7 is about 4.4 inches wide. The height of both devices were the same. I was a little apprehensive if the Nexus 7 would work out for me with such a small screen. Compared to an iPad Mini it looks pretty small.

Nexus 7 vs iPad Mini Screens
Nexus 7 (left) might have a smaller screen but the display is much sharper than the iPad Mini

The small size concerns were quickly dismissed as I found the Nexus 7 screen brilliant. It supports 1920 X 1200 HD resolution with 323 ppi (pixels per inch). The iPad Mini supports about 163 ppi with 1024 X 720 resolution display. Forget all the spec numbers, the display performance of Nexus 7 is simply great.

The Nexus 7 (2013) obviously has a lot more power with Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (1.5 GHz). The Nexus 7 has 32 GB storage and 2 GB RAM (other variants are with 16 GB and 32 GB with 4G) which is a great deal of storage space.

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The rear facing camera is 5MP and the front facing camera is 1.2 MP. The 3950 mAh battery promises 9 hours of active use. It is still early days to see if it as good as the iPad Mini.

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Android 4.4 on Nexus 7

It is a bit difficult to see how greatly the Android 4.4 has improved the performance of the Nexus 7 as the first thing I did with Nexus 7 was to get it updated to Android 4.4. With guaranteed update to Android KitKat, ideally the update shows up in notifications within moments of setting up the tablet.

Android 4.4 allows hotword detection which allows users to start a search by just saying “OK Google”. With this addition, Google Now is miles ahead of Apple’s SIRI. To switch on hotword detection, open the Google Search app and look up Settings >> Voice >> Select Hotword detection. If the Hotword detection option is not visible change the language to English (US) and the option will show up.

Google Now Voice Settings
Hotword Detection is a new feature with Android 4.4

I also saw a new app called QuickOffice which helps creates documents, spreadsheets and presentations. QuickOffice seemed to be very closely integrated with Google Drive.

Finally I saw a new feature in the device settings called Printing. I have not tested this out but it links up to Cloud Print or HP Print Service.

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Widgets are a good idea on a tablet!

I am not a big fan of widgets on my Nexus 4 phone, though it is one of the most cited advantage over iOS by Android fans. But with a tablet, the screen is a lot bigger and widgets suddenly seemed more useful on a tablet. I have currently chosen Google Now widget.

The notifications on Android are much better in the sense I can carry out actions like delete, share images and more with notifications that show up.

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What Nexus 7 does not get right

Google does offer tablet only apps on Play store and most of them are pretty decent. But Android simply is nowhere close to the variety that iOS offers for tablets. As I stated in the beginning of this article that my iPad Mini is used by members of my family and not just me. This is because of the variety of apps and how simple it is to use as a device. I have personally seen even a seven year old confidently operate the iPad Mini.

The Nexus 7 runs on Android which can be customized but with customization comes personality and that means I doubt a Nexus 7 tablet would become a family device. Also my Nexus 7 froze in its first hour when I was checking the front facing camera. It got fixed after I put my device in “Safe Mode”. I removed an app that I had recently downloaded and the issue was fixed. This never happened to my iPad Mini. There is no “Safe Mode” and I have never come across any app on iOS that crashes the device.

That said, if you are looking for a tablet with an awesome display screen, then the Nexus 7 tablet is a good buy at Rs. 24,000 (23,999) for a 32 GB Wifi version. A comparable iPad Mini with 32 GB storage is almost Rs. 28,000 but as I mentioned has a much inferior display. A iPad Mini with retina display with 32 GB storage is currently sold at $500 in the US.

Do drop in your comments and views.

Link: Nexus 7

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News

Nexus 5 priced Rs. 28,999 and availability on 14th November in India

Google released Android 4.4 KitKat and the new Nexus 5 phone a couple of days ago. The Nexus 5 is already available in the US and other markets but its availability is not officially confirmed in India.

What is officially confirmed is the the price of the Nexus 5 phone in India. Just head over to the Nexus 5 playstore listing and it shows the prices of both the 16GB and 32 GB variants.

Nexus 5 India price and availability

The Nexus 5 16 GB variant is priced at Rs. 28,999 and the 32 GB variant at Rs. 32,999.

