Last night I added a short test post composed on Sues rooted Nook Color using the Android version of a WordPress editor. It took a little getting used to; just browsing through Android will take a little getting accustomed to as it is an entirely new OS for me, but over all the experiment was a success; I could rather easily compose and post a blog piece without aid of a conventional PC.
I have not put as much of effort into this blog as I wanted to and a great deal of that is due to the fact that I don’t always have something to say when I am sitting at the computer; but often things come to mind when I am out and about. My handwriting is deplorable at best so jotting down notes on scraps of paper or a dead tree notebook has mixed results; yeah the ideas are captured but then I gotta go back and re-write them on the computer and that only works if I can actually read what I wrote.
So now I am looking into getting an Android based tablet; sorry Apple, ya make cool stuff, but I don’t like iTunes or any other of your imposed limits
Over the last week or so I have been bouncing around the net checking out reviews for all the different flavors available both now and in the very near future. At this date, 10-2-11, the two top contenders are the Lenovo A1 and the HTC Flyer.
Lenovo’s A1 has not been released yet so my interest is based solely on what I have read about pre-released reviewed models, maybe once it hits the shelves and there have been more hands on reviews I’ll have to look elsewhere. Even if that is the case, whatever I do choose will more than likely resemble its specs.
I like the idea of a 7 inch screen. I have played with Sue’s rooted Nook Color and like how I can easily grasp the unit with both hands and type with my thumbs while in landscape mode; it will take some getting used to, but it is not uncomfortable.
10 inch tablets just seem too bulky; as a reader or for a mobile unit with the way I move about. For me that size might be more ideal for a home based device. Although Sony’s new S tablet is a really nicely designed tablet with greater ergonomics, It is only slightly smaller than other 10 inch models so still too bulky.
The A1 also has a built in GPS which wont require any wireless service to use; therefore it will function as another device I often rely on.
Android does not have the extensive app selection that Apple does, but I do not really see that as a downside; I am pretty sure I don’t need every app out there, Plus with the aggressive marketing we are seeing lately for android based tablets; the A1 16GB version is supposed to be only $200, more apps will certainly be available; the market goes where the money is.
I am also not looking for a 3G device; I have gone this long in life without tying myself to a monthly contract cell service and there really is no need for me to start right now. That alone disqualifies a number of hot new items coming to market. Even if I could acquire them without signing a contract, I would have to fork over an additional two, three even four hundred dollars for the device which, based on how I perceive myself using it, cant really be justified.
One component of the A1 that I am not wild over is its OS which is Gingerbread. GB is by all accounts a dandy OS, but with Honeycomb out there (and Ice Cream Sandwich already in the wings) GB will slowly begin to loose support and thus make it less ‘future proof’, if there even is such a thing in the world of electronics. Lenovo has already said that there will not be an upgrade to Honeycomb available for the A1.
The A1 also only uses a single core processor, a pro and con: one core should have better battery life, but two, while costing more, is typically considered better. I don’t envision really needing the power of two cores, I imagine it would be very useful for heavy load apps, maybe games, but I don’t fall into that gamer crowd. Again though it could limit the future proof-ness of the device.
Another toy that I have also been interested in, along with not instead of the A1, is one of the new Android powered Samsung Galaxy Players coming out this month. These devices are offered with either a 4 or 5 inch screen; too small I think for any serious blog composing, but they might come in handy as a iPod replacement. My 30gb iPod is already a couple years old; which is about as long as any other one I have had has lasted, in fact this one I am using now replaced one that only lasted one year. As well, my beloved Cowon A2, seems to reaching the end of the line; the little joystick control is starting to not function well when pressed upwards. This pains me in ways only a geek can comprehend; ‘Mini Pearl’ has been my almost constant companion for the last 6 years. Even if I do find another device to travel with I will keep my eyes open for another A2, it is a just fantastic PMP; I don’t know of any other that equals it, especially for recording video, and I don’t see anything new offered either that would fully fill the void. A true testament, I think, to its popularity among its owners, is that I rarely find them offered on eBay.
Like the A1 the Sammy Players appear to have a built in GPS not requiring a net connection. Basically they are versions of their cell phone cousins, but without the phone, just like how the iTouch is a ‘crippled’ iPhone. Tim & Keith were each given a iTouch last year for Christmas, and they are cool devices; Tim, till he recently lost it at work, was never without his, and used it all the time to communicate with folks through the texting and even video phone abilities over wifi. He still intends to replace it with another iTouch; just one with with more capacity than the 8gb version he had. Again though, with the iTouch, you are shackled to iTunes which I am trying to avoid. Keith even acknowledged the other day his frustrations involved with having to work through iTunes to get anything done. Another nice feature of the Players, which neither the iPods or A2 has, is a replaceable battery which comes in handy when you’re traveling or sitting around all day and the battery dies out.
The second 7 inch tablet that I am considering is the HTC Flyer. Previously the Flyer was not an option for me; at $500 it just did not have a cost to usefulness factor that could justify, IMHO, that high of a price for a wifi only single core device running Gingerbread.
However, it has just been announced that the Flyer is now being offered at Best Buy for $300, plus there are strong indications it will shortly receive a Honeycomb update. Now THAT makes it a very interesting prospect and worth the extra $100 over the A1.
The Flyer also has the capability of using a proprietary pen for note taking, at least as a Gingerbread device it can only be used for note taking, with Honeycomb the usefulness of the pen ($80 extra btw) is expanded much more; reportedly allowing you to even use it to navigate throughout the device. I really like the idea of having an electric notepad. The Flyer does not appear to have the GPS capabilities of the A1, however, if I do indeed get a Samsung Player to replace my aging iPod, that might be a moot point.
I still need to look further into the HTC, as I said it was not even on the horizon of my attention before, but now, with the recent announcements, there are at least two Android tablets I am going to consider.
Over all the prospects for spending more time here on this blog are bright and it is fun to have something to look forward to. It will be interesting to see what other big changes will come to the tablet market in regards to pricing with Lenovo first throwing down the gauntlet by offering the A1 for only $200 and the recent announcement of Amazons new Kindle Fire, which I don’t think is really in the same league as the above mentioned tablets, but it can still be a strong competitor; Amazon has a huge customer base, like Apple, and for those who want a e-Reader with more capabilities and not really a full fledged tablet it fits right in; look at the popularity of the Nook Color.