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Google's Own Nexus Tablet Leaks Into the Wild

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the show-me-the-details dept.

Australia 224

lukehopewell1 writes "Days out from Google's I/O conference, training documents have been issued to resellers all over the world detailing Google's new Nexus tablet. It's a 7-inch device with an optimized Tegra 3 chip inside and it's going to be the first device to run Jelly Bean, the new version of Android, that, among other notable features, will see Google manage device updates. The device will be priced at $US199 and is aimed as a direct competitor to Amazon's Kindle Fire."

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Hardware? (-1, Flamebait)

biojayc (856286) | about 2 years ago | (#40437573)

Google, why you get in hardware business?

Motorola? (0)

unixisc (2429386) | about 2 years ago | (#40437583)

Is this going to be a Motorola branded tablet, or a Google brand? And Jelly Bean - I haven't yet see everyone move from GingerBread to ICS, and already they are in JellyBean?

Re:Motorola? (5, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40437641)

This is made by ASUS.
Google does not control when phones are moved from GB to ICS. They can only update Nexus devices. They will update those devices from ICS to JB.

Re:Motorola? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40437731)

My Nexus One was orphaned at Gingerbeard. I mean, I understand the technical reasons why they couldn't fit Ice Cream Sammich on there (flash partitioning issue), but it's still irritating.

The device is more than two years old now, though, so I guess it getting left behind isn't that unexpected.

Re:Motorola? (1)

Clueless Nick (883532) | about 2 years ago | (#40437783)

According to this article (http://www.engadget.com/updates/devices-ice-cream-sandwich/) on Engadget, devices with 512 MB ROM or less will be left out of ICS coolness. My GB phone is in the left out list too.

Re:Motorola? (2, Interesting)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about 2 years ago | (#40437963)

My Nexus One was orphaned at Gingerbeard. I mean, I understand the technical reasons why they couldn't fit Ice Cream Sammich on there (flash partitioning issue), but it's still irritating.

The device is more than two years old now, though, so I guess it getting left behind isn't that unexpected.

I'd prefer that than what I've seen from a serveral iPhone 3G owners now, an upgrade into uselessness. Their phones are so slow with the new OS that they are virtually unusable.

Re:Motorola? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438087)

Not surprised, it was meant for the 3GS

Re:Motorola? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438115)

The iPhone 3G was released in July 2008 so is now 4 years old. The final software update for the device left it usable but not swift. But at least it wasn't orphaned until iOS5 was released on 12th October 2011.

So the iPhone 3G received 3 years of updates although the original iOS 4 release nearly killed it. But that (just) fixed from iOS 4.1 onwards.

Re:Motorola? (now, was Nokia) (3, Insightful)

SpzToid (869795) | about 2 years ago | (#40438177)

At least you hopefully haven't bought a Nokia Lumia 900 that was just Osborned last week when Microsoft announced all current Win 7 phones on the market will not run Wp8 when it is released in the fall.

This happened the same week that Elop let go his entire 'stealth' low-cost linux-for-emerging-markets-sans-Microsoft-License project. Gotta love the guy for consistency.

But wait, current Lumia 900 owners will be able to enjoy a new Start Screen that sort of looks like a Windows 8 phone, although technically it will be known as 7.8.

Personally I am pleased as punch with my Nokia N9 that looks like a Microsoft-enabled Lumia 900 but with better hardware specs, like 64gb RAM, front-facing camera that works with Google Talk, SIP, SSH/PGP, Firefox 13, flash, Swipe (OS and) keyboard, and also its own html5 browser. Contact integration (with Google using MailForExchange gateway) in the Notification area is awesome; weather is a nice touch. It is a keeper, and thank goodness it is also durable as Hell. SportsTracker w/ bluetooth is also very good.

The Maemo guys are also supporting my N900 with regular OS updates, and the keyboard is solid. I'm invested for awhile, just sitting on the sidelines trying to get work done, (scripting via SSH FTW!).

Elop could raise a lot of cash if he'd ever sell the N950 properly, but that would be inconsistent.

Re:Motorola? (now, was Nokia) (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40438283)

I bet good money it does not have 65GB of RAM. My GN has only 1 GB and the SGS3 has 2GB and is a super phone.

