Android Entry-Level Pad/Tablet and eBook Reader Results: Archos 70 Internet Tablet

by G 9. August 2011 17:06
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Here is the winner of the "My eBook Reader Smackdown!"
The Archos 70 Internet Tablet. 

Some time ago, I decided that I definitely needed to have an eBook reader. Technical books sometimes are tomes of information, and it is nice to have them around for quick reference and not have to carry them on the train for reading and transport. 

The only other real competitor in my entry-level class was the Archos 5, but the Archos 5 screen was too small for me to read from. I also think that the screen of the Archos 101 was too big, and the Archos 9 too heavy. At the same time, I set a spending limit, and thought that if I was going to spend $250, I would like to have more options than reading books. The Nook 2 looked good, but it has an 800Mhz processor, lower resolution, and would need to be hacked. Also, don't confuse the Archos 70 Internet Tablet with the 70 Home Tablet. The 70 Home Tablet was (performed like) a joke at 600Mhz and it looks like it's been discontinued so be careful with that model if you look for on it on eBay or buy it used. The only things that I miss from the Archos 5 are the metal kickstand and GPS, but this tablet has a front-side camera, a larger screen, a 1Ghz vs 800Mhz proc, and a capacitive multi-touch screen vs resistive no multi-touch.  

The chassis is light, and the profile is slim so don't fuggin' throw it in your back pocket and sit on it! I did that the other day and there are no cost-effective repair options.  Think that they could have done a better job designing the slot where the MicroSD card goes. I have a broken SD card stuck in the Archos that I sat on. Inserting and ejecting the card is tricky.  

The Android OS version is 2.2.1. I just recently got a firmware update, which is good because there are devs working on the platform. The firmware update was hassle-free. No disks or usb drives, over the network, an literally one-click five clicks. The Android UI works really well. It has four soft buttons (on-screen) for Back, Menu, Home, and Search like the buttons on the Android phones. It also has a buttons mode that adds arrow keys and an ok button. What is really nice is that you can take a screenshot (for free) when you tap the power button.  

The battery life is good. I left it on and used it for 9 hours until it ran out. The other thing that I tried out is the HDMI output. This is the first time that I've plugged in a device to a monitor and it's left me wanting a 24" touch-screen. The only thing is that it would be nice to have multi-touch gestures in HDMI mode. I think that would be really cool if the screen was made to stay on with an on-screen keyboard and touchpad area when in HDMI mode. To scroll down the down the apps list in the apps screen you use Buttons Mode and to pan the home screen to the other screens you click the little dots screen navigator. 

What makes this a good eBook reader, and it wouldn't be without, is the Aldiko app. It is an app that reads PDFs and comes bundled with the Archos. I tried a few free PDF readers and none were as good as Aldiko (f/k/a Laputa).  It comes with its own apps market, AppsLib, but you can get all the Google Apps (including Market) through Arctools. The System Monitor is good. I read somewhere you can overclock this thing to 1.2 Ghz.

Overall, this tablet will grow on you. It might not be the latest and greatest, but it definitely holds up to all the usability, features, and convenience of its $500 brethren. For an eBook reader, unmatched at the time.






Android | Blog | Reader | Review | Tablet

Accessory Review: Body Glove Shield Protector Case W/ Belt Clip Kick Stand

by G 18. February 2010 03:44
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Crap! Twice. This accessory case makes the phone look a lot cooler - like a military device or something of that nature, and the kickstand is a big plus at the office. The drawback is that you need to be VERY watchful of your phone because it snaps off the belt clip too easily and it will probably be too late to find your phone by the time you notice that it is gone! It happened to me twice while biking and on Halloween night and inadvertently caught it falling off a couple of times getting in/out of cars.

There is a better belt accessory that I will post about soon here

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Android | Blog | G-1 | Review | Accessory

App Review: DroidWiki

by G 5. February 2010 10:19
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DroidWiki is probaby one of the top most useful apps out there. A Wiki is a kind of application that lets you create, edit, and link content. There is markup that lets you quickly format your text, something that is really convenient in a mobile app. This version lets you export html or wiki markup to the sd card, find your notes by tag, and saves created and last update dates for you.

version: org.sjb.droidwiki,0.8.5

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Android | App | Review

App Review: Armadillo Roll

by G 3. February 2010 11:35
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The 3-D graphics are smooth and the game uses the accelerometer to control the Armadillo's Roll. This app has never finished downloading its update. It keeps alerting that there is a new version but keeps getting stuck at 100% and installed but maybe it doesn't update its local status. If the developer can fix the hung update, this app could silently sit and take up some space on my phone as a fun-to-show app for its 3-D graphics which are OpenGL-ES, a subset of OpenGL for embedded systems.

version: Armadillo Roll,1.0.3

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Android | App | Review

App Review: The Weather Channel

by G 28. January 2010 11:14
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This app kind of sucks. I have been trying to delete one location forever. No matter how many different ways I attempt to trick it into forgetting the stupid location, it won't. I can't imagine from where the app is loading its state, but soon I'll figure out if this a pain-in-the-ass point of the [Android] API or sloppy coding. I will probably have to uninstall and reinstall the app for my location configurations to take effect.

version: The Weather Channel,2.1.9

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Android | App | Review

G-1 Review - Part 1: Introduction

by G 14. January 2010 07:36
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First post here. I'm following Android and mobile os development in general. I'm primarily a .net developer and love to see cool stuff - also in code :)

I have been using G-1/Android 1.6 for about the last 6 months and, although I am less than impressed with it for daily use, still recommend it for any one of its outstanding qualities as a smartphone development platform.

Hardware: check
I'm not sure where this phone stands out against the rest with respect to its hardware features, but it has a trackball, a color touch screen, a 3.2 megapixel camera, a physical slide-out keyboard, a gyrometer or something of that sort that lets you tilt the phone to get a reading, and a GPS receiver.

Operating System and SDK: check
Android Cupcake Donut (1.6) is a cool platform for smarthphone applications.

The SDK for Android was easy to install. It is a plugin for Eclipse. For more info check out:

Using this phone every day is kind of a pain in the ass! I mean that the more I use it, the more that its hardware and developer shortcomings become evident.  The OS can't handle that much stuff going on, but (i need to drive an iPhone this year) if you keep your desktop free of network calls (see apps reviews), the phone will pretty much be great. It is defiinitely not as great as the old blackberry (i need to drive a newer blackberry this year) for contact management and calls, but i think that it would fill in everything that the Blackberry wants with a killer phone app - and a scroll wheel it needs a scroll-wheel and cursor arrow keys (edited to complete thought; etf) :)

In G-1 Review - Part 2: Everyday usage, i will cover everyday usage of the G-1/1.6 like a phone and a connected desktop on-the-go.

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Android | G-1 | HTC | Review

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