Sunday, July 22, 2012

Amazon Fire and Google Nexus 7: No Thanks

I confess - even though I have an iPad, I've really been wanting a 7 inch Android tablet. And I'm sort of a cheapskate.

So when earlier this spring I read about the upcoming Google tablet, I was consumed by gadget lust. Alas, when it was finally rolled out I did a double take and then said, "No thanks." I had the same experience earlier in the year when Amazon introduced their Fire tablet.

The Google device has a lot going for it - fairly decently powered CPU, good screen resolution, access to lots of apps (not like the bastardized Nook Color and Nook Tablet), good battery life; even had a front facing camera. It kicks the Amazon Fire's ass, and the Fire is not too shabby a product either.

The deal breaker for both? Only 8 GB of internal storage (a 16 GB Google model is now on the market) and no expansion capacity. Google and Amazon want you to use the cloud - more specifically, their clouds - to store everything. Buy music, buy movies, buy books, and instead of storing them on woefully tiny flash memory, hey presto - keep it on the cloud and stream it.

Oh Google, I love you so much, but what a bone-headed play that was. Amazon, I love you too, but you were just as foolish.

For starters, these are wifi-only devices, and there are lots (lots and lots) of times there *is* no wifi connection.  Unless you live your entire miserable life at Starbucks, Panera Bread, or some other place with wifi, you are going to be without access to your cloud storage a lot.

Secondly: there is wifi and there is wifi.

I've been spending a bit of time on the road of late, and let me assure you, what most hotel chains call "high-speed internet," and what I consider "high-speed internet," are separated by several magnitudes of difference.  When I attempt to stream movies, the experience is frustrating at best. Expect a lot of stopping and rebuffering, no to mention dropping to lower and lower resolution. This even happened with YouTube (l love my LOL cat videos).

Finally, there is one place where you can usually depend on getting good wifi, at decent speed - at home. But  no doubt you are paying your gangster-of-an-ISP for bandwidth that they have imposed caps on. Do you really want to pay for that movie or song twice -- once to buy it, then again to actually stream it - each and every time you watch or listen to it?

Let's face it, a primary reason for needing expansion storage is so you can store movies. My iPad is the 16 GB model and I'm constantly having to swap stuff on and off of it. One of the primary reasons I've been looking at Android tablets is so I can add storage. At least the flawed Nook tablets have external storage.

Much has been said about these devices supporting Google's and Amazon's "infrastructure." That's marketing-speak for "how we plan to sell stuff to you." The lack of storage is a cynical decision made to push that agenda.

So to you, Amazon and Google, I say thanks but no thanks. I'm sure you'll sell lots of these puppies, but you won't be selling one to me.

1 comment:

Adam George said...

Just wanted to acknowledge how much I'm enjoying this show as a podcast and how great this episode was in particular. Thanks!
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