This week finally saw a long-awaited dock launch for Google’s Nexus 7 tablet. The $29.99 accessory holds the Nexus 7 in landscape mode, propping it an angle that’s good for watching video or other online content. A micro-USB port and 3.5 millimeter headphone jack are the only interfaces, keeping the dock simple, but limited, to use. Also limited is actual stock of the dock.
In under 24 hours in the U.S., the product page went from “in stock” to “temporarily out of stock” to “ships soon”. Google is also selling the dock in the U.K., Australia, Canada, Germany and Japan, and readers in those countries have told me there is still available stock outside of the U.S. While its good that as of this writing, Google’s Play Store says it should have stock in less than one week, the company needs to get a better handle on its product supply to become a viable hardware retailer.
On the software side of Android, Google has no such problems. This week it added data compression support to its Chrome Beta for Android. By typing chrome://flags in the address bar in Chrome’s beta, you can find and enable the experimental compression. Doing so sends all non-secure HTTP requests through Google’s servers. Where possible, Google will further compress images to its WebP format and remove any unneeded data during the web session; this speeds up the browser experience while reducing the amount of wireless data needed.
After you enable this function the Chrome Beta for Android app, you can even see how much of a data reduction is taking place. Type chrome://net-internals in your Chrome address bar and tap the Bandwidth tag. A real-time table of the data compression savings will appear, both for your current session and for all time, starting when you turned on the experimental feature.
This coming week is a big one for Android users as Samsung is holding a big press event on Thursday. There’s not much of a surprise factor involved as the company is widely expected to introduce the Galaxy S 4 smartphone. I’ll be on hand at the launch event for the news but I don’t anticipate a big departure for the company’s flagship phone. Based on rumors, leaked screenshots, and my own thoughts, here’s what I expect:
- A 5-inch 1920 x 1080 display but no active digitizer or S-Pen
- Android 4.2 will ship with the device which will still be largely created with plastic
- 2 GB of memory and a minimum of 32 GB of internal capacity, along with micro-SD expansion
- A U.S. model that uses Qualcomm’s newest silicon — due to LTE integration — and an international edition with Samsung’s newest Exynos chip
- Various new Samsung-specific software features such as scrolling based on eye-tracking and hover touch tech
- A battery with at least 2300 mAh capacity, which should last a full day
- An outside chance the Galaxy S 4 will support the new 802.11 a/c Wi-Fi standard