Wholesale Android direct Import from China

Since it does make little sense to purchase am expensive (but soon outdated) Galaxy Tab, Toshiba 100 or any of its big brand brothers, I decided to go for one of these China wholesale Android devices that we need for some testing and development. You certainly come across the ads from dhgate.com and similar offerings that pop up on any Android related website. dhgate.com worked fine for me the first time, even it is nothing more than a trading platform for chinese products. So the product quality and delivery still depends on the seller, but you get certain assurance by the platform.

The Android I chosed: 10″ X220 Android 2.2, 1 Ghz CPU with 512MB RAM for 205.- U$ (about 258.- SGD) with free shipping

From website (Copyright belongs to owner)

Specs from website (Copyright belongs to owner)

The order was processed within few hours and it did not take more than 2 days to be shipped to Singapore.

Wholesale Android Tablet

Wholesale Android Tablet

Wholesale Android Tablet

My first impressions of the SuperPad III:

  • The device looks sturdy and is quite well assembled, it does not look cheap or like plastic china stuff.
  • The appearance is very close to the Apple iPad.
  • The resistive screen is smooth (much better than the Palladine Palroid)
  • The performance is very good (we are talking about a 200U$ device!)

Some more details after using it for a while:

  • The “built-in” GPS is an external GPS receiver that is plugged into the device. Not useful, except you mount it in the car.
  • It comes with a ethernet connection (RJ-45). A bit contradictious to a mobile device.
  • NO ROOT.
  • It has NO USB port to connect the device as drive or for debugging. The is no debugging setting available. My attempt to adb wireless failed (due to no root).
  • The market is the China “free-only” market which gives you no access to paid apps.
  • Plug a headset into the earphone connector makes the screen shut off (hardware failure). I guess they would exchange without problems, I dont need it so I skipped the exchange.

Recommendation: If you look for a cheap alternative to play, watch movies on a decent speedy piece of hardware with a big screen, go for it ! No viable for development.

First Android 3.0 powered tablets showing up ! Galaxy Tab 2 ?

As expected, at the Mobile World Congress 2011 hardware manufacturers launched their soon to be available Android 3.0 powered tablets. Samsung presents the Galaxy Tab Sucessor, not “2″ but Galaxy Tab 10.1. Certainly it will hit Singapore before end of April as the usual lock-in package of the local telcos.

I am still puzzled by a couple of things:

  • Size goes up (even weight remains small)
    While 7″ is just nice to carry and use, it fits in a side pocket, but is still bigger than the usual small size mobile phone and allows more or less serious usage. But 10.1″ is competing with a netbook, or you just try to be a little BIGGER than the iPad ? It does not fit in a side pocket.
  • No HDMI connector ?
    Why was it removed ? The device is capable too run FullHD movies and you lat me look at it in 1280×800 ? Whats the point ?
  • No (mini) SD Card slot ?
    Are you going the same way as Apple ? I cant extent the available memory and there is no way to just slot in a memory card to read files from a camera  or a notebook ? I must use the USB port or wireless ? You want to play FullHD and how do I copy a DVD content to the device ?
  • Dual camera ?
    What do you need that for ? Hold the tablet in front of you to make pictures ? How wired is that ? Can you run both at the same time ?
  • No standard USB port ?
    Of course slim is nice, but at a time when more companies try t follow standards you also come up with your new private connector ? More wire junk per device in my pocket !
  • Competitive price ?
    Sorry, around 1000.- SGD and beyond is not competitive.

I think it the presence of an upcoming Android 3.0 made Samsung jumped on the bandwagon and quickly push out a new device, just 6 months after the previous Galaxy Tab.

You can read the about the new tablet at engadget.com and the competition.

I see another problem for Android 3.0 and any devices, besides the split-up between 2.3/2.4 and 3.0, more apps will be available will soon that are hungry for CPU horsepower and resources leaving the regular mobile phone behind or even create unhappy app users know being aware of the lack of their devices power. A minimum hardware requirements like for PC games will soon be there, the app market will split up too.

