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Hands-On Test With the Dirt-Cheap CherryPad Tablet 168

Posted by timothy
from the stocking-stuffers dept.
MojoKid writes "A small company out of Palo Alto, CA — Cherrypal — made headlines recently with the announcement of their dirt-cheap $188 CherryPad tablet. The CherryPad is a 7-inch slate that comes preloaded with the Android 2.1 operating system and is driven by an 800MHz ARM11-based processor by Samsung, backed by a meager 256MB of DDR2 system memory. The device is also based on a resistive touch display, so it takes a bit of getting used to, if you've been working with devices like the iPhone or similar, where capacitive touch displays are ubiquitous. Just what does $188 buy you in an Android tablet? In short, the CherryPad falls down a bit where Cherrypal decided to cut corners from a cost perspective. The device needs another 256MB of RAM (for 512MB total) and a higher quality touch screen (perhaps a 1GHz CPU?) and that would have likely pushed its price northward a bit to be sure."
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Hands-On Test With the Dirt-Cheap CherryPad Tablet

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  • Cherrypal scam? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hillbluffer (1684134) on Friday October 29, 2010 @07:09PM (#34069770) Homepage
    Try Googling "Cherrypal scam" for some interesting links...
    • by hairyfeet (841228)
      I don't think I'd trust Cherrypal after all I've heard about them, especially when you can get the similar Techpad [chinagrabber.com] for $155. Nice thing about the Techpad is they also sell a "case" for it on the same site that adds a keyboard and clamshell design for $40, so for less than $200 you have a convertible tablet/netbook. They also has several sizes and specs if you want something more beefy. After all the hubbub over CherryPC I just don't think I'd trust them with my money, no thanks.
      • by Sparr0 (451780)

        Link to the case? I've been looking for such a device for years, and nothing bigger than a PDA has fit.

        • by hairyfeet (841228)
          Hey no problem [chinagrabber.com], happy to help. BTW if you get one how about sending an email telling how it runs? I wouldn't mind picking up one of these for my oldest. He has a badass Turion X2 laptop i just got him, but for note taking this might be killer. From what I understand this "case" fits any of the 7 inchers, and they have several to choose from including a dual ARM if you need more beefy goodness. As you can see you just plug it into the USB port and voila! Instant netbook. It even has a nice leather looking ou
      • by Lumpy (12016)

        You can get nearly the same specs by going to Bed Bath and Beyond and buying the $129.00 Pendigital Novel and installng their Open Platform firmware to it. IT still sucks as a android tablet just like the rest of the offerings out here only because the hardware is half assed.

        Will one of these companies PLEASE deliver a 9" Tablet with a capacitive screen 1 gig ram, microSD for storage, non sucky wifi hardware and a full 2.2 Android install? PLEASE?

    • Re:Cherrypal scam? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by zombie_striptease (966467) on Saturday October 30, 2010 @12:32AM (#34071062)

      I ordered their Africa netbook as a gift for someone last spring. The "Linux" version was actually Windows CE with all the windows logos scrubbed. Cute trick :P

      Also it loaded from flash instead of having an actual BIOS, so attempting to install my own OS was non-trivial. They're false-advertising bastards to be sure.

  • by sakura the mc (795726) on Friday October 29, 2010 @07:11PM (#34069778)

    Does it run FreeBSD?

  • by siddesu (698447)

    I have a smartphone, and I think they're way too small to read. I've tried the iPad, and it is way too big and too heavy to lug around. I lug a sub-notebook, but I don't really need that keyboard.

    I really want something about this big, less than 350g, with at least XGA video and ability to actually use a pen to write stuff, so that it can work as a reader and let me annotate.

    Good to see some products that start to feel the market in my direction.

    • Good to see some products that start to feel the market in my direction.

      This is not the product you think it is.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hitmark (640295)

      Heard about the samsung galaxy tab? And i think they will be selling a stylus for it, even tho it is capacitive.

