Another day, another 7in Android tablet. This one's from Disgo and follows the usual pattern. So we have a 7in, 480 x 800 touchscreen; Android 2.1; 1GHz ARM CPU - an iMap X200 - 256MB of memory; 2GB of storage which can be augmented with Micro SD cards; 802.11n Wi-Fi; a pair of mini USB ports; 3.5mm headphone socket; and a mini …
Here's a similar model for under £110. 1GB storage and 800MHz CPU as opposed to 2GB and 1GHz, but a hell of a lot cheaper:
Likely to damage the Android brand? Or the 'tablet' brand?
Not this one specifically, but is there a real risk that the usual sales department garbage will indelibly associate all these quite rubbish ~£200 tablets with either the Android brand or the concept of a tablet in general and reduce the market for one or more of the [probably] pretty decent machines from Samsung and Apple? This is the same reason that clothing fashion changes so quickly, I've always thought — the people who do things very poorly for the purposes of being cheap tarnish the concept generally so that the decent lot have to continually move on.
Why are they rubbish? Just out of interest...
The price of the Apple and Samsung devices is just lunacy possibly? Don't forget Apple fleece their customers with a 43% mark up. Samsung and all the others have also got their snouts in the trough.
How do you know this device is rubbish? It may make a perfectly decent PMP at a price that these class of devices used to sell for before the phone manufacturers screwed the pricing model.
They're rubbish because ...
The ubercheap ones are running an older version of Android (in this case 1.6) than what is coming out right now. As such, they are Android of course, but they will not necessarily be as functional as the newer devices sporting Android 2.1 and later.
Google are already about the fragmentation of Android and these cheaper devices are going to add to the confusion. It won't be long before the word Android will be associated with "junk", maybe.
Look, if you know exactly what you are doing by buying one of these cheap £180 or £110 priced Android tablets then go ahead, fill your boots. As long as you know that some will not have 3G radios in them, being WiFi only - it is not absolutely clear that is the case.
You can buy 7" tablets for $99 on ebay
Just type "android tablet" and you get a pile of them, in various styles including an iPad ripoff style. I expect performance and quality are not great, but it's $99 ffs. I suppose Disgo is a relatively well known brand which gives some peace of mind, quality control, warranty etc. but I expect it's just selling the same rebadged models.
What it shows is that there is no reason for tablets to cost the absurd amounts Apple charges (or Dell / Samsung for that matter). I believe the sweet spot for tablets is in the £150-250 range. That's when they will sell craploads and have the benefit of driving down the price of ereaders too.
For all of it's features it seems about the right price
SUBJECT to it's warranty and after market repairs.
I have several Chinese tablet to hand but the 1 Gig processor makes it worth the money.
not mentioned in the review is android market... has this tablet been officially sanctioned by google to run android market? many of the cheapo android tablets don't have it and are a bit useless.
What this guy said.
Android is pretty pointless without the Marketplace, unless you think people (by this I mean normal people, not computer geeks) are going to do the "adb install some_package_v323.34.456.apk" fandango.
You can hack Market on yourself, but usually they come with alternate Market Apps like SlideME. Far from useless, in some ways better. You can also directly download APK from developers, a Market is a feature not a necessity in Android.
Disgo at HMV
The same brand that last year at HMV sold a £150 netbook. 64mb RAM, 2GB HDD, ARM processor, Windows CE.
Imagine the dissapointment on christmas morning of those bought it as a gift, to find they can't actually install anything, and that their web browsing has to be done on an ancient version of compact IE.
Especially when no so long ago Asda were doing a cracking Acer Aspire One for £150. (Ran Linux, but that has plenty of apps available and downloadable, and Windows can be installed or "Wine"d)
Resistive vs capacitive
I know it's always said that the cheaper end products probably have resistive screens, but what is the price difference? Are we talking a significant chunk of the product price or just a few quid?
I've just read a review* of the Orange San Francisco (still waiting for the el-Reg review!!) that says it comes with a " 3.5″ OLED capacitive screen and 800×480, just like the Nexus One, Desire, Galaxy S. It’s crisp, clear and the colours look great. If this is a cheaply made phone, it doesn’t show here, that’s for sure ". Accepting that the 'cisco screen is only 3.5", but Orange have still managed to supply a high-quality screen at a very low cost... so it's doable!
Resistive has its uses
Everyone complains about resistive, but the reality is that any tablet designed for educational uses really should have a resistive or resistive / capacative hybrid screen. The reason is simple - note taking.
You can use a stylus and writes straight onto a resistive screen. You can't do that with capacitive unless you do it like a child finger painting, paying attention not to confuse the device by touching any other part of the screen. You'd literally have to be wearing gloves and buy a special thick wand to write on a capacitive in a way that approached normal handwriting. This is why it is so laughable every time a story crops up about using iPads in schools.
Some software allegedly claims to allow users to write on a capacitive but how good it is remains to be seen. I expect that it tries to ignore certain kinds of inputs, which to me suggests it's going to be glitchy or easy to confuse.
So yes resistive has its uses. There are also hybrids that would allow the best of both worlds - touch and stylus input.
I am really surprised when people knock the Android pads. I just got a 7in one, £80 including delivery from China. It's an aPad Flytouch/EKEN 256MB, and it is an _awesome_ little device. 7in size is perfect for an eBook reader, and it was chosen for two additional reasons:
1) My girlfriend likes her long fingernails so required a pad with a resistive screen
2) She needs it to fit in her handbag, so pads bigger than 7in weren't an option
Granted, my aPad only runs Android 1.6, but so what, exactly? I have a Motorol Droid/Milestone phone with Android 2.1, and I have not found _any_ apps that I use on that which I couldn't back up and install on the Android 1.6 pad. With the latest firmware update, even the latest Google Maps works just fine. The whole requirement for later versions of Android is largely hype.
Sure, the aPad isn't a desktop replacement powerhouse, and doesn't have HDMI output and can't handle HD movie playback, but it's not supposed to be - and why would you need HD playback on a 800x480 screen?? And it's £80 delivered!
Frankly, after that, most Android pads look staggeringly overpriced. And if you want something similar but smaller, look at the Orange San Francisco phone.
If you want a new Droidpad, make sure it's 2.x
You might get most things working in 1.6, but as of right now there are several apps that won't work in 1.5 (like for instance, the Angry Birds beta). Take a quick look at this page:
As you can see, 1.6 is slowly being squeezed out. 2.x has near-as-dammit 75% of the market. It won't be that long before developer look at the figures, and find themselves unable to resist using API toys that are only available from 2.x onward.
Strange gap there
Really, there's a very strange gap between the decent but expensive gadgets from Apple and Samsung and all the dirt cheap tablets. Some recent Android, $20 phone and GPS chips, a mic and a speaker (to make the thing work as a phone and so satisfy Google to license the app market) and a capacitive touchscreen just can't be THAT expensive. Maybe $100.
There must be plenty of room for decent Android tablets in the $300 to $400 range. There're none though.
I get the feeling that all the major brands just start to realize that many people do not need expensive computers at all and would be very happy with a simple tablet for their needs. Selling $300 tablets and not selling expensive laptops anymore then would be suicide. So they're stalling and/or selling expensive tablets.
- Product round-up Coming clean: Ten cordless vacuum cleaners
- Something for the Weekend, Sir? I need a password to BRAKE? What? No! STOP! Aaaargh!
- Episode 13 BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
- Vulture at the Wheel Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK
- Worstall @ the Weekend BIG FAT Lies: Porky Pies about obesity