More Thoughts about Android

Open Platform
Despite Android being a open platform (you can download the complete OS sourcecode and compile by yourself if you have the urge to do so), there 10.000′s of applications and only very few of them are open too. Android as an open platform to deliver closed and proprietary products. Lets see how that works out in future. Unlike Ubuntu which is an Open Source OS with a vast Open Source applications ecosystem. I suspect with more hardware manufacturer coming on board its going to be more complicated, hopefully it wont start splitting or forking at some stage.

Market Access as Developer
Is it impossible to get into the market with a new application, the top 100 is dominated by applications that are around since Android was born (having a high download rate or just being the first to create a specific application type that was not there yet) or because they have a very good concept and are implemented very well and then spread virally.
So for you newbie developer it is very hard to get a serious user base. You better have a unique idea and some design skills !
With 300.000 newly registered Android Phones every day, any application in the market will be downloaded by someone. My simple counting application was downloaded more than 100 times.
Assuming you can sell an application at 1$, can create a serious amount of cash. Even 10.000 downloads is a lot of money, and I see lots and lots of ridiculous pay-apps where I just wonder who pays for this.
It is all statistics ! And more interesting, it is impossible to track for the finance departments of governments, you potentially make 100.000 a year without paying tax. Your earnings come via google payment.

Visible Trojan Horses
How often do you seriously look at the permissions an application ask for while installing ? Now, I look what they ask for, earlier I just press OK. Why does a memory games for kids needs full internet access and the ability to make phone calls ?? Its is not a big deal to create an app that secretly scan the SD card and happily transfer it to somewhere.  With windows you dont see Trojan Horses coming in, with Android you invite them openly (if you dont open your eyes!).

IP Protection ?
Copyright infringement is widespread. There are hundred of memory games, puzzles, wallpapers, drawing games and soundboards with images and sounds of movies and cartoon characters, created by anyone but not licensed (by the copyright holder) developers. It seems there is a tutorial about Android memory games somewhere, if you search for memory games, there are hundred’s, just with different images. I wish there would be a filter when browsing through the market.
Update: Here it is > http://mobile.dzone.com/news/memory-game… The complete sourcecode for your to create one more memory game !

On the other side I wonder when you can download or torrent complete CD’s full with APK’s of commercial applications and your apps start spreading around without you getting any payment. I think there are some concepts but no enforcement of 1 app runs on 1 device. Could be part of the download and installation process

Dont buy tablets now !
I almost bought a Galaxy Tab last week (after passing the crap Palroid to my daughter of 3 years). But reading the online news (rumors) reveals there will be no Android 3.0 for it, but rather a Galaxy Tab 2 presented in mid February. So any money spend on Android 2.x tablets is wasted money.

Hardware overkill
Android 3.0 is targeting tablets which become more and more powerful (and expensive). What will happen to regular phones ? Soon we will have widespread of applications that wont run on a phone because of less powerful hardware. They might even introduce a power benchmark index for each application and if your phone is lower than the required index you cant run it.

Pricing
What is the point of tablets beyond the 1000$ mark ? They are venturing into another market that just died, netbooks. I like Android because it is cheap and powerful, if I spend more than 1000$ I get a notebook and load it with Ubuntu. And a 10″ tablet is not that much smaller than a notebook. The same time we will see notebooks becoming smaller with removable keyboards. This year will be interesting where the market and demand will shift towards.

Touchscreen Notebooks using Ubuntu

I purchased 2 notebooks with swivel-touch screens last weekend. Both coming with Windows 7 which I clonezilla’d, wiped out and installed Ubuntu immediately. Both are not an iPad killer whatsoever, but it suits my requirements: you can touch it, you can turn it (read books), it comes with a keyboard and I can load almost any application, even do some development work.

  • Asus EEE T101MT
    1.66 GHz Atom N450 CPU with hyperthreading
    10.1 inch screen, multi-touch resistive display with 1024 x 600 pixels resolution
    2 GB RAM and 320 GB HDD at 5400 RPM
    WiFi 802.11n
    4 cell 2400 mAh and 35 Wh battery pack, removable
    0.3 megapixel webcam
    3 USB ports,  VGA output, Ethernet, Kensington Lock, Mic and Headphones jack and SD Card reader 

    Installing Ubuntu: A breeze with 10.10 (Maverick). All info here.

