I knew that I'd like the Nexus 7. As others on ZDNet have pointed out, this may finally be the 7-inch tablet that reminds people there is more to geek life than a 10-inch iPad. And given a choice between Android and iOS, no matter how much I like my New iPad, I'll pick Android, particularly its 4.x incarnations. What I didn't realize was how much I'd like it or how much I'd start ignoring my so-called "superphone".
My past 2 phones have been top-of-the-line Verizon Android "superphones". At least for the first 10 minutes until something fancier came out. Bigger screens, faster processors, and ridiculous price tags were the name of the game. Beginning with the HTC Incredible, I was more likely to reach for my phone than any laptop or tablet, including the New iPad. Despite crappy battery life, my Droid Razr was always in my pocket, always at hand; the iPad was usually nearby, but the 4.3-inch screen on the Razr was good enough for most tasks. Why reach for something else?
The Nexus 7, though, is small enough to also almost always be at hand. I only own one pair of shorts into which it doesn't fit and I've never liked those anyway. It's also big enough to make me realize that my aging, computer-baked eyes shouldn't spend hours reading, searching, or viewing on anything smaller.
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Yesterday I did something that I haven't done in ages. Sitting through an interminable parade, waiting for two of my kids to emerge with their float at the very end of the line, my daughter contentedly asleep on my chest in the warm July afternoon, I just read. For pleasure. Go figure, right? My point is that I would have ordinarily grabbed 10 minutes reading on the Kindle app on my phone or, given an opportunity like yesterdays, would still not have broken out the iPad, instead thumbing through pages on the phone. Holding an iPad one-handed for an hour while the other keeps my kid from flopping over in her sleep would be an exercise in sheer torture for someone with carpal tunnels as abused as mine.
The Nexus 7, though, wrapped in the Tuff-Luv case I stole off my Kindle Fire with its handy elastic strap for one-handed reading, sat nicely in my hand the whole time.
The same goes for email, web surfing, note-taking, and anything else for which I would normally grab my phone. 7" fits in one hand or a pocket and works much better for all of those things than my phone, no matter how large its screen or how bright its display (never mind the fact that it cost me half again as much as the Nexus). Suddenly, my superphone is super-redundant and super-underutilized, relegated to tethering where I can't find WiFi for my new tablet or texting people who haven't switched my contact to use my Google Voice number.
All of which means that my next phone only needs one thing: 4G tethering. Quad core processors, giant screens, massive memory, and anything else that makes a smartphone "super" is just wasted money. I don't need any of those things to make phone calls (and who really talks on their smartphones anyway?), send texts, or hook into a mobile network. In fact, between Skype and Google voice, a decent Bluetooth headset will have me talking and texting on my Nexus more than I do on my phone.
How much of the high-end Android smartphone market has Google cannibalized with their awesome (and cheap) new tablet? And how much more would they eat up by just adding 4G? My guess is that plenty of folks will still buy the latest and greatest smartphones than Samsung, Motorola, and other players crank out. However, I'm also guessing that I'm not the only one who will be taking a different approach to smartphone buying when his current contract runs out.