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Android foray: Arnova 8 G2

I have been threatening to get a tablet for awhile. Of course, as one might expect, an iPad has been the object of desire. This remains the case but not because I see this Android experience as a failure. Using a tablet has proven the tablet form factor for me. Even though I’m pecking this out on a soft keyboard which leaves a lot to be desired. Part of that’s probably due to the compromises that brought this €175 price tag. I accept that. The smart text that accompanies my typing just doesn’t seem as smart as on iOS which is down to UX design. It’s good but just not there yet. As an example, typing this I miss the space bar a lot and would expect that to be handled but it isn’t. There’s a good blog post by Benjamin Tseng doing the rounds on Twitter today (actually it was ages ago as I’ve been slow to get this finished). It talks about text and cursor selection positioning on Android versus iOS where the author prefers Android but I’m just not finding that same experience. Again, some of that is probably down to the capacitive screen and so not an entirely fair comparison. It’s enough of a pain in the arse that I’m now completing this, quite sometime after first starting this post, on a laptop.

Because it’s not a Google approved device you don’t get the Android Market by default. This isn’t a big deal as folk are quick to find ways around this. Either via direct installation of the application package or alternative ROMs. Indeed, the relatively young Arnova 8 G2 has two alternative ROMs available; one based on the stock ROM but with the Market, among other things, enabled and one based on CyanogenMod 7. Once that’s sorted you have access and can get hold of the apps you want. The apps I have installed pretty much mirror what I have on my iPhone; the essentials like Evernote, Google Reader and a twitter client for example. However I also have a number of browser plugins installed on the tablet – something which just doesn’t exist on Apple’s Safari and is a major omission. This means my browsing on the tablet is a far more enjoyable and useful exercise when combined with the ease with which you can share from Android apps (noted in Benjamin’s post).

The Twitter apps are quite a ways behind the offerings on the iPhone, I think it’s going to be a long time before you see something of the calibre of Osfoora or Tweetbot coming to Android. That’s still my problem with Android apps; they lack UX polish that you find on other platforms.

Aside from all that though, this tablet satisfies what I’m looking for in this type of device; the ability to enjoy and share content more comfortably and add my own snippets of content from time to time. A lot of table for not a lot of money. There are compromises though by way of a capacitive screen and a shit camera. So, if you want better then you are going to have to pay for that.


Posted by James Gallagher

39 year old nerdy sort who now lives in Rathfarnham, Dublin, Ireland.

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