Ten years ago today, July 26, 2013, Google released the Asus-manufactured (second-generation) Nexus 7 tablet in the United States. I almost need say nothing more than share headline to today’s Android Police story by Zachary Kew-Denniss: “10 years ago, Google launched the 2nd-gen Nexus 7, and no tablet has captured its magic since“. Dek: “An elegant tablet from a more civilized age”. Ah, yup. (Oh, check out the tech site’s way-back-when unboxing video.)
To be honest, I was enamored with the first iteration released the previous year, too. But the second checked all the right boxes: Android version maturity, balance, price, size, specs, supporting services, and utility. The thing felt good to handle and use, and Google smartly marketed the device as a tool for family and school purposes (great marketing video; click through). Apple couldn’t come close for communications, informational utility, virtual assistant capabilities, etc. etc.
At 9:40 p.m. EDT, on this date a decade ago, I posted to (the now defunct) Google+: “So this is my initial reaction to using the new #googlenexus7. I sold one of the family’s iPads tonight. The other is on Craigslist waiting for a buyer. The whole family will get Nexus 7, although my daughter asked for an #ipadmini last week”. (She didn’t get it.)
Nexus 7 remained my favorite all-time tablet until buying Samsung Galaxy Tab S8+ in May of this year. (Ha! The S9 series launched today, with preorders and August 11 availability.)
That said, Google got so much right but didn’t maintain commitment to the form factor—and not just thinking about hardware but the overall experience: communication, community, connectivity, and consistent, constant informational access. Yes, Pixel smartphones are worthy lifestyle successors but they’re not as magical or marketed as charmingly or as effectively emphasizing broad benefits.
Strangely, I can’t find photos from July 2013, which isn’t a surprise. I used so many different devices back then (testing, testing), some pics are gone the way of Gremlins. But I got something! The Featured Image and companion are stock shots snapped on September 29 of that year, both with HTC One.
Vitals: f/2, ISO 160, 1/40 sec, 28mm (film equivalent); 9:58 a.m. PDT. The other is same but ISO 320 and 1/20 sec, one-minute later.