It’s been a long time coming, but the latest version of the Nexus 7 is finally available for Verizon Wireless customers as of February 13th. Verizon’s Nexus 7 unsurprisingly features the same specs as the tablet has in previous releases: 1920 x 1200-pixel resolution 7-inch display, 1.5 GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage and 5-megapixel rear camera. Interestingly, Verizon refers to the Nexus 7 as an Android KitKat tablet, although it ships with Jelly Bean on the Google Play Store. If you’d like to purchase a Verizon Nexus 7, you can pay $349.99 for an unlocked tablet, but if you’re willing to sign on for a two-year contract, the price drops to $249.99.
There are dozens of different features to weigh when buying a new tablet. The size is important, the platform and ecosystem matter of course, specs and available storage impact buying decisions, and plenty more must be considered. Battery life is likely near the top of many tablet buyers’ lists as well, since buying a tablet means having yet another device that needs to be charged on top of your smartphone and laptop. So for those who find battery life to be extremely important, which tablets offer the best battery performance on the market today? More →
Google’s new Nexus 5 smartphone isn’t just the best value on the planet, it’s also the only device that runs the latest version of Android. Rather, it was until Tuesday night, when Google began rolling out Android 4.4 KitKat to the first round of older devices. The Android team announced on its Twitter account that the first-generation Nexus 7 tablet, the second-generation Nexus 7 tablet and the Nexus 10 tablet will all be updated to KitKat beginning today. A subsequent tweet clarified that the Wi-Fi only versions of the Nexus 7 will be getting the update immediately, while the Nexus 7 will cellular data and the Nexus 4 smartphone will be getting the updates sometime in the near future. For more details on the new functionality included in Android 4.4 KitKat, check out our Nexus 5 review.
Apple may not like the implications for its margins, but smaller, cheaper tablets are on the rise. Stephen Baker of the NPD Group writes that his company’s research has found that sales of tablets that measure in at under 9 inches have grown by a whopping 550% so far this year while sales of tablets that are more than 9 inches have actually fallen by 36% over the same period. One of the most interesting things to watch over the next few months will be how well Apple’s Retina-equipped iPad mini is selling now that it has a $400 price point even though the iPad Air is priced at just $100 higher. The original iPad mini was a hit at $329 last year and while Apple is still selling the year-old device for $300 it remains to be seen how well it still competes with cheaper tablets with higher display resolutions such as Google’s newest Nexus 7.
Now that Google’s second-generation Nexus 7 tablet is here, pure Google fans’ attention has collectively turned to the Nexus 5 smartphone. We have seen the new Nexus phone leak in photos and on video, and it looks pretty fantastic. Google has retained LG to handle the design of the Nexus 5 just as it did with the Nexus 4, just like vendor partner Asus designed and built the first two generation of the Nexus 7 tablet. According to a new rumor, however, Google may be changing things up next year. More →
Normally when an employee of a major technology company reviews or even discusses one of the company’s products in public, inevitable skew means any comments have to be weighed in context. When it comes to Google’s developer advocate Tim Bray, however, we can always rely on him to be a straight shooter. Bray has written about various Google products such as Google Glass on his blog in the past, and on Tuesday night he published a quick Nexus 7 review that cuts to the chase and tells us what users should really expect. Written from the perspective of a current Nexus 7 user upgrading from last year’s model to the new version of Google’s 7-inch slate, Bray says the new enhancements to the tablet’s speed and display can be subtle at first. Upon further inspection though, Bray noted solid improvements and also said the addition of 4G LTE and mobile hotspot capabilities are also appreciated. The full review can be found on Bray’s blog, which is linked below in the source section.
Surprise, surprise: Verizon is being accused of ignoring the Federal Communications Commission’s rules on what it can do with its spectrum. Jeff Jarvis says that Verizon so far has refused to hook his unlocked Nexus 7 tablet up to its LTE network because the device is “not part of our lineup and can’t be activated.” As Jarvis notes, this seems to violate the regulations the FCC placed on Verizon when it first won the rights to operate on the 700MHz spectrum that it uses for much of its LTE network. More →
AT&T announced on Tuesday that it has begun offering 4G LTE service for Google’s Nexus 7 tablet. AT&T’s 32GB model will feature Wi-Fi and 4G LTE data, but unlike the other 32GB models from Google, this one will include an AT&T SIM card. Other than that, the AT&T Nexus 7 is identical — it has a 7-inch display with 1920 x 1200-pixel resolution, a quad-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, Adreno 320 graphics, a 5-megapixel camera, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, optional 4G LTE, HDMI output, NFC, wireless charging support and Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. The Nexus 7 with an AT&T 4G LTE data plan is now available on the Google Play store for $349. AT&T is also offering “a $100 AT&T bill credit” to users who sign a new two-year service contract between now and December 31st, 2013, bringing the final cost down to $249.
The new Nexus 7 has all the makings of a great tablet but it’s been plagued by multiple problems ever since its release, including faulty GPS and a bug-riddled touch interface. Because of this, Consumer Reports is warning tablet fans to avoid buying Google’s newest tablet until the company fixes all these issues. The publication in particular singles out the Nexus 7′s shoddy touch screen implementation as particularly headache-inducing. More →
The problem with the coming wave of low-cost tablets may be that you get what you pay for. Following news of a pesky GPS bug that was causing problems for early Nexus 7 adopters, more recent reports suggest many new Google tablets are having some serious issues with their touchscreens. Some users are reporting a bug where their Nexus 7 tablets are registering phantom touches and the problem seemingly gets worse over time. The good news, however, is that Google has acknowledged the problem. “The Android team is aware of this issue and investigating,” Google’s Paul Wilcox wrote on the company’s forum. There is currently no indication of when a fix might be released. A video that shows how the bug impacts touch input follows below. More →
Google’s new Nexus 7 may have the best display of any small tablet but it’s showing some deficiencies in other areas. PhoneArena reports that several early adopters of the new Nexus 7 have complained about the tablet’s GPS performance and have said that it will shut down after being online for as little as two minutes. From there, users say they have to reboot the tablet to get the GPS to work again, although there is still no guarantee that this tactic will work. PhoneArena says that Google is aware of the problem and is apparently working on a fix, although there’s no timeline for when it will be released.
Early responses to Google’s refreshed Nexus 7 tablet have been very positive, but that apparently might not stop Asus from losing its Nexus contract. According to a research note from plugged-in KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo picked up by 9to5Google, Google will likely dump Asus for its 2014 Nexus 7 model and instead turn to LG to build the device. LG has previously manufactured the Nexus 4, so this wouldn’t be the first time the two companies collaborated on a pure Google device. According to Kuo’s note, new display technology will be a main focus of Google’s next Nexus 7 tablet.
Everyone who wants a shiny new Nexus 7 tablet should head to Google Play right now. Google on Friday announced that the next-generation Nexus 7 is now available to order on the Google Play store, days before its expected retail launch. Google’s new Nexus 7, which it unveiled during a media event earlier this week, features a 7-inch display with 1920 x 1200-pixel resolution, a quad-core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, Adreno 320 graphics, a 5-megapixel camera, 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of storage, optional 4G LTE, HDMI output, NFC, wireless charging support and Android 4.3. Google is selling the tablet starting at $229 and is pledging that orders will ship by July 30th.