Nexus 7 and Chromecast

Chromecast, that is. I really can't decide whether Chromecast is the bigger story out of last week's "Breakfast with Sundar" in San Francisco, or if it's the new Nexus 7. We'll have our full reviews of both this week — Jerry and Andrew are leading those — and I'll have some thoughts on them as well, in addition to a little gushing here.

On the new Nexus 7: In a word, yes. The resolution. The improved hardware. A slightly higher price, sure, but still well within limits for what I'd consider a must-purchase.

On Chromecast: I couldn't help but blather this on Google+, but this is why I was crowing about the Nexus Q for the last year and change. Yeah, Chromecast's not nearly as sexy a piece of hardware, but the end result is the same, and then some — especially when you take the Chromecast SDK into account.

It's OK that not everybody gets it. Chromecast doesn't have to be all things for all people. No piece of tech does, for that matter. And the ridiculousness of "But the pictures didn't all show it needs USB power" will die off.

A $35 appliance that lets me stream my music and videos — plus YouTube and a full Chrome tab — into my entertainment center and bedroom TV? No-brainer. I bought two myself. And we're giving away one a day for the rest of this week. And we'll have plenty more on Chromecast as it matures.

Let's have a few other thoughts on the past week. It's been a busy one.

  • Google needs some kudos, I think, for the relatively few hiccups during the crush of Chromecast and Nexus 7 orders. We'll have to see if it holds up for the next phone release.
  • Same goes for the AOSP folks in how quickly and smoothly code was released, along with factory images for existing devices.
  • I'm really curious to see how all this CyanogenMod "Nemesis" stuff turns out. Never mind the hype over an un-released camera app. (And Focal looks pretty promising.) As Steve Kondik himself said, it's just the beginning. 
  • Talk Mobile returns this week with five days of security and business content.
  • I'm back on the road this week for Thursday's Moto X festivities. Can this phone possibly live up to the hype? I dunno. Probably not. I really don't care about the leaks at this point. I just want to use this thing and see for myself.
  • And I have a feeling that the LG G2 should be interesting as well. I'll be back in New York on Aug. 7 for that one. 
  • iMore's Rene Ritchie shared this great post from Stratechery with us last week, and it's spot-on in a number of ways in regards to how we should think about Apple versus Google. (I do think its brief concern over the lack of a new phone last week or at Google I/O is a bit misplaced, though. It's still out of cycle for that.) 

Last week's top stories

We've decided to give a weekly look back at our top-ranking stories, based on page views. No great surprise, but last week's news kind of dominated things, with our last "best phones" installment solidly in the top 10. (We're expecting to update that list once we get better looks at all the new Motorola phones.) So, here's what led for June 21-27: 

  1. Android 4.3 for the Nexus 4 is rolling out everywhere, here's the download link
  2. Chromecast setup and first impressions
  3. Hands-on with Chromecast
  4. The Google event liveblog!
  5. Google officially unveils Android 4.3 Jelly Bean
  6. The best Android phone you can buy as of June 2013
  7. The new Nexus 7: First impressions and detailed video
  8. Android 4.3 pushing today for current Nexus devices
  9. Hands-on with the new Nexus 7
  10. Exclusive first look: Pics and video of the new Nexus 7
 
There are 25 comments

Kudos to Google on 4.3 a big update of under the hood changes, but it is what we need at this point. Plus I have noticed substantially better battery life on my Nexus 4 and 7.

Thinking of picking up 2 chromecasts for my household as well. Gonna wait to see if I win one this week first

Lanhoj says:

Ya I'm loving the new 4.3 Notification system.
Currently only supported by Floating Notifications & NiLS, I'm sure the big Notification Apps like LightFlow & Productigeeky's suite of Apps will soon implement the changes.

mwara244 says:

My old N7 screen started flickering really bad after installing 4.3, never happened before until 2 days after installation, always when in chrome browser

swimmaholic says:

I believe both are equally great and a good step for mobile technology as a whole

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ultravisitor says:

I think the Chromecast is the bigger story. The Nexus 7 is just a refresh--albeit a very nice one. Plus, everyone knew it was coming. The Chromecast, on the other hand, was more of a surprise. It's sold out basically everywhere. It's at such a low price point that it's a no brainer purchase, and it's going to enable Google to bring a lot more people into the world of streaming television.

Hell, it even made me realize that okay, maybe I really do need a Netflix subscription.

MERCDROID says:

For $8 a month, I feel that Netflix is a great deal. It's a great way to watch your favorite movies and shows and discover new ones, as well.

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NoNexus says:

Chromecast-- Love it, good launch (much better than other Google stuff)
Nexus 7 -- See above
4.3 -- Meh, I know alot changes but still meh.
Nemesis- incomplete

Moto X -- Cannot live up to the hype. I am not saying that it is gonna be bad because we already know most things about it, but it cannot live up to the hype. Certainly not a phone I am spend some money on. One thing, people are going to be a bit disappointed when it is a finely tuned Blur and not a 95% vanilla phone. THis is a good thing though. Show HTC and Samsung how a skin should be done. Show what one can do instead of slapping all kinds of spare parts together...

+1 for showing HTC and Samsung how a skin should be done.

