The launch of the Nexus line in 2010 went against everything Android had come to represent. In the two years since the original Android phone had launched, Google had taken meticulous care to position itself as the future Microsoft of the mobile world. That position was one of a benevolent shepherd, focused only on maintaining and dispersing a powerful software platform that its collection of hardware partners (gathered formally together by the Open Handset Alliance) could access and use as they saw fit. The release of the Nexus One with HTC was an act of mutiny, re-positioning Google as a new handset seller in direct competition with its formerly trusting -- and now duped -- partners.
The decision to play favorites was quite the course correction, but its value soon became obvious. Android needed an official champion, one built specifically to meet icons like the BlackBerry and technological phenomenons like the iPhone head on. It was up to Google to groom an heir that consumers and manufacturers alike could look to as a standard bearer for the power of Android matched with the right hardware. After Apple revealed the original iPad later that very same month, it was only a matter of time before another hero was needed -- this time in tablet form.
To date, no entry in the Nexus line represents the core values of the program in such excellent fashion as the recently revamped Nexus 7 tablet. The second generation features several noteworthy upgrades while still offering an incredible value proposition to consumers. Sure, the base price of the 16GB model jumped $30 between generations, but the inclusion of a stunning 7.02-inch 1920 x 1200 display (the sharpest of its size in the market), a hefty 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 pro processor and Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB of RAM, a rear-facing 5MP camera, better battery life and even a new set of decent stereo speakers all make a compelling argument for the hike -- especially when you consider that Google has dropped the weight to a feathery 0.64 pounds while noticeably shaving depth and width from the form factor.
Like any member of the Nexus family, there's also the assurance that the device will remain first in line for Android software updates; this distinction is oft taken for granted by those unacquainted to the fragmentation that plagues the Android ecosystem.
All of these factors combine to the make the new Nexus 7 the best tablet value on the market today. Google has once again succeeded in setting a shining example for its Android partners while democratizing technology in the process. As with any great teacher, though, the Nexus 7's ultimate legacy will never be decided by how well it presents the lesson plans, but rather by how much students learn.
Excellence, innovation, craftsmanship, and an unwavering desire to challenge expectations -- these are the constants that have captivated our attention since Gear Patrol's inception in 2007. This year we're proud to announce the next step in our role as a champion of quality in product design and execution: welcome to the GP100. Our inaugural product awards are dedicated to honoring the 100 best consumer products released during the calendar year by companies of all sizes and scope.
The GP100 is not a ranking or a contest. These selections represent the collective expertise of our entire editorial staff, who have scoured every corner of the vast product universe -- from automotive and electronics, to men's style essentials, home goods, spirits and outdoors -- to find the inspiring and the practical, the ground-breaking and the traditional, the priceless and the accessible. In short: products that define or defy their respective categories to better the life of the modern man.
The GP100 is not a contest influenced by marketers or brands, nor is it a ranking by specifications as determined by uniform tests. Instead, it starts with a comprehensive list of nominees released in the calendar year, researched and compiled by our editorial team of obsessed experts across all of Gear Patrol's major areas of interest including Motoring, Technology, Style, Home, Spirits, Outdoor and Watches. Brands are not part of the selection process. Nominees are then debated in context of the past, present and future of their respective fields. Which selections stand as significant innovations, category busters or faithful monuments to the icons of history? Do they adhere to Gear Patrol's core tenets of excellence, design, utility and the spirit of adventure? Distilled to the following 100 items, the GP100 represents the best products on earth released in 2013 -- easily inspiring consumers and creators alike during their search for guideposts of excellence in a vast world of products.
Motoring Watches Style Technology Sports Outdoors Home Spirits
Jeremy BergerBen Bowers