For $199 Google is offering a Kindle size Android tablet with a great touchscreen and superior hardware. They are hard to buy at the moment due to high demand, but i finally got to hold one today….and it was actually quite cool.
The size is just right for holding in one hand, a little larger than a paperback book and about the same weight. The screen is little more reflective than i would like, but far less so than an iPad. I found myself inclined to hold the device in portrait mode due to its book-like dimensions and that suites smartphone apps just fine. I’m not sure i would want to use it in landscape mode except for watching a film.
But what surprised me the most was the responsiveness. Scrolling and zooming is smooth, smartphone apps work surprisingly well. If any device is going to be a serious competitor for the iPad, its going to be this one.
As a developer, the 7″ screen presents a fragmentation challenge for the UI. We know what people expect from the tablet and smartphone form factor, but this one is in between; what type of UI are users going to expect? How much will our customers be prepared to pay for yet another screen-size implementation?