Re:Motorola? (now, was Nokia) (1)

SpzToid (869795) | about 2 years ago | (#40438357)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_N9#Processors_and_memory [wikipedia.org]

All user data is stored on the internal eMMC chip; 16 and 64 GB models are available.

Nokia N9 Unlocked GSM Phone with 64 GB Internal Memory--International Version (Black) [amazon.com]

Re:Motorola? (now, was Nokia) (3, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40438499)

That is storage not RAM.

Flash is not RAM.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nokia_N9 [wikipedia.org]
Has 1GB of ram and 64GB of storage.

Re:Motorola? (now, was Nokia) (1)

SpzToid (869795) | about 2 years ago | (#40438543)

I stand corrected. Thanks.

Re:Motorola? (now, was Nokia) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438535)

Welcome to the age old ambiguity of the word 'memory'. The Nokia has 64GB of 'memory' yes, but it is not RAM and you say. Rather it is flash memory for long term storage. The Nokia N9 only has 1 GB of RAM (Random Access Memory) and up to 64GB of flash memory. It's a pretty important distinction. I think you owe h4rr4r some good money.

Re:Motorola? (now, was Nokia) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40439185)

1gb is still pretty solid, to go with the 64gb of storage

at least, that's how I feel on my HTC Amaze

Re:Motorola? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438319)

The Nexus S has more-or-less the same CPU power and RAM capacity as the N1 and it can run ICS fine. The problem with the N1 is that it had very little onboard flash and ICS just plain won't fit without resizing the system partition, which requires the bootloader to change, which is too risky an update for over-the-air.

Re:Motorola? (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | about 2 years ago | (#40437991)

And Jelly Bean - I haven't yet see everyone move from GingerBread to ICS, and already they are in JellyBean?

Well, my Archos tablet came with Honeycomb and got an upgrade to ICS early this year.
A few smartphone that where sold with Gingerbread have upgrade to ICS.

So if you haven't seen anybody upgrade the problem might be yiour sample pool.

Re:Motorola? (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 2 years ago | (#40438147)

I think the problem most people are concerned with is all these Android devices get orphaned by their manufacturers after a release or two, so you're probably going to be stuck at some point and eventually you won't be able to run the newest apps.

Re:Motorola? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438855)

Most apps are still written to be compatible with Android 2.2 (Gingerbread), as that's the lowest common denominator for a lot of devices in circulation. The issue isn't "users can't run the newest apps" it's rather "nobody is writing apps that take advantage of the nifty new features because then the apps won't run on everyone's phone".

In fact, I'm struggling to think of any ICS-only apps; anyone know one off the top of their head?

Re:Motorola? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40439445)

I'm struggling to think what new APIs in ICS would make app devs want to target it exclusively. With proper manifest and lazy loading libraries you can add ICS specific features and still have backwards compatibility.

The situation is like with WinXP vs Win7 - it's good enough, most used and most software targets it. Some include newer features if available, like optional DirectX 11 in new games, but there is almost no Win7 only applications.

So, Froyo is like Android XP (and Gingerbread is Android Vista, half-assed and fallen out of grace)

Re:Motorola? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#40439391)

Still no ICS on my Galaxy Tab. I don't have any plans to buy any more Android devices.

ICS fo Galaxy Tab (1)

VP (32928) | about 2 years ago | (#40439543)

Here you go [pcworld.com]

Re:Hardware? (5, Informative)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 2 years ago | (#40437611)

RTFA, they're not - the thing is to be manufactured by Asus.

Re:Hardware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40437661)

So Google/Asus are competing with Motorola?

(Yes, I've read that this tablet is a competitor to Amazon's Kindle Fire.)

Re:Hardware? (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 2 years ago | (#40437697)

Not competing as such, this is a 'Nexus' device of which Google has produced several phone models [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Hardware? (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 2 years ago | (#40438081)

Oh, but they are getting into the hardware business. This isn't an example of it, but they are. After all, they bought (well, are in the process of buying) Motorola.

Re:Hardware? (0)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | about 2 years ago | (#40437665)

Doesn't it make sense for them to produce a reference device? At $200 they aren't being very aggressive on pricing so it shouldn't make their partners all that nervous.

