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Summary:

This week was huge for Android devices. The Nexus 7 gained a 3G model and more storage for less money. LG’s Nexus 4 launched with a low no-contract price of $299 while for $100 more you can get a Nexus 10 tablet with outstanding screen.

android-this-week

Google introduced an Android device for every sized pocket this past week, along with an update to the software that runs on them. The devices didn’t debut as planned at Google’s New York City event on Monday, which was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy. However, that didn’t stop the company. The Nexus 4 smartphone and Nexus 10 tablet launched this week, alongside new 3G options for the Nexus 7 tablet, which round out the current Nexus line.

I shared my first impressions of the new Nexus 4 earlier this week and continue to evaluate the phone for a full review. I like the device overall as it’s extremely similar in size and shape than the Galaxy Nexus from last year. Gone is the rear speaker bulge from its predecessor thanks to a flat, glass back. And as quick as I thought my old Galaxy Nexus was, the new Nexus 4 is even more spirited thanks to 2 GB of memory and fast quad-core Snapdragon chip.

Google Nexus 4Some are bemoaning the lack of LTE support in the Nexus 4, but it does support HSPA+ networks and I’m finding the upload and download speeds to be quite good where I live. With the Nexus 4 on T-Mobile’s network, for example, downloads of between 8 and 9 Mbps per second are standard fare. LTE is surely capable of much faster speeds, but coverage areas are slim on the two GSM networks here in the U.S. And with a starting, no-contract price of $299 for an unlocked Nexus 4, it’s not a bad trade-off.

I also have a new Nexus 10 tablet in hand for review and find the display to be outstanding, as expected. The Samsung built tablet offers 2560 x 1600 resolution on the 10-inch screen; this is Google’s version of a Retina Display and it doesn’t disappoint. Nor does performance. Samsung’s next-generation Exynos 5250 chip powers the Nexus 10; this is the same chip used in the new Google Chromebook. Everything moves along without lag on the Nexus 10. I’ll have a full review forthcoming, but so far, I like what I see; especially the starting price of $399. In particular, I like the small changes in Android 4.2, which both Nexus devices run.

Google has a complete run-down of what’s new in Android 4.2 here, which so far is only available on the new phone and tablet. I’d expect my Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7 tablet to be updated in the next few weeks. Google will likely wait until the new devices ship with 4.2 before offering the software to older devices.

Android 4 dot 2 swyping keyboardSwype users will be happy to see gesture-based typing in Android 4.2; although I’m not a fan of that method — I use two thumbs to type on most of my devices — I can say that it works well and supports word prediction. Also included is a revamped settings interface in the notification shade, which provides quick access to key settings and device information. Google has also added a 360-degree panoramic camera option called Photo Sphere complete with a way to share your images on Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Search and Google+ Local. You can see some examples on this Google Map to see how Photo Sphere pictures look; at least until you get Android 4.2 on  your own device.

  1. cant wait

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  2. realtors will love the Photo Sphere

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  3. I can’t wait till this update comes out for the nexus 7 tablet

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  4. Seriously, the LTE complaint is not about speed, it is about the limited network offering. In my area, t mobile is awful, and while AT&T is ok but not great, the prepaid offerings for AT&T network are not plentiful. In fact straight alk is the only real option, but they throttle after 100mb in a day. That’s awful.

    So many of us are stuck without a nexus phone because Google and VZW can’t get out of each others ways. I know the updates were slower, but they were still faster than any other android phone on Verizon. Googles excuses are pathetic and transparent. Samsung and Apple can make it happen on all networks, but Google /LG can’t? It’s a complete farce and we consumers pay for it.

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  5. Kevin, my comment wasn’t against you or the article. It’s just frustrating for me and others in my situation. Hope you didn’t take it that way.

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    1. Just an android user frustrated w VZW but lacking other options. Rock meeting hard place…

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    2. Adam, I totally understand where you’re coming from. It’s a disappointment to me that the open rules for any device to use carrier LTE networks have essentially been meaningless to this point. :(

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      1. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but that’s because there isn’t widespread LTE yet. However, if/when, LTE is everywhere, can we expect a similar openness as on gsm/HSPA+ networks?

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  6. Two other tablets become available this week through a new site called TabletSprint – which offer some impressive features and stack up against the iPad and the Google Nexus 10 inch tablets for nearly half the price and are worth comparing — One model is the Novo 10 by Ainol electronics, a tabletmaker which received a CNET/CES 2012 “Tablet of the Year” award for another tablet they produced earlier this year – The Novo 10 offers a Quad Core processor and a pretty amazing 1920×1200 Liquid Crystal 10.1″ screen (like iPad Retina display) and will retail for about $269 and feature an advanced 10-Point Multi-Touch, HDMI with 1080p (HD) output to a TV, Dual Cameras, Bluetooth, WiFi, Built-In GPS, a Micro-SD Memory Card Slot, a Micro-USB port, a Strong Battery (10,000 mAh), Android 4.1 O/S (Jelly Bean) and Google Play access (400,000+ Android Software Apps). A similar model is also available in November that is produced by another Asia firm, Ramos Technology, that’s called the W30-HD, which also has many of the same features, Plus a new and powerful Samsung Quad core processor and built-in 3G that works with any GSM carrier (AT&T & T-Mobile) and is priced at $319. One of the first places that carry these models in the U.S. so far is at TabletSprint — which also offers a few nicely priced, quality 7-inch tablet models.

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    1. I do believe Riley is spam. I have seen the same post on other websites verbatim.

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      1. Yes I have seen it elsewhere as well.

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  7. As a GSM user as with the rest of the world, I’d annoyed that Google and LG’s resources have to diverted because of Verizon’s and Sprint’s inability to conform with international standards and use GSM like everyone else. I’m not subsidising relics of a bygone era.

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  8. Kevin, I am posting again a question several of us ask you on one of last week’s posts regarding the Nexus 7 …
    Will the Nexus 7 3G/HSPA+ support (cell) phone call functionality?
    I know that one can add the missing calling application. The question is though if the modem will support calls and not just data.

    Thanks!
    /still looking forward to login into gigaom with my googleid :)

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    1. have a look here how smart guys try to make it work:

      http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1958686&page=21

      BUT, if Google decides to hassle and restrict the customer in such a way, why should we invest all the time and effort to get it working? As much as I would have liked to buy this device, not anymore. I just buy another one, even if it’s not as powerful as the Nexus 7.

      Like this one:
      http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/galaxytab2/7.0/index.html

      Has even an additional camera and SD slot :)

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