Monday, 12 September 2011

Living with a zPad

Well, one week on I can say it doesn't disappoint.

I especially like its 'instantness' - want to check your email or the weather - just pick it up. Want to check a  document - just go into evernote. None of the interminable buggering about Windows 7 is prone to coming out of hibernation or sleep, or even OS X with its pretence that it's woken up quickly, when all it's done is show you your dekstop while furiously cranking up in the background.

Battery life is pretty good too. How good I'me not sure yet but it seems good enough, even with GPS running to make it through the day with periodic wakeups for email checking, dropbox and evernote syncing.

The screen and image display quality is pretty good, images of paintings, photographs, are sharp and clear, and the image form factor is excellent. Book reading is similarly sharp and the text is highly legible.

However, for recreational reading (ie stuck on planes and trains) I'd still use a an e-reader on a long trip t because of the near infinite battery life of 6-8k page turns between charges - enough for a three or four week trip (not to mention the lower weight).

The weight is comfortable in both portrait or landscape, not nearly as light as an e-reader, but comfortable enough for reading through a pile of rss feeds on the couch, and making notes.

The onscreen keyboard is good, once one gets used to it's habit of occasionally slipping into pinyn character assembly mode, but for extended typing one would probably want a portable bluetooth keyboard. I still think I prefer a netbook for travel and notetaking in conferences because of its general purpose style nature, I'm prepared to concede that one could imagine replacing a netbook with a tablet given that 90% of everything is in a browser anyway.

My only real irritation is calendar syncing or rather it's lack. I thought I'd found the solution in that GoogleCalendarSync.apk was missing from /etc/system/apps, and that all I needed to do was install it.

Unfortunately installing the calendar sync tool wasn't as straightforward as some blog posts suggested as protections have been set on the system such that I can't install it as a normal off the shelf user, either from the command line or using one of the common installation tools for non market place apps.

Once I've cracked that I also need to install the contacts syncing apk, and possibly a similar library for Google Docs. I am working on this, and incidentally learning a bit about Android configurations along the way ...

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