O2 network woes and Google's nifty Nexus

O2 store
Not the best of weeks for O2...

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Good, wasn't it? That was us, pretending to be O2's UK network. After a fault that may have involved a giant hamster, a wheel and an elastic band, O2's network fell over on Wednesday, leaving many users unable to text, call or access the internet.

Who's to blame? We don't know yet, but this time the problem doesn't appear to be people stealing bits of network infrastructure. O2 says it's "an issue within parts of our core network... it is not location-specific", and says they've sent a man round to fix it.

With some people unable to post crucial messages to Facebook about sports, celebrities and whatever Mail Online is trolling with today, there were calls to cast all of O2's people into a giant lake of fire - but John McCann says that's a daft idea, and not just because we don't have a lake of fire handy. Get a grip, he says: six years ago "people managed to get through day to day life without having to check their phone every 20 seconds". Go outside! Read a newspaper! Go to McDonalds and use their Wi-Fi!

He's right, of course, but then again people might be a lot more patient and sympathetic if they weren't paying quite so much for their mobile contracts, which are often ruinously expensive.

Google Nexus 7: cheap but good

Do you know what isn't ruinously expensive? That's right: Google's Nexus 7, the latest little Android tablet. Is it any good? JR Bookwalter says it is, and backs that up with facts, science and at least one instance of the word "fondled". "The build quality is on a par with Apple" - not something you can say about many Android tablets - and it "is a solid performer".

Unfortunately the main effect playing with a Nexus 7 has is that "it makes us want an iPad mini. Not because Google's tablet is bad, because it isn't - we just think there's a lot of potential for something between an iPod touch and a 9.7-inch iPad, and the Nexus 7 finally validates that." Just one word of warning: Bookwalter was reviewing the US version, which has media services and features that might not make it to the UK.

Will you be able to buy your Nexus 7 from Amazon? Perhaps not: the retail giant isn't sure whether it wants to sell a device that many people say is miles better than Amazon's own Kindle Fire. Then again, maybe it's so confident about its forthcoming Kindle Fire 2 - one of perhaps four new Kindle tablets we'll see this year - that it doesn't see the Nexus 7 as a threat at all, at least in the US.

Fancy seeing what the Kindle Fire would be like if it ran Jelly Bean, the version of Android in the Nexus 7? Have we got news for you: the modding community has pulled it off already. The mod temporarily breaks the wireless adaptor, but it's easy enough to fix.

What about the Flyer?

New Kindle Fires aren't the only tablets on the horizon. HTC has a successor to the Flyer up its corporate sleeve, iPad mini rumours continue to fly around and Microsoft's talking big numbers for its forthcoming Microsoft Surface tablets.

The one thing they all have in common is touch - and according to our columnist Gary Marshall, that means they're yet more nails in the coffin of the humble mouse. "When the mouse finally dies, it'll be a hell of a whodunnit," he says: "Instead of a single gunshot and a smoking gun, the victim will have been shot, stabbed, burned, minced, microwaved, irradiated, poisoned, drowned and asphyxiated by a cast of thousands."

He continues: "It'd make the world's worst game of Cluedo: was it Mrs Siri, in the kitchen, with a smartphone? Doctor Google, in the garden, with Google Now? Colonel Kinect, in the living room, with his waggly fingers of fun? It was all of them, and more."

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