Tag Archive | "froyo"

The State of Android Tablets in 2011. A Survey

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At the beginning of the year, if you would have told me that, by the summer, there would be a dozen different Android tablets available for order from reliable, first tier manufacturers, I would have told you to get outta town. We were likely all desensitized to the constant stream of news that seemingly had the same message: “Company X announced the Y Tablet today. It features blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. No information was released on a launch date or pricing.” It had gotten to the point that I immediately went to the bottom of any announcement of a tablet-device, and if it had the standard blurb about no launch date or word on pricing, I did not read the article.

Read the full story

Froyo on Intel Moorestown Tablet

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image

While Meego on Moorestown is an interesting story, I bet the combination of Android on X86 raises more eyes. We’re at the Intel booth and Gemtech are showing the Zeus some tablet. Not much information here although I did speak to a representative who tells us it is being test by carriers right now and will launch in Q2. There’s a Meego version in the works too.

Video coming soon.

LG Gets Official with the Optimus Black

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크기변환_Optimus_Black

Today at CES LG have gone official with their latest Android smartphone. It sports a 4-inch NOVA display which LG claim is “the brightest, clearest and most readable inch mobile screen available, promising to be extremely bright while at the same time being more power efficient than both LCD and AMOLED mobile screens.

If the name doesn’t give it away, the phone has a black finish and LG also claims it’s the worlds slimmest mobile phone at an impressive 9.2 mm, which is 0.1 mm thinner than Apple’s iPhone 4. It will be interesting to see if it can still claim to be the worlds slimmest phone by the end of CES.

The Optimus Black seems very similar to the LG Optimus 2X that was announced late last year, however the LG press release gives no indication on what processor is at the heart of this phone leaving me feeling sceptical on whether this device is Tegra 2 powered like the Optimus 2X.

LG say this is also the worlds first ‘WiFi-Direct’ phone which is a very interesting technology that allows direct data transfers between enabled devices.

The Optimus Black will launch with Android 2.2 preinstalled however LG plan on updating the device to Gingerbread which they claim will also provide higher quality video calling through it’s 2 megapixel front facing camera.

This appears to be a very promising phone and I look forward to a hands on when it launches globally in the first half of 2011.

Source: LG

Samsung Galaxy Tab $499 without 3G (In U.S.)

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Pocketables have some interesting news about the Wi-Fi-only version of the Galaxy Tab. We’re seeing a continuing slide on the prices in Europe with the UK leading on 529 pounds (592 Euros) and others, like Germany, not far behind.  The pre-tax price is 451 pounds, $709 which is a healthy chunk of money. The U.S. can expect cheaper prices than that but how about this: $499 for a Wifi-Only version at Best Buy, matching exactly the 16GB Wifi-only version of the iPad.

The two devices don’t stack up as complete equals with the Galaxy Tab leaning towards more mobility and flexibility where the iPad has the app store and beautiful UI on its side but both are up there as excellent choices.

Does the lack of 3G take away some of the mobility advantage though? Should smaller mean cheaper? What do you think?

More information on U.S. pricing over at Pocketables:

Samsung Galaxy Tab headed to Best Buy: $499 and up, Sprint, Verizon, silver/black, WiFi-only, WiFi + 3G.

Galaxy Tab. One Week Review and Coverage Round-Up

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It only seems fair to write this post on the Galaxy Tab so for the record, it is now 1943hrs and I’m sitting up in bed with a cup of tea and a packet of shortbread. I am using the device in portrait mode with the Samsung keyboard enabled along with XT9’s error correction and auto-substitution enabled. Word prediction is turned off. I’m using the WordPress application to write the post which means it will need some post processing (spell check, image inserts) on a ‘real’ PC with a ‘real’ browser later. I don’t intend to spend more than a couple of hours on this so am expecting something like 1000 words. I’ll put in some timing checkpoint as I go.

Firstly, a big thanks to Techdepot in Germany who reached out with a request for advertising space in return for one of the first retail packages to go out of the door in the world. Done deal!

Now, before I go into details let me say a word about value for money. Value is in the eye of the beholder and it’s very difficult to predict how much of the Galaxy Tab will appeal to each user. A user without an Mp3 player, portable video player, no gaming devices or navigation device will find a lot in the Tab. Someone with all the latest gadgets won’t but there’s a lot in the Tab that works very well indeed and the idea of total convergence is a powerful one. Over the last week I haven’t used my normal mobile phone and have been away on holiday without a laptop. Gaming, navigation, music, email, twitter, photo and video slideshows and e-reading have all been used successfully. Again, there’s a lot here to use as justification for buying a Tab but it will depend on your current status as to whether €650 euro (current low street-price in Europe) is worth it.

