Nexus 4, 10, Sandy

Hurricane Sandy is a real bitch, and managed to preempt Google’s Big Announcement Day by bringing her storm to New York. It’s like a movie, except real. Stay safe.

Two items of note were announced in an uncharacteristically low-key manner today: the Nexus 4 and 10. The 10 is Google’s answer to the new iPad. No, the other new iPad. The 10″ 2,560 × 1,600 pixel display looks stunning but, as usual for Samsung, the body is made of cheap-looking plastic. It also includes a shitty-sounding front cover:

You can attach a special cover to the tablet: the back has a removable panel at top that can be replaced with another one with a built-in cover. With the unit we tried, that panel was a little finicky to remove, though. Also, though the cover automatically woke and slept the device, it’s not segmented like the smart cover on an iPad, so it’s not likely to be especially useful as a stand.

So if you want to temporarily remove the cover while it’s on your desk at work, then put it on again for the commute home, you need to carry around your spare plastic back panel. Sounds wonderful.

The Nexus 4 is Google’s new phone, made by LG. What it has is less interesting than what it doesn’t have: LTE, an SD card slot, or capacity above 16 GB. But it’s cheap, at just $299, or $199 on contract. This explains why Google is dancing around the LTE issue a little.

Joshua Topolsky got a sneak-peek inside the development process of both products, and it’s worth reading for no reason other than to see what shirt Matias Duarte is wearing. There’s also this rather blunt explanation of what Google is, in the words of Andy Rubin:

“If you look at how Google evolved, it’s an ad company, so the thing that’s funding everything in this building is ads. As long as we’re competitive in the services that we’re offering and people love us, the ad business works.”

I don’t think I’ve ever heard any Google executive be as straightforward as this regarding what Google really is.