It's been a year since Google debuted the Nexus 7, the first small Android tablet that actually represented a great value at as little as $199, and the wait for a successor with some much-needed upgrades is quickly rising to the top of my list of first-world problems.
Sadly, my Nexus 7 is sitting on a shelf, with a barely-visible crack running across the length of the glass screen from top to bottom. While this wouldn't be a terminal injury for many iPads and other larger tablets, it is for the Nexus 7. Mine now suffers from constant phantom touches (the screen acts like it's being touched even when it's not), and it's nearly impossible to advance anywhere from the lock screen, let alone actually use it. Of course, it is possible to repair the screen...for about the same price as buying a brand new one.
The fatal, face-down drop onto some particularly hard-headed flagstone happened a few months ago and I've been surprised how much my whole family has missed the Nexus 7. It had become the go-to device for just about anything (like writing about the Nexus 7) that doesn't require a hard keyboard. Movie or games for the kids on a long road trip? Check. E-mail? Calendar management? I actually preferred using my Nexus over my laptop. Catching up on news? No better experience than Flipboard on that lightweight, 7-inch screen.
I looked into a replacement, but had a hard time justifying buying another new one for the same price or even a used one for a little less. This week, there's finally some downward movement on the price of a new Nexus 7, with Staples dropping the price of the 32GB model by $50 and the 16GB version is down to $179 from the $199 I paid for it a year ago.
Of course, the lower price comes with the paradox of strongly hinting that the next edition of the Nexus 7 could finally be nearly upon us, as retailers clear out inventory to make room for the next big thing.
So now the waiting game continues. With a beefier Nexus 7 just around the corner (rumored to have Android 4.3, a 1,920x1,200-pixel display and Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor), it's even more difficult for me to justify anything else, shy of perhaps making the switch and shelling out more cash for an iPad Mini.
And I have tried some of the alternatives, including Microsoft's Surface Pro and an imitation of the Nexus 7 from Huawei (I got ahold of a review unit of the 7-inch MediaPad) that came with a surprisingly beautiful UI, but was bulkier and seemed to get bogged down easily. Oh yeah, and it retailed originally for nearly three times as much as the Nexus. Both devices still left me pining for my Nexus 7, pre-accident.
Next week there's a mysterious Google/Motorola event that we're told will not be about the Moto X hero phone, leaving me to wonder -- nay, to dream -- that perhaps some of the Moto folks have been brought onboard the Nexus tablet team and they've got something new to show us. However, if I put away my hopes and dreams, I have to admit this doesn't seem likely, and given the history of past Moto tablets like the overpriced Xyboard, I'm not sure I'd want that team touching my precious Nexus 7.
So for now, I'll remain patient for its successor to arrive and for the time when I can justify buying it. Did I mention my birthday is in August? Please hurry, Google. Thanks.