Google Nexus and Apple iPhone and iPad price comparison

The most interesting thing I’ve seen about the new Google Nexus devices isn’t the processing power, or the display quality, but the price – with the new price points ranging from £159 (for the 16GB Nexus 7) through to £389 (the 32GB Nexus 10), Google are ratcheting up the pressure on Apple where it really hurts them – in the profit margins. The price comparison between the Nexus 4 and iPhone 5 is particularly eye-catching, at £279 for the Nexus 4 compared to £529 for the iPhone 5.

Given that the Nexus and iPad devices are pretty much like for like on CPU, memory and screen quality, and Android 4.2 is at least on a par with iOS 6, that makes price a much bigger differentiator than ever before, and Apple, despite their famous supply chain power, are losing here.

As the chart shows, while there are still quite a few devices Apple sell which aren’t exactly matched by a new Google Nexus device (larger capacity and mobile data ones), where there is a match, Google’s new price points will make very uncomfortable reading for Apple executives.

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While I’m sure there are plenty of people who consider iOS to still be a significant step up from Android, to me this difference is much smaller than ever before, and for me personally, I prefer a lot of the Android interface changes that have been made in the last 12 months.

While the differences in operating system and hardware looks are a subjective choice that each person has to make for themselves, the price difference is a hard fact, and the only way I can see Apple resolve this is to significantly cut prices themselves, which is going to be very painful in the short term.

It might well be that cut price Apple devices actually increase sales enough to offset the reduced per-device profits, but whatever does happen, it seems the days of Apple making huge profits on each device sold may be about to end.

Chromebook with an ARM processor

PSION Series 5

The PSION 5, the last ARM powered “laptop” I owned, it was a bit smaller than the Chromebook

I’m typing this on the smallest, lightest laptop I’ve ever owned, and it cost £230 – the Samsung Chromebook with an ARM processor, powered by a Samsung Exynos 5 Dual core ARM processor, and it’s really good, easily worth the money. This Chromebook is sometimes called the Series 3 by retailers, but Samsung and Google just call it the “Samsung Chromebook”, which implies this is the future direction of Chromebooks, away from Intel processors and onto ARM ones.

So far I’ve mostly been using it for experimenting, the browser works exactly as you’d expect it (it is Chrome after all), almost all plugins have worked fine (just one didn’t, for SSH, due to needing a native code extension), and overall the experience is very slick.

It played YouTube videos in HD without issue, and has in general been very good for graphics quality.

Chromebook image

Samsung Chromebook, things have moved on

The keyboard feels fine, much better than I expected really for a device that is made entirely from plastic and weighs almost nothing (1.1kg, or 2.5 pounds), the screen is decent quality (it’s matte, not shiny, so I’m happy), and so far it’s all “just worked”, which is Google’s main promise about the Chromebook.

While it’s not going to replace my existing Windows laptop for everything, I think it’ll do a lot, and I’m planning on experimenting with installing Ubuntu Linux on it over the next few days, and it’s a far better travelling tool than my heavy Lenovo Edge.

There’s lots of more comprehensive reviews of the Chromebook, but for now I’ll get on with using mine!


Passwords are broken unless we’re all geniuses?

In the last week we’ve had passwords leaked from LinkedIn,, and eHarmony, meaning that 100s of millions of people are being told by friends, family, and eventually, after a few days, by the companies themselves, that they should change their passwords.

LinkedIn’s blog post on the matter (with the laughably late title “Taking Steps to protect our members”) has the following tips for password security:

  1. Make sure you update your password on LinkedIn (and any site that you visit on the Web) at least once every few months
  2. Do not use the same password for multiple sites or accounts
  3. Create a strong password for your account, one that includes letters, numbers, and other characters

Unless we’re all geniuses, how do they expect us to follow their advice? Let’s get this right:

  1. Change every password you use on the Internet, every 3-6 months. Hmm, I struggle to remember my password at work when I change it every 6 weeks, I don’t fancy doing it on every website I use (and every app on my phone). What about the sites I stop using?
  2. Don’t use the same password, so that when you’re changing your password, you have to come up with 10 or more new ones at once!
  3. Make the password (or rather, dozens if not hundreds of passwords you’ve just come up with) impossible to remember in the first place…

I read the LinkedIn post and think it’s incredible they are posting that advice with a straight face, without recommending a password manager like LastPass, 1Password, or KeePass.

Personally I recommend LastPass (I even pay for it!), but reality is no service is secure as long as it relies on passwords, and it seems the best you can hope for is that you’ll continue to dodge the bullets of hacked passwords until someone comes up with a better solution, and remember that no matter what, you’ll end up using a service which gets hacked.