Why the Nexus range, and do phone users even care?

nexus 7 2013

New Nexus 7 2013

I am, as you probably know by this time, into all things tech (with some exceptions) and have been over the last few years been into the smart phone market. Now, when I rummage around and find one of my old Nokia phones, I really wonder how I managed to survive with it. The smart phone market has revolutionised our opinion of what a phone should do, and in fact the phone element of any device seems the part least spoken about.

I have tried a number of smart phones over the years, and have drawn my own conclusions as to which ones are doing what I need then to do, while potentially taking the whole smart phone market further. I am always looking at what we have now, and what we could have in a very short period of time.  Apple, as everyone now knows, got this whole snowball rolling and changed the perception of the mobile phone market. Then they launched the first successful tablet computer, not the first though, as Microsoft had tried the idea years earlier – but the market place was not ready for them back in the late 90’s, and they did not take off.

The Battle was on!

After the launch of the first iPhone, the battle for control of the smart phone market was now on.  Apple had stolen the early lead with the touch screen phone and tablet market, wrestling market share from Nokia and it’s aging Symbian system. Other phone manufacturers could only try and catch up, some with more success than others.

Today, Nokia mobile are no more – the technology now owned by Microsoft who are using it to drive the Windows platform forward. Motorola Mobile are now owned by Google, a purchase that solidified the patent armoury most corporations have these days. Blackberry did not react fast enough, at time of writing they company is currently facing being sold off to various bidders (including names like Lenovo) in various packages.

The challengers

After their initial domination of the market, Apple began to face a challenge; Google acquired a company called Android, Inc (who unsurprisingly produced the Android operating system) and then got various manufacturers to buy into using Android for smart phone device and tablets – with these manufacturers they formed the Open Handset Alliance in order to further Android sortware and corresponding hardware. It had suddenly stopped being a one horse race, and Apple now had serious competition for their smart phones and tablets.

Through development of Android, Google has continued to push the boundaries of what can be done, and more and more manufacturers have joined the OHA. Apple has stuck to their tactics of premium prices and quality build, backed by a locked down operating system that is partially customisable.  The story again, at time of writing, is that there are more Android devices switched on per day than Apple and all other phone operating systems combined.

In an attempt to aim for a premium phone experience, Google have created a range of devices branded Nexus. Hand chosen manufacturers have been asked to build these, and Google work closely with them on the software and hardware designs. The final products run a vanilla build of Android, and are pushed updates instantly as they are released.

This was partially in response to the problem Google encountered with other Android device manufacturers (such as HTC , Samsung etc.) would take the raw Android operating system, and then skin it with their own logos and interfaces in order to brand it as their device. While this allowed these manufacturers to make their phones unique from their competitors, it did mean the end user was at the mercy of the OEM for their Android updates, and many handsets are still several versions of Android behind, despite being less than a year old.

The Nexus Range

The latest incarnations of the Nexus range are the Nexus 5 phone (launched November 2013), and the Nexus 7 tablet (launched July 2013). There is also the Nexus 10 tablet (launched November 2012), but a new one is due to be launched imminently.

The benefits of a Nexus tablet or phone are the instant Android updates, and the fact that it all works with the hardware flawlessly. The devices all synchronise via the cloud, so data transfers seamlessly between them to allow mobile working at its best.

We test drove the Nexus 7 2012 version, and the Nexus 7 2013 version on this very blog – check them out and see what our thoughts and findings were.

So what do the public think?

Does any of this behind the scenes work affect what the public think about their next phone? I think for the majority it probably doesn’t, and it’s the next clever advert that may sell them their next phone. But for anyone who is, dare I say it, slightly geeky and interested in where their phone has come from – and, perhaps even more importantly, interested in where their phone might be going,  this info might just sway their opinion.

What is your take on mobile development and where it might be going?

Thanks to Graham Thomson for his input into this article.

Test Drive of the New Nexus 7 part 3

nexus 7 2013

New Nexus 7 2013

Hi guys, here is the final instalment of my Test Drive of the New Nexus 7.

I would like to tell you about the moment when it would not boot up or the other occasion when the battery just didn’t last for any length of time. Sorry, I missed the time when the screen display was not what I expected at all. But, unfortunately none of these things have happened and the unit has performed above and beyond the call of duty….

I charged my battery on Wednesday night for usage throughout Thursday and beyond. I did not need to charge it again until Saturday night when it asked me to plug in the charger. I am more than pleased with the battery life and the loadings that it is handling. I have used it extensively and I even decided to run a small game program called Epic Citadel which can benchmark how the graphics are being handled by running it thought the Unreal  game engine at HD with all the lighting and shading crunching away….it came in as a premium device in rating and ran comfortably at 56 Fps.

I have ran Google hangouts on it with video function and found the clarity of picture and sound to be brilliant and only limited by the person’s kit at the other end. My browsing, emails and Social Media updates have been no problem to this device and in my leisure time have read a few chapters of a book I am ploughing my way through.

It fits neat into the inside pocket of a number of my jackets and allows my hands to be free to carry other items.

So let’s summarise the whole experience: –

  • Light weight and fits into hand and pockets well
  • Fast and powerful handling all my daily needs
  • Screen resolution smashes all expectations
  • Sound is very clear on video calls and music
  • Updates and restores your account effortlessly
  • Battery life is the best I have yet experienced from all my phones and tablets I have used ion the past.
  • Updates software and keeps you up to date on fixes etc.

