Google Nexus 7: Android’s salvation?

I tried to write this review on my Nexus 7, but impressive as it is, it’s not cut out for content creation like the iPad is.

Not that I’m complaining. You’d have to be slightly crazy to expect a 7-inch tablet to be a comfortable workhorse, and at $250-odd for the Nexus 7, you’d be forgiven for thinking “dedicated backlit book reader”, like I did. Fair warning, though: you might find yourself inexplicably drawn to the other niceties of Google’s new tablet.

I still love my iPad, and I still think iOS is the bomb, but for the first time ever, Android has genuinely impressed me. The Nexus 7’s “Jelly Bean” UI is every bit as smooth and responsive as iOS, the physical device is a delight to hold and use, and the operating system itself finally feels both polished and robust.

These improvements won’t solve Android’s inherent device fragmentation problems, but I think the buzz Google has created by so successfully launching a slick, affordable 7-inch tablet will go a long way towards attracting high-quality tablet apps to their app store. (There are still relatively few tablet-optimised Android apps available, but it’s reassuring that Google Play is making it easier than ever to find them. I’ve been particularly impressed with Evernote, Instapaper and Plume so far.)

Will the Nexus 7 take a sizable bite out of Apple’s enormous tablet market share? It’s too early to say. My hunch is that we’ll see Android grow as iOS developers port their apps for Nexus 7 users, but if Apple reply with a cheap 7-inch iPad before Android tablets gain momentum, the strength of Apple’s app ecosystem will continue to make it tough for Android.

May all of the good products win!

(Also: Google/ASUS should take packaging lessons from Apple. Liberating my Nexus 7 from its box required surgery to the box ;) )

Why Canon’s EOS M sucks

A couple of days ago, Canon announced their first contribution to the mirrorless camera market.

They’re calling it the EOS M. As far as I can tell, the only good thing about it is the sensor size (APS-C, or 1.6 crop – in the same ballpark as Fujifilm’s X100 and X-Pro1, and significantly larger than micro-4/3’s). The new 22mm f/2 lens looks alright too.

Some photographers will love the compatibility with Canon’s EF and EF-S lenses (via a $200 adapter, mind you). Then again, all of those lenses dwarf the camera, and most of us expect mirrorless systems to be diminutive. Right?

The touch screen might eventually be a game changer for Canon (assuming it’s well-implemented), but on this camera, it comes at the expense of finger-friendly control dials and configurable buttons. I guess you don’t need those when there’s NO VIEWFINDER. (Oh sorry … were you hoping to use this camera outdoors? You’re going to need one of these. What touch screen?)

For $800-odd, you’d expect something smarter than this from Canon, especially given the maturity of mirrorless cameras by Fujifilm, Sony, Olympus and Panasonic.

(Not that Nikon have done any better so far.)

One. More. Massacre.

One. More. Massacre.

If I had sufficient talent, I would have written something like this. It perfectly expresses why I’m so profoundly dismayed by last night’s mass murders in Colorado, and the complete lack of courageous American leadership in their wake.

The collective stupidity of the USA on this issue is mind-boggling. And utterly depressing.

Welcome to Australia (if only)

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Maybe Australia should inscribe these words on its own Statue of Liberty. I’m thinking… the Sydney Heads?