    • The HSG X5A is your ideal device - I had the same requirements when I was looking, and I settled on this unit. It's about 400 grams, has a 7" wide screen format (so it's about half the size of an iPad), plenty good video on-screen (800x480) with 1080p HDMI output if you want it, and with a resistive screen it's perfect for using a pen/pencil/key/finger for drawing on the screen. Plus it comes with Android 2.1 so you have all the book readers available as well as many other good productivity tools.

      .
      Best

      • by siddesu (698447)

        I'll have to look at it, thanks for the tip. For this price I can get one or two to use as wall warts in the garage, if nothing else :)

    • Seriously? A 1.5 lb, 0.5" thick, 9.5"x7.5" is too big & heavy?

      Are you 6?

      • by siddesu (698447)

        Yes, it is too heavy and too uncomfortable to hold to read a book on it for any extended period without stress. It is even worse for holding in one hand and annotating. And I have yet to see a good stylus for it.

        Since the killer application of a tablet device for me would be serious reading, sketching and annotating, the iPad is very from even passable.

        Different people have different usage styles and expectations. I expect it to be comfortable, not cool.

    • by gig (78408)

      An iPad is half the size and weight of your subnotebook, has more than double the battery life, and it's too heavy to lug around? iPad is not a little toy reader, it's a mobile PC. 700 grams is not heavy for a PC.

      • by siddesu (698447)

        The iPad is 200 grams heavier than my subnotebook, and has about the same battery life.

  • resistive? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bhcompy (1877290) on Friday October 29, 2010 @07:23PM (#34069854)
    Resistive? I'm in. I love resistive. You can use a real stylus and get accurate results. Summary just sold me on a new device for note taking in lectures as my ~3" HTC Kaiser is just too damn small.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by emj (15659)

      All cheap android tablets are resistive. I've seen people say good things about wits a81e [houseofdap.com], also a resistive and the Android versions has been shipping since june/july I think.

      • Re:resistive? (Score:4, Informative)

        by rajeevrk (1278022) on Friday October 29, 2010 @08:28PM (#34070180) Homepage
        Hmmm... I've been using the with a81E for a month now, and it's been reasonably good. Decent build quality, for a Chinese device. Andeoid 2.2 works like a charm, pretty responsive on the ARM Cortex-A8 cpu. Stability and battery life is still an issue, they cant seem to figure out how to get even the battery-level meter working. IMHO, it's a firmware version or two away from being ready for primetime. Also, on it's resistive touchscreens, i have to say it's emminently usable, IF you calibrate it properly. I once messed up the calibration so bad, i had to re-flash :)
    • capacitive can use a real stylus. it just needs to have special conductive material for the tip that conducts the electrical signal of your skin to the point. They used them at the apple store for signing credit purchases.

      • by bhcompy (1877290)

        capacitive can use a real stylus. it just needs to have special conductive material for the tip that conducts the electrical signal of your skin to the point. They used them at the apple store for signing credit purchases.

        the ones ive seen for cap screens are fat like fingers. they are not like fine point pens, like normal stylii

        • by gig (78408)

          Use Pogo Stylus for real touchscreens. Like $10. They are popular because there are world class art tools on iPad.

        • by pspahn (1175617)
          Stylii? Stylum? Styluses? This is an important and pressing question.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I thought the difference was

    slate - runs windows
    tablet - runs linux/android
    pad - runs osx

    I think tablet is the generic term and usable without threat of lawsuit

    • by bmo (77928) on Friday October 29, 2010 @07:43PM (#34069948)

      I'd like to see Apple try to defend its "ownership" of the word "pad" against a company that thinks it's worth its while to wrest it from Apple's clutches.

