67% bigger real-estate, are software buttons to blame ?

Watching the iPad mini event this morning I got caught in the distortion field for a little while after seeing how much the software keys cut into the Nexus 7's real-estate while web browsing. I've never used a Google device w/ software keys, so I'm not positive how they actually work, but I have a hard time believing they're present all the time while browsing.

Why couldn't Google do the following:

  • Allow users to hide (or autohide) the nav software keys via bezel gestures?
  • Use forward/back gestures in Chrome to actually allow us to navigate sans software keys in the first place?
On a side note, I quickly snapped out of the distortion field when I noticed how small the side bezels are....it actually looks kind of awkward to hold one handed now that they shrunk these so small.