I'm sure when many of us heard that the Nexus 7 would cost just $199 – £159 for us brits – we were pretty excited, a device packing a Tegra 3, 1GB of RAM and a hi-res display for that low a price – craziness, right? Well, almost. The fact of the matter is, with the 7 costing just $199 – in its 8GB form – they're going to have to be sacrifices. Whilst these weren't all that a problem, for instance the lack of a rear-facing camera didn't phase myself, I used the one on my A100 twice. The lack of HDMI out however must be frustrating for some as well but, the real kicker here is the storage options. For a long time now, manufacturers of Android tablets have rarely put than 16GB in their models – because they come with a microSD slot, there's no slot on the Nexus 7. None of this makes the 7 a bad tablet, in fact, our own Mike Corbett has been "testing" it out for almost a week or so now and you can check his findings here.
Elsewhere on the internet there have been a number of theories of why Google left out a microSD slot – ranging from plausible to down right crazy. The idea that Google and ASUS left out more storage and the ability to expand because of piracy for instance, ridiculous. Expansion of storage was left out for two reasons and two reasons only, if you ask me, price and Google Services.
Why No SD for Me?
For a long time it was clear that Android tablets were to fail without an ecosystem behind it, with the advent of Google Play and the recent additions unveiled at I/O tablets now have this. Whilst the Nexus 7 is a full-fledged 7" tablet, it's aimed to channel the Play Store into consumer's hands more than anything else and quite frankly, that's a good thing. The better Google Play becomes the more quality content we'll be privy to. Why would Google and ASUS let you run riot with all the storage you want when they would rather you spend your time in the Play Store looking for that movie or that new album.
There's also the other factor here that Google now offer you 5GB of free storage with Google Drive, making that 8GB seem not so bad but, with a WiFi only tablet that's almost pocketable I struggle to see how Drive is going to be that useful on the 7. Having said that deleting and adding content from the tablet is hardly that difficult.
Why It's Not That Big a Deal
I have an HP Touchpad, in its 16GB form, I regularly have 1 or 2 GBs free at any given time and in between loading it with new music – Google Music isn't available in the UK yet – and Anime I don't find 16GB that much of a problem, if at all. My now sold A100 on the other hand, came with 8GB of storage and after Android I was left with around 5 and a half of that. Quite frankly, it was terrible. I bought a 32GB card and for the life of that tablet I always had near 15 or so of that free. 8GB isn't really enough when you factor in system files and the size of high quality games but, if you're browsing the web and streaming well, you're never really going to notice now, are you?
When it comes down to it, you get what you pay for and at $199 with Tegra 3 and a killer screen there had to be a sacrifice somewhere and storage is really, the best place for it to be made. It's not as if Google are leaving you in the dark either, there's the $249 model with 16GB of storage which I believe to ample for a smaller tablet. Of course, if you insist on taking lossless audio and 1080p everywhere with you then I'm afraid you're flat out of luck.