I’ve recently added a Google Nexus 7 to the set of devices I use. As a home based worker, I’m used to many aspects of remote working, and optimising the my use of the laptop and mobile phone (e.g. 2nd monitor, blue tooth headset). However, this month my working location will be office based but away from home, which I thought was enough of a watershed moment to see how a Smart tablet format device would fit into my device mix.
- Blackberry Curve 9300 (Blackberry OS 6)
- Google Nexus 7 (Android Jellybean 4.2) (16GB)
- Lenovo Thinkpad X61 (Tablet) (Windows 7 x64)
Interface & UX:
All the devices have an touch enabled capability of some level.
The Blackberry has a touchpad control, but not a touch sensitive screen. This is an improvement on the physical trackball device, and not an hindrance on the device of this size, and physical keyboard is a more than adequate input option. The only occasional inconvenience I experience on the blackberry is that the screen is now pretty small compared to many smart phones in the market, so coupled with many mobile enabled websites having been optimised for touch based navigation, the speed and mobility around some web sites can be a little cumbersome.
The Nexus 7 was a refreshing surprise to how easy and simple a completely touch and screen based device can be. Also with Android Jelly bean 4.2, the touch screen keyboard is gesture | swipe enabled so that with a little practice I am get fairly adept at completely spelling a word with 1 touch and motion of the finger across the keyboard. The swipe | gesture feature really is great, and with combination of the well designed device hardware and evolution of the Android OS, I don’t have any regrets about waiting until now before purchasing such a device.
I was also waiting for tablet OS which was able to support multiple user profiles, as my family will also have access to this device, so being able to separate use profiles for different individuals is very useful. It’s often been said that Google Play doesn’t have app ecosystem or content breadth to compete with Apple or Amazon, having had the device for a little over a week I don’t find either to hold any substance any longer. Google Play is a well integrated content and application store and I have not been stuck in finding the applications to access my content – in fact these 1st few days have been a little mind blowing as the sheer amount of content available through applications like Google Currents, Feedly, Flipboard and Pocket have given me a quandary about which application to use for what content or content category.
You will notice that there is also a Physical Keyboard dock (blue tooth connectivity) for Nexus 7 which also acts a hard case cover, and stand. I thought that this would be a useful addition in case I needed to do a lot content creation on the device. Combined with the Kingsoft Office suite, I can use the Nexus 7 as a netbook format device as well.
The Lenovo Thinkpad has a resistive touch screen which responds to a stylus and has a flip and rotate function on the screen. But I have never found that much more than a novel feature, though the flip and rotate screen feature is useful in small face to face group meetings.
It is my workhorse content input and creation device, and I need both a physical keyboard and mouse, as well as a large additional monitor to optimise my productivity on this device. My activities in content creation and communication often requires the need for multiple applications and windows to be in operation. The main laptop screen of 12.1 inches is too small to make multi window navigation and application use convenient. I frequently find the text size or content needs to be reduced in dimension to make that application window fit correctly to fit into the screen.
Integration of Content and Services:
Cloud and Mobile enabled applications are so well established that this has been fairly straight forward. Obviously the Blackberry has full enterprise service integration, and can also support a multitude of consumer email services etc. In terms of Personal Knowledge Management (PKM) Evernote has been my application of choice for a long time, and that is always been a leading light in multi-platform support so it was simple to extend Evernote from the Laptop and Blackberry onto the Nexus 7.
I’ve also been a reasonably long time user of Synology NAS devices at home for home digital content (photos, movies, music etc.) The Audio and Photo playback application work without hitch, and I think it won’t be long until the video playback application is out of beta. Certainly the download | file moving application made it easier to move content (music and movies) onto the Google Nexus. I was also able to populate Google Play with my music library too. So that means with Google Play Music, Synology Audio App, Spotify and Tunein Radio there is no shortage of music content on my mobile devices. The Nexus 7 will come into its own as a content device when I purchase a good blue tooth speaker and use it to entertain the children when the family travels together. Though, I must add as an aside – well done to United Airlines, who I flew with recently, for having a great on-demand music library – listened to Alison Strauss, Bon Iver, Robert Plant and The Black Keys – many more were available too.
I will be giving this combination of devices a good run in while working away so I will probably posting a lot more to the blog in the coming weeks.