I like writing about tablets about as much as I like getting kicked in the privates, but when big companies announce big dumb things, I feel obliged to cover it. Last week it was Microsoft, with their could-be-awesome-but-probably-won’t-be Surface tablet. This week it's Google and the Nexus 7 (and the Q streamer). As usual, the lazy tech writers made hyperbolic comparisons, claiming it a Kindle Fire "killer" and... oh WTF IT'S THE CONTENT.
Personally, I was a fan of the Nexus-6 models, but they only had a 4-year lifespan and a habit of killing people.
The Nexus 7, as its name suggests, is a 7-inch tablet, with a 1,280x800 resolution (Ooo, higher than the Fire), and some other hardware thing-a-ma-bobs that are completely irrelevant.
I’ve said it before, and again, and again. The importance of a tablet comes down to the availability of the content. It doesn’t matter how high the screen's resolution is, or how fast the processor is. If there’s no content, it’s useless.
Shockingly, or perhaps not, it seems this fact is incomprehensible all the way up to the top. Here’s an interview with Google’s Andy Rubin, in which he admits dismay at how poorly Android tablets had been selling. He had to “look into” some of the reasons. That "lack of content" wasn’t patently obvious from the start is proof that Silicon Valley is as myopic as Detroit (or at least as myopic as Detroit and the Big 3 have been in the past, if not so much now).
Seriously, am I missing something? Please, let me know. Outside of the circle of tech nerds (among which I proudly count myself), does the mainstream public really care about MHz and GB if there’s no content?
Continuing Google’s <SARCASM>stellar track record with hardware</SARCASM>, they announced this week the Nexus Q streaming media player. Essentially, it’s an Apple TV with a 25 watt amplifier and $200 in cabinet design. At least, I’m assuming that’s why it costs $300. It’s not because of the amp, don’t fool yourself. Class D amps cost pennies (OK, in fairness not all class D amps cost pennies, but you can get ones that do, so...).
I’m not judging the Q before it’s hatched as bad sounding, poor performing, or anything else. I’m saying, who cares? If the $99 Apple TV gives me the same functionality, and I can add a receiver to it for $200 that has HDMI switching... I guess I’m lost in the need for this product.
Ken Pohlmann thinks the Q is cool. In as much as it offers what the Apple TV does without succumbing to Apple’s draconian practices, I agree. I also agree that it looks cool and different in a category that generally doesn’t. So what am I saying? I’m saying at $300 this is a rip-off. At $99, bring on the revolution.
The tablet, though? Unless Google comes out and says they have the same amount of content as iTunes or Amazon on Google Play, it’s just another useless tablet.
Brent Butterworth and Geoff Morrison combine their years of gear testing and knowledge in one überblog of irreverence and techiness.