Cheap(er) Android Tablets

I admit – I have had “Android Tablet Envy” for some time now!

Motorola ZoomI need (want) a new computer! My 8 year-old desktop computer is rarely turned on any more and my 6 year-old laptop has a broken hinge and the screen is about to fall off. So I am in the market for a new computing device.

Previously, I wanted a Netbook, but the idea of having to use Micro$oft’s Windows (I endorse Ubuntu Linux for the desktop) & then “RENT” the device from the likes of AT&T or Verizon stopped that cold. Technically, you purchase and own a netbook, but you have to get most of them on a DATA Contract with a carrier – which constitutes a monthly “rent” in my opinion.

When I got an Android Smartphone (T-Mobile G2) last December, I started seeing how “small” can still be “big.” However, the screen is still far too small for everyday computer use. So I started envying the larger screens on the emerging tablets.

iPad? If there is one company that I dislike more than  Microsoft, it must be Apple. So the iPad is out. (Never mind that the cost of the device is totally out of my range.) But the new Android tablets are equally expensive and few of them are actually available. Even WORSE, even with the high prices, they are also bought on an expensive contract with a mobile carrier! Hence, all I could do is envy. (Not true “envy” since I am happy whether I have “toys” or not.) My thought was, maybe my old laptop will “hang in there” for another year or two and, in the mean time, either: 1) Prices of the tablets will drop dramatically (when pigs fly) or, 2) My retirement check will amazingly double (like that will happen – thanks Mr. Pres)!

In February, I read that the Barnes & Noble Nook Color can be “rooted” and a custom Android ROM installed. The process creates what might be called a “poor man’s Android tablet.” So, I splurged and bought one ($250 plus taxes) for my wife’s birthday last month. The INITIAL (learning curve) rooting process was difficult and took two days to accomplish (several scary errors). But, eventually, I was able to get the device set up to my liking and gave it to my wife – a couple weeks before her birthday. She is NOT a “computer person” but she actually uses it regularly – and likes it!

Move forward a week or two and my oldest daughter came for a visit. And she fell for her mother’s (rooted) Nook! Fortunately, rooting HER Nook was a breeze – took about an hour. She has been an iPhone user for a while so using it came easier for her to learn.

My younger daughter lives up north but, coincidently, my first daughter was visiting her the week after she got her Nook. Now, my other daughter wants one!

A couple weeks ago, WOOT, Inc offered the ViewSonic G-Tablet for $285 (shipped). I read the specs, compared the price and was very impressed! I searched online and discovered that the G-Tablet was also “rootable.” So, I called my daughter to tell her about it and recommend that she get one. In truth, she bought three! One for herself, one for her fiancée’s birthday – AND one for MY BIRTHDAY! Hallelujah!! Thank you Katrina!

So, I got the G-Tab yesterday at lunch. After another long learning curve, I was finally able to get it rooted and set up last night after midnight!

So, how does the G-Tab stack up against the Nook (or other tablets)? What is the (simplified) process for either of these devices? Stay tuned – I hope to answer those questions in the next article….

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6 Responses to Cheap(er) Android Tablets

  1. Pingback: iPad or Zoom Envy? Here is some AFFORDABLE help

  2. Ray Waldo says:

    Interesting thing about the g tablet – It has bluetooth enabled. I’m using my bluetooth headset now. When I talk, the software converts voice into text. Super kool…

  3. Ray Waldo says:

    Hi Brenda! Great questions! Unfortunetly you’ll have to wait until the articles are published. 😉
    Actually both the Nook and the g tablet work really well. Both have strengths and weaknesses. The g-tablet is faster than has more features. The Nook is cheaper and easier to handle.
    Both are wifi only. Both have a great display and access to all the apps in the Android Market.
    But both were disappointing out of the box – before rooting.

    • Brenda says:

      Hi Again,

      Thanks for the info. The rooting thing is what worries me because if it was trial and error for you it will be brain frying for me. Although I am determined in things like that and won’t give up till I get it, it still makes me wonder if I can accomplish it alone.

      Thanks,
      Brenda

  4. Brenda Fitch says:

    Hi Bro. Ray,

    I too am thinking of getting a tablet to replace my old laptop computer. I am not quite ready for it yet but want to make sure I get something that is good and I will like. Of course I am a avid Microsoft windows user and it is the only thing I use. I have never had problems with it and have used Linux before but just rather Microsoft because Wes refuses to learn anything new and everything I have uses it. Now I am thinking of trying the G Tablet you are talking about but don’t know a thing about it. Which, out of the G-Tablet and the Nook do you like best and will I be able to use my wireless internet for it, or do I have to sign with a wireless company to use it?

    Thanks in advance for you help,
    Brenda

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