Sad... (5, Insightful)

mystikkman (1487801) | about 2 years ago | (#40437667)

Sad that even Google is afraid to take on the iPad in it's territory. Almost all the 10" Android tablets have seen dismal sales, HP Touchpad was sold in a firesale,
Playbook's having a tough time and Amazon and Google are forced to play in the sub $200 territory. All of these devices are oriented towards only consumption. Maybe Microsoft Surface will get traction by doubling as a device that you can actually do some light work on, but lets see what price it launches at.

Re:Sad... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40437711)

All tablets are "oriented towards consumption". You have neither a keyboard nor even a stylus; you have all the input capabilities of a kindergartner's finger-painting. The iPad is not an exception to this, despite the sweet-ass picture you made in that game of Draw Something.

Most people are more or less okay with this and know what they're getting into when they buy the thing. When I buy a hamburger, I don't complain that it isn't steak.

Re:Sad... (4, Insightful)

TummyX (84871) | about 2 years ago | (#40437849)

When I buy a hamburger, I don't complain that it isn't steak.

Exactly. When you buy a bicycle, don't complain it doesn't have A/C and triple exhaust!

People who won't buy a tablet until it has a keyboard don't actually realise what they want is a normal notebook because they can't envision the use-case for a tablet (at least until they own a decent one).

Re:Sad... (1)

Shados (741919) | about 2 years ago | (#40437883)

To be fair, with tablets like the transformer prime, which has a keyboard and a trackpad, as well as almost any android device with usb host being able to take a usb mouse and keyboard, you can have both.

Re:Sad... (2)

TummyX (84871) | about 2 years ago | (#40437925)

Yeah I know. There's a market for tablet keyboards but I really think it distracts people from understanding what a tablet is best at doing. It should have the easy of a smart phone (just grab and use -- no setup, not desk, etc). If you're constantly changing its configuration it won't have the unmeasurable thing that makes using a tablet a pleasure IMHO.

I'm a big fan of having multiple complementary devices. I do my data creation and productivity/developmennt work mostly on a notebook. I read/write emails, txts and browse the web on-the-move using my iPhone. I surf the web, watch videos and play games in my living room or bedroom on my iPad. They're all complementary devices and I would never think that one could completely replace the other since they're all physically very different sizes with very different performance characteristics.

Re:Sad... (5, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 2 years ago | (#40438121)

I don't think it is an issue of capability. You can watch movies on all these things. You can check email and surf and post on twitter.

The problem is that there is no innovation going on here on the Android side. The Android devices all are trying to be "Well it's no an iWhatever, but it's good enough and it's a bit cheaper". Where is the 10" screen tablet at a similar price point and hardware specs? That's really all it would take, and yet we still have none.

Now a few years later we have moved on from "meh" copies of Apple to trying to copy Amazon? This doesn't make any sense to me.

People want an iPad with Android on it. That's all. It's really just that simple. Why shuffle the deck chairs? Give people what they want.

Re:Sad... (5, Interesting)

Simon Brooke (45012) | about 2 years ago | (#40438545)

The problem is that there is no innovation going on here on the Android side. The Android devices all are trying to be "Well it's no an iWhatever, but it's good enough and it's a bit cheaper".

To which I say to you Asus Transformer [asus.com] . It's quite a bit better than an iPad on quite a lot of measures - faster, longer battery life, better build quality - and, with the addition of the clip-on keyboard, a useful replacement for a laptop for light office tasks and internet surfing. OK, it's more expensive than an iPad, but you're getting what you pay for.

Re:Sad... (1)

TummyX (84871) | about 2 years ago | (#40439283)

Yeah but I think people are forgetting that in the end the software is everything. iPad has 100s of thousands of tablet optimised apps whereas Android has thousands at best (and most are very poorly thought out). iOS also is much smoother than Android and Windows 8 when it comes to animations and responsiveness which is key for a touch screen interface.

I'm sure the Asus Transformer has better specs on papder than the iPad but the iPad has better UX and software (IMO). Plus the retina display is amazing. I use my iPad for reading (Safari, Flipboard, Facebook, Twitter) most of the time so the display quality is more important than Mhz -- especially if the apparent performance and responsiveness is better.

Re:Sad... (5, Insightful)

nahdude812 (88157) | about 2 years ago | (#40438813)

The problem is that there is no innovation going on here on the Android side. The Android devices all are trying to be "Well it's no an iWhatever, but it's good enough and it's a bit cheaper".

