Ok, I have to admit that I am a bit of a luddite when it comes to mobile technology. My day to day phone is an old Nokia – that’s never let me down. People say to me.. “hey tony when are you going to upgrade that old phone” – i don’t have an answer. The obvious upgrade would be to join the iPhone masses, but I have always had reservations about the closed policies that Apple adopt. Equally I have never been one to buy into trends, i would rather define my phone than have my phone define me. For that reason I have been holding out for android, or even windows 7 mobile. In my heart I need to know that whatever I buy truly represents a turning point in technology (ala iphone – damn steve jobs). So whilst I may not be ready to commit to a phone that will rule my life I am more than happy to explore the opportunities afforded by the new array handheld tablet PCs, specifically those that may offer a credible alternatives to any device prefixed with an (i).
As an individual and director of a technology company I have been investigating the opportunities of bringing a hand held touch screen device to market for some years. I have several brand names waiting in the wings, like ITSAtouch, PalmWalker and LapWalker. So it is with much delight that I now find myself in receipt of a china made, 7″ resistive touch device running android 2.1.
Fortunately for me I have never owned an iphone or ipad. If I had surely this £100 device would be the object of mockery and ridicule, constantly considered as a me too wannabe. Since I am lacking this bench mark I can hand on heart say that I have been suitably impressed with the Storage Options Scroll Tablet PC. The device itself looks and feels like a iphone type product. It is light and slender and is appointed with mini SD and USB expansion ports. The Scroll does not have a 3G option so when you are out of range of wifi you can still use your donwloaded apps or us the device as a feature rich media player, supporting HDMI out. Yes the Scroll Tablet comes with an HDMI port meaning you an watch your favourite downloads either on the train or on your HD TV. The unit also has a G-sensor to adjust viewing orientation, a web cam, 2GB on board flash memory, 800Mhz processor and a battery that support 4 hours of working time.
It should be noted that the scroll has a resistive touch screen rather than a capacitive touch screen meaning it can’t support the multi touch functions apple users may be familiar with. However, after browsing the APP market place you soon discover that many of the your favourite iphone apps have been ported over the android. The built in browser works a treat, its fast and renders standard web pages quickly and with clarity. The touch sensitive drag/scroll and zoom functions work well via the resistive touch screen.
The device seems to be running a version of android designed for mobile v2.1. This means that some of the features orientated towards phones won’t work. Other moans might be that they have located a sleep button in the top left corner of the tablet in just the place you would grab the device in normal handling. This means you can quite easily put the device into sleep mode whilst handling. Boot up time might also be considered a little slow but nothing to painfull.
However; android seems to be much more about openness and accessibility, and certainly the entry price proves this point. As an entry level product I would say that the Scroll Tablet PC ticks 4 out of 5 boxes and leads me to believe that 2011 will be the year that android may steal the market. Certainly if you want to enter the tablet PC market and don’t want to shell out on an iPAD then the Scroll is the perfect option. Certainly this cheap as chips device has found a place in my life as the device of choice for casual lounge room browsing, remote social networking and Sunday morning lay-in news harvesting.