Yes, I can only recommend the whole experience and I have certainly not come up against any of the problems that may have been reported online about the New Nexus 7 so far.

What tablet are you driving just now and how do you feel about it and how it operates?

Watch this space for more tech test drives and the future of mobile screens on our devices.

Test Drive of the New Nexus 7 part 2

New Nexus 7Here is part two my friends; I left you with the notion of the specs for the unit and the charging so far. I did indeed charge it over Sunday night and it was ready for the week ahead. I am writing this on the Wednesday and the battery is still at 28%. I used it considerably yesterday out at meetings etc. and it worked as expected without fault.

The Internet is fast and it connects to all the wireless networks I have used before without me setting anything up again, brilliant.

It did update as soon as I removed it from the box by the way and today it has updated again. I did research online and this was to fix some faults that were reported very quickly after launch. Again one of the benefits of the Nexus range, instant updates when faults are remedied.

I am running two mail clients and am receiving 3 email accounts to the Nexus and it is handling it all in its stride so far. Chrome is working perfectly and remembering all my tabs and information.

Point to note, the screen resolution is definitely sharper and clearer. Viewing photos and documents on it is excellent and very, very sharp.  All due to this tablet now being the highest resolution 7” tablet on the market.

Screen          7.02” 1920×1200 HD display (323 ppi), 1080p HD IPS, Scratch resistant Corning® Glass

322ppi which rips the old spec apart. Even this higher screen resolution does not affect the battery life.

Yes all in all so far so good. Will be attending a number of meetings as the week progresses and will be using more features of the unit. Will report on these as I go. As a side note the case seems to be performing rather well so quite happy at this purchase. Not expensive at all.

Watch this space for more reports on how the unit copes with the big bad world.

Test Drive of the New Nexus 7 Part 1

New Nexus 7New Nexus 7I Thought I would run the same test drive I did on the old Nexus with the brand new one I just received last Friday. First impressions are that it feels lighter and easy to handle. I have also treated myself to a case that fits it nicely and does the job well.

Day 1

Easy to switch on and setup so no problems there. My account just simply reinstated itself the way I wanted. Desktops all setup and ready to roll with the apps I use. Time to rock and roll I think.

Battery came with 28% charge on board, enough to setup up etc., and then charged over the Friday night for use on the Saturday etc. I did however play with it most of Friday evening and the battery seemed slow to drain. Will keep you informed on the battery life as we go.

Let’s remind ourselves of the specs for this new Nexus 7

Screen          7.02” 1920×1200 HD display (323 ppi), 1080p HD IPS, Scratch resistant                               Corning® Glass
Size              114 x 200 x 8.65mm
Weight           0.64lbs (290g) Wi-Fi, 0.66lbs (299g) LTE
Cameras        5MP rear facing, auto focus, 1.2MP front facing, fixed focus
Audio            Stereo speakers,
Surround sound powered by Fraunhofer
Memory        16GB or 32GB internal storage (formatted capacity will be less)
CPU              Qualcomm Snapdragon™ S4 Pro quad-core processor, 1.5GHz
GPU              Adreno 320, 400 MHz
RAM             2GB
Wireless        Dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4G/5G) 802.11 a/b/g/n, NFC (Android Beam), Bluetooth                         4.0
Europe:         4G LTE: 800/850/1700/1800/1900/2100/2600 MHz (Bands:                                                   1/2/3/4/5/7/20)
HSPA+: 850/900/1900/2100/AWS(1700/2100) MHz (Bands: 1/2/4/5/8)
GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
Power           3950 mAh (Up to 9 hours of active use
9 hrs of HD video playback
10 hrs of web browsing or e-reading
300 hrs of standby
Sensors        GPS, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Compass, Ambient Light
Ports and Connectors          MicroUSB , SlimPort™, 3.5mm audio
Microphone, Power and Volume buttons
OS               Android Jelly Bean, 4.3

Feel free to compare this to the specs of the older Nexus on our previous test drive, here.

I have used the tablet on Saturday on and off and then a lot on Sunday during the day. I finally recharged it on Sunday overnight as it went to around 18% and asked me to connect my charger. So battery still impressive compared to the older one.

Will report on the week’s usage as I go and see how it copes out in the big world…….

Ok, OK….we haven’t posted for a while!

nexus 7 2013

Sorry we haven’t potsed for a while holidays can do that to you. We have had a very busy spell and then a overdue holiday.

But what’s all the tech news, well things are always moving in the tech world and we are monotoring the new rumours of the latest Iphone to hit the shelves, later this year, the new Xbox One and the new Playstation. The transformation of the screens we use, we will be writing up a blog on that very soon.

But the most exciting news for us is that we are about to take proud ownership of the new Nexus 7 this weekend and will be doing a followup to the test drive we did on the previous one to report to you what the changes are and how we get on with it. It is one of these things that stirs the anticiaption and makes you excited and wonder if it will outstrip what we have experienced on the previous version and be as sturdy and have such a long battery life.

The specs have inproved considerably so the performance should be different, the screen will be the highest resolution on the market for a 7″ tablet. But will this come at the cost of the battery life being reduced? Our testing will tell and we will tell you.

Watch this space for the test drive blog.

Have you bought  tablet or new phone recently, what were your experiences?

Ian Thomson
Founder/Senior Trainer/Consultant
IT Turning Point