I'm curious what you think innovation looks like. There's a dozen form factors with focus on various improvements such as better cameras, brighter screens, longer battery life, better performance, lower prices, detachable physical keyboards with their own supplemental battery supply, SD and MicroSD card slots, USB ports, dongle-less micro HDMI ports, and more.

Where is the 10" screen tablet at a similar price point and hardware specs? That's really all it would take, and yet we still have none.

Wait, so "innovation" in your mind is "the same thing only different"? That's not innovation, that's knockoff-ism. And you're not looking very hard if you haven't found an Android tablet that offers similar specs. Transformer Prime is the same price point, with added features, better battery life, better performance, thinner, lighter, and some interesting other bonuses. Also the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is so much the same thing that Apple has been suing Samsung over it.

People want an iPad with Android on it. That's all. It's really just that simple. Why shuffle the deck chairs? Give people what they want.

And they have it several times over, plus other options that try less to be an iPad and do a commendable job of being their own thing, often for a lot cheaper.

Re:Sad... (-1, Redundant)

csumpi (2258986) | about 2 years ago | (#40437863)

I wish I had mod points, because I agree with everything you said.

Re:Sad... (1, Interesting)

the computer guy nex (916959) | about 2 years ago | (#40438169)

"When I buy a hamburger, I don't complain that it isn't steak."

A better analogy would be; "When I buy a spoon, I don't complain that it isn't a fork." The iPad was never designed to completely replace the PC for all use cases. This is why tablets have failed in the past, and why the Surface will suffer the same fate.

Re:Sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438347)

I suspect that many of us want a tablet that we can develop serious apps for using a keyboard, then remove that keyboard to take the app into the field. It's just easier if I can develop and run my software on the same device, and snap on a keyboard as needed for debugging away from the office. Windows 8 x86 on a Transformer or Slate seems like a good fit.

Re:Sad... (5, Funny)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#40437735)

you're a retart if you can't type on the ipad. I have Pages on mine and can type hundreds of works without any problem.

Twice cooked tart? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40437769)

That retart sound delicious - that is a twice cooked tart, no?

Re:Sad... (5, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#40437787)

you're a retart if you can't type on the ipad.

Most awesome typo ever.

Re:Sad... (4, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | about 2 years ago | (#40438391)

Most awesome typo ever.

It wasn't a typo.

In other words: wooosh!

Re:Sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40437805)

Retard.

also, s/retart/retard

Re:Sad... (5, Funny)

kanto (1851816) | about 2 years ago | (#40437979)

Whose!

Sent from my IGimmick

Re:Sad... (0)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#40439197)

Hahaha! Its funny cos I hate other products!

Sent from my Galaxy Carbon Copy

Re:Sad... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40437837)

I have no idea if that is a joke, a troll, or completely serious and yet totally hilarious...

+1 internets

Re:Sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438083)

you're a retart if you can't type on the ipad.

That would be ironic if it weren't so damn predictable.

Re:Sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438223)

You typed that on your ipad, didn't you?

Re:Sad... (1)

wannabgeek (323414) | about 2 years ago | (#40438329)

you're a retart if you can't type on the ipad.

Awesome retort, bro! I bet you posted it from your iPad, too.

Re:Sad... (1)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | about 2 years ago | (#40439013)

I have Pages on mine and can type hundreds of works without any problem.

..but all your works are belongs to Apple!

Re:Sad... (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about 2 years ago | (#40439527)

Whe air yuo clalling a retart, retart?

Re:Sad... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40437811)

And the thing is, they will fail against the Fire, too. People buy Fire because of Amazon, not Android.

Re:Sad... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438103)

Interesting comment. I realize that, as a frequent visitor to slashdot, I am not the normal consumer. However as a Kindle Fire owner, I would much rather have this Nexus device. All the goodness of the Google apps, PLUS the ability to load the Kindle app. I only wish they had put a GPS in this device. (I know it would be difficult to do because, without 3G / 4G, they can't us AGPS and would have to go with the more power hungry type of GPS receiver). If the info on this device from that Gizmodo article is correct, I'll get one right away. Oh, and I do like the Kindle Fire. However this device looks better.

Re:Sad... (4, Interesting)

csumpi (2258986) | about 2 years ago | (#40437855)

The 7" form factor works great for me. The 16:9 aspect ratio also has benefits, I can fit the tablet into a pocket and it's nice for watching movies. I used to have an ipad, which I found too heavy and big to carry around.

