Friday, June 25, 2010

New Android Tablets coming up: time to start testing devices, thus first testing impressions

Probably since the WMC this past February there has been as much talk around the Ipad as it was around all other device manufacturers, from mobile phones (&network vendors) ones to PC and even some start-ups, working on creating different tablet concepts all running Google's android platform as OS

It is good to read several ZDNet articles on the topic
Link to ZDNet's Android tablet army starts to form), which clearly puts it "
The big difference with the Android tablet army is that the Apple iPad doesn’t have much of a head start..." as it did on the case on the iPhone. Get used to this ideas as many of these tablets will be “...poor man’s iPads” on deck. Note these devices won’t be iPad killers or anything, but Apple legitimized the tablet form factor and the followers are lining up. There will be multiple Android tablets waiting in the wings". Price point seems to be around 199 USD (150 Eur) and I am sure that a number of mobile operators will subsidize the unit price around 12 to 18 months contracts

For an end subscribers I still remain a bit skeptical, in fact I think that I could share some of ZDNet blogger Christopher Dawso, Would I buy an Android Tablet?

But let's look at some of my impressions testing one of the upcoming devices (Huawei S7 Tablet, which it seems will be available in Australia by year end, and is already available for pre-order at Expansys websites in UK and US

  • In terms of weight and size (screen) I believe that most of the units coming from the mobile phone manufacturers will share (at least initially) a 7 inches screen and weight around 350-450 g. (see also Samsung tablet rumors S7 has a 7-inch WVGA 800 x 480 resolution and weight around 470 g.
  • These units need to have Android 2.2. I tested my unit with 2.1. It was good enough, but we need an excellent experience to make users go here. 2.1 is sufficient for an smartphone but slow for a tablet (;content), and it does not support flash on websites (which is a key to differentiate on this matter vs. iPad)
  • As of today, market apps are not ready for these tablets. I try to download many apps and mostly were not available for this device or were far from being optimized
  • Connectivity was very good, although sometimes I had difficulties on automatic mode and have to find the network manually. Furthermore embedded modem was 7.2 (not good enough as our network is today already on 21) but it gave a very good browsing experience and was streaming youtube without issues
UPDATE: there is a youtube video of Huawei demo of the device in Q1
Link to YouTube video on Huawei S7)

    Overall it was a good start. Android 2.2. should be a powerful OS for tablets and I see lots of people wanting to have this type of device and the iPad not being an option for them. What I still struggle is seeing many people taking this device instead of their laptop when traveling. For me it has become something I bring when going for a coffee out (together with my blackberry) or to surf when in bed. For web browsing and email the 7' inch screen is great and also makes the unit fit into my coat pockets. I also believe in using skype with the front camera for video calls (which I will not do with my BB, but I do lots with my laptop)
    However if I were to read a book here (which people seem to be taking this habit on the iPad) I don't think I will last long. However Android is still to take the ebook challenge as part of their areas of focus

    There will be much more in the future

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