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7/29/2013
09:52 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Nexus 7 Reveals Android's Ongoing Flaws

Google's new tablet looks sharp, but software incompatibilities and system crashes plagued this test drive.

Tablet Buying Demystified: 10 Tips
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Tablet Buying Demystified: 10 Tips
Nothing is perfect, and the Google Nexus 7 reminds us of that fact. While the hardware impresses, it also lays bare everything that's wrong with Google's Android platform.

I picked up a Nexus 7 over the weekend at my local Best Buy. I chose the 16-GB model with Wi-Fi, which cost $229 plus tax. I took it home, plugged it in, and began the process of setting it up.

First I had to configure the network connection and hook it onto my Wi-Fi network. After I logged into my Google account, the device downloaded two system updates consecutively and rebooted each time. The entire process took about 15 minutes.

The device itself is a welcome upgrade to the original. The screen is gorgeous, bright and clear. Images, icons and text look fantastic on it. The slimmer profile and reduced weight go a long way toward making the tablet more comfortable to hold. The stereo speakers sound really good, and the matte black-on-black design is pleasing to the eye. You can tell there's a faster processor under the hood and more RAM, because the new Nexus 7 completes nearly every task quicker than its predecessor did.

[ For more on Google's diminutive new device, see Google Nexus 7 Heats Up Mini-Tablet Battle. ]

After the N7 completed the software updates, I began downloading my favorite apps and customizing the tablet. I added perhaps two dozen apps to the device, updated the existing apps and set up my home screens. It was during this process that the first problems cropped up.

For starters, the Nexus 7, like its predecessor, confuses some apps. For example, the tablet versions of several apps (CNN, Fandango, et al.) were "incompatible" with the Nexus 7. Instead, I had to download the smartphone versions of those apps. The tablet app experience is a fundamental problem with Android that has yet to be resolved. Far too many Android apps are simply not designed or optimized for use with tablets.

I ran into other problems, too -- for example, app crashes. A whole bunch of them. Here's a list of apps that crashed: AccuWeather, Camera, Chrome, Gmail, Google Play Music, Hangouts, and Zillow. Play Music crashed repeatedly. I filed a report with Google each time an app crashed. The Nexus 7 also randomly rebooted twice, both times while I was in the middle of performing a task, such as typing an email or surfing the Web.

A quick poll of my Twitter feed, which I admit is not scientific in any way, showed that none of my contacts had trouble with their Nexus 7s over the weekend. In fact, many were surprised to learn that my device was acting up. While it is highly possible that my device has some sort of individual issue, many of the problems it experienced are endemic to the Android ecosystem. I've seen similar issues on countless Android devices over the years.

I don't expect anything to be perfect, but Google needs to do better, especially with its tablets.

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lostjuan
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lostjuan,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/1/2013 | 4:19:25 AM
re: Nexus 7 Reveals Android's Ongoing Flaws
I got mine on the 29th of august and never experienced the default as it was automatically patched as soon as I started using it. I change the brightness it reboots, I change the wifi it reboots and any number of apps prompts a reboot. Since I have only had it for 2 days I have yet to try and identify or fix what ever issue. Kinda disappointing. I hope it's fixed soon as I really don't want to ship it back to google. I have a GSII which I love and love to tease those people with those cute little phones. "Didn't think they still made phones that small!"
rspirelli28
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rspirelli28,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/15/2013 | 12:41:55 PM
re: Nexus 7 Reveals Android's Ongoing Flaws
I purchased one (2nd gen nexus 7 32gig) the other night. So far i have had little to no issues. Unlike a lot of people i don't expect any OS to be %100 perfect. I have an IPAD and IPHONE 4S too and i have about the same amount of issues. Where i differ is that i don't pollute my items with a crap ton of apps. I think a lot of people download tons of apps and then wonder why their device runs poorly. IOS, ANDROID or any other OS wont run well if you download a lot of programs turning it into a clunker.
iminmessaging
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iminmessaging,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/8/2013 | 8:50:37 AM
re: Nexus 7 Reveals Android's Ongoing Flaws
Try using device in safe mode.
PeteP926
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PeteP926,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/2/2013 | 7:44:41 PM
re: Nexus 7 Reveals Android's Ongoing Flaws
I don't understand why people are having issues with their 2nd gen Nexus 7s. I have one and a few people I work with have them as well and have not had any issues at all with any of the apps the author talked about. In fact, one of our Apple fanboys who has every model of the iPad used one of our Nexus 7s and ended up getting one. It's truly a great tablet that will get better as Android continues to get better.
rmagruder
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rmagruder,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/30/2013 | 4:48:12 PM
re: Nexus 7 Reveals Android's Ongoing Flaws
Oh, look the pipo spammers have found this thread too. I will say I would NEVER buy the above product, if only out of spite for all the comment-thread trolling they are doing. This is astroturf at its finest.
anon0225044784
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anon0225044784,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/30/2013 | 3:49:25 PM
re: Nexus 7 Reveals Android's Ongoing Flaws
I have had the same issue as the Author. Lots of rebooting. I uninstalled the Chrome update and I seem to have fewer reboots but none the less they still happen. I've also had crashes when using Google Hangout, Bible Gateway, Kindle and surfing the internet.
SteveK225
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SteveK225,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/29/2013 | 9:07:40 PM
re: Nexus 7 Reveals Android's Ongoing Flaws
Comments like: "I've seen similar issues on countless Android devices over the years" make it appear to me that the author is either not very professional or, in reality, a fanboy of some other ecosystem. I would be willing to bet that he could, if he actually tried, count the number of devices he has worked with.
The statement "over the years" is pretty specious also as there really not very many "years" that the android ecosystem has been available. Get professional please!!!!!
TC93
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TC93,
User Rank: Strategist
7/29/2013 | 7:30:17 PM
re: Nexus 7 Reveals Android's Ongoing Flaws
Its just my opinion, but Nexus users really are the Guinea Pigs for everyone else. Since they get the latest Android operating system, they are the ones who will get the most bugs. Most likely not all apps are compatible with Android 4.3.

This is the reason I think that Samsung is usually a version or two behind, when it comes to Android. They do that to avoid these bugs.
mwarr002
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mwarr002,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/29/2013 | 4:32:16 PM
re: Nexus 7 Reveals Android's Ongoing Flaws
I too just got the Nexus 7 and haven't had a single crash. My fandango app works fine, as well as Chrome, Gmail and Zillow. I can access my full Google Play music library from the Nexus and I haven't downloaded a single mp3 on the tablet. Your tablet seems like a lemon, I would return it and not make sweeping statements about the inadequacy of an entire operating system.
ggiese87101
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ggiese87101,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/29/2013 | 3:59:51 PM
re: Nexus 7 Reveals Android's Ongoing Flaws
I have an iPad Mini at work and a number of tablet apps that I have on my iPad I can't find on the Mini, and I have to select the iPhone/iPod version, so it's not just an Android problem. But the Android ecosystem is more difficult for app developers to work with because of the large variety of devices with differing memory, processors, and screens. Things have gotten better since the PC heydays of the 80's and 90's in many ways, but multi-platform hardware support, even with a fixed point of reference (Android, iOS, etc.), is still an issue.
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