Thoughts on Android Tablets

  • The tablets are becoming, actually they are already, the new hype, no doubt. There will be more coming this year, specifically with Android 3.0 to be launched this year. Even I wonder how much in advance a hardware manufacturer gets his hand on the OS, to be able to release a device in reasonable time after the launch of 3.0.
  • Rumors (link) say there might be a hardware restriction for 3.0. That will really make a lot of devices out-dated immediately.
  • There are many tablets running 2.1, lots from China at a low price. They are certainly not update-able to 2.2 or higher. Waste of money.

    China Tablets

  • The few serious (and more expensive) devices are Viewsonic, Samsung and Toshiba, all running 2.2. Will they be able to run 2.3 ? Or even 3 ? The Samsung Galaxy Tab is sold at almost 1000S$ without contract. This device potentially renders old stuff in 6 months time.
  • Why does any device with 3G costs cost 200..300S$ more or is only available with a telco contract ?
  • Toshiba AS100 and other market-less devices: Why in the world are they selling devices without App Market ? How much sense does it make to have a device and you cant add applications ?

Update to Android 1.5

The new SDK version 1.5 was already available for download mid April (link), only some end of April the Firmware 1.5 was available to update the Android phone itself. Please note the below instructions how to update does apply ONLY to the Android Developer Phone (ADP1) ! It wont work for the phones released with contracts by T-Mobile, etc. Please wait for your service provider to inform you when the update is available for you (matter of days or weeks).

Whats in the box:

  • Android 1.5 Version Notes (link)
  • Android 1.5 Platform Highlights (link)

How to update (the advanced way):

  • HTC Android Support Page (link)

Simple instructions for an update without installing or using the SDK or its tools (following this Android forum thread) without any guarantee that it works for you.

  1. It is strongly advisable to the following steps after backing up your data (even you should not loose it during the procedure), to a have a fully charged battery or better keep the device connected to the USB wire for power supply. Firmware updates with collapsing battery power can screw your device.
  2. Download signed-dream_devphone-ota-147201.zip and ota-radio-2_22_19_26I.zip from the HTC  support page.
  3. Connect to Android via USB in drive-mode (select mount on the Android screen). Eventually you need to download and the driver for the Android first (link) in order to see it as a drive.
  4. Copy (do not unzip!) ota-radio-2_22_19_26I.zip to the root of the SD card (which you see as drive in Windows) and rename it to update.zip
  5. Remove USB connection (better eject device only and keep the USB wire connected)
  6. Shut down Android
  7. Restart while holding down the home button.
  8. You see a screen with a warning sign, open the keyboard and press ALT+L to access a simple text menu.
    Android 1.5 Update

    Android 1.5 Update

  9. Press ALT+S to start the update.
    Android 1.5 Update

    Android 1.5 Update

  10. press HOME + BACK to reboot
    Android 1.5 Update

    Android 1.5 Update

  11. After a while your Android should start up as normal.
  12. Repeat the steps 3. to 10. with the second file signed-dream_devphone-ota-147201.zip.
    The second reboot takes longer than the first one, maybe 2 minutes.
  13. FINISHED !

Remarks:

  • You dont loose your settings, data, history.
  • It slightly looks different, but there aren’t that many new applications or features (check the speech recognition feature!). It is mainly improvement of existing functionality.
  • GPS applications might not work anymore (like GPS status). Download the newer version via Android Market.
  • Guess some book refering to SDK 1.0 need to be updated.
  • Need to check if the SDK still works with Netbeans.