Friday, November 26, 2010

Samsung Galaxy Tab Android Tablet, continued Part 2

Here are my notes after two more days of exploring the Samsung Galaxy Tab Android Tablet. I've still not gotten to creating a UI's that take advantage of the larger screen space, hopefully over the weekend.

Plenty of rumors on the Android forums of other Android tablets coming soon and about the next two versions of the OS; 2.3 and 3.0. The tease from the Notion Ink people about the Adam tablet is pretty impressive. If it lives up the pretty pictures and price rumors then that might be a really exciting unit.


* Video players for Android, there is a real lack of players that support the various media formats that are out there. The hardware in the Galaxy Tab does not support many format, or so I am told by a number of the free players I've tried. There are couple of players that do software decoding of formats. The one I am using the most now is something called RockPlayer. It plays two formats that the build in player 'Video' version 0.16.04P1 did not identify as playable. The OGG video seems to play okay, but the .MOV format video that I recorded with the iPhone does not play very well.

* Google's App Innovator Android app development environment. I installed this under Ubuntu 10.04 and Chrome. It took a little work to get it install, most of the roadblocks I encountered I had already figured out as part of installing the standard Eclipse based Android development environment under Linux. App Innovator is similar to the old Apple HyperCard. It is a nice start as a tool for educating student on software development ideas using the Android platform. I've been following the discussions for it since it first went into public beta, about 4 months ago I think. It is a solid first step, the biggest problem I see with it so far is what I see a fairly slow roll out of updates. I realize that it is only 1 year old or less, but in this fast paced world it really need to move to stay on the radar.

* Battery life has been good, not as strong as the iPad but a solid 6 hours before you start to worry about running low or get any messages.

* Only one total lockup that required a hard reboot [Done by holding the power button down for 10 seconds or more]. I was trying out 3 or 4 of the twitter apps that are available, I think I did not successfully kill one before launching another. While I have had two of them running in the past, I think the background downloading tasks go in a fight.

* I do find myself actively killing tasks that are in the background on a regular basis. The build in task manager feature that is in this copy of Android 2.2 does that very nicely. Frustratingly, the build in task manger of the 2.2 version on my Droid phone does NOT have this feature. I picked up the habit of using the 3rd party task killers on Android a long time ago on my T-Mobile G1 and Android 1.6, perhaps I do not need to do this as much anymore, but the behavior is ingrained in my. Interestingly, I do the same on the iPhone, though not as regular. Even there, I do find apps that suck battery life in the background at times. Apple advantage is that they allow less types of processing in the background so apps have fewer opportunities to screw up.

* I upgraded the Barnes and Noble Nook e-book reader when it was offered by the Android Market, as a result the Nook app can no longer open its books. The original version that came installed seemed to work fine. I emailed the Nook support and got a reply asking me how I could have possibly have either gotten the Nook reader on an Android Tablet or how I got the Android Market running on a Android Tablet.... I gave them the details and have not heard anything back.... Frustrating that their tech support was both poorly informed and so sure that what I was experiencing could not possibly be occurring.

* I've downloaded and done some basic exploration with about 50 apps so far. The built in apps from Google [and their add on ones, like Google Sky, Googles] are solid and very comfortable to use on the Galaxy Tab. The Twitter apps are all good solid performers, on par with the iPhone/iPad apps. The only area they are a little behind on are web page link previews. A couple have this but not as evolved as the same on iOS. All the remained apps [and a couple games] work fine. No screen issue with any apps so far. And only a couple don't 'scale up' on the Galaxy Tab. I still have a more iPhone apps that do not scale to the iPad on iOS! I find programs like Epocrates, a medical app that does medical news, drug interaction and pill identification as well as several other useful function the type app that I think is going be really effective on the 7 inch form tablet.



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