A Dark Android Tablet Favorite Gets Upgraded to Android Marshmallow
Since the quiet demise of Alphabet/Google’s Nexus 9 tablet (and the debate over whether it will continue to get updates, much like the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 have been left in the dust much earlier than some of their compatriots), I’ve received some emails asking me what’s left if you went to get a tablet that you can do a Dark Android setup on? What tablet is still recommended for getting privacy, security, and potentially anonymity with (or what I call: DAPS)?
Interestingly enough, it’s the two primary devices I’ve recommended since I started the Dark Android Project: The 2013 Nexus 7, and the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact.
While I reported here that back on October 5th, 2015, the 2013 Nexus 7 was getting updated to the latest Android Marshmallow (Android N is still in preview), I wasn’t so sure what other tablets would end up getting the latest Android version, and thus by default get the latest security patches that they offer (the top reason to update your OS). But now we know that the other top device recommended at the Dark Android Project will also be getting Marshmallow: The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact.
The Z3 Compact tablet has a couple of advantages over the 2013 Nexus 7, too. For one, it’s waterproof. Not that the 2013 Nexus 7 isn’t sturdy (it is), but waterproof devices add a whole other dimension. Also, the Z3 Compact tablet has a MicroSD card slot, which allows you to expand the memory of the tablet, something the 2013 Nexus 7 can’t do. So in some respects you’re getting a superior tablet with the Z3 Compact, but I’ll admit that Android N getting pushed to it isn’t as probable as it is for the 2013 Nexus 7, though neither is certain. And as far as overall power goes when comparing the two tablets, it’s a pretty even match-up, so which one you’d decide to go for is a matter of taste.
SIDE NOTE: Impressively, the much older Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet is also getting upgraded to Android Marshmallow, so maybe the Z3 Compact will see Android N after all with that kind of dedication to older devices from Sony.
Sony has a fantastic track record with open-sourcing software and kernels for their Xperia line…unfortunately the Xperia line has come to end as of the release of Xperia Z5 phone (with no tablets released for the Z5 line). Let’s just hope they keep updating the Xperia line devices even though they are no longer part of future rollouts.
SIDE NOTE: None of this is to say that Sony is some kind of great company. But I do think a bit of credit is due for them having such long support cycles for their products (usually). Consider the PS2, which was supported for nigh over a decade. Incredible. That’s how electronic devices should be supported: Either for a really long time, or built to stand the test of time without the need for something from the manufacturer.
So get your hands on either of these tablets–the 2013 Nexus 7, or the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact–while you still can. They may be the last solid, user configurable, updated tablets ever built.
SIDE NOTE: I’m reminded of how so many people have never felt the need for upgrading from their iPad 2’s. I could see the tablets in this article being treated the same way for years to come.