The Tab didn’t come with a big bundle of accessories which was an early disappointment with the Tab. No soft case. No TV-out cable. No stand. The soft case is a must-have and really should be in the box. Apart from that though you’re looking at the usual easy and standalone setup that you expect from the latest Android phones. If you’re a Google user, everything sync up nicely and you’re away in no time. The UI is smooth and there’s a good range of extra apps to explore and  keep you excited.

Our Galaxy Tab content so far…

The Tab is nicely weighted for its size,  just as the eye expects it to be. At 12mm its amazingly thin and the screen covers a big percentage of the frame area. It slots into most jeans back-pockets easily for transportation around the house. In portrait mode there really isn’t any weight issue when using it to thumb text as I am now but due to the highly slippery surface, its difficult to hold in one hand. I’m employing a ‘loser’ L-shaped grip with first finger and thumb a lot of the time.

Screen sharpness, colour and brightness is very impressive and gets a boost if you turn the power save feature off. Screen viewing angles are excellent all round.

Galaxy Pad Viewing Angles _1_.JPG Galaxy Pad Viewing Angles _2_.JPG

Galaxy Pad Viewing Angles _3_.JPG Galaxy Pad Viewing Angles _4_.JPG

Galaxy Pad Viewing Angles.JPG

All in all you’re looking at a very happy and exciting  first few hours with the device. I doubt anyone will be unhappy with it although I will say that if you’re expecting the top quality UI physics of the iPad, you might be disappointed. A quick test of some finger-drumming apps shows that, like all Android devices I’ve tried, there seems to be inherent latency issues that will always prevent an Android UI from being ‘amazing.’  Maybe that will change in the future.

[Checkpoint : 20:14]

After a week of using the Tab I feel confident in calling it a stable, quality product that performs most of its key functions to a high level comparable with many dedicated devices.

Key Functions of the Galaxy Tab

In detail then, what are the ‘key functions’ of the Galaxy Tab?

MP3 player. Good storage, sound quality (stereo speakers, headphone port, A2DP over Bluetooth) and player features. No Album art retrieval or other advanced features like auto-playlists, Good EQ features. Battery life in this mode, with screen off, is estimated to be near 1 day.

Video player. Up to 1080p and handling xvid, divx, h.264, wmv and other formats and containers such as MKV. No support for multi-channel audio such as AC3. Good player, fast search, good background handling of files added via micro-sd card. Battery life in this mode is estimated to be 5-7 hours due to screen power requirements.

Navigation. Google navigation works well although re-routing when in offline mode won’t work as no maps are held locally. Screen size excellent for safe use in car. No other solutions tested yet.

Galaxy Tab Xperia X10i Show Google Maps.JPG

Web. With Flash being supported and a good, fast built-in browser on the 1024×600 screen 99% of anyone’s requirements will be met. The browser fails at many web applications though with Google docs being a notable example. Internet access is fast through Wifi or HSPA. Portrait mode with 600 pixels wide is good. Browser is locked as a ‘mobile’ browser and can not be changed.

Galaxy Tab Photo _10_.JPGE-book reading. PDFs are handled speedily (tested with Adobe Reader) and there are good choices for E-book applications and stores. The weight and size work well for reading in 1hr chunks. Glossy LCD screen limits use in certain scenarios though and the slippery surfaces means a case or rubber grips-strips will need to be employed.

Emails. Good.  The built in app has been re-worked for the bigger screen and provides an efficient way to handle and respond to email from multiple sources. On-screen keyboard option are good and work well in portrait mode. Landscape mode keyboard usage is not ideal due to the size of the device. No cut-and-paste in email is annoying.

Phone. As a speakerphone it works very well and if you have a headset to hand and can keep the Tab close, you can use it as a normal phone. I don’t make or receive many calls on my mobile phone so it is working out very well for me. For SMS usage, the Tab is a killer device.

Gaming. The Android ecosystem is still lagging the Apple ‘i’ ecosystem but there are some gems out there. Angry Birds just works beautifully on the Tab for example but beware, there are many games out there that don’t scale up to the non-standard screen resolution of the Tab.

Storage. With 12GB of storage available on the 16GB version and micro-sd card support up to 32, there’s enough here for most people. USB OTG support would have been a nice addition.

Stability / Memory handling. I have experienced one lock-up while using the Tab during the last 8 days. It occurred when I was messing with sounds settings. In general though, the device seems very stable. 512MB of RAM helps to ensure that the user doesn’t need to worry about managing background apps. (Although there’s a nice little widget that shows number of apps running in g/b which turns red when high mem or CPU usage is detected.)