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S_C_B says:

Phil, I expect my "From the Editor's Desk" early each Sunday morning! :-)

All kidding aside, I really like my Chromecast. I'm excited to see what the devs and Google have planned for it.

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I have said this several times this week,Google did some really really impressive things this week,and I am completely in love with the new nexus 7. Google has made me and many others very happy this week. So,thank you Google.

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mrjayviper says:

was looking at chromecast as an airplay replacement but it's obviously not as feature rich compared to airplay at its current iteration. I'm looking to stream local content (audio/video) from my TF700 or note2.

If you paste the entire file path into Chrome's address bar you can stream just about anything, including local files. I streamed a 1080p movie and unfortunately it was kinda choppy but hell, its a solution that might be addressed with a software update (hopefully).

sidamos says:

Chromecast is proprietary and is really not needed. DLNA can do the same and more. Chromecast can not even stream local media, as far as I understand.

dmatherl says:

It sort of can via screensharing with a laptop.

I think Chromecast sounds awesome kudos to the Google team. long live the Android platform! I don't have a Chromecast but maybe I will be the lucky winner of one :-)

madroxide says:

Chromecast is the way to go. No more bulky hardware to stream videos..woohooo

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David Mills says:

No audio on chromecast via panasonic hdmi, same thing happens with my nexus 10

Already updated my Galaxy Nexus to 4.3 but a ChromeCast is still missing from my home, so pick me!

Firescar96 says:

Lucky are those people who have access to Google Fiber and can stream seamlessly. Also, why wouldn't google allow full support to use chromecast as second monitor.

GKWANNABE says:

Well Phil, I've never won anything through the almighty AC but one can only hope and keep trying, right.

I'm amazed how Google, once a search engine and still is, started out slowly by beating Yahoo! Now its creating telephone software to streaming devices to a cable set-top box which is still in the works. I'm truely amazed at the innovation. I think Chromecast is a great thing and an awesome product to that will bring in plenty of profit for Google. My question is, whatever happen to *MIRACAST*? I mean, other than Chromecast being the fix to the Nexus Q but is Chromecast the solution to Miracast which was supposedly a new feature as part of the 4.2 update a while back? Anyone?

As far as Moto X... I'm sure it'll do fine as there will always be people who like to try new things or like to have the latest and greatest. More power to them. I personally won't buy it cause I'm content with my HTC One but, would rather have the Nexus 4 which my wife has. I do like the look of the phone itself according to the leaks posted. It kind of looks like a Nexus 4/S4. All-In-all, good things are happening for Google and us, the citizens alike.

Keep the informative articles coming @PhilNickinson; I love this site!

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dswatson83 says:

There is a review on the chromecast at 'LearningCameras' and they had issues with the chrome tab (I know it's a beta but so was google maps and it worked much better). They had issues getting any better than 480p even though they could stream at 1080p when using the chromecast buttons built in to netflix or youtube or when using the nexus 7. Also, the audio was scrambled when using the chrome tab and sending audio from the TV to the receiver. Anyone else having these issues?

_X_ says:

I think 4.3 is the biggest story. It speaks to the maturity of Android and to the focus Google it's planning for Android's future. The play is now on performance and extensibility.

In particular it's going after the gaming platform, and it's history has shown anything, the platform that dominates in games wins.

wickets says:

"And we're giving away one a day for the rest of this week."

mine just arrived in the mail....5 minutes later it was up and running. Excellent. Decided i would buy a couple more for tv's around the house....4 weeks via play store......yikes!!!!!!!!!

iowabeakster says:

Chromecast perked my interest.

I won't be buying one yet. This does nothing my "living room PC" aka "HTPC" does not do (and of course that PC does a whole lot more in addition). But if I ever add another TV screen to the house, a chromecast would be an ideal type of device to get content to that new TV (as I was a "cable cutter" about 10 years ago).

Well almost...

The problem is lack of 5ghz WIFI! Now there are some drawbacks to using the higher frequency. But compared to the dozens of (heavily overpowered) 2.4ghz wifi signals bouncing around my home (from my neighbors), the 5ghz band is so much better. I don't live in an apartment, either. Just a typical single-family-house type neighborhood. Everyone keeps getting more and more powerful routers (when the problem is not signal strength!), and keep creating more and more interference for each other.

Everyone is now getting routers that broadcast 10 times farther than they need to, and so everyone else thinks that THEY need a stonger signal to compete also. The wifi arms race is now approaching cold war levels of ridiculousness. They would all get better performance by turning DOWN their power.

I am the only one using 5ghz. The only one. And so despite the weaker wall penetration of 5ghz, I get far better performance from an underpowered "gateway combo" unit everywhere in my house (and porches).

Please keep this in mind for Chromecast 2, thanks Google. I'm sure many neighborhoods across America have the same issue as mine. I would guess a fine wifi chip with 5ghz can be substituted for only pennies more.

knahrvorn says:

"Same goes for the AOSP folks in how quickly and smoothly code was released, along with factory images for existing devices."

Hmm... My Galaxy Nexus still hasn't received 4.3 over the air. My collegue's has't either. Wonder how long we'll have to wait for this...

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