By now I am sure that everyone has heard the term Android. I am also certain that the number of people, who when they hear Android, think Google, vastly out number those that first think, Data (sorry Brent.)  My first Android device was purchased by my company so that I could use it to begin researching the system for future product development. The device, a Black Pandigital Novel running Android 1.5, boasts a nice sized 7” color  screen with an 800 by 600 resolution (sorry if this blog gets a little techie.) The device also is lightweight and the screen is bright, but the device is limited. First, the software is locked as a Barns & Noble eReader. There are ways around this, but it is involved and cancels any warranties. Second, the operating system is dated and slow.

Since I use “Kindle for PC” to read my eBooks on my PC, I wanted an eReader that would also run Kindle for Android so that I could read on the go. I decided to get the White Pandigital Novel which runs the newer Android version 2.0 and has upgradeable internal memory. To do what I wanted, this one also required a software modification. Once doing the upgrade, the eReader became an Android Tablet. Oh Joy! So I thought, anyway. One other device was purchased for our research, the MID iPed from China. Yes, that’s not a typo. The iPed is designed to compete in China for a market share that is open because the iPad is not sold in China yet.

Do not buy these devices if you plan to buy apps from places like the Android Market Place or appBrain. These and several Android Tablets are not registered with Google, so they will not download apps from the “Larger’ app markets without great frustration. To further frustrate you, some of these devices will have the Market Place app installed as though they can download apps when it is not the case. The iPeds do have a Chinese version of the market installed, but it is not Google.

Before buying an eReader or Android Tablet, consider these things I have mentioned. Do your research and find out if the brand that you are attracted to actually will do what you expect it to do. Finding both satisfied and dissatisfied customers on the internet is very easy, thanks to a simple Google search, or Yahoo, or some other search engine. People are not shy about complaining or boasting about their experiences with products. When you decide what it is that you want, start a search with the product name, model number, software version, and the feature that you are interested in. Then simply read what individuals have to say.

Things to consider:

  • Is the screen color? Some eBooks have nice covers, photos and artwork that can be zoomed in on.
  • What type of memory and is it upgradeable? Many will use either a SD Card or Micro SD Card. Upgradeable internal memory will be on a Micro SD, or some other removable media.
  • Is the USB a master/slave or only a slave? With a master USB, you can attach other devices and “Thumb Drives” (another type of storage memory.)
  • Does it have 3G/4G? Presently, I think that this is a luxury that can be avoided, saving download fees. And face it, you already have a mobile phone.
  • Does it have Wi-Fi? Most certainly they do. This is the best way to download books and surf the web as many book stores, coffee shops, restaurants, buses, and trains are offering free Wi-Fi connections to the internet.
  • And lastly, do you really need another camera? Seriously.

As a final note:  Android Development is moving quickly where it seems that a new version is available every four to six months. Hardware development moves quickly too, so todays model will cost less in six months as the new versions hit the market. As an example, the Black Novel is now available with Android 2.0 and sells for about $50 more than I paid for the 1.5 version, which was $10 more than the much better white model with version 2.0.  So keep your eyes open, and know what it is that you are buying. Best of luck and happy shopping.

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