Re:Sad... (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#40438123)

The 7" form factor was the main reason I got the Nook Color... I think it's the ideal cross between big enough to play angry birds/draw shit/type on the virtual keyboard but small enough it can fit into the pockets of some of my pants or easily into my GF's purse. It's also a more comfortable weight for holding up for long periods of time (IE: in bed, where I use it a lot). I think half of the iPad's success is branding... the exact same device from any other company would probably not have met with nearly as much success due to the price, size and the fact that it's really not as convenient as a mobile device as slightly smaller form factors.

Re:Sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40437919)

I suspect that if Microsoft can somehow hit the sweet spot of the "Roughly $500" for the Surface, Apple may see some real competition. Win 8 is a good match for Tablets, the Surface looks nice and it has it's selling point of that keyboard. This Google tablet is going to enter competition with Amazon and B&N rather than Apple... Which is a pretty stiff competition in their own right...

Re:Sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438061)

Win 8 is a good match for Tablets

No it's not. It's buggy, inconsistent and ugly. Have you tried it yet?

Re:Sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438609)

I didn't think it had been released yet.

Re:Sad... (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | about 2 years ago | (#40438055)

Playbook's having a tough time...

That's the kindest description of it I've ever seen. RIM have cut the price in half (presumably selling the thing at a loss) in an effort to make _some_ money back on inventory that's taking up space in their warehouses which is not what most people would describe as "having a tough time" - most would describe that as "a total failure."

Re:Sad... (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#40438261)

I'm not sure that's true - that it's a matter of competing for another market, that is.

I really, strongly, feel that if you want to design a portable device for playing games, listening to music, watching movies, browsing the web, and doing "communication stuff" (like email or video chatting), the iPad is a really poor fit for that and about 99% of that is because the iPad is too large and expensive for that purpose. I think the iPad is popular despite its specification, not because of it.

I've got a 10" Android tablet. I've also got a 7" Kindle Fire. The Fire is, hands down, a better system, even though in my view it's more stripped down than a tablet should be. Why? Because the Fire can go in my pocket. Because I can hold it without feeling like I'm holding one volume of an encyclopedia. And because it's half the price of the 10" system, which is about right for something that's less powerful than a netbook.

I can't say I'm optimistic the Google tablet will be a success, but I think their chances of success are much better with a 7", which in my view is much closer to what is actually useful, than a 10".

Re:Sad... (1)

atriusofbricia (686672) | about 2 years ago | (#40438597)

Sad that even Google is afraid to take on the iPad in it's territory. Almost all the 10" Android tablets have seen dismal sales, HP Touchpad was sold in a firesale,
Playbook's having a tough time and Amazon and Google are forced to play in the sub $200 territory. All of these devices are oriented towards only consumption. Maybe Microsoft Surface will get traction by doubling as a device that you can actually do some light work on, but lets see what price it launches at.

Yeah, the Asus Transformers sold so badly that they could barely keep them in stock at launch. Damn those poor sales!

I imagine Google went for the ~$200 territory as there are far far more people who will spend that on a tablet who don't already have one of those "poor selling" Android tablets or iPads. I'd be willing to bet that the $400+ tablet market is nearly saturated. So, where would you go? The high end of cost dominated by people who tend to choose style over power and flexibility, or the part of the market that would be interested in your product and don't already have a tablet.

Re:Sad... (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 years ago | (#40438721)

They've said the cheaper Surface will be priced comparably to similar ARM tablets, which means it'll likely be around the price of the iPad, while the one based on Intel chips will be priced comparably to ultrabooks in the market, which means that it's at least $800, possibly quite a bit more. And at those price points, they're starting to go head-to-head against the iPad and MacBook Air (not to mention the devices from their own OEMs). You've already pointed out the trouble 10" tablets have been having, so I'll point out that ultrabooks have been having similar trouble, since it's very difficult to make a decent one that comes in under the price of the MacBook Air. You have to start making compromises at those prices, and that, coupled with the fact that Microsoft has been repeating "no compromises" as a mantra in all of their Windows 8 stuff, may very well mean that Microsoft is setting themselves up to release a device that is underpowered for its intended use.