Battery life. With a huge 15wh battery (3x the capacity of a normal smartphone battery) you can expect a minimum of 24hrs usage out of the device in general use. In use as a navigation device with 3G enabled, you might be able to run the Tab flat in 6-7hrs. That’s an extreme example though. Right now I’m into the 36th hour of using the Tab after a full charge and I have 30% battery life left.

Camera and video. The quality is surprisingly good here although don’t expect it to provide results that challenge the best phones. Samsungss camera application is quick, easy and feature rich although there’s the issue of using a tablet as a camera to get over. No dedicated camera button.

Others.

  • Gallery: Smooth and easy to use.
  • YouTube playback: Smooth and easy to use. Even better with the new YouTube app.
  • GPS : Fast to lock. Retains lock indoors (tested up to 2 meters from a window)
  • Music store (uses 7 Digital platform) works well.
  • DNLA application – Can’t handle my 150GB collection on a Vista-based server.
  • Samsung text selection pointers are a very nice touch. They appear when touching text in an input box and allow easier selection of text.
  • Wifi Reception: Above average
  • 3G reception: Above average
  • Looks: Slim, light and stylish. Size retains a nice level of discreetness. Classy. Quality feel from plastics and buttons.
  • No scratches on screen after one week. A few scratches on the rear.

Issues so far

  • No micro USB charging
  • Slippery surface sometimes feels insecure.
  • Glossy screen doesn’t help outdoor use
  • No FM receiver / transmitter
  • No notification LEDs
  • No included case
  • Browser agent-id can not be changed.
  • Contacts app seems a bit slow to respond to scrolling actions

[Checkpoint : 2109]

As I mentioned above, there are many ways to justify buying a Galaxy Tab and none of the ‘feature’ use-cases will disappoint unless you’ve experienced the best-in-class before using the Galaxy Tab. It is without a doubt, one of the first true competitors to the iPad and with flexible connectivity, storage, camera, video support and phone features, it offers unique advantages. Lets not forget the mobility aspect too.
The Galaxy Tab still needs to mature, or rather, the Android application ecosystem needs to mature before you’ll see apps that are written with a 7″ 1024×600 screen in mind and before games, music, art and productivity apps reach today standard of iPad apps and in those respects, the iPad wins. It also wins in terms of UI physics which is an important part of the feel of the device.

For mobile workers, the Galaxy Tab doesn’t quite provide the mobile desktop that you get with a Windows-based tablets and UMPCs so if you’re looking for that sort of a mobile PC I would advise to stay clear of the Tab right now but do keep an eye on developments in 2011 because newer versions of Android could open up the market for productive applications on bigger screens.

Ill be working on a full review of the Tab over the next few weeks and there’s a lot more to test. Think Free Office will need some work for a start and there’s also some accessories to think about along with some more tests with third party applications and synthetic performance tests. Between now and then though, I think you’ve got enough enough to go on. At this point you can either add it or take it away from your wish list and if you’re keen on converged devices, this will be close to being a ‘must-buy’ for you. The next step for many though will be to see how the Mi700 / Viewpad 7 compares. At under 400 euros it provides nearly all of the specifications of the Tab. Then there’s the Archos 70 which is even cheaper.
The launch price of 799 was quite the shocker when we heard about it but in the time between launch and availability the price has already dropped by 200 euros (today price at Amazon.co.uk.) making it much more accessible and, when compared to the iPad and many high-end mobile computing devices, about right if you ask me.

[Checkpoint 2132 – finished editing on the Tab – 1550 words]

[Checkpoint 1003 – started post processing on PC. Added gallery, links and more text. Spelling corrections – 35 minutes]

Total:1932 words.

Our Galaxy Tab tracking page

Galaxy Tab – 24hr First Impressions: Nice and Slippery!

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GalaxyTabUnboxed

Update: Our live review sessions are now available.

As the battery falls to under 20% after the first 24hrs of using the Galaxy Tab it’s time to give you some first impressions of the the final, retail version of the product. Has Samsung bisected the 5-9” tablet segment with another ‘must have’ product or is this just a product for rich-kids? Before I write any detail though, I must say one thing – When a product is good it triggers strange thoughts in the mind. “How can I justify this” is the inner monologue that tells you that you are dealing with a special product and I’m sure that many many people out there will be thinking this very thought after they’ve played with the Tab for a while. Let’s not forget the price of the Tab as we form our first impressions though.

Galaxy Tab supplied by TechDepot. Many thanks for their support.

As with most Android/Google experiences the out of the box experience is good if you’re a Google user. I am and that means just putting in one username and password and letting the device do its stuff. Email, Contacts, Calendar and YouTube were automatically set up. Popping in a (hot swappable) SIM card meant the phone and data connection was up within the first 5 minutes and I didn’t even have to worry about connecting to a WiFi hotspot for the unboxing demonstration. (Video embedded below) That’s how easy it needs to be. Note the lack of ‘connect your PC and download iTunes’ in that!

