Just another Nexus 7 impression from an iOS user
I saw a great post about the Nexus 7 impression by Coptician, and I thought I'd add my impressions.
I'm a software developer who does web/backend programming as my day job, iOS programming on the side, and a little bit of Android. I have an app on both the iOS App Store and Google Play stores.
At $199, the Nexus 7 does give you the bang for the buck in terms of computing power. Web browsing is a relatively smooth experience, helped by the included Chrome browser. Games run smoothly as well, reminding you that this thing has adequate power.
The form factor, size and feel of the device are great for reading e-books using the Amazon Kindle app.
The overall experience is solid, the best for an Android device in this form factor I've used. But it has to be compared to an iPad no matter what, and to me, it's good, but not good enough.
The Not-so Positives
Unlike non-universal iOS apps, where iPhone apps are presented as a small window within the iPad screen, Android apps will automatically scale to fit the screen. In theory this sounds like a good idea, but it's really holding back Android in the iPad market. From a developer's perspective, it's great that all your apps are automatically tablet-ready since they automatically scale to the screen dimensions, but they suck for the user since they end up looking ugly the majority of the time. Sure, you can optimize for the tablet resolution (see Evernote and Gmail) - but the general feeling is that most app developers don't do this (yet?).
I can appreciate the appeal of Android as a computer nerd - I really do, the "freedom", the customization, the ability to install DOSBox in a semi-legit way to play some obscure retro game. I can geek out on this thing, for sure.
But it makes the device seem more, for the lack of a better term, computer-y. I feel like I'm always reminded that I'm using a (powerful portable) computer, like the desktop metaphor where you can drop icons, shortcuts or widgets, or when it asks what application it should open a web link with, or all the icons that start clogging up the Notification Bar like the systray in Windows, or the exposed file system. That may very well appeal to a lot of tech people, but I think it's a turn off to the average consumer.
An iPhone or iPad makes it simple (or dumbs it down if you prefer to think of it that way) by hiding away all of the computer-y stuff and present itself more as a general purpose device that anyone can use - where the apps become the device. It's that accessibility that makes it appealing to develop for - that as a developer you can reach more than the tech-savvy, and you yourself aim to make something that's equally accessible.
But the biggest downside for me is also a positive point I made above - the form factor. It's great for reading e-books but that's the only thing it's great for. For other general computing stuff, even for games - it doesn't feel right. The landscape orientation is too wide and the portrait mode is too narrow. When I sit next to my wife who is browsing the web on her iPad, the contrast is more striking - I feel like I'm missing half of the screen. In fact, I realized the Nexus 7 form factor is pretty much an oversized phone (or slightly oversized Galaxy Note). It's not the same as an iPad being an oversized iPod Touch - with the iPad, that 4:3 ratio gives you a lot more screen space and as a result, a lot more app differentiation.
Even the good apps that are optimized for the Nexus 7 (Evernote and Gmail) feel a little constrained. With the majority of apps for the Nexus 7 being upscaled to its resolution, you literally are getting a giant phone (er, without the phone) rather than a tablet. And you start to think how appealing it'd be to have a smaller iPad with the same aspect ratio/resolution as the original iPad...
Good, but not Good Enough
The Nexus 7 is a solid device, no doubt about that. It offers the best Android tablet experience for a low price - but I don't think that's enough to disrupt the iPad market, especially when a lower priced iPad mini is around the corner. We need an Android device that blows you away, that's simply amazing, "magical" - and unfortunately I don't think we're there yet.
Thanks for reading :)