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General Chat Thread, Android Tablets in General; Originally Posted by salan A usb to serial adaptor (with driver would do). It turns out the iPad actually has ...
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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by salan View Post
    A usb to serial adaptor (with driver would do).
    It turns out the iPad actually has a serial port built in, you just need (to build) an adaptor. Sorry, can't get to the URL at the moment, but it was on Slashdot a couple of days ago.

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  2. #47

    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gibbo View Post
    The only thing I've not yet done is made the jump to a new custom ROM, but I'll probably tackle this at the weekend to get my apps onto the SD card.
    Can the ROM on the Toys-R-Us / Elonex / Zenithink be changed too? I found somewhere listing the internal storage capacity as "2GB Flash NAND Solid State Storage Device" - would that be the EEPROM chip? Do you still need a special EEPROM writing device for those?

    Edit: also, thought of a couple more uses for a very cheap tablet - graphical calculator and classroom response device. I can't remember exactly how much my old Texas Instruments graphical calculator cost back in sixth form, but even the cheapest (£85?) tablet should have several orders of magnitude more computing power / storage available.

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    Last edited by dhicks; 5th November 2010 at 03:26 PM.

  3. #48


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    Quote Originally Posted by AyatollahPies View Post
    I fail to see the point of Windows 7 tablets.
    Not only that, but Windows 7 has numerous usability issues on touch screen devices. Perhaps manufacturers should use the Windows Phone 7 OS instead if they have to use Windows?

    The problem with touch on Windows 7 [...] is that it reads round finger presses as pinpoint cursor clicks. When your finger touches an area, Windows reads it as a tiny cursor click. That unavoidably leads to accuracy problems

    By contrast, iOS, Android, webOS, and every other touch-optimized OS reads finger presses as circular areas, more comparable to your actual fingertip surface. That's why even my fat fingers can manipulate things on those tiny screens. When my finger engulfs a button, it registers as me pressing that button, just like a physical button. By contrast, on a Windows touchscreen PC, that same situation could register the touch outside the button. Hence, making buttons bigger than fingertips could address this symptom, but it doesn’t fix the underlying problem. Furthermore, you can’t 'big button' the Internet." (Source)
    I've already written that Windows Touch was a disappointment, so here are some examples:

    • Touching user interface elements was imprecise and, at times, very difficult.
    • It took me a while to work out how to right-click. Eventually, I got there, but it shouldn’t need me to Google basic functionality like this!
    • The onscreen keyboard is obtrusive – it doesn’t seem to appear/disappear when required and, although it can float, or be docked, it seemed to always be in the way until I increased the screen resolution, after which the user interface elements are too small. It couldn’t keep up with my typing either – I’m no touch typist, but Windows made a right mess (as can be seen at the head of this post), whereas I can type reasonably well on my iPad’s soft keyboard.
    • At the extreme edges (typically the right) of the screen, I found I couldn’t touch pixels (e.g. a scroll bar) because the screen bevel was preventing physical access and so my fingers were not registered.
    • UAC prompts that invoke a secure desktop required a physical keyboard as the software keyboard was unavailable!
    (Source)
    Last edited by Arthur; 6th November 2010 at 12:16 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Right, just trying to get my head around how the typical Android-based phone/tablet/etc boots its OS
    The diagrams on this webpage explain the process really well...

    http://www.androidenea.com/2009/06/a...-power-on.html

    Also, before you can use a custom Android ROM, you usually have to unlock the devices bootloader...

    Why Is The Bootloader Locked?
    A bootloader is usually locked on an Android device because although it's an open source OS, the manufacturers still want you to stick to their Android OS version specifically designed for the device. In order to apply this concept, manufacturers lock the bootloader. With a locked bootloader on Android devices, it is virtually impossible to flash a Custom ROM and forced attempts void warranty as well as usually end up in bricks. Therefore, the first step is to always unlock the bootloader.

    How To Unlock Bootloader On Android Devices?
    The explanation to this question is really simple. If you want root, you'd be wanting to flash Custom ROM post-root, and if you want to install a Custom ROM, you'd need to have your stock bootloader unlocked. In simple terms Unlocking the bootloader allows you to install custom Firmware on your Android phone. Although we believe that unlocking a bootloader is awesome, but we think it's our duty to inform that after unlocking your phone's bootloader, your device's warrant goes void there and then. This is not only applicable for Android devices, but stands true and valid for iDevices running variants of iOS as well. Also note that unlocking the bootloader on your phone also completely wipes (formats) your Android phone and you will be left with zero applications/contacts/multimedia content etc. (Source)
    Rooting
    To protect the Android operating system from corruption, it is read-only. In addition the NAND is locked so that new images cannot easily be flashed. To update Android you must get 'root' access to the operating system. root is the user name or account that by default has access to all commands and files on every Linux or other Unix-like operating system such as Android. It is also referred to as the root account, root user and the superuser. Rooting on an Android phone has come to mean the process of installing an alternative recovery image that also provides root user privileges under some circumstances and the ability to unlock the NAND and allow flashing. Rooting only replaces the recovery image, it does not affect the bootloader, the Radio ROM, the Android ROM or any apps. If you root a stock HTC Android phone it will still behave just the same.

    Bootloader
    The bootloader is a small piece of code that is used to load an operating system. The bootloader in HTC Android seems to be composed of two portions named Fastboot and Hboot. Hboot has a few manually accessible features, the one we are most interested in is the ability to load a recovery image.

    Android ROM (or the ROM)
    The Android ROM is the Android operating system. This is the User interface (Sense UI in HTC phones) and the file system for maintaining contacts etc. It is composed of a Linux kernel and various add-ons to achieve specific functionality.

