I want to get a Tablet.

I have been window shopping on Amazon.There appears to be lots of crappy low end tablets but I want something I can actually use and root if need be. Access to the Android marketplace is a must.

How do I find a good but affordable tablet with lots of community and developer support?

On Tue, 07 Jun 2011 20:36:02 +0000, FlameBait wrote:

> I have been window shopping on Amazon.There appears to be lots of crappy
> low end tablets but I want something I can actually use and root if need
> be. Access to the Android marketplace is a must.
> How do I find a good but affordable tablet with lots of community and
> developer support?

I’ve been toying around with the idea of getting a Nook Color just to use
as a cheap Android tablet.

Apparently it can run Cyanogenmod.

Doesn’t have cameras or 3G, but the price isn’t bad. Screen’s a bit
smaller than many tablets (I was looking at an Acer tablet at Costco the
other day), but costs about half, and instructions for rooting it are at


Jim Henderson
openSUSE Forums Administrator
Forum Use Terms & Conditions at http://tinyurl.com/openSUSE-T-C

Check out oldcpu’s blog. He has been looking also. He shared some great information.

I spent a bit of time last week looking at tablets, but other than ‘hacker’ communities springing up around specifically tablets, I could not find a relevant community conceptually similar to what we have with nominal GNU/Linux.

The closest I found was the ‘android’ forum: Android Forums

But when I read some posts on that thread, I did not get the same sense of 3rd party application availability I get with nominal GNU/Linux distros. The structure of things appears to be different.

For example, I noted many of the tablets do not allow root permissions to the owners by default. Instead there are ‘hacks’ called ‘rooting’ the tablet such that users can then obtain root permissions when desired. THAT was a major surprise to me.

… I’m still trying to wrap my head around the application philosophy of Android.

I think you should determine what you want to do with it. Find out what it needs to be able to do and see what any of these tablets can do.
Secondly, i would really spend some time and try them out in a store. There are many where the touchscreen is not as responsive, so you should make sure it meets your expectation.

I don’t own any of them myself, but thats what i would be looking for.

Thanks for the replies.

I have considered the color Nook which seems to have a good following and a “hacker” community. But the Nook lacks some feature I want.

As far as uses go I want web browsing, Facebook and Gmail access but I also want Skype, Google Talk and a media player. Wife and a camera facing the user is a must. There are just so many devices it’;s confusing.
I like this one Amazon.com: Herotab C8 - Samsung S5PV210 1GHz Processor, 7" Capacitive Multitouch, Android 2.2 Tablet: Computer & Accessories and amd going to research it a bit more. It’s about what I want to pay on a bet that a tablet might me useful to me.

I have a iPhone 4 and I don’t want an iPad or any other Apple products.

Yes oldcpu Google’s idea of “open” isn’t what we are familiar with in the Linux community. I have varying levels of trust. The US government, Apple and, Facebook being totally untrusted. Google having a moderate level of trust and the Linux community having the most level of trust. So that puts Android at about half the level of trust I have in the Linux community.

I’m struggling with this, and I get conflicting impressions. I note this URL Philosophy and Goals | Android Open Source … which suggests android is very open.

Yet root not being available by default was a surprise. And the Android GUI appears designed to hide the command line/terminal (although there appear to be Android terminal emulators) ?

I noted for some major tablets, that when a new Android OS release is available, one can NOT just install it, but rather one needs to rely on the hardware tablet supplier to release the Android OS update.

THAT was a major surprise, and I don’t know how many hardware tablets that is true for. Its sort of like saying when a new Red-Hat/Ubuntu/openSUSE (take your pick) distro version is released, that one can NOT ‘just install it’ but instead one needs their PC hardware supplier (Dell, or Acer, or Asus, or IBM/Lenovo, or HP … etc … ) to release a version of the distro to install.

I need to do more research here to see if I simply encountered ‘an exception’ to the rule, or if this is true across the board.

There is an interesting article (from Dec 2010) here on Google and Android:
Google takes heat over Android tablet OS - Computerworld

Something I read on another site, is since ‘root’ access is not available, it is NOT possible for one to install an Android update themselves, but rather they need to reply on their Tablet Hardware supplier to provide the update. Ergo such an update may or may not come.

Now one can try to ‘root’ their tablet (hack it for root) but that’s no guarantee a new Android version will install on one’s Tablet because of driver issues, with so many Tablet hardware suppliers having different hardware interfaces. I’m not very encouraged by what I read, even though I note I would like a Tablet. …

For now, I’m just going to keep reading and learn some more.

