Friday, 15 October 2010

Android tablets and a quick catch up

Wow it's been a while. Again. Busy busy busy!

Having fun with some Cisco 3750X switches with Power stack which is quite nice. I'm due to put in a network this weekend using these cracking switches. However I have heard that the link lights on the front of the switches don't always light up when something is plugged into the port (Using Universal/ipBase 53.SE IOS), so I'd recommend you do make the effort to upgrade to 55SE.

Onto Android tablets.

As a Gadgeteer (That's addicted to checking 3 times a day just in case something new was coming), I've been biding my time waiting for some technology to stick. I too was flustered at the reason for needing an iPad - It's just a very expensive tertiary device (after your laptop and phone), that was a bit on the heavy side. Let's be frank though - I had a UMPC and the technology just wasn't there. The devices were heavy, slow and died just under 2 hours after you'd started using it. Android, iOS, and Blackberry's OS's are here to stay!

So why would I buy one?

As a frequenter of customer sites I need a device that's lightweight; with long battery life, and has a camera, so I can make notes about "That Wireless access point is dead, what is the port number so I can check the other end?". Or even being able to use an SSH client or RDP session to just check something out without coming back to the laptop.

On top of that, we have the usual suspects. Newspapers, videos (Not that I have time!), music and social networking. I'd love to blog more often but when I get home I don't want to have to wait 20 minutes for my archaic laptop to get booted and ready to go.

So 7" or 10" screen? The iPad is just to heavy for what I want to use it for (Standing up in a comms room, I can't type comfortably for any length of time - I'd rather use my thumbs likeon my phone). 10" would be nice for reading though.

Oh and one other thing. E-Reader's will NOT die because of this impending tablet onslaught. Extended reading of books needs a screen that doesn't glare at you. And also I'd be too easily distracted by Facebook or some other app. I have a Sony PRS 505 and it's awesome.

So the requirements for me are:

- MUST have Android Marketplace
- Good screen with easy-to-type keyboard
- GSM would be nice, but I could find a way round it
- Camera of some kind
- SD card slot
- Kick stand would be nice
- 7" screen preferably
- Would be nice if Android 3.0 was on it's roadmap

So I've pretty much talked myself into either the Archos 70 or the Samsung Galaxy Tab. But someone should take a stand and say that the Samsung Galaxy Tab MUST come down in price. There is simply NO WAY that it can cost £350 more than an Advent Vega considering the spec sheet. It shouldn't cost more than an iPad either. It's looking like the Archos is the number one option at the moment (Provided it can be hacked to get the Android Marketplace).

Oh and biggest bug bears about Android in it's current form (2.2 Froyo):

- No proxy settings for browsing
- Only one popup window allowed at any one time
- Too few apps being built by big names (They're still only building for iOS, even though Android Tablets are going to FLY off the shelves this xmas)
- Not enough Apps using the Move to SD card feature

I've got my credit card in hand. Come on Samsung - you know what to do.