It arrived two days ago, all gleaming and ready to go with Jelly Bean,aka Android 4.1. The Google Nexus 7.
Lest anyone be confused, I’m not turning away from Apple products. I love my iPad 3 and use up its battery charge nearly every day. No, this purchase was made for a different reason entirely: Linux.
In an exciting development, Canonical Ubuntu Linux has released a distribution for the Nexus 7 as its target tablet to further develop this ARM implementation of Linux. I expect it to be very rough around the edges and only moderately useable but I’m excited to test it out. It’s a worthy dream to have a full Linux operating system on a tablet for portable use. Rather like what Microsoft is trying to do with full Windows 8 tablets.
In the meantime I’m trying out the Nexus 7 with Android, an operating system I’ve not before used and I must say, it’s very slick. The App store at Google may not be as well stocked as the iPad App store, but I was able to pick up most of the extras I need, such as a basic text editor for writing and a file manager to move files around. By the time I added a few extras the Nexus had most of the apps I use frequently on the iPad, including Chrome, Kindle, Netflix, Overdrive,DropBox, Adobe Reader, and a decent epub reader. What I haven’t found yet is a text editor that is the rough equivalent of WriteRoom.
My only regret about the Nexus 7 is that Google/Asus didn’t include a MicroSD slot. There is, however, a micro-USB connector and I have a coverter cable on order that will allow me to attach standard USB devices, such as an SD card reader or USB memory stick.
To be honest, it’s going to be painful to give all this up in order to install a partly working operating system that is in its early development and doesn’t yet do too many practical things.
So, would I give up my iPad for, say, the 10″ Google Nexus expected in a few weeks? Not really. Although I’m not an Apple fanboy, I really like the iPad and have owned two of them. Other than their being set in a protected, “walled garden” I have no complaints. However, for anyone looking for a less expensive option to a 7.8″ iPad, I think the Nexus 7 is a great buy.