Yesterday, Google confirmed what had more or less been announced a couple of days earlier – the launch of their own (well made by Asus) 7″ Android tablet. Called Nexus 7, it appears to be quite a tidy if small piece of gear. But will this be the one to finally get Andorid on the map as a player in the DJ and audio sectors?
On paper, this is a decent spec – a hi res 1280×800 screen, quad core Tegra 3 processor, WiFi, Bluetooth and micro-USB connectivity adds up to a solid package. At 7″, it’s a tad short on screen real estate for me, as is the 8Gb and 16Gb configurations. But the price ($249/£199 for the larger 16Gb) is immensely compelling over an iPad. There is also the issue of split output.
I’m becoming more convinced of the usefulness of tablets in DJing. At first, I predicted that tablets would revolutionise DJing, but it seems that mainstream DJ adoption is slow. And indeed, my own experience has been somewhat less than overwhelming. Coming from a background where a DJ setup fits in a van, scaling the whole experience down into my old school headspace is hard. But I do see tablets being used as accessories – see Denon’s new Engine softwarewith iPad connectivity for the library. But also fitting in just as laptops did – not as the main controller, but as the brain.
This however has its own issues. As witnessed with Numark’s upcoming iDJ Pro, the iPad is designed to fit right into the unit. Now if Apple decide (as they do) to change sizes, connections etc, then the current carefully designed unit is confined to last year’s scrap heap. Now add something like the Nexus 7 into the mix, or the recently announced Windows Surface tablets, and you’ll end up with a nightmarish scenario of multiple controllers, each of which has the chance to be obsolete on a year by year basis.
So it’s easy to see why tablets haven’t set the DJ world on fire just yet. Apple seem to have nailed iOS as a proper platform for audio and video use (bar the lack of proper output). But from my initial digging around in Google Play and the internet in general, Android still seems to be a bit of a mess from an audio perspective, but there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel. Latency has been a massive problem, but the all new 4.1 release has latency down from 100ms to a much more respectable 12ms.
So does this new Google Nexus 7 look like a winner? Are you Apple haters more inclined to spend around one third the price of an iPad to dip your toe in the tablet scene? Will this new performance and price kickstart Android as a valid DJ and audio platform?