Replacing My One+ One…a not-so-smart-phone

Nexus5 lock screenMy history with Android-based mobile phones isn’t really that long, at least not when expressed by what I’ve owned; T-Mobile G2 (aka HTC Desire Z), Samsung Galaxy Nexus, LG Nexus 4 and the One+ One. Transitioning away from a Blackberry 9700 in 2010, I liked the G2, adored the two Nexus models, but I regret the decision to buy the One+ One.

I bought it back in February. There were two motivating factors at play; my Nexus 4 had become unreliable, and I was taken-in by the One+ One’s combination of reasonable price, flagship specs and limited availability.

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Deal Alert: Groupon Offering Nexus 7 For $149

Yesterday I received my third Nexus 7 (2013 edition) by way of a Groupon deal that ends later today. The offer is new, not refurbished, versions of the 16 GB model for $149.  That’s down from the $199 list price, which was an unbelievable bargain in the first place.

Nexus7-Groupon

There are dozens of cheap Android tablets to be had, but few that run Lollipop. In my case, my existing Nexus 7, which has a few scrapes and nicks, will be rotated into a utility role, very likely as a pseudo-Squeezebox.

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Deal Alert: Nexus 7 (2013 model)

Nexus7 verticalI still like my Nexus 7 tablet. In fact, I like it enough that I could use a spare. Moreover, there are currently two noteworthy deals being offered:

Groupon has new 16 GB models for $135 with free shipping. It’s actually $149.99, but you can use a coupon (SALE10) to drop another 10% on checkout.

If that’s not good enough, Staples has them on offer as well. They have the 16 GB model (SKU: 215186) for just $99 and the 32 GB model (SKU:215185) for $128. This notice comes courtesy of User Quote, who also has an online inventory checker.

Sadly, my nearest Staples doesn’t have any in stock. It might be worth a drive to get one from a suburban store. I have some novel new application ideas for such a tablet, especially now that I have the ASUS Official Nexus 7 Tablet (2013) Dock.

Revisiting The SlimPort Output Of Android Devices

HDMI-SplitterA few days back I received a G+ IM from someone who had discovered my description of how to use an HDMI splitter to make the output of an Android tablet more useful. He posed a question that I think is worth sharing. He asked the following;

Dear Michael,

I just read your article about capturing video from a Nexus 7 and I have a question about that if you do not mind.

I bought a Nexus 7 (2013) to be able to give presentations and show short movies in my classroom. The thing is that most projectors still have only a VGA socket. I have a cable Slimport=>HDMI and it works perfectly well.

I also have a cable HDMI=>VGA but it does not work and I suspect it is because of the HDCP. I was wondering if the splitter and HDCP stripper you used could work in my case. If yes that would be great and would literally save my classes.

Thank your for your time and sorry again to bother you with that.

Thibaut Bailly

To begin, as a blogger, I welcome questions from readers. For the most part people blog because the want to share what they’ve discovered. As a non-professional blogger I may not always respond immediately, but I try to respond to every comment and question.

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Capturing The Video Output Of A Nexus 7 Tablet

DoorBot-in-Nexus5There are times when it would be handy to capture the video output of an Android device. This is typically what I need when writing something about an app that does something dynamic. For example, AudioTool by J.J. Bunn. As a tool for simple audio test & measurement capturing its output in real-time is the ideal way to communicate the measurement being taken. A static screen shot is fast & easy to accomplish, but video can be much more illuminating.

Both my Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 (2013) support the use of a Slimport USB-to-HDMI adapter to connect to a monitor. The output of that adapter is 1080p60. The BlackMagic Design Intensity Pro HDMI capture card that I’ve used for the past couple of years can capture streams up to 1080i60, but not 1080p60.

Quite recently I swapped out the Intensity Pro for an AVerMedia Game Broadcaster HD. This card has the ability to capture a 1080p60 stream. In so doing it drops every second frame to actually save a 1080p30 stream to disk.

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Asus Launches Official Charging Docks for Nexus 7

Asus PW100 Qi wireless charging stand for Nexus 7 (2013)I really enjoyed my Nexus 7, so much so that after 18 months of use I bought myself the 2013 edition and gifted the original to a friend. I also had the much delayed charging stand for the original Nexus 7. No such device was available for the newer model, until today.

Today Asus released a pair of charging docks for the little Nexus 7 tablet. The first dock is a wired device featuring an HDMI output port. It’s priced at $50 which seems little steep, but not much more than  the dock I had for the older tablet.

In contrast, the ASUS PW100 Wireless Charging Stand sells for a whopping $90! That seems just a little beyond reasonable for a single position Qi wireless charger. As I’ve mentioned previously, this pricing makes it seem like manufacturers are intentionally limiting the rollout of wireless charging.

Late last year I bought a Qi charger for just $30, gifting it to the Mrs for her Nexus 4. Happily, given the premature demise of her Nexus 4, that charger works just as well for her shiny red Nexus 5.

Needless to say, I will not be ordering the new ASUS PW100 Wireless Charging Stand which is just today available from Amazon.