I note something interesting here about updating the OS on one’s Tablet:
Why cant the OS be upgraded?

There are four primary reasons for tablets not having an upgrade path.

  • Chipset:
    There are a number of different chips in use. Just like you would not install and run Windows 7 on a Pentium chip, you would not run Froyo Android 2.2 on a VIA 8505 Chipped Tablet. The VIA chipset is too weak to run 2.2 effectively> - Unique builds and Drivers
    . If you took a drive in a Toshiba notebook and stuck it in an HP notebook, the odd are it would bluescreen. This is the same problem for Tablets. The firmware contains drivers for the specific chipset and some chipsets do not have upgrade paths. These Chipsets were designed for 1.5 or 1.6> - Profit
    . It is not profitable for the manufacturers to support a low cost tablet. There is not a lot of profit on the low price tablets (Less than $200USD) It is easier to build a newer and cheaper model which has the newer and cheaper chips which can support the current OS> - There is a direct proportion of price to support
    . The higher the price. The more likely you will find Vendor or manufacture support Archos or Samsung is a good example. Expect updates>

I will not touch the issue of Android source code for almost every tablet is a “secret recipe” model and most firmware cooks are only modding the second and third layer. Not the core OS version. That is delivered by the Manufacturer.

Well I kind of leery of Samsung and their speed to update devices that are in the hands of consumers. I am just going by what I know of from people who own Android cellular phones. Of course you have the carrier added to the mix as well in that case. The carrier adds all kinds of bloatware and reduced functionality to the builds so they might profit more and lock you in more if they can if they ever get around to updating your phone at all. The Tablet maker wants to sell you a new tablet as well.

It looks like the Nvidia dual core is “good” right now as is the Samsung version of the ARM.

It would be better if these things just ran a version of Linux that is more familiar in set up to us Linux users with a much modified user interface. Then you would have the problem with codecs and driver for closed hardware though.
I may end up with a Color Nook as a intermediate step into Tablet ownership.

Hi all,

Have those of you looking for a tablet considered the Archos series of Internet Tablets? I, myself, own an A101, and love it, I’ve got a very nice leather case for it and I enjoy it quite happily as the big Android user that I am. Google’s Idea of Open has waivered recently, but it’s nonetheless better than elsewhere.

With the Archos series of tablets one can easily install SDE, a developer firmware provided by Archos themselves. See, ARCHOS the link regarding the “Special Developer Firmware” is at the bottom.

Once this is installed one can apply a number of fun and open projects to this such as the Android based UrukDroid ttp://code.google.com/p/urukdroid/wiki/WhatIsUruk (this Wiki provides detailed instructions on how to install both SDE and UrukDroid) which has support for ext4 as well as some other goodies. Another project is one to run Debian upon the A101 which one can find here Debian-Archos.com

The Archos series of tablets are also cheap, but good quality with a capacitive screen, there are terrible in the sunlight, but for there now below £230 price if you look they really are worth it.

I was surfing tonight, and I note two MeeGo GUI equipped Tablets could have Gnu/Linux X application support: the WeTab (from 4tiitoo) and also the Tablet UX (from Intel ?? ) .

It does not appear that MeeGo is as advanced as Android in terms of apps/features, but as long as they don’t cripple themselves by preventing user root access and preventing user’s from custom installing nominal X apps (even IF they are not designed for a tablet) then such tablets would be of interest to me. But reading a Phoronix post on the Tablet UX suggests its considering to adopting the Android policy toward not providing users root access (which IMHO complicates driver updates, OS updates, and even application updates). Despite initial enthusiasm suggesting free open source was doing well in Tablets, that does not seem that way to me, given the closed source policy decisions that are being made to limit the open source flexibility in Tablets.

It looks to me that they all want to lock you in somewhat and don’t make it easy for casual users to get root.

I have a firmer idea of what I want now and an idea oh how much that hardware will cost me and what that hardware will support.

Now I am going to have to budget the savings for what the hardware will cost. By the time I have the money saved the hardware and software will have matured a little bit more.

I confess after the past week of looking at Tablets during the occasional spare moment at home, left me very disappointed. I’m not disappointed because of what Tablets can do - for what they can do in terms of their size and cost has me excited.

No, … rather I am very disappointed at what I see as a massive divergence in Tablets from the free open source implementation that we have in PCs, Notebooks and indeed Netbooks.

