Friday Frustration: Android & Google Nexus 7

Google Nexus 7

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Google Nexus 7

Source: Google

Google Nexus 7

A couple weeks ago I got a Google Nexus 7 to test out websites for work and also to evaluate how Android might work for some of our projects. After trying to use the Nexus 7 consistently, here are my observations.


  • 7″ screen size is my easier to hold upside down to read in bed. Maybe I just need an iPad Mini for that.
  • Chrome browser with Incognito mode is sometimes useful.

Con’s, aka Android Annoyances

  • Can’t get to non-mobile versions of websites. The browser/site seems to lock on the mobile-only version.
  • Can’t login to mobile Twitter.
  • Inconsistent Android settings experience, some menu options let me return from the upper left hand corner, some require me to hit the return button on the bottom of the screen.
  • Exactly how do I select a link on a webpage in Chrome? Is it press and hold, is it single tap, is it a longish single tap, is it bring up a window with two close links, is it press and hold to bring up a different dialog window? Really I just want to press my finger on a link and go to that link. Not have to cycle through all of those options to maybe select the link.
  • Scrolling in Chrome is jagged at best. It’s nowhere near fluid as under iOS.
  • Play store: I can’t tell what works on my version of Android? I installed two apps that both they and I think are widgets. Yet the tablet isn’t treating them that way, it’s treating them as apps. A restart of the device didn’t work. So what are they? Screw it, delete them.
  • Inconsistent GMail experience across desktop and tablet. WTF are the icons I’m seeing on GMail for Nexus 7? Envelope with a document up is unread? or read me? envelope with it’s flap closed is read? That makes no sense. Filing cabinet for Archive? Skeuomorphism-conundrum.
  • Auto-rotate-WTF. Ok I can set the device to allow auto-rotation. But some apps (Tweetdeck comes to mind) forces itself to portrait mode automatically. Is that the app or the OS doing that. Some apps won’t work at all in landscape mode, wtf? Why isn’t that an OS decision.
  • Chrome: I can navigate to multiple pages in a given tab, but I often can’t use the back arrow to navigate to a previous page in that tab, I have to use the return button.

And then there’s also the Android Engagement Mystery! (Via O’Reilly’s Radar, December 3, 2012)

1 reply
  1. Brandon Muramatsu
    Brandon Muramatsu says:

    A friend asked me about a Nexus 7 vs. iPad Mini. Here’s what I told him…

    I find that while all of these devices are small and light, that I’m now using many more of them for dedicated purposes. Most of the time at work I take my MacBook Air to meetings–I can type notes on it and multitask much faster, plus I can do design work on it. If I know I’m not going to have time or the opportunity to multitask or do lots of writing/designing, I’ll use my LTE iPad 3 with me instead. I do take notes on the iPad 3, but it isn’t the hit it out of the park perfect device for me. I take both while traveling, I find I’m using the iPad a lot more to kill time just waiting about (which also means my download folder is about 4GB right now because I’m not spending time to file stuff!).

    The Nexus I got from work as a test device to understand the ecosystem and test our sites and apps on the platform. To put it through it’s paces, I’ve been using to do web surfing while on my sofa at home. I figure that doing lots of reading on it will be the best way to see if I “like” it. My conclusion? I love the 7″ form factor for sitting on the sofa to read from. I like it much better than a laptop, even though I use that most of the time to read the web on the sofa. But as I mentioned in the post, there are lots of little things (inconsistencies) in the OS that get in my way of using the device all the time. The scrolling is the primary one, I get frustrated every time I use it to read a long web page.

    If the iPad Mini had a Retina screen I’d buy (or get work to buy it) without any hesitation at all. The screens really are that beautiful. Since I have an iPad 3, I’m not compelled to get a mini (even if work go it). I’m glad that I got to test the 7″ form factor, and it is a sweet spot (Google and Amazon had that right, Apple did no) for reading consumption. The extra real estate for the keyboard on the 10″ form factor is useful for typing, though I’m probably going to resist a number of years still before I accept typing on a virtual keyboard as the way to go.

    Two other reviews that I had set aside when I wrote my post that you might want to read:

    And then these two that that I just saw when preparing this reply to you:

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