    NAND
    There are two main types of Flash memory NAND and NOR. This is the memory used to permanently store the ROM images inside the phone. Most consumer devices use NAND memory.

    Recovery image
    In HTC Android phones, the recovery image is a piece of software that can load a ROM image from the SD Card and Flash it into the internal ROM. The recovery image is accessed from Hboot. (Source)

  5. Thanks to Arthur from:

    dhicks (7th November 2010)

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    The diagrams on this webpage explain the process really well...
    Indeed - thankyou. Hmm, interesting. Lots of stuff on that page about how trying to update firmware can mangle your Android device - I know I'm going to spend £100 on one of these and instantly void the warrenty, but I'd like to try and check if it is actually updateable. If the Toys-R-Us device is actually the Elonex ePad, which is actually the Zenithink ZT-180, then this page would seem to contain some useful instructions:

    Zenithink ZT-180 ipad device ROM development - xda-developers

    Also, while I was Googling I found this article by Jack Schofield:

    Who makes the Next tablet, or your next tablet? | ZDNet UK

    Where he says:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Schofield
    At least a couple of dozen Chinese manufacturers are churning out tablet computers, and you can buy them in quantities as low as 10.
    Which is interesting - could schools just cut out the middleman and start shipping devices straight from the factory in China?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    If the Toys-R-Us device is actually the Elonex ePad, which is actually the Zenithink ZT-180, then this page would seem to contain some useful instructions:
    That's good to know. Btw, the Advent Vega is actually made by WSL Japan (P/N: P10AN01). I suppose the best thing about most Android tablets being made by a handful of Chinese/Taiwanese OEMs is that it will be really easy to hack them because someone is bound to make a custom ROM for at least one of the rebranded models.

    could schools just cut out the middleman and start shipping devices straight from the factory in China?
    Personally I can't imagine many school bursars choosing to do this.

    One thing I've been wondering about Android tablets in general, is how are schools going to deal with students installing random apps or leaving themselves logged into websites e.g. Google Docs, Live@edu etc.?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    One thing I've been wondering about Android tablets in general, is how are schools going to deal with students installing random apps or leaving themselves logged into websites e.g. Google Docs, Live@edu etc.?
    That's the whole reason I'm looking at replacing the OS that comes with the tablet - I want to be able to have the same binary-identical OS on all devices, no difference in apps or whatever installed, no facility for the end user to tinker with the settings. Most web apps log people out after a certain time idle anyway, so that should be less of an issue.

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    It's not looking good for Samsung's Galaxy Tab. Gizmodo have given it a slating.

    No Like
    This thing is just a mess. It's like a tablet drunkenly hooked up with a phone, and then took the fetus swimming in a Superfund cleanup site. The browser is miserable, at least when Flash is enabled. It goes catatonic, scrolling is laggy, and it can get laughably bad. When better browsing is half the reason to go for a larger screen, that's insanity. Not only does it use a stupid PDMI charging/syncing cable, it won't charge when you plug it into a laptop. Neither of the cameras are anything to write home about (sample photos/video here). Costing $599 off-contract is embarrassing when the iPad starts at $499. (Update: Fair point, the iPad 3G starts at $629. But it's got a bigger screen, and this thing still sucks.)
    The Verdict
    Typically, the point of a compromise is to bring together the best of both sides. The Tab is like a compromise's evil twin, merging the worst of a tablet and the worst of a phone. It has all of the input problems of a tablet, with almost none of the consumption benefits. With more apps geared to its tweener size, it could be a lot better, but it's not clear they're coming anytime soon, if ever. The Tab is an awkward first attempt at this kind of tabletówait for somebody else to do it better.

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    dhicks (11th November 2010), tech_guy (27th November 2010)

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    Ah well, let's see what Tegra's going to accomplish. Wasn't all that enthused with the Tab in the first place, this is just the nail in the coffin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Can you replace the Android OS on your phone - could you, say, update to a new version? David Hicks
    Just so you know....When I bought my Droid phone, it was on a 1.6 build.....

    At the beginning of Oct, a Baltic version of 2.1 was released, and I flash my phone.....A week or so ago, the official CPW ROM was released, so I have re-flashed to ensure that I have the most appropriate ROM on my phone.....Easy as 1,2,3!

    Oh, and once you do that, you can root the phone, AND put apps2sd on it, which was only a feature on 2.2 (Froyo).

    Hope this answers a question!

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    It looks like PC World have pulled the plug on Toshiba's Folio 100 due to a very high return rate. Based on the reviews, it's not hard to see why.


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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    And I was worried that it would be cheap Android tablets would dirty Android's image

    I'll bet Mr Jobs is having a nice little chuckle to himself!

    Simon

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    I think I'm going to wait a little bit longer before I jump on the tablet bandwagon.

    In other news, Samsung have slashed the price of the Galaxy Tab. The 16GB model now costs £469 while the 32GB model is £489.99. Still overpriced IMO.

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    There's still no way on earth I'd pay that much.

    In other news, the Advent Vega is expected to be released this weekend: Advent Vega: arriving this weekend | Electricpig

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    I'm sorry, but size DOES matter - I was at a get-together over the weekend and a family acquaintance who's a hack for a website was showing off his Galaxy Tab. I whipped my iPad out and we went head to head. All the ladies present preferred my 10" to his 7"....

    I'm talking screen sizes here you filthy scoundrels. I don't know what you were thinking!?

    He was somewhat deflated when one of them told him it was too small. His Galaxy Tab I'm assuming they meant. Some of the ladies present actually came over and stroked my iPad....

    I really enjoyed myself.

  20. Thanks to tech_guy from:

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