Posted by: patdavila | December 13, 2010

An Android based internet tablet for us mere mortals

As the previous owner of a Nokia N800 internet tablet I can appreciate what a MID (mobile internet device) brings to the table. There are a ton uses for it: e-reader, email, web browsing, youtube, gaming, etc.. While the Apple iPad has made the Pavlovian dog brigade wet themselves we freedom loving geeks have been biding our time for an Android based device to deliver us to the promised land. The 7 inch Samsung Galaxy Tab was released and I can say it is a great device. It’s well built, has a beautiful display, it’s fast and comes with Android 2.2. It’s biggest weakness is the price tag. $599 without a contract, $399 with a 2 year contract on one of the mobile carriers. Yikes. The last thing I want with an internet tablet is being locked into a cell contract for the next 2 years. Why the hell did Samsung not release a cheaper wifi only version?! There are other options. Archos is releasing the Archos 101. And Viewsonic has released the Viewsonic G Tablet

The early word on the street is that Viewsonic’s implementation of Android leaves quite a bit to be desired. The good news is since this is Android it’s pretty damn hackable & modable. There are already numerous custom ROMS running on this device including Cyanogenmod 6.1 beta.

Both of these devices are in the $300-$350 price range. Much more reasonable than the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

In the 7 inch form factor Archos has released the Archos 70 for $279. Also the Barnes & Noble Nookcolor Android based e-book reader has been rooted. So it’s only a matter of time till this $249 device gets one of the previously mentioned ROMS ported over to it.

It’s about damn time that these devices are finally shipping. Even if the manufacturers screw up the software implementation it’s only a matter of time till the community provides an alternative implementation. Android being Open Source software is a great thing indeed.

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