So, the Google Nexus 7 is no more.
The one-time challenger to Apple’s iPad mini has been killed off, pulled from sale on the company’s Play Store, the remaining inventory at third-party retailers left to run down until there’s not a single unit left.
When the 2013 version of Google’s tablet appeared, replacing a chunky, unwieldy model that got few excited, it was lauded by all as a truly great device.
Made by Asus, it represented a new frontier for Google: a high-specced, affordable slate that came with the latest version of Android without any of the needless bells and whistles so beloved by Samsung, HTC and LG.
Its best feature was unquestionably its size.
Not that huge bezel up top and down at the bottom, but the narrow frame which made it much more comfortable to hold one-handed than Apple’s rival model.
It worked particularly well as an e-reader. Google’s own Play Books was always good for literature and now it had a device which worked perfectly with it.
Throw in Amazon’s Kindle app and the plethora of extra features that all tablets come with and you had a slate it was very easy to love.
Inevitably, it started to get long in the tooth. The arrival of Android Lollipop caused it to slow down to an almost unworkable level for many.
The dawn of the phablet rendered such smaller tablets needless. Google’s own Nexus 6 was just over an inch smaller and had far better smarts, plus the ability to work well as an e-reader.
But no other Nexus device has come close to matching the Nexus 7. It was well made and showed what a Google device could be like if it was kept pure.
More so than the Nexus 4, it didn’t feel dated for ages and you can still use one happily if you don’t load it with too many apps and keep Lollipop updates away.
Google’s new Nexus 9, which came out last year, just can’t match up.
Larger tablets allow manufacturers to differentiate, but they’re just too cumbersome for slinging in a bag and forgetting about until you need them.
HTC has done a fine job designing it, but it’s not breaking any new ground.
The Nexus 7 did and showed you could do cheap and brilliant simultaneously.
A new Nexus 7 seems unlikely. Tablets just don’t excite like they used to.
But until ours stops working, we’ll be sure to carry it with us wherever we go.