If not, they'll need to price it over $1000, but Apple commands 90% of the market at $1000+, and there aren't many people who would be willing to pay that much money just to have the full Windows experience with them on the road. The best I can see is that they may be able to make some inroads in the business market with the higher-end device, but I don't see it being a popular choice for consumers who are more likely to simply buy a $400 OEM PC with more power, then possibly supplement it later with an iPad, and still come in under the $1000 they would have spent otherwise.

Re:Sad... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#40439039)

Google is exactly right in what they are doing. Who makes more money? Ford or Ferrari? Roads were designed for ford cars not Ferraris. They ruled the auto industry because they made cars for real people, not just yuppies with too much money. This is the same mistake apple made in the 80s, and will continue to make now. They'll have a small niche market of people convinced they're the best... weather that's true or not, the majority of the world can't afford their products and will move to androids. $200 is the perfect price point. When a manufacturer finally comes out with a tablet that's got 4G (or better) a color eink screen (or equivalent from another vendor) with battery life measured in weeks instead of hours, and it's $200? That'll change the world over night. Are they there yet? No... but Googles a hell of a lot closer than Apple.

nVidia Tegra 3 - any source code? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40437709)

Hmm, seeing as nVidia doesn't have such a great track record with releasing source code in general (for which they deservedly received the Linus' finger) and a quick Google reveals that devs are still waiting for Tegra 2 source code [nvidia.com] , I wonder what drove them to choose the Tegra 3 for a "Nexus" branded device, which supposedly would mean a "developer friendly" device with all the features and hackability that the Nexus devices have come to be known for.

What do you need the source code for? (3, Interesting)

Chibi Merrow (226057) | about 2 years ago | (#40438763)

I'm being serious. What benefit will you get from having source code for a graphics CPU on an Android tablet?

The only reason you need the drivers at all is to build a custom rom for the system, which I doubt Google is particularly eager to support. Not saying they want to stop you, I'm sure the system won't have a locked bootloader or anything stupid like that, but they don't have to waste time/money helping you either. Besides, you don't need the source for that, you just need a binary driver. Granted, last I checked nVidia hadn't released those for ICS, either...

Anyway, the type of "developer" you're thinking of is not the one Google is worried about. They want people making apps for the Play Store, not custom rom images.

Finally... Maybe, just maybe, they went with the nVidia chip because of the price/performance ratio?

Re:What do you need the source code for? (2)

DrXym (126579) | about 2 years ago | (#40439073)

Well you just said it - custom rom but also the possibility of porting things other than android to the device. And not just this device either but any using the same chipset. I'm sure there is information in the driver which is pertinent to people with older Tegra chipsets.

While I wouldn't be militant about the source being there or not, there is no denying that a tablet which has it stands a far greater chance of becoming community supported when the official support goes than one which doesn't.

Re:What do you need the source code for? (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#40439317)

Custom ROMs means longer-term support. My phone is officially up to 2.2 and has a semi-official developer-only 2.3 release. It supported by GyanogenMod 7.2, which is based on the latest 2.3.x series release. It will never get an official Android 4.x release. To be supported by CyanogenMod 9, based on Android 4.0, it needs updated drivers. The manufacturer has provided an updated driver blob, with no official support and no commitment to provide updates to it in the future.

Re:nVidia Tegra 3 - any source code? (1)

westlake (615356) | about 2 years ago | (#40439113)

I wonder what drove them to choose the Tegra 3 for a "Nexus" branded device, which supposedly would mean a "developer friendly" device with all the features and hackability that the Nexus devices have come to be known for.

Sales.

The tablet is a mass market consumer product.

You could lock the hacker out completely and his departure would count for less than a rounding error in the stats,

But will it run Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40437715)

All kidding aside, will it be locked down, will I have to go through heroic measures to "obtain root" if I buy one, or will they actually let me do what I want with the device I purchased? If it's locked down, then it's just... (yawn...) another tablet. How ordinary.

If they do, hey, it's a real computer, in a tiny package with a touch-screen! Wonder how long the battery life will be...

Re:But will it run Linux? (4, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 2 years ago | (#40437761)

All Google's Nexus devices have unlockable bootloaders, as they are designed partly for developers to play around with customizing Android.

Re:But will it run Linux? (2)

Clueless Nick (883532) | about 2 years ago | (#40437867)

The real question is, will nVIDIA allow it to run Linux satisfactorily?

