Joshua Topolsky, of The Verge, reviews the Google Nexus 7 – a new 7-inch tablet.
The Nexus 7 is a flagship device for Google’s Android operating system. It runs the latest version of Android, 4.1 ‘Jelly Bean’, and features nicely designed hardware for the device’s $200 price point.
And it sounds like Google, at least on its own branded devices, is addressing Android’s audio latency problem:
Audio latency on the Galaxy Nexus, running on Jelly bean, has been reduced from 100ms to 12ms. But, they’re still not satisfied as they want to reduce it to below 10ms. So it looks like some of those iOS music apps which are heavily reliant on low audio latency targets may finally be coming to Android.
Based on early reports, though, upgrading older devices to the latest Android OS won’t deliver this level of audio performance.
“Google’s Nexus 7 isn’t just an excellent tablet for $200. It’s an excellent tablet, period,” notes Topolsky. “It’s the first Android tablet that I can confidently recommend.”
If the Android 4.1 audio improvements pan out, the Google Nexus 7 tablet could be the first Android tablet that offers a viable alternative as a tablet music platform to iOS and the iPad. Apple’s iOS platform still offers many advantages – including MIDI support, a mature hardware ecosystem and a more profitable app store for developers. But the Nexus 7 could help make cheap tablets viable music tools and drive Apple to continue innovating with the iPad.
The Google Nexus 7 tablet is expected to ship in 2-3 weeks, priced at $199 for the 8GB version & $249 for the 16GB version.
Update: Based on developer feedback on the Nexus 7, audio latency is still a problem:
“I have developed 4 music apps for IOS. I have today ported them over and they all still have audio latency problems.
I’m not saying that its totally impossible as there may just be a way to get round it but I’m sharing 4 developers experience with the Nexus 7 today and tested 5 musical apps that cannot perform well enough. The audio latency is still behind the iPhone 3G”
Google Nexus 7 Specifications:
- 7” 1280×800 HD display (216 ppi)
- Back-lit IPS display
- Scratch-resistant Corning glass
- 1.2MP front-facing camera
- 198.5 x 120 x 10.45mm
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
- 8 GB internal storage (actual formatted capacity will be less)
- 1 GB RAM
- Micro USB
- 4325 mAh (Up to 8 hours of active use)
- Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
- Quad-core Tegra 3 processor
- NFC (Android Beam)
See the Google site for more details.
Update: Peter Kirn at CreateDigitalMusic has posted his thoughts on audio in Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean”. His focus is on the Android changes.
The new Android OS offers a lot to be excited about. But, at least for now, musicians interested in the Android platform need to consider not just the operating system, but the performance of specific hardware + software implementations.