That is about Rs. 3000 more than what Nexus 4 was priced in India. According to TOI the release date for Nexus 5 in India will be the 14th November.

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The Nexus 7 (2013) version is also expected in India soon and hopefully that too will be available on November 14th. Google’s ambiguity over the release of Android 4.4 and Nexus 5 has been so much that it is difficult to take any rumours on a release date seriously.

About Android 4.4: I guess Google still has to learn a bit from Apple who release an update on the same day to millions of devices. My phone (Nexus 4) still does not have the Android 4.4 update available officially, which is a same as most Nexus owners buy the device to get the latest Android version. I will post a details Android 4.4 review once I get my hands on it.

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News

Google Nexus 5 specs leaked in pre-registration mistake

The Canadian telecom company Wind, listed the Google Nexus 5 phone for pre-registration on its Facebook page. The post has been removed now but it was up for enough time people to take screenshots of the registration screen.

The phone is expected to be announced anytime soon. Google itself has listed it “mistakenly” on the Play Store. The mistaken listing now more or less confirms the expected specs for the Nexus 5.

Google Nexus 5 preregister - mistake

Expected Nexus 5 specs

  • The screen will be 4.95-inch 1080p display.
  • Phone will run on 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor with 2GB of RAM
  • The front facing camera will be 1.3 MP and the back camera 8 MP.
  • Obviously the OS will be Android 4.4 KitKat.
  • The phone will be available in two versions 16GB and 32 GB.
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The leaks of phones is getting so ridiculous that hardly anything new is ever announced, which is a secret until the day of the launch. But the level of mistaken leaks sometimes, makes me wonder if these spec and image leaks are not just stage managed mistakes.

Whenever Nexus 5 is announced, much of what it will have will already be known. So the real surprise elements in store could be with what is new with Android 4.4 KitKat.

Source: The Verge

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News

Android 4.4 KitKat will let users choose a default SMS App

Android KitKat SMS DefaultWhile Android 4.4 “KitKat” will be releasing soon, there is very little information on new features. One major change will be that Android 4.4 will allow only a single app to manage all the text messages (SMS) on your phone. This single app will be the default app chosen only by the user.

Currently, what happens is that more than one app manages SMS messages on Android. In a new blog post for Android developers, Google advises app developers to get their apps to check if it is the default app and if not, then prompt users to select a default one. This means users will basically give access to their SMS messages to a single app.

What is Google planning with this change?

Google might be introducing a new feature with their Hangouts app to handle SMS on the phone. This is a big deal because if Hangouts manage SMS on a phone, it can potentially synchronize those messages on Chrome.

Getting Hangouts to manage all types of messaging, is something Google will definitely introduce. Hangouts will then probably become somewhat similar to what iMessages is on Apple’s various platforms.

Source: Android Developers Blog

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News

How Android 4.4 being called KitKat helps Google and Nestle

The next version of Android is not going to be called Key Lime Pie. It will be called KitKat after the popular chocolate brand owned by Nestle. The first indications was this photo (below) by Android chief Sundar Pichai in a Google+ post.

Android KitKat Statue

Nestle and Google have reached an understanding where Google is allowed to use the trademark KitKat. It’s an understanding but not a deal because Nestle claims that no money changed hands. But that does not stop both brands to enjoying a lot of sustained publicity.

Google and Nestle came to an understanding back in February during the Mobile World Congress according to the Verge. Google also announced that Android phone have crossed one billion activations.

Android will tap into Nestle’s network

KitKat NetworkEvery Android phone which will run on Android 4.4 will feature the trademark KitKat. KitKat will sell 50 million chocolate bars in 19 countries featuring Android branding. This will include the options of buying Nexus 7 tablets and also getting free gift cards for the Google Play store.

KitKat will also gain a lot of free advertisement with its brand name being ubiquitous with an OS which will feature on millions of phones and tablets.

When is Android 4.4 KitKat expected?

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Firstly, Android has confirmed that the next version will be 4.4 and not 5.0. This is what is being called KitKat. The new OS version will be released over the next couple of months. It is no surprise that a launch of Nexus 5 phone is around the corner. A Nexus device has almost always introduced a major Android update.

Hopefully in a few days the hype around the chocolate name will subside and we will get more details on the actual features of the operating system.

Link: Android 4.4 | KitKat 4.4