Given for the upper end Tablets, one can EASILY pay a LOT more than what one will pay for many Netbooks, it was a disappointing surprise to me to learn of the SIGNIFICANT restrictions on Tablets wrt free open source, drivers, etc … in comparison to Netbooks.

One can not simply take a Linux app and expect that as an Android tablet user (with GNU/Linux background) one will be able to compile many existing GNU/Linux apps on the tablet. Also, there appears to be little organization/structure in terms of Tablet drivers being made freely available for Android for different Tablet hardware, where one can apply the latest Android or MeGo version to one’s tablet. Instead one has to rely on the Tablet manufacturer to provide the Android OS updates. IMHO THAT could mean tablets have a life time that is shorter than that of a typical openSUSE version and a LOT less timely.

From what I can see, for every Tablet that is out there today, one is forced to stick with the operating system offerings provided by the Tablet Manufacturer with no other choice. Those who manage to ‘root’ their Tablet tend to have a relatively small number of additional application offerings (for installation) available, but overall users appear to be severely constrained, where what we see with Android is not much better (for a regular user) than what we see for Apple’s iPad.

Ergo, as a user, if one is going to be ‘locked’ in, the point of supporting Android (as free open source) is severely watered down. Frankly, at the moment I can’t see the point of supporting Android as a user, … although I am willing to be educated.

Any desire that I had for purchasing an Android (or other) Tablet, which was quiet strong a desire just over a week ago, has been torpedoed and sunk. Industry appears to have no plans to help the free open source regular user here. Rather industry is heading to offer either (1) iPad, or (2) Android that is restricted for users (and NOT like a GNU/Linux distro despite its GNU/Linux heritage), (3) Windows8 (when it finally comes out) (4) miscellaneous OS (such as MeGo) which are also thinking of following the restrictive Android model.

I can NOT see spending one cent on Tablets given that industrial/commercial approach, and instead I will likely look for a Netbook/Tablet Hybrid where I can run a conventional GNU/Linux, and I will also thus very reluctantly accept the relatively poor hardware (extra size & weight) and poor software functionality (poor multi-touch implementation) that comes with a Netbook/Tablet hybrid combination in comparison to a pure tablet.

As a free open source user, this is disappointing to me.

Just disappointing.

It’s very much the cellphone handset model and not the computing hardware model we are used too. To me these things are just a larger mobile computer than my current handset.

The manufacturers very much like the lock in they have and that restricts your choice which is bad. It’s very much a trade off where the consumer gets the short end of the stick. I still want one though knowing what I am getting into.

This is what the hardware has to support at a minimum for me. GPS, capacitive screen, accelerometer, camera facing user, microphone, USB and SD slots, WIFI only, 512 to 1 gig of memory and a 1 gHz processor. Full access to the Android marketplace. I am already up in the region of a good cheap laptop in that price range. 1080p ability via mini HDMI cable would be nice but 720 would suffice.

No, … rather I am very disappointed at what I see as a massive divergence in Tablets from the free open source implementation that we have in PCs, Notebooks and indeed Netbooks.

While traditionally you buy the computer/netbook/notebook from the manufacturer, who wants only the price of the product, the new wave (mean: iPad like) of tablets are usually sold by carriers, who give it you cheap in the hope that you will buy services instead, so they won’t let you just walk away with the tablet, they want the greatest control possible. It also worths noticing that Android tablets are mostly ARM-based, which is not really the homeland of Linux. This may change with the come of x86 players.

lipk wrote:
> It also worths noticing that Android tablets are mostly
> ARM-based, which is not really the homeland of Linux.

I disagree with that, exactly ARM is one of the homelands of linux for years

PC: oS 11.3 64 bit | Intel Core2 Quad Q8300@2.50GHz | KDE 4.6.3 | GeForce
9600 GT | 4GB Ram
Eee PC 1201n: oS 11.4 64 bit | Intel Atom 330@1.60GHz | KDE 4.6.0 | nVidia
ION | 3GB Ram

I’d suggest checking out xda-developers.com if you’re looking to research rooting an Android device. It looks like there’s been a fair amount of work on the Asus Eee Pad Transformer already. I remember reading something on the site about overclocking it to 1.6 GHz.

Indeed on the ASUS Eee Transformer. It is on the top of my list actually.

Here it is. Alas it’s in short supply currently and I am broke Amazon.com: ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101-A1 10.1-Inch Tablet Computer (Tablet Only): Computer & Accessories