My birthday was over a month ago, but I’m reveling in a belated gift that’s cool as hell: my new Android tablet, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. I was offered a choice, and I spent a while looking at the iPad and various other Android devices, and this one rose to the top. Why this over the iPad, especially since I have quite a few friends who own and love their iPads? It was mostly the more open operating system. Apple designs great devices, no question; I just don’t like their closed, control-freak approach to everything. The Android system is a little more like the Wild West of outer space—room to move, and plenty of expansion going on. Also, Angry Birds is free in the Android store.
It took me a while to figure out the ropes, but now that I’ve settled on some good apps and learned some of the quirks, I can say that it’s great for all these things:
- Ebook reader, with a variety of ebook apps (so far I like Aldiko best, ahead of FBReader and Kindle app)
- Portable way to read the Boston Globe (which recently introduced a new online edition)
- Web browsing, especially in the Dolphin browser, which is speedier and easier than either Firefox or the included “Browser”
- Movie player (I look forward to enjoying this little reward on my next writing retreat. I’ve been converting a bunch of my DVDs for future watching.)
It’s okay for checking email and syncing contacts and calendar with my laptop. I haven’t messed with that enough yet to give it a proper evaluation.
I suspect I’ll like it for typing quick notes to myself, etc. I haven’t really tried writing on it. Hard to see how that would work too well without a separate keyboard. But I could see using it to review and proof and do light editing.
Sadly, I can’t watch Netflix movies—not because the device can’t do it, but because my Netflix plan (2/mo.) is too cheapo to allow it. That’s all about to be history anyway, I guess; I’m sure not going to subscribe separately for DVD service and streaming movies at 3-4 times what I’m paying now. The one place where the Android, sadly, is behind iPad is Hulu streaming. That hasn’t arrived yet. I’m sure it will.
This whole field is really taking off, with all the Androids and especially the new Kindle Fire. (Too small for much of what I described above, but I’ll bet it’s going to be a really fine reading device.)
Now, if only ebook sales would take off with all the new hardware to view them on!