  • Acer Aspire 1825PTZ
    Intel Pentium processor SU4100 (1.3 GHz, 800 MHz FSB)
    2GB Memory
    Graphics Controller: Intel GMA 4500MHD
    11.6″ Acer CineCrystal LED LCD With (capacitive) Multi Touch(1366×768)
    320GB HD
    0.3 megapixel webcam
    3 USB ports,  VGA output, HDMI Port,Ethernet, Kensington Lock, Mic and Headphones jack and SD/XD/MS Card reader 

    Installing Ubuntu: Basic Installation straight forward, but requires some hacking to get the touchscreen properly running and the auto-rotate screen. But you find all answers in this thread. And some more tricks here.

The Palroid Experience

The Palladine Palroid

More feedback after a few hours Palroid (Please stay reasonable, it is a cheap device, I just summarize my experience to keep your expectations right):

  • The wireless connection keeps on dropping (less than 5m to the wireless router). Also after each stdby need to disconnect (or rather switch off wireless) and switch on / connect again.
  • Running Android 2.1. What I heard it is unlikely they will release an upgrade to 2.2 (rumor?). Android 3.0 is targeting Tablets (rumor?), means early next year with have an outdated device. But this faith is shared by other actual Android devices as well.
  • Adobe Flash: Because Flash was introduced for Android 2.2 only, you dont have it on the Palroid. There are some websites that describe a way to load it onto 2.1 devices (eg. link here). I tried, it does NOT work.
  • System Performance: It is a simple CPU, Telechips 8902 Processor (800mhz). OK while doing one thing, but certain cpu intensive actions, like installing apps, slows down the whole device dramatically.
  • Battery: I cant judge battery runtime yet, but the battery level is updated in steps of 10%. After fully charged, it jumped straight down to 80% and 50% within 45min of use.
  • Development: No problem, I connected via USB and I could load and debug applications with Eclipse (also ddms, adb,..)

    DDMS Screenshot

  • Charging: It cant charge via USB. You need to use power adapter.
  • External drives: You cant connect external harddisk. It wont recognize it, it tries to mount as sd card. This is not a Paldroid issue, but an Android OS thing ! Not impossible though, check this link.

Android Tablet: Palladine Palroid

Getting more into Android development made me look out for tablet style Android. The Android tablet boom is just starting and every other week you find a new device. I went to Sitex 2010 in Singapore and bought a Palladine Palroid for 339.- SGD.  Palladine is a Singapore based company producing screens, now venturing into the tablet business. I assume the Palroid’s are (partly) manufactured in China and final assembled and quality checked in Singapore. Right now there is not much info about the device in the web yet. Here a few first impressions out of the box:

 

Palroid Box

 

Palroid Box

Palroid Box

Whats in the box ?

Palroid Keyboard

In the box you find the device, a pouch, a stylus pen, a earphone, a mini HDMI wire, charger and 2 USB wires.

We need to be reasonable while judging the device and its quality. It comes at the entry level price and dont compare it straightforward with a Android device 3 times more expensive like the DELL.

Some quick facts upon first glance:

  • Despite its price the device and the body looks OK. Nicely build casing.
  • Memory 256 MB
  • Build-in 8GB for your files, plus SD card slot.
  • No camera or GPS.
  • No phone function or SIM card slot.
  • Battery is build-in.
  • You van use it out-of-the box, it comes with some selected pre-installed applications. I could watch movies on the spot, open Excel sheets and read PDF’s.
  • It comes with Android 2.1 (means there is NO flash in your browser).
  • It comes with Android Market and you can download lots and lots of applications that work with 2.1
  • Use the HDMI wire to connect it to your Full HD TV.
  • The touchscreen is a bit sluggish, but you get used to it or use the stylus (strangely the device has no “hole” to put the stylus in, so loosing the stylus is one of the first things that happen to you)

My recommendation:  If you want an Android on a shoestring and just do simple things like reading, watch movies, simple games,.. Go for it. If you expect a lot with the style factor of an iPad and smooth touchscreen, you need to pay more !

I am charging the device and will update you with more results and facts soon. Stay tuned !