Unlike the Harmony reference design on Tegra 2, for which it has stopped offering Linux (L4T - and Android driver) support, if the design Google chooses sells in large numbers, nVIDIA might be compelled to make specifications and drivers available for porting Linux on it.

Which brings us to the next question: is Linux ready to work on a full touch environment, or will we be forced to carry a keyboard or a dock wherever we go?

Re:But will it run Linux? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40437921)

Linux is just a kernel. Some DE's are more touch ready than others.

If you just want a typical linux distro type userland you can already use a chroot and vnc.

Re:But will it run Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40437785)

Nexus devices have historically always shipped with an unlockable bootloader right out of the box; I have no reason to believe that this trend will stop now. It's basically what the Nexus brand means.

Re:But will it run Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438031)

If by Linux, you mean a crappy [nvidia.com] Nvidia-compiled Ubuntu derivative full of binary blobs [nvidia.com] , which will be forever locked to a certain kernel version, then yes. Nvidia doesn't even bother to release audio drivers, I'm not even talking about other stuff.

In addition, NVIDIA is working on a full release of Ice Cream Sandwich [google.com] (ICS) for our Tegra 2 Dual Core and Tegra 3 Quad Core reference devices to be made available early next year. This release package will comprise of binary code, drivers developed on our reference platforms and any patches necessary to ensure stability & performance with ICS. We hope the open source community can leverage this release for their work on all Tegra devices.

If you really want to install Linux on the tablet, buy TI OMAP-based devices [youtube.com] .

Going 7" is a smart choice (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40437727)

By going with a 7" device that has a relatively low price point Google is offering up a device that that people will buy IN ADDITION to owning an iPad, not INSTEAD of an iPad. Why compete directly against the iPad with your first iteration of a tablet?

Re:Going 7" is a smart choice (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | about 2 years ago | (#40437915)

That is a fair point, though soon it'll be moot as (assuming what I've heard is correct) Apple is soon to release a 7" device to fill the gap between the iPod and iPad in their range.

Re:Going 7" is a smart choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438143)

Considering the iPod is $200, they'll still have them beat on price.

Re:Going 7" is a smart choice (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about 2 years ago | (#40438219)

I am actually been waiting to buy one as an addition to my Asus Iconia. The Iconia is much too nice to carry to work every day and great for travel. I want to use something with a smaller price point for day-to-day work.

16:9 screens on a tablet (5, Interesting)

Clueless Nick (883532) | about 2 years ago | (#40437755)

I have an Android tablet, and I don't use Apple products, but I have come to believe that the 16:9 format is not that good for a tablet. For one, it is too short vertically in landscape format to accommodate an on screen keyboard and have a generous amount of viewing space available. If one wants to type with one hand while holding the tablet in the other, the keys on the sides also seem a bit too far away (my experience is with a 10" screen). In portrait mode, the keyboard gets a bit too narrow. The screen also seems to be a bit too narrow when reading books in portrait.

On the other hand, I now find the 7" screen size to be much more handy, and probably the keys would not be too far away. Has anybody any idea about how easy or difficult it is to read books on such a screen?

Another thing that has me wondering is the price tag: how can Google afford to sell the tablet for $199 / $249 with a Tegra 3 board, while Samsung charges around $800 (in India, where I live) for the Galaxy S III?

Re:16:9 screens on a tablet (2)

cdrudge (68377) | about 2 years ago | (#40437981)

Has anybody any idea about how easy or difficult it is to read books on such a screen?

Nook Simple Touch and Kindle lines are 6". Nook Color and Tablet, along with the Kindle Fire are 7". I don't think screen size will be an issue at all.

Screen type however is a personal preference. I don't have too much problem reading for some time with the LCD display on our Transformer, even in the dark. My wife prefers her Simple Touch with GlowLight over the Transformer.

Re:16:9 screens on a tablet (4, Interesting)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#40438179)

I own a Nook Color (7" screen) and have spent a lot of time with other people's iPads. I find the 7" to be more comfortable for reading in portrait mode. The 10" device the lines just feel a little on the long side. However, if you prefer larger text or reading in landscape (where it typically shows as two pages) then the larger form factor is more comfortable.

