It doesn't matter how exciting the launch of a product is, if there are hardware problems, there is no way to overcome it. Whether it be Canon's sensor housing crack or a tablet whose screen is far below the quality it should be, no software patch can solve it. It becomes an even bigger problem when the product in question is in such high demand that you cannot find a retailer to take back the broken one because they do not have another with which to swap it out.
That is the week Google has been having with their new Google Nexus 7 tablet. Announced at Google I/O last month and launched this month, the Nexus 7 was marketed directly to compete against Amazon's Kindle Fire; a $200 Android-powered, 7-inch tablet. While Amazon went with familiar hardware, specs that were nearly identical to the BlackBerry PlayBook, Google decided to try and be more exciting. The problem is that the screen has caused them a collection of problems.
From loose screws to touch sensitivity issues, Google's screen fails are detailed after the break.
Let's run down some of the problems other publications have noted.
AndroidAuthority has reported that the screen's screws are loose and that the screen itself can come disconnected from the housing and squeak during use. After 2 or 3 years, I can see a low-end device start failing like this, but not in its first week of use. We've all had a laptop's hinge fail after a while, but that doesn't make the overall usage painful like a hitting a moving target on a tablet.
Geek.com has reported that the screen's sensitivity falls apart when using graphically intensive applications, like gaming. While this could be a problem with the screen, it is most likely a defect in Android itself. As a developer myself, my guess is that the operating system is handling hardware on the same interrupt level as the applications themselves. Being based on Linux, which has no thread concept, this would be an incredibly difficult to overcome, though not impossible as HP Palm managed to do it with webOS. Perhaps Google should try and recruit parts of the former webOS team to help them fix this problem.
VentureBeat is also having problems with sensitivity. Their problem seems to come about when updating multiple apps at once, which would also fall under the issues of non-native threading technology. Here is the problem in action:
In addition to these problems, PocketNow has even posted photos of screen bleed issues, or backlight failures. If the photos are to be believed, this could also indicate a heat issue, as a lot of backlight failures like the ones shown are caused by heat behind the screen.
So, the question is, how many devices are out there with these problems? As far as the Android issues, I would guess all of them. The reason we are seeing them now is we are finally starting to have hardware that can support higher-end apps, and developers have already started pushing it. With the hardware issues, there is no way to handle this. Have you got a Nexus 7 with hardware issues? Let us know in the comments.