Bits & Bytes: Google pushes 'pure' Android devices in Nexus line
BY ROBERT EVATT World Staff Writer
Sunday, November 04, 2012
11/04/12 at 2:54 AM
On the whole, I like the Android operating system. It's made great strides over the years and has become useful and fun to use.
But if you asked me what I think Android's greatest weakness is, I'd probably point to the various device makers. Some of them do great things with the operating system, but far too many of them load up an outdated version of Android, tart it up with largely unnecessary changes and ladle on the crapware.
I suspect Google knows this too, and that may be why it's making a renewed push for its own Nexus-branded devices. The company just announced the Nexus 4 is the latest Nexus phone, the Nexus 10 is a new large tablet and the Nexus 7 - the smaller, previously released tablet - now has more memory for the same price.
Despite Google's recent purchase of Motorola Mobility, it doesn't make the Nexus-branded devices. The 4 will be made by LG, the 7 is made by Asus and the 10 will be made by Samsung. So why is Google lavishing attention on a narrow range of dozens of Android devices?
The Nexus devices are the only ones with completely unmodified versions of Android - they're the "pure" experience.
Beyond nerd cred, going unmodified has some distinct advantages. Not only do you avoid less-than-ideal changes and crapware you can't get rid of, but you'll also be able to update the devices the instant the new version of Android comes out. The other devices have to account for the changes in programming, so it can take many months before the upgrade hits, if they get upgrades at all.
Does this mean Nexus products are the best Androids? Not necessarily.
I haven't had the opportunity to try it, but the Nexus 7 has earned enthusiastic reviews, and Asustek CFO David Chang told the Wall Street Journal last week that the tablet is close to selling a million units per month. For a non-iPad, that's darn good.
Nexus phones are another matter. Although they've been good phones for their time, they've typically arrived alongside better phones.
I'm also a little concerned about the Nexus 4's lack of LTE. The ultra-fast cellular technology is now widespread enough that it should be considered standard equipment on every decent smartphone. I'm guessing it was left out to keep the unsubsidized, no-contract price less than $300, though the omission could be a real handicap for such a high-profile device.
The Nexus brand isn't always a slam dunk. Still, unmodified Android could be yet another tempting option that stands out when shopping among all the Android devices out there.
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I love a good movie theater experience, but there's no pause button for the times you drank too much Coke and you don't want to miss anything. Fortunately, RunPee is here to help. Not only will it suggest times you can run to the bathroom when you won't miss much in any given movie, but it also has a timer you can set to have the phone vibrate and remind you when to go.
Beyond that, RunPee is a surprisingly great Swiss army knife for movie-watching. There's links to reviews from users and rottentomatoes.com, movie information from imdb.com, a synopsis of the first five minutes of the movie if you're running late and even a flashlight mode if you've dropped your keys.
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Original Print Headline: Google pushes 'pure' Android devices
Legal battle between Apple, Samsung gets sillier
Apple and Samsung aren't just duking it out in U.S. courts. They're suing each other in the U.K. as well, and Apple lost its bid to claim Samsung copied Apple's designs. In fact, a judge ordered Apple to post on its website a message saying Samsung didn't copy them.
As a result, we got the most passive-aggressive legal compliance I've ever seen. Apple posted trial documents detailing the differences between Apple and Samsung's products - including a judge's assertion that Apple is cool and Samsung isn't. They followed that gem up with a paragraph noting courts in the U.S. and Germany ruled that Samsung did copy Apple.
The judges weren't amused and ordered Apple to try again. As silly as this was, I get the feeling the legal war of the tech giants will only get sillier.
The Nexus 4 smartphone (left) and the Nexus 10 tablet are Google's devices that run unmodified versions of the Android operating system. Google, which doesn't manufacture the devices itself, is one of few devicemakers that leave the operating system in its "pure" form, which comes with some advantages. JEFF CHIU / Associated Press
A Samsung Galaxy S III is seen next to the Apple logo. Apple claims Samsung copied its designs. Bloomberg file