Rowinski Gives A Nexus 7 To His Mother

15 August 2012

ReadWriteWeb:

So, I came up with an experiment: Putting a Nexus 7 in the hands of the sort of mainstream consumer that companies like Apple, Google or Samsung strive to reach with every device they release. In short, my mother.

Mother is tech-savvy and well aware of digital trends, since one of her sons is a technology reporter and the other a computer engineer.

Insights into normal people’s thoughts on technology is always intriguing. It should be noted though that Rowinski’s mother is not the perfect fit for “the sort of mainstream of consumer” Apple and Google are targeting. She is tainted by her digital awareness. Nevertheless, her opinions are still a lot closer to an average consumer than any blogger.

A sensible finish that won’t go flying off the counter like that absurd aluminum back on the iPad.

I’ve seen other people have this exact reaction to the iPad’s rear casing: “It’s so slippery.”

I have always found magazine apps annoying.

Publisher’s stubbornness to use “write-once-deploy-everwhere” software is hurting them badly. Real people notice when you cut corners.

I wake up in the morning to twin pings announcing that my friend Lucy is up early playing Words With Friends. I immediately reach for my iPad and then feeling guilty and switch to the Nexus instead. OK, basically the same function, although I swear the font is different …

When I read this, I was very surprised that she’d notice the font discrepancies.

Coffee in hand, I open the HuffPo. Articles are listed neatly, rather than displayed with pics and quick reads. I wonder if it will open the slide shows? I guess not, as I can’t even find them. OK, I will just watch this Stephen Colbert clip. Must load Flash Player – but, um, Flash is not available! What? I can’t watch my clip?! Well, sorry. But that just sucks.

Doesn’t the Huffington Post on iPad use HTML5 to show videos?

This morning, I am playing with the Widgets. My Android-inclined friend seems to love them. I built one for my work-related stuff, but I am not sure whether I will do much more with it.

Widgets are complicated. Period. If Apple ever does widgets on iOS, I don’t think they will be allowed on the Home Screen. They’ll probably be hidden away in either Notification Center on in an overlay view (like Dashboard in OS X), so that normal users can’t get confused by them. This is the same strategy Apple used for the multitasking tray — if you are savvy enough to remember what app you just had opened, you’ll be savvy enough to work out how to open the tray. But, if you never find the tray you can still use your device unimpaired.

Voice command is not great. Can’t seem to get it to do much of what I ask, unlike Siri, with whom I have a close personal relationship.

At D10, Tim Cook said “[Siri] becomes many people’s best friend”. I laughed, as did the conference audience. However, on reflection, I think Siri’s ‘personality’ appeals to be more than, for instance, Google Now’s cold Q&A approach. Rowinski’s mother isn’t even shy about it; she openly states she has a relationship with.

Would I switch from an Apple product to the Nexus? I still prefer the Apple user interface. The Google features are awfully nice, but I can do what I need to on the iPad, so I am not sure that’s enough incentive. The speed is impressive though, definitely a plus.

Although unconfirmed, from the attached picture, she has a first-generation iPad, which accounts – at least partly – for the continued references to speed. Let’s be honest, the original iPad is really slow at a lot of things.

I’m not saying discount the statement: If she associates Nexus’ with “fast” and iPads with “slow”, that is what really matters in the market. Technical specifications aren’t the deciding factor. People’s perceptions are. That’s why advertising is so important.

The Nexus 7 is sort of like that really small purse you think you can get used to because it’s just so darned cute. It has lots of pockets and compartments and features, and it just seems really cool. But eventually you are back to your first love — the beaten up hobo bag that holds all your junk.

Still, I can’t help feeling that with a few more days of use, I could really get used to this. My iPad is already looking kind of clunky. Hey, Apple, where is that iPad Mini?

She definitely feels like smaller tablets are a great product. For women, the “purse” analogy is very relevant. Still, the form factor alone isn’t enough to sway her from her iPad to Android.1 She is converted to the idea of a smaller tablet, but she still equates tablets to Apple — she wants a smaller iPad.

1 Rowinski says she has an iPhone, which is probably another big factor in her decision. She is locked into the “Apple user interface” and the ecosystem.