Android Tablets - and the Nexus 7 specifically

The google Nexus 7 tablet looks like it’s going to be the first successful general purpose android 7" tablet (considering the kindle somewhat specialized).

It basically destroys the Kindle at the same price point. It has powerful hardware, a 720p IPS screen, and it isn’t locked down and specialized to Amazon like the kindle. It’s also the first device with Android 4.2, which is supposed to be a pretty big improvement to the interface and device responsiveness.

I want an iPad 3, but I don’t think that’s going to work out financially anytime soon, so I’m considering getting a Nexus in the meantime.

One of the things that concerns me though is that from what I can tell, apps aren’t really designed for Android tablets. Apps on the iphone and ipad are clearly designed to be specialized for those devices. Some apps are exclusive to one or the other, and some have versions for both. But the apps in question are designed to work differently depending on whether you’re using a tablet or a iphone - different graphics, different interface, etc. to take advantage to the advantages and limitations to every form factor. Whereas the iPad is a purpose built device with lots of support amongst app makers, Android tablets seem to almost be ad-hoc oversized phones in terms of design.

In contrast, I get the impression that because there’s a wide range of form factors for Android devices, and there’s less uniformity and control in the app development process, they’re all basically designed the same way and just scale up to the device size.

To give an example, here’s the yahoo fantasy football app for ipad which is more full featured and designed to use the screen real estate whereas the iphone app is more condensed with a much more basic interface.

But as far as I know, on Android, basically it’ll look like the iphone version no matter what device you use - if you use a tablet, that just means you’re going to see a really enlarged instance of the same basic phone interface.

Is this how it works in Android world, or are there clear delineations between tablets and phones?

In general, what are the limitations of the Android OS as a tablet OS?

I have an HTC Evo View Android tablet running 2.3. I’ve rooted it and used it extensively over the past 7 months. I have probably installed over 100 apps and all but a handfull (maybe 5 or 6) scale and look fine on a tablet. Those that don’t work properly just run in portrait mode rather than landscape.

As far as app specifics, it really depends on the app. Some handle the extra room smoothly and give you extra functionality, some just smoothly scale the existing interface.

There are various apps that have a tablet version for Android 3.x and up, such as Gmail. I don’t find the 2.3 Gmail objectionable, but it’s not very pretty.

Any other Android Tab opinions? Nexus 7 is shipping now, so I may go grab one.

I would hold off the Nexus for a little bit. While it’s the best Android tablet out there, there have been reports of bad build quality coming out of the first batch. I’d wait a few weeks and jump in on the next shipment.

As far as apps go, it’s important to remember that you’re sort of jumping in on the ground floor. I got the Nexus One when it was released, which (along with the original Droid) is when Android finally started taking off. At that time, the apps were a joke. The offering was a fraction of Apple’s, and they weren’t that good. Now the two markets are pretty comparable. So give it some time, and soon they’ll be a lot more tablet specific apps for Android.

I’ll let you know my thoughts tomorrow evening which is when mine is scheduled to be delivered.

I don’t think you can just “go grab one” since the few that were in stock quickly sold out.

If you want a really good tablet and one that can actually be considered a true competitor for the iPad, I’d recommend the new ASUS Transformer Infinity. It’s lighter than the iPad, has slightly longer battery life, a brighter screen, a dockable keyboard that extends the battery life by 6 more hours, USB ports for easy file transfer capability, and front and rear facing cameras.

Is that the TF300 model? That’s what amazon returns when searching for transformer infinity.

It’s not that I really want a true competitor to the Ipad - I’d rather just have an ipad. I like iOS. In this particular case, I thought the Nexus was an amazing value - I’m going on a trip where I’ll use a tablet a lot and I won’t have the money to get an ipad, so the Nexus may be a cheap alternative. Once you start getting into good $400+ ipad competitors, I’m back to just looking at getting an ipad.

No, it’s the TF700. To your point, the price of the TF700 is comparable to the iPad, but it provides so much more, in my opinion, not the least of which is the ability to transfer files without iTunes or other third-party transfer app or cumbersome cloud solution. But the Nexus is a good solution, especially if one of your criteria is price.

I just got a Nexus 7 and I’ve noticed a few apps I often use on my phone are not yet compatible with my tablet. Specifically, the Amazon and CNN apps are not available for download. I think this is just because the device is so new that those developers haven’t updated them for the N7, and I expect the issue will be fixed soon.

Of the rest of my apps, most of them have a new tablet interface instead of the mobile one that I am used to. For the rest, the existing interface scales well enough for me. I could post screenshots of any apps if anyone is curious.

I have an Android phone (Motorola Razr Maxx) and an Android tablet (Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1) , and the one app I’ve found so far that will install on the phone but not on the tablet is the Firefox browser. The Play Store tells me that it’s not compatible with my device. It does not tell me why.

About the Nexus 7 specifically - it’s said that there’s only 5.5gb of available space on the 8gb version and 13.5gb available on the 16gb version. Is Android OS really 3.5gb? iOS with the basic utilities and apps is only about 600mb.

Does the device come pre-installed with a bunch of stuff that can be uninstalled to regain space, or what? Taking up nearly half of the 8gb version is a pretty ridiculous OS size.

I’ve found out why. Apparently the Firefox folks are claiming that their Android product is compatible only with screen sizes up to 7" and “Support for Firefox 14 on on 8-10” tablets has been blocked until a new tablet UI is ready". Presumably it’s the Firefox UI that needs to be modified, not the Android OS UI.

Yes, it has a HD movie… around 6 magazines, 3 or 4 books, 20 or so songs, and several other things. I imagine the movie (latest Transformers) takes up the majority.

Just got mine delivered last night and I haven’t had much time playing with it, but what I’ve seen so far I love. I got the 16gb version. Display is sharp, battery life is great, and the processor speed is really fast when playing games (quad core).

My friend says it comes with a streaming license for Transformers, but it’s not stored locally (you can’t view if you shut off Wifi), so that’s not taking the space up.

You may well be right… like I said I’ve only had an hour or so to mess with it. I’ll try to let you know more after the weekend. My wife has an iPad 2 so I should be able to directly compare some things to that.

Got my Nexus 7 yesterday. Love it; glad I held out on an iPad as the form factor is far superior for most of my needs.

Yes and no. Android handles the layout based both on display size and display resolution, but this only works if the developer bothers to design an app that takes advantage of the standard. For more information consult the Supporting Multiple Screens developer guide.

That is one of the most annoying things about the Play store. You are blocked from downloading certain apps, but I have gone out and obtained the .apk file from another source and the app usually works fine. It’s OK if you can find the app on the authors site, but there are tons of sites that seem shady distributing apks.

Why not just warn the user that the app might not work properly and then let the user decide for themselves? Because whatever process they are using to determine app comparability is obviously flawed.

I’m waiting for the Kindle Fire 2. I absolutely love Amazon, and I already have my digital movies and tv through them.

Yeah, I have prime, so that’s tempting - but the Fire and probably Fire 2 are specialized and somewhat crippled devices, whereas the Nexus will be a general purpose device.

Does Amazon allow other android devices to do stuff like stream their movies? I’m guessing not, since they want to move fires.