The Android tablets are swamping the market and people are loving that they now have choices and alternatives to the Apple iPad. While some people swear by the iPads, in the end the iPad is just a bigger iPod and is hampered by its lack of Flash, it’s inability to easily connect to other devices, it’s lack of external media, and of course its price. While other tablets like the Motorola Xoom are similarly priced, they also have better specs generally than the iPad. Don’t get me wrong, the iPad does have a great looking screen and it is also pretty smooth running – although Steve Jobs trickery does fool people into believing his products run so much better (even notice how Apple apps never crash? well they do, it’s just that unlike Android which tells you when something goes wrong, when most iPad apps crash they just disappear which makes many people believe that they accidentally closed the app).
It has always bothered me that the iPad can’t run flash and doesn’t have USB ports etc (for the fanbois, I bought one of the first iPads in Pensacola and used it heavily for the first few months so I know what its strong and weak points are first hand). Ever since I got my Xoom, my iPad has gone mostly unused. I love that Android offers a choice, and I love that there is such a strong development community behind it. The G-tablet is the perfect example, and with its current price @ $279, it is quite appealing for many as a first tablet. I got my Gtab back around Thanksgiving of last year, and have loved using it and playing around with it. It has many custom ROM’s available (a new one just about every week), and they even have an early port of Android 3 Honeycomb running on it.
Rooting most Android devices, and/or installing a custom ROM is generally as easy as either installing an app, or copying a couple files from your computer to your device then rebooting into its recovery mode. While there is always a ‘small’ amount of danger when messing around with a devices software, devices like the Gtablet are just about unbrickable (you can easily soft-brick it, but after installing literally hundreds of ROM’s on mine, I have always been able to recover from any problems).
If you want to play around with your Android device, it is much like having a ‘work’ in progress automobile – you know the kind that you are always adding something to, improving, changing. The most important thing is to invest a little time and read and watch the tutorials available before jumping in. Rooting and swapping ROMS is actually easier than it may seem. I have taught an 80 year old grandma how to root her Gtablet, and she is now enjoying custom ROMS on it. If you can copy and paste files on your computer, you should be able to swap out a ROM on your Gtablet. With new roms like ‘Century Eyes’, ‘Brilliant Corners’, and ‘Mountain Laurel’, the G-tablet has some great alternatives for software – Android unlike Apple is very much about freedom of choice.
Having Flash on your tablet is a great thing, allowing you to view the full web, not just the iPad web. While there has been a push to move some things to HTML5 in terms of videos etc, Adobe Flash is not going anywhere and is still running on fairly large slice of internet sites.
There is no doubt in my mind that it won’t be long before the iPad is overcome by the wealth of other tablets on the market because in the end, freedom of choice wins out. Apple does make impressive products, but they are limited by both function (what Steve Jobs decides you should have) and by price which is usually much higher than they should be (Apple’s profit margin is HUGE compared to most other companies).
At Pensacola Computers, we offer help with the Gtablet and Xoom and provide services for Rooting and custom ROM installation on the Gtablet. Check out the tutorial videos on the Pensacola Computers Youtube Channel
I got an original iPad when it first came out, both because it was something different and so I could support a number of clients who were getting them. It was cool, a very slick toy, but in the end it was a toy, just a larger iPod (which is Exactly what it is). Sure, it had some cool apps, most of which cost $$$ that add up much too quickly. The interface is very polished, as well it should be considering the years of iPod development that came before it. But in the end, it is the glaring lack of some things that make it undesirable (despite what Steve Jobs hype machine will try to make you believe).
It doesn’t support flash, which contrary to Steve’s godlike wishes isn’t going to disappear any time soon. Without flash, a very sizable chunk of the web is not accessible, and I for one am not happy having a device that is that limited when it comes to web browsing – I hate that Steve Jobs is the one to decide what I can and can’t view – it is not that the iPad can’t view flash, it is that Steve will not allow it to, plain and simple. The hardware can handle it, albiet on some sites it might stutter, but at least give me that option. I also hate that I cannot easily transfer files to and from the iPad – both because of the lack of hardware support like the ability to use a SD type card, and the huge limitation of the software of iOS which is after all designed for a toy and not a computing device.
With the growing influx of Tablets running Android, I now have a choice. A choice between a number of devices which easily can view the entire web including flash content. Devices that support external media like SD type cards. Devices that have an actual file system that you can easily transfer to and from other devices (I can even do it very simply over a wireless network). In addition, I like having devices that have a huge development community behind them, a community that is not based on one man’s whim’s. The Android community is constantly striving to provide enhancements (free) to make your device better, more customizable, and more personalized.
I got a Viewsonic Gtablet back in November and considering it was less than 1/2 the cost of an iPad, has full flash support, supports an external SD card, USB, HDMI, and has a huge number of custom software ROMS available, it is a good starting point for Android. I have used this device for months, and while it doesn’t have built in 3G, it is very easy to tether it to my Android phone and use its data plan (and I don’t pay any extra for that either!). While in all honesty, the gtablet’s screen does not have as good a viewing angle as the iPad, and the current Android 2.2 software is not totally tablet optomized, it is one of the first of a new breed of Android devices.
Then comes my Xoom, which has pretty much totally replaced my iPad usage. The Xoom was the first Android 3.0 device, and while still having some growing pains, it is so much better in so many ways than the iPad that in the few areas that it is currently lacking, I can easily get by and actually not get ticked off when using it as I often did with the iPad. Steve Jobs is definitely smart and a Master of deception. One of the biggest complaints of Android devices is what they call Force Closes (FC’s). These happen on apps when something goes wrong, you get a message saying the app has a problem and is closing. This is frustrating for sure, and is often caused by people trying to run apps designed for other devices (phones apps on a tablet etc). Apple was much sneakier – instead of the common practice of coding applications with error code that runs when something goes wrong, Apple apps just disappear when they encounter a problem, or in the rare case, the device just freezes. This has the effect of making many people think that it is They who did something wrong, like accidentally closing the app – smart ploy by Apple that takes advantage of people by making them think it is their fault their device is not working properly.
With my Xoom, I have full access to all of my files, both on it and my home and business computer. I can watch TV shows, movies, browse the FULL web, watch all of the videos on YouTube (something you can’t do on any iOS device), I can even easily write my own apps and install them plus I have access to many different app markets like the Google Android market, the Amazon Android market (which gives away a free paid for app every day!), as well as numerous other smaller app marketplaces. I like having a CHOICE in my devices, in what I can do with them and in how I want to use them. The Xoom even comes stock with the ability to Unlock it to allow you to install any kind of software you want on it!
Despite all of the iPad hype - I think Steve’s ad machine has done a great job duping the public into believing they Need an iPad 2 (come on, it’s a slightly slimmer iPad with crappy cameras that aren’t even a megapixel, as compared to the Xoom’s 5 MP and 1.3 MP cameras). But while people play and PAY with their Apple toys, I will quietly work and enjoy my freedom of choice with Android.
Pensacola Computers Presents how to tether your Motorola Xoom Android 3 tablet to a DroidX using the free Wireless Tether app. This will work on phones that have the ‘ability’ to create a wireless hotspot but do not have the Verizon hotspot plan.