I once said that Smartphones would not catch on...

...it was about 2006. The company were claiming that online shopping via phones was "the next big thing", and I poo-poo'ed it, as at the sime most "smartphones" still had a screen the size of a stamp...

Fast-forward 6 years, and I'll happily admit I was wrong. The increase in mobile data, larger and better screens, and better software means that I think modern smartphones are actually fairly impressive...to the point where late last year I planned a fairly major shift in my own "solution". I'd weaned myself off Nokia phones with a HTC Desire HD handset (my first proper smartphone), and while it's reliability was a little flaky, after it picked up a reboot error after a software update (which seemed to be specific to HTC's version of the Android OS), it was generally a good, useful bit of kit. I was helped with Google releasing new versions of the Nexus handset, and also a small tablet. I'm now the happy owner of both (and have been for about 3 months now). I also got myself off a contract phone...after a bit of number-crunching, it works out far cheaper to get a SIM contract, and buy your handset, especially when you can get a Nexus 4 direct from Google for ~£250. I went with Three, and their One-Plan, which is currently the only UK data plan that allows unlimited tethering.

So how is it working out?

1) The Nexus 7 is an amazing bit of kit. As I type this it's streaming Eurosport on my desk. Earlier it was perched on a spin bike, playing a video from Suffer Fest. Screen size is just about perfect to be completely mobile, functional and easy to use. Battery life is enough for heavy use all day. The only thing I can fault it for is no removeable storage, though you can (with the aid of an OTG cable and a free app) plug in USB sticks.

2) The Nexus 4 is a beautiful bit of kit. As I type this it's on my desk acting as a wi-fi hotspot for the Nexus 7 (which also allows text messages, phone notifications etc to appear on the tablet). Despite having glass front and back, it's so far un-damaged, and shows no signs of the instability the HTC handset suffered (I suspect being on a vanilla version of Android helps no end).

I think for both bits of kit, in order to get the most out of them you do have to subscribe to the "Google mentality". Much of their usefullness comes from the easy access to services (GMail, Google Calendar, Google Music etc), and to fully utilise these you need to be in a situation where you don't have to worry about data limits (hence the Three contract with unlimited data...streaming video will fairly quickly pop any normal data limits!). Having access to your entire music library pretty much anywhere is fantastically handy.

I'm not too gentle with technology...both bits of kit are expected to cope with daily motorbike trips, the tablet gets 2 hours a day in the gym with me sweating over it, and the handset it chucked in pockets with coins/keys etc, and also has to share space with food when I'm cycling. The tablet does have a light case (similar to a book cover), which doubles as a stand, but thats about it, and so far both are coping with the punishment admirably. The real test will come later on this year, when I head to France for a week to follow the TdF. The plan is to get a pre-paid SIM card for a French network (which is a massive saving on roaming), and have the Nexus 7 as a GPS as well, with the Nexus 4 acting as a universal modem/camera.