Camangi WebStation Unboxed. Red Flags Go Up.

Posted on 29 December 2009 by



I’m watching news on the Camangi Webstation carefully because personally, I’m not too positive about it and I’m interested to see if people fall for the looks without thinking about what’s in the core of this device. Having owned a SmartQ7 which is almost exactly the same device in terms of specifications, I am expecting slow performance from UI, web and video; which for a ‘WebStation’, is going to be a problem! The SmartQ7 was $200. The Camangi Webstation is near $400 which is an even bigger problem!

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To put it simply, the Camangi Webstation is a 1st-gen Android smartphone without the ‘voice’ bit, without the ‘Google’ bit  and with a big screen. While many will be happy with the performance of their G1′s or Magic’s, if you were to take away the Marketplace, contacts sync and maps you’d certainly hear people complaining. Add a large screen and an already slow web experience becomes more of an issue as people generally expect ‘bigger’ to be ‘faster.’

More of our Camangi Webstation analysis can be found here.

While my vote goes to the Wirelession W1060 (our review here) or even the Archos 5 IT because of it’s next-generation and far more powerful ARM platform I can see why people are excited about the Camangi Webstation. It looks good, is promoted as an Android device and has had some good airtime around the web. The W1060 is marketed as a WinCE device with a few basic looking images. Not the best marketing plan!

The Wirelession is also getting an Android port but like the Camangi Webstation and Archos 5, it’s not the full Android that many people know and love which leaves core features like A/V and Web as the main apps until apps filter through from hacks and the built-in dedicated marketplace. A/V and Web are the two applications we’re looking closely at when we check out the reviews as they come in.

For example, Laptopmag have immediately said in their first hands-on post that the Webstation ‘Feels sluggish.’ That doesn’t surprise me. Videos don’t seem to be playing smoothly, YouTube doesn’t work and it doesn’t look like web pages load quickly either. None of these problems are going to go away which cuts out any potential market for pro or even pro-sumer use. It will interest ebook fans, sofa surfers, travelers (with a folding USB keyboard), people looking for an emergency computing device, people looking for a cheap project device, a synergy companion, a kitchen recipe book, an off-line Wikipedia but not those looking to use web apps, play games, play high quality videos or use the device as a PIM.

As with the SmartQ7 though, it’s a sign of things to come. It raises the bar in terms of style and if someone can get their act together and build a solid, authorized and supported version of Google Android on these devices then everything will move a big step forward. If everyone scrambles to build their own incomplete Android OS though, there could be a lot of disappointment.

Gear Diary has a nice unboxing below.

Categorized | Devices, Opinion

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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Rahul says:

    The Webstation is based off an 624MHz Marvell PXA3xx chip based on the XScale architecture. XScale is not an ARM11 core and depending on whom you ask, it is considered slower than ARM11. Xscale is ARMv5 compared to ARMv6 for ARM11.

    So the webstation should be slower than the SmartQ device assuming the same OS.

  2. raon says:

    This a shame, as the smartQ falls well short in terms of stability. I guess we should all wait for the Big Players to pick up the ideas and produce a finished product that works right out of the box, of course we’ll have to pay Big Bucks for the privilage.

    Chippy Reply:

    You’re right.

    It’s going to take a big player to complete the negotiations with Google to bring a real Android OS to one of these platforms. There will be higher support and distribution costs (longer chains, more distributors/resellers) to be taken into account too. Then there’s brand value!

    Having said that, I think that 400 is the celing price and that Camangi are simple riding on an early wave with that price.

    Mike Cane Reply:

    >>>I think that 400 is the celing price

    I think so too. It’s been established by all of those Atom-based notebooks.

  3. icura says:

    The SmartQ5/7 is only ridiculously slow because of the 128MB of ram that struggles to load ubuntu let alone load a browser.