The role for my new Nexus 7.

Yesterday I got a new Nexus 7 from Google via Amazon.

I hadn’t been this excited about a new product in a very long time. Maybe “excited” is too strong a word. Maybe interested would be more accurate. Somewhere between excited and interested.

I use a tablet for reading, watching TV and movies, browsing the web, keeping up on news, and the occasional linkblog post. If I have to do some serious writing, I go to a laptop or desktop (usually the desktop, unless I’m traveling).

So now I have three tablets vying for my attention:

  • 1. A full-size iPad/retina with LTE.
  • 2. A mini iPad with wifi only.
  • 3. A Nexus 7 with wifi only.

I rate them in that order for utility. The full-size iPad does more than any of the others. It’s set up with Safari, with bookmarks to all my frequently-accessed sites.

The mini iPad is a snapshot of the big one, from a few months back when I got it, so it does most of what the full-size one does. In a more convenient form-factor, but without the beauty of the retina display.

The Nexus 7 comes to me as a snapshot of my Nexus 4 phone. So it has a lot of the apps I use there. But remember, it’s a phone and this is a tablet. I use it for a whole other set of tasks than the tablet. There maps is the most important app. Followed by mapmyride (which I had to switch to over Cyclemeter, which I paid for, when I switched from iPhone to Android). I use the Citibike app over there a lot too.

So last night when I started reading I did it with the Nexus 7. It has a gorgeous display. Very nice for reading, with one caveat. The screen doesn’t go all the way to the top of the device. So I find myself clicking up there with nothing happening. I’m afraid they’ll teach my lower brain this way of working, to click well below the top of the device, and that will screw up my use of every other device.

When it came to doing things other than reading, oy — it’s a void — a barren desert. None of the functionality of the iPad. True, I will be able to, over time, build it up over there. But that involves learning a new way of doing things, and actually doing all the work, work that I’ve already done in iPad-land. The question is — will I do it?

And that’s where I stop right now. I don’t know the answer. I wasn’t willing to do the work for the Amazon tablet I bought, nice though it is. It sits in the closet, not even making #4 on my list. It does nothing more than read Kindle books and play Amazon movies, and that’s not enough to charge it up and take it with me. Again, I could set it up to do all those things, but for that device, clearly it wasn’t worth the effort, or I would have done it. It’s always been easier to just grab an iPad.

BTW, one thing that really irritated me about the device is the way it defaulted to setting up Google Play or whatever they call it for playing videos on the home screen of the device. I had to figure out how to get rid of it before I could do anything else. And it wasn’t easy to get rid of, in fact I’m not sure I actually have.

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About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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