      Merely descriptive words are not supposed to be trademarks, and Microsoft almost lost theirs for the word "Windows" to Lindows/Linspire when Microsoft said that changing the name to Linspire wasn't good enough. Microsoft pushed too hard. Linspire said in court "hey, just one second here, can you really own a generic descriptive word?" Microsoft wound up paying Linspire to shut the hell up about it.

      And then Linspire proceeded to squander the money, but hey, it was funny to watch Microsoft almost lose "Windows" entirely.

      --
      BMO

  • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Friday October 29, 2010 @07:32PM (#34069896) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone know how design patent suits work? Because this thing looks incredibly like an iPad. Check out the photos underneath the video—that black thing is similar a patch seen on the back of iPod touches where the camera would be. The back is curved in the same way, the bezel is similar... and I think the corner radius is about the same, too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Considering it's a scam and will never ship I don't think Apple will have to go too far to stop them.
    • by bmo (77928) on Friday October 29, 2010 @07:49PM (#34069982)

      And you think that Apple's design and form factor of the iPad is somehow groundbreaking?

      Go read the paper on the Dynabook concept from the 70s. Right down to the capacitive screen.

      There is no intellectual property here. All the big thinking was done 40 years ago at PARC.

      --
      BMO

      • by hedwards (940851)
        It's good for Apple's shareholders that the folks at the patent office haven't seen the Pirates of Silicon Valley.
      • Go watch 2001 again.

        • by itsdapead (734413)

          Go watch 2001 again.

          As the long lunar night drew to a close, the spacesuit clad figures gathered around the featureless monolith. Floyd reached out with his gloved hand and brushed the frictionless surface. Just then, the bright rays of dawn reached the floor of the crater, and for the first time in two million years, the black slab felt the touch of the sun. The response was instantaneous, and the helmeted astronauts tried in vain to cover their ears as the artifact broadcast its waking message to the stars:

          FAAAARRRRTTTTT!!

      • And you think that Apple's design and form factor of the iPad is somehow groundbreaking?

        GP was refering to design patents [wikipedia.org] - these cover the cosmetic design of products and the rules are quite different from the regular patents that we love to hate.

        So, this isn't about the Cherrypad being a touch-sensitive tablet computer: its about how closely some of the non-functional cosmetic details resemble those of the iDevices.

        Did the Dynabook concept include a stylized-fruit logo "etched" into the centre of the slightly curved "brushed aluminium" backplate?

      • by theurge14 (820596)

        Just googled Dynabook. It has a large keyboard below the screen. Looks exactly like an iPad. :P

        • by bmo (77928)

          You didn't read the whole paper.

          If you did, you'd see that he said you could do away with the keyboard and make a capacitive screen for finger input.

          You can't just skim it and look at the sketches. You have to read the paper.

          --
          BMO

  • I lost my CherryPad
  • YouTube review video [youtube.com]. You can get them for around $140, a little less if you're in China (Taobao is your friend!). Android 2.1, 256 MB RAM, 4 GB Flash, full-size SD slot (32 GB goodness loaded in mine), glass screen, metal body, lasts for at least 8 hours of book reading or at least 2 movies (so far, that's all I've ever used it for at one time, on a long plane flight). Same 7" screen which is great for most uses, resistive screen is plenty responsive (and perfect for doing quick sketches and note taking
  • I'm not surprised they are from Palo Alto, $188 is probably a reasonable price for dirt there :D

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2010 @10:24PM (#34070702)

    Its called a "Pandigital Novel" and it can be bought at Kohls with coupons and the right sale at around a hundred bucks.

    Fifteen minutes to flash it with your choice of a half dozen different Android 2.0 images from Slatedroid, and bobs your uncle.

    Work on 2.1 and 2.2 on the PDN is underway.

    I have one, and its a perfectly workable browsing/email tool. Only problem is that everywhere I take it, people ask me a million questions about what it is and if they can buy one already done up with the firmware mods.

    • by Eil (82413)

      The specs may be similar, but the tablet reviewed in TFA is definitely a different device.