Re:16:9 screens on a tablet (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438259)

"I have an Android tablet, and I don't use Apple products" - translation - please like me

Clueless Nick - never a better user name

Things cost what they cost, let's see what it actually sells at when it actually ships and you can actually get one

Re:16:9 screens on a tablet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438379)

I have a 16:9 Android tablet and, after watching some video and reading a bit on my brother's iPad, have come to believe its one of the better features.

Maybe its that my tablet is 10", but I don't experience any issues with typing in landscape or portrait. The only minor drawback is that its somewhat more awkward to hold vertically, but IMHO, that is a very minor thing.

Realistically, almost no video is shot in 4:3 now and 16:9 is also better for viewing text pages side-by-side. I think some people just have a weird attachment to 4:3 because that was their first computer or perhaps they blame 16:9 for (temporarily) halting the monitor resolution wars.

I'm not saying that Android tablets are better than the iPad. I am saying 16:9 is better in every aspect (heh) than 4:3.

Re:16:9 screens on a tablet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438799)

16:9 is worthless for anything outside of watching videos shot for television. Most movies don't use 16:9, so you still get stuff chopped off or have some letter-boxing. 4:3 is closer to the dimensions of a physical book, so it's more comfortable to read on if you're used to paperbacks and hard-covers. 4:3 is generally closer to the dimensions for which most web pages were designed around. 16:9 computer monitors are absolute shit for any kind of productivity as most applications don't get any additional benefit from the additional horizontal pixels and suffer from the loss of additional vertical pixels. The only exception I can think of is doing video production work and using a 16:9 monitor for viewing the finished product. 16:9 is terrible and outside of a television, I will never purchase a product using that shitty aspect ratio.

Re:16:9 screens on a tablet (1)

Andy Dodd (701) | about 2 years ago | (#40438641)

1) A multiband radio system and UMTS/GSM baseband adds a LOT of cost to devices. Look at the price deltas between the original GalaxyS series and the Galaxy Player series. Remove the 3G and price goes WAY down.
2) SAMOLED screens are gorgeous but expensive. LCD is far cheaper.

Google IO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40437797)

I know what Google IO attendees will get this year as a present.

Android Jelly Bean (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40437853)

Can it finally do real multitasking?

Re:Android Jelly Bean (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40437927)

Define what you mean by real multitasking. As far as I can tell android has done real multitasking for quite a while.

MicroSD Card slot? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40437901)

Does it have one? that could be the deal breaker (for me) if none present.

Re:MicroSD Card slot? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438149)

If you lived in the present it wouldn't matter if one wasn't present

Re:MicroSD Card slot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438809)

Important question, I feel the same way and have not seen this addressed yet.

Sooo pretentious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40437945)

They just couldn't help it. They had claim they're better than a Nexus 6

Run a decent OS (-1, Troll)

trevc (1471197) | about 2 years ago | (#40438171)

If it ran iOS it might be worth having..

Re:Run a decent OS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438253)

Using a tablet hurts your brain that much?

Jellybean (2)

Barefoot Monkey (1657313) | about 2 years ago | (#40438227)

Not really related to the story or actually important in any way, but I notice that the next Android is named "Jellybean". I wonder what comes after that. I'm hoping for Koeksister [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Jellybean (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40438663)

Not really related to the story or actually important in any way, but I notice that the next Android is named "Jellybean". I wonder what comes after that. I'm hoping for Koeksister [wikipedia.org] .

The smart money's on "Key Lime Pie"

Might pick one up! (4, Funny)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about 2 years ago | (#40438433)

This is going to be very interesting when it gets officially introduced in Canada Q3 2014 for CAD 279.00

Re:Might pick one up! (2)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | about 2 years ago | (#40438755)

If I had mod points my friend.

My wife just picked up an ASUS 7" for $199 and while it's nice and she's happy with it, the only reason she went with it was the Amazon Fire has large sections which refuse to work outside of the US. With it being Google-branded and not tied to US-centric companies (such as B&N & Amazon) I hope that it will just do it's thing anywhere on earth. Of course, by the time the Nexus gets to Canada she can buy it and I'll end up with her ASUS, and just flash the thing to JB anyway...

Product Confusion (1)

tiny69 (34486) | about 2 years ago | (#40438891)

Cisco Nexus 7k

This is going to be annoying for people that work with Cisco products.

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