The air is almost electric as we get ever nearer to the announcement of Android 4.4 and the Nexus 5. Of course, we don't know exactly when that will be, but tomorrow has been heavily rumored. Perhaps adding more fuel to that fire, Google has updated the Play Store listing for the Nexus 7 with a new interface better suited to selecting among multiple configurations.
Now when clicking the link to the new Nexus 7, you'll get a page with drop-down lists to choose the storage size and connectivity.
It has traditionally been hard to find properly optimized tablet apps on Android. At first it was simply because there weren't any, but increasingly the problem is visibility. Google is aiming to change that with some new tablet-specific tweaks to the on-device Play Store app. Not only will tablet users see more tablet apps, but they'll be able to tell which apps are designed for larger screens.
The first of two changes affects the top lists in the Play Store app.
Amazon's new Kindle Fire HDX tablets certainly have some top-of-the-line hardware, but what good is the hardware without software to make use of it? Amazon is again forking Android to create Fire OS 3.0, codenamed Mojito. This software will be recognizable to users of previous Fire tablets, but it's been cleaned up a bit and looks more modern. There are also a few interesting new features exclusive to Amazon's tablets.
The underlying version of Android this time around is 4.2.2, but none of the Google services are included.
It has only been a few months since Asus announced the original PadFone Infinity, but the new version of the phone-tablet hybrid was just outed in Taiwan. This is a spec bump on the last PadFone, which moves from Snapdragon 600 to 800, but that's not all.
Just like the last PadFone, this one has a 5-inch 1080p screen, which is upped to a 10-inch display at the same resolution when the phone is in the tablet dock.
What kind of barbarian would take the living room tablet into the bedroom? Or the bedroom tablet into the den? Outrageous! You need to have a tablet for each room if you want to be a civilized human being. Sony gets that, which is why it has announced the Xperia Tablet Z Kitchen Edition. It's the regular Tablet Z, but with some cooking-oriented accessories (and a higher price tag).
Internally, this is the same Xperia Tablet Z we've seen before with a Snapdragon S4 Pro, 2GB of RAM, and 32GB of storage.
In 2009, I was an iPhone user. I had been watching Android intently, but none of the hardware really appealed to me. As the end of the year grew near, I felt the itch to get out of Apple's walled garden. I didn't hate my iPhone, but I knew it wasn't the right platform for me. I bought an HTC Hero, and I still pride myself on having the commonsense to return it a few weeks later and buy the Motorola Droid.
It's pretty easy to understand why typing isn't exactly an optimal experience on a smartphone. They are designed to fit in palms and come with virtual keys smaller than the fingertips used to press them. Tablets don't suffer from this problem, but they come with one of their own - a user can type speedily using the significantly larger keys, but resting their fingers on the screen for a mere second is all it takes to turn "superpower" to "sauerkraut," and suddenly that status update about whether America should get involved in Syria accumulates a different flood of Facebook comments than was expected.
As Cameron explained in his latest "What We Use" entry, technology can change a lot in just one year. Around this time last year, I was running with a 2012 Nexus 7, a Galaxy Tab 10.1, and an Evo LTE. All of those devices have changed since then, as have my favorite apps and other gadgets. The family of devices I use has grown and evolved significantly since last October, so I thought it may be fun to detail just what I use to get through a normal day.