Good old Asus. In a world increasingly dominated by me-too uniformity and political correctness, Asus remains determinedly unafraid to be different – an approach that has proved highly successful for the Taiwanese firm.
A case in point: while it's widely accepted that a poor camera is better than no camera, Asus hasn't bothered sticking one in the Google Nexus 7 tablet because it says it wouldn't be worth the effort.
The Nexus 7 is directly targeted at Amazon's Kindle Fire, the 7-incher with the iPad-busting price tag – a formula which you could argue has made it the only Android tablet released so far to enjoy any real success.
But like the Kindle Fire, the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean-powered Nexus 7 strikes a fragile balance between performance and affordability, with a few choice features clearly having been struck off the spec sheet to help keep the price down.
And while Asus has managed to get away with fewer compromises than Amazon in producing its low-cost tablet contender, there are nonetheless a few features missing. Chief among them is the lack of a rear-facing camera, an odd move not so much because pretty much every device going these days offers some kind of camera, but because the Nexus 7 does have a 1.2MP forward-facing cam.
Typically, if one camera is to be left off the features list, it's the front-facing one you typically use for video chat, not the one around the back that lets you take decent pictures.
So why does the Nexus 7 do things the other way around? Simple – affordability. Asus argues that while the webcam-style front camera is a fairly low-tech affair – and therefore relatively cheap, the kind of rear-facing cam it would have been forced into using due to stay within its narrow price constraints would have been a waste of time.
“Asus believes that for this device a good rear camera is important [but] adding a high quality rear facing camera will increase the price point and many users would not have a use for it. Adding a lower quality rear facing camera would compromise on the overall user experience so the decision was made not to include [one].”
A brave move – and one not everyone will agree with. And yet, let's be honest: while mobile cameras are constantly improving, a large percentage remain utterly rubbish and are only included at all because they cost next to nothing and there's a space in the chassis.
But how different is that from PC makers pre-loading machines with crapware you neither want or need? If Asus had stuck a camera in the Nexus 7 we'd surely be talking no better than a 3MP or (at a stretch) 5MP bare-bones affair. How many Nexus 7 buyers won't already be carrying around with them a smartphone (or even feature phone) with better camera credentials?
And of course taking pics with a smartphone doesn't like you look like a total berk. Taking pics with a tablet does.