I have had an idea for a while now. I need an Android tablet. Apple i-Pads don't do flash, so I wouldn't have the whole Internet, and besides, I'm not a hipster. I can't turn a laptop sideways to read a book or a magazine. That is a pain. An Android tablet seemed like the answer. The first one I tried was a Nextbook 7. Its screen wasn't as sharp as I would like, and it had lower resolution than some, but at least I could get the whole Internet, so I thought. I tried to download Mozilla Firefox, and was directed to something called Google Play, the only Android app store that Mozilla.com would send me to. It wouldn't work. I also tried to get an app to look at Viz Media manga. Google Play came up again. No way to get that either. Turns out that my Nextbook was not on the approved hardware list. A manufacturer would have to cough up an outrageous amount of money to be approved by Google, and Nextbook had not. Since I was stuck with no way to get the things I wanted for it, and it also ran hot enough to nearly burn me, I returned the Nextbook.
After doing some research online, it looked like there were other app stores, but it would be a whole lot easier if I could just use Google Play. Android is apparently a Google product, so their store has an advantage. I was impressed by the specs of the tablet Google sells, the Nexus 7 by Asus. It had the best screen, a quad core processor, more ram than most and a reasonable price, as well as the latest and allegedly greatest version of Android. "How could Google's own tablet screw up at their own app store? It couldn't!" so I thought. At the risk of rewarding them for their bad behavior in the marketplace, I bought a Nexus 7. The first thing I tried to download was Mozilla Firefox. I got an error message that it was not compatible with this device. I then tried to get Adobe Flash, as nearly every website with any kind of video needs that. Guess what? Not compatible with this device. Turns out, Adobe has no plans to support Android beyond version 4.0, and I have version 4.1. I got the Windows Vista of Android versions! That Viz app won't install either. Not compatible. Another annoyance is some Google search tool. It appears out of the blue and takes up the whole screen when I never asked for it, and don't want it. I know I have triggered it somehow when a circle with the word Google appears, and then the screen goes blank. What were they thinking? Why would anyone want this damn thing popping up all the time?
I took some time on the Internet trying to find out why I can't have Flash, and therefore can't have the whole Internet, on what had looked like it would be the Cadillac of seven inch tablets. It seems to be a squabble between Google and Adobe much like the one between Apple and Adobe. I realize that Flash crashes a lot, and needs several updates a day to keep running, but too much of the Internet needs that plug-in to do without it. I get it that they want to steer the industry toward HTML5, which would be theoretically better than Flash, but that is years away if it ever happens. That doesn't solve my problem now. I paid $200 dollars for this damn tablet, and I want the damn Internet to just work!
Android is not just Android. Apps are routinely compatible with some versions and not others. Even if you have the right version, some manufacturer's tablets will not be supported.
Imagine if this garbage were going on in Windows PCs. The HP, Sony, Dell and Lenovo at the big electronics store would all be running Windows 7, but one would have 7.0, another would have 7.1.1, a third would have 7.0.1 and the fourth, 7.1. Imagine this creating a host of compatibility problems. Not only that, but imagine the software you just bought is only for HP. It won't run on your Dell. Isn't Windows Windows? If this were how it worked, 90 percent of new PCs sold would be returned, and their former owners would swear off computers forever.
Google and Adobe need to get over their childish squabble, and just get the whole Internet working on these damn things for their paying customers. The entire industry doesn't give two squats about us. The "We got your money, sucker!" attitude they display toward customer service is inexcusable. Maybe video on the Internet is a problem that the marketplace just can't solve with their proprietary attitudes, and the FCC needs to establish a standard. They used to do that with TV and radio, and it worked back in my day.
I have a tech savvy person here in the office, staff reporter Colleen Smith, who figured out that I could run a Beta version of Mozilla Firefox and trick it into taking Flash, even though this is not an approved device. It works as long as I don't try to run a video in full screen mode, which will instantly crash it. Here is the article she found, in case you would like to know. Now maybe I won't return the Nexus 7. I do like to read books and magazines on it, and the GPS navigation is nice, but it is still a pain. I need a real keyboard, or maybe a stylus. My fingers are just too big, and I don't have fat hands.
UPDATE: I eventually did return the Nexus 7 Tablet, and have not bought anything else. It just had too many flaws to be worth $200. In addition to the problems I already wrote about, it has no SD socket, so there is no way to expand its storage. With only a front facing camera, scanning QR codes was impossible, as was taking pictures other than self-portraits. From now on I will stick to reading printed books and magazines, and use a real computer to surf the Internet. The Samsung Galaxy II looked like it might be more what I had in mind, but was not nearly worth the $250 price tag.
CLARIFICATION: I had the 8GB version of the tablet, not the 16GB version.