From the outside the plastics are good, solid, shiny and oh-my-god slippery. I’ve dropped the Tab once already (on carpet, no damage) but I can guarantee this will be an issue. It’s got that special easy-wipe layer of chemicals that the iPad has and although it does wipe clean easily, it slips all over the place. The aftermarket for cases and bumpers will be strong with the Tab.

The Galaxy Tab is a complete Android product. When I say that I mean that it works like an Android phone does. Market is there, cameras work (great, fast camera software BTW Samsung) and it’s stable and fast. The power utilisation is well optimised too. 25hrs the Tab has been on and it’s just coming up to the 10% charge warning. Overnight drain indicated that this will remain active for about 4 days without needing a charger and that, to me, is what ‘Smart’ is all about. If Android and the related apps could lean more towards productivity and true web experiences, this would be a netbook killer of a mini-smartbook. I’m imagining a 10” version with a keyboard in 2011. It just has to happen.

The ‘Tab’ comes with the efficient Android 2.2 build and browser and is pre-installed with Flash 10.1. It works quite well too but there are still roadblocks out there. Google Docs is still out of bounds as is my WordPress back end. Hover actions and complex AJAX are a serious issue for Android browsers which means in it’s current state, you can’t really call it the full web experience. Still, I doubt many Tab owners will worry too much about that. It’s not that important in this consumer market.

I’ve mentioned the camera software and it’s just one of the little extras that are dotted all round the Android build. There are a few nice widgets, a music store (Music Hub), DNLA support (AllShare), Divx/MKV/WMV and other codecs built-in and the Samsung Apps market which will bring apps dedicated for the Galaxy Tab. At the moment I see just two apps. One for the German media company N-TV (which crashed twice on me) and the other a remote control application for Samsung TVs. This area of the Tab needs ramping up although if Android 3.0 opens the doors to large-screen apps, maybe Samsung should focus on an upgrade to that.

Other not-so good sides to the Tab.

  • Capacitive control buttons hard to see when the backlight is off.
  • No USB OTG (although this might be enabled with an adaptor)

That’s all I’ve found so far. I’m sure we’ll find more in the live session.

Live Review and Q&A/chat tonight at 2100 CEST (Berlin) – Carrypad.com/live

Galaxy Tab Sample


Image taken with Galaxy Tab rear camera

Camera features and quality seem good. Especially for a 3.2MP cam. Video quality also OK although there seems to be a sound issue. See quick uploaded sample video here.

Other notes:

  • Keyboard in portrait mode – Excellent. Good device weight / size and responsiveness / accuracy.
  • Swype keyboard included
  • Stereo speakers good
  • Screen excellent. Contrast, brightness. Glossy is a downside in some situations
  • Battery life great – I expect about 8hrs in use, 24 hrs duration between charges. This makes an all-day hotspot using the 3G sharing features
  • Screen responsiveness – Good but not iPhone good. You can almost feel the multitasking interrupting the UI experience!
  • Built-in storage – 12Gb available – hot swappable Micro SD
  • Wifi reception good (and very fast to connect)
  • Video files up to 7mbps tested OK. (Various formats)
  • Amazon Kindle looks good but this slippery plastic is quite annoying in this scenario – An important point to note if you’re thinking of this as a long-duration e-book reader.

Speedtest – First test result was very good. (HSPA)

Image set

I haven’t done a proper photo shoot yet but here are some snaps.

Galaxy Tab Photo (1)Galaxy Tab Photo (4)

Galaxy Tab Photo (9)

More in the gallery

That’s it for now. If you ignore the price (it’s totally up to you to work out if this is value-for-money for you. Remember, there’s no comparable products in the market as I write this) then you’ve got a slippery but very stylish and capable consumer tablet. Did I miss anything major? If so, drop a comment in below and we’ll be sure to cover it in the live review.

More information in the Galaxy Tab information page.

LIVE REVIEW – Q&A. Don’t forget to join us tonight, 15th October at 2100 CEST/Berlin on Carrypad.com/live for a live video review. Chat session too!

Unboxing video

Meet:Mobility Podcast 50 – Big Steps for Android

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Meet:Mobility Podcast 50 is now available.

In this show, number 50 on the 21st May 2010 we have a lot to talk about from Google IO in San Francisco to Computex in Taipei. Sasha and myself will be giving you feedback from our time with the iPad and we also talk about the netbook summit.

Full show notes, download and listen links at MeetMobility

You can also find the podcast on iTunes (Please rate the show on iTunes.) You can also subscribe via RSS.

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