      • http://www.techgadgets.in/displays/2010/30/maylong-m-150-tablet-now-available-through-walgreens/

        You can also buy the Pandigital Novel at Walgreens for $160. I have never seen the PDN for $100.

        Barnes and Noble is coming out with the Color Nook for $250.

    • by yoshi_mon (172895)

      Now that looks nice. I'm pretty happy with my n810 still but something like that, if not exactly that, would be something I'd want to replace it with.

      Relativity low cost, an actual card reader, flash-able, built in Wifi, and what looks to be a decent display makes something like that about where we should be right now. How is the battery life?

      I have nothing really against Apple and even most Apple users. They have done a really good job pushing what the standard should be. Their stuff however is wayyyyy

  • I don't know if I trust a company that prints the spec: "Speakers 1 high quality stereo speaker:"
    • Narrator: IN A.D. 2010, WAR WAS BEGINNING.

      Captain: What Happen?

      Mechanic: Somebody set up us the Cherry BOMB.

      Opeartor: WE GET WiFi SIGNAL.

      Captain: WHAT !!

      Operator: All your lameness filter are belong to us.

      You will not type the rest of this parody because you
      are too lazy to fix it.

      Mark your time.

      Operator: Medium-sized SCREEN TURN ON.

    • by Vancorps (746090)
      A multi-directional speaker can easily produce stereo sound although obviously not as good as two dedicated directional speakers.
  • by LurkersA (1495713) on Saturday October 30, 2010 @12:33AM (#34071072)
    Do not purchase from this company. I ordered one of their $99 netbooks earlier in the year, and it never showed up. I tried to contact the company via email and phone on several occasions and no contact was ever made. My bank eventually reversed the transaction, but it was still a major pain in the ass. Google yields plenty of results for people with similar experiences from this company.
  • Some factory in China is pumping out cheapo Android pads in a variety of styles and selling them wholesale for $80 each. Usually they're called aPads or Eken books and I've seen a number of announcements (e.g. Next [bit-tech.net] are flogging a 10" variant for £180) which are obviously based on these. Indeed ebay is full of the generic 7" and 10" aPad / eken tablets. If you're determined you'll be able to buy a 7" one for $100. Although I don't expect they are anything to write home about, they are a herald of thing
  • Seriously? Why is Slashdot advertising that piece of crap? It's ANOTHER knockoff Chinese clone... similar to the Augen Tablet and a thousand other clones, but more expensive.

    Bill
  • by jonwil (467024) on Saturday October 30, 2010 @04:52AM (#34071740)

    A number of these companies (especially those where the original product comes from China) continue to violate the GPL as applied to the Android Linux kernel.

    Now some people may not care about such things but this is /. so I hope people here care :)

  • I like it, someone posts specs for a cheap tablet then says it needs X, Y and Z to be better. Erm, it wouldn't be cheap then would it?

    There's already a 7 inch tablet that is high quality, it's made by Samsung and the iPad is actually a better buy as it has a bigger screen. The samsung's price is too close to the iPad.

  • (Tongue in cheek subject)

    For what it's worth the iPad has 256MB. Given the lower resolution of the Cherry Pad 256MB should be enough. From what I've been able to scrape together from Googling, the performance of the 800mhz ARM 11 CPU is comparable to the iPhone 3GS (although the ARM is more versatile). Multitasking is a confounding factor, but iOS 4.2 beta users have not been leaking that there are performance problems multitasking on the iPad, so IMHO the CPU is holding back the speed more the RAM.

    I'm disa

  • The article says that it comes with Android Market. But I thought that Google didn't license Android Market except for phones. So is it pirated?

  • I have a very hard time trusting a company that religiously edits its own Wikipedia articles to remove various facts deemed unsavory. They actually did it so much, they were banned from Wikipedia!

    In the end, the Streisand effect always wins.

Maybe Computer Science should be in the College of Theology. -- R. S. Barton

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