The Google Nexus 10 tablet is arguably one of the best large-size Android tablets on the market currently, but is it ready for the demands of a public elementary school library serving 500+ students? Here are 5 reasons why I think the Android Nexus 10 tablet is a solid choice for elementary school library use:
Disclaimer: I did not make any money from this review, and I received no compensation for writing it. There are also no affiliate links in this post. See Disclosures & Disclaimers for more information.
1. The price – As of this blog post, the oldest model available from Apple is the iPad 2, and they cost $399 and come with only 16 GB of hard drive space. The new iPad Air tablet is $499, again with 16 GB. Nexus 10 tablets have double the space (32 GB) for the same price as the iPad 2. There are rumors that there will be a 2nd generation model of the Nexus 10 released soon, and that usually means lower prices on the older models. My guess is that price is the main reason most folks go Android, but there are other good ones too. Like…
2. Syncing mobile bookmarks with Chrome! – My school library website is a LibGuide, which can also be used like an app on mobile devices. Once the LibGuide is bookmarked on a tablet’s browser, the bookmark can be added to the homescreen to make it look like an app with a click-able icon. World Book Online‘s mobile site, our library’s Capstone Interactive eBooks access, and Mrs. Lodge’s excellent Shelve-it Game are also wonderful mobile websites that can be added as “apps” on library tablets.
I bookmark these websites on 1 tablet in Chrome, and then I can sync the bookmarks across all the devices registered to that Google account. Once they are synced, I just add them to the homescreen and voilà! Instant apps! I may be wrong, but according to our tech department, syncing bookmarks isn’t possible across Apple devices, which makes pushing out a LibGuides library app rather unfeasible.
3. The Google Play app store, is growing. – While there are still some great apps that are exclusive to iPad and on my Android App Christmas Wish List, many of the most useful apps to school libraries are available on both Android and Apple. For information literacy instruction, I don’t really need really fancy media-heavy apps. These are the apps on our school library tablets now:
4. Near Field Communication or NFC or Android Beam – This is that nifty, cool trick you see in the Samsung smartphone commercials. Two devices are held next to each other and *boop!* you can share almost anything: Photos, videos, online content, etc. NFC works on any NFC-enabled device, not just Nexus tablets, so students who bring their own devices with NFC can also share across platforms. I’ve read that AirDrop on the new iPad Air does about the same thing, but again the price tag is much steeper.
5. Android is open source. – Admittedly, being open source has led to plenty of sub-par tablets and a fragmented market of Android software versions. But as librarians, we share many of the values of open source code: openness, innovation, and transparency. Apple is a walled garden, and they have a history of banning apps for little or no reason. Google policies have plenty of privacy concerns, of course, but given the choice between Apple and Google, I’ll take the lesser of two evils.
Overall, I think school librarians should do their own research and read reviews on both Apple and Android tablets with the same careful eye as we review resources for our libraries. With that said, though, I love our Nexus tablets, and I think it was money well-spent to purchase them for students to use. I think the Nexus 10’s are a good choice, but not as good as the Nexus 7 tablets for a school library.
Next up…the Nexus 7 Review.