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The Frankentablet: Windows and Android Mashup 121

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the better-than-zombiephone dept.
GMGruman writes "What happens if you take a netbook, remove its keyboard, put Windows 7 in one partition, a custom version of Android 2.2 in another, throw in a Linux bootloader, and physical buttons that match none of these? You get the ViewSonic ViewPad 10, a Frankenstein creation of technology body parts that just don't fit together. As this InfoWorld review shows, it's definitely a 'were they even thinking?' class of product."
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The Frankentablet: Windows and Android Mashup

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  • All on one page... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @01:18PM (#36085858)

    http://www.infoworld.com/print/160508

  • What happens if you take a netbook, remove its keyboard, put Windows 7 in one partition, a custom version of Android 2.2 in another, throw in a Linux bootloader, and physical buttons that match none of these?

    That's easy. Exactly the same thing that happens when I take a shit.

    • You might want to see a doctor about that. I'm not really a sissy, but that sounds PAINFUL!

    • I strongly encourage you to visit a gastrointestinal specialist.
    • blood everywhere?
    • by mjwx (966435)

      What happens if you take a netbook, remove its keyboard, put Windows 7 in one partition, a custom version of Android 2.2 in another, throw in a Linux bootloader, and physical buttons that match none of these?

      That's easy. Exactly the same thing that happens when I take a shit.

      Something long, brown and squishy comes out?

      OK, seeing as the tablet is square and already in a rigid case, we'll simply paint it white.

  • No pictures (Score:5, Informative)

    by iONiUM (530420) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @01:21PM (#36085890) Homepage Journal

    TFA has no pictures. I can't really read a review about a tablet that has no images of it at all. Is there a better review with some?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Flyerman (1728812)

      Haven't read it yet, but here's one with pictures:

      http://www.laptopmag.com/review/tablets/viewsonic-viewpad-10.aspx?page=all [laptopmag.com]

      • So, to begin with, the price is $680. Did they miss the whole Xoom sales fiasco? Apparently. Let's move on.

        The ViewPad 10 is currently only available with Android 1.6, though ViewSonic promises that an upgrade to Android 2.2 is coming "soon." There aren't any Google apps and no Android Market. ViewSonic doesn't believe these will be included in future updates, either ... Like almost every other non-Honeycomb Android tablet, the Android Market isn't available. Likewise, the Google suite of apps including Gmail, Google Talk, Maps, Voice Search, and YouTube isn't pre-loaded, nor is there an easy way to download them.

        Alrighty, so as Android tablet, this thing is dead in the water. Especially once stores stock up on Asus Transformer, which is $180 cheaper for better software and hardware (right now it's damn hard to buy because Asus only had 100k and they sold out in the blink of the eye, but a large shipment is promised in June, and you can get it for like $550-600 off scalpers on eBay today - which is still way mo

    • by blair1q (305137)

      And no mention of battery life.

      The meta is all ironic in that article.

    • Links to an Ad, no pictures, no mention of battery life... is there an question that if InfoWorld wasn't paying for this placement slashdot would not even run this crap?

    • by hey! (33014)

      Oh, come now, be reasonable. For somebody to satisfy your demand, there'd have to be some kind of system that indexed *the entire Internet*. While we're at it, we might as well wish there was a system that magically tracked every image that was used on any web page anyplace in the world.

  • Why is there never any photos on those big websites?

    • by blair1q (305137)

      Takes away from bandwidth used to send your browser history and cookies to their advertisers.

  • Stick to monitors, guys. Please.

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      Not only that, but why can't they add a DVI-D/HDMI/mini-DP input on those nice digital photo frames? They'd make really nice, low-cost secondary monitors.

      No, I don't want a stupid secondary monitor that goes through USB, can only display nearly-static content because it doesn't have enough bandwidth for video and requires a special driver on top of that.

      • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @01:55PM (#36086248)

        Not only that, but why can't they add a DVI-D/HDMI/mini-DP input on those nice digital photo frames? They'd make really nice, low-cost secondary monitors.

        You do realize you just answered your own question, right?

        • by Yvan256 (722131)

          The problem is, they don't offer those same LCD panels as monitors, even at higher prices.

          I don't care if an 8" 800x600 ViewSonic digital photo frame cost 60$ and the same display cost 80$ as a monitor.

          The digital photo frame also needs firmware and all, so it should be the most expensive product to begin with. By adding a digital video input to their digital photo frames, they'd sell to two target markets in one shot. It can't cost much to add a digital-only input port (I'm not asking for a VGA input).

      • I've got a 1080p DVI ioGear USB adapter I've been quite happy with, ran me $50 from newegg. The video isn't nearly as bad as you might think, even full screen. I think it should be adequate for an 800x600 photo frame. I am frankly surprised that new monitors don't come with a USB option. If a separate dongle is $50, the Bill of Materials for the pcb and chips has to be under $20. Personally, I think the big boon for USB 3.0 will not be storage, but the ability to hang a 2nd/ 3rd/ 6th monitor off of you
        • by Yvan256 (722131)

          USB-to-video is exactly what I don't want. What I want is a quality (i.e. ViewSonic, not some no-name brand that will stop working in six months), small LCD monitor with a digital video input.

          Those 8", 800x600 ViewSonic digital photo frames would be perfect if only they had a DVI-D input.

  • I don't see the problem. It's a "tablet" (by today's definition) that gives you the option of booting into Windows in the rare cases that you might need to. If it's priced right, then I think it would be a good alternative to those other Android tablets. Granted, I think the Android tablets are stupid, so maybe I'm biased. I like to think of the tablets with Wacom transducers and decent processors as tablets - not those Android-loaded things.

    • by cpu6502 (1960974)

      The problem is running Windows 7 on a 1 gigahertz single-core CPU. I thought my brother's PC with 3 gigahertz Pentium was slow..... but this tablet at 1/3rd speed must be a real bear.

      • Well it is the stripped down netbook version, right? I think it's called "starter edition," or something. (I've never used it though, so idk how "stripped down" it is)

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Earth to cpu6502, comparing hertz of CPUs of vastly different generations and with significant design differences is not a useful metric.

        • Yes, but the atom architecture also cuts out a lot of things and only does in-order execution which is slower than the out of order execcution that the Pentiums did.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            Absolutely true. Just comparing them by clockspeed is totally useless. People are doing it with ARM cpus vs x86 these days too, for fun go look at ARM cpu floating point performance.

        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          >>>Earth to cpu6502, comparing hertz of CPUs of vastly different generations and with significant design differences is not a useful metric.

          If you truly think a 1 gigahertz ATOM with its simplified structure is faster than a 3 gigahertz P4 with its large cache, out-of-order execution, and speedy pipelining, then YOU are the one who needs to be calling earth.

          The MP3 encoder "Lame" runs much faster on the Pentium 4 systems. So do Adobe Acrobat, iTunes, and WinZip. Atom is like driving a poor-man's $

          • by gmhowell (26755)

            Atom is like driving a poor-man's $15,000 Civic.... even if it's a 2012 model, it won't be as fast as the 2002 P4 ferrari.

            Throw them both off a cliff...

            Coincidentally, that's what one should probably do with this tablet.

    • RTFA: they choose a phone version of android; not even the latest one (both articles say 2.2, or 1.6) , and not only did they not try to tablet-ize it, but it barely supports the hardware (no turning off the screen, on ly the whole tablet). So it's the ususal so-so windows experience on one side, or a significantly worse than usual android experience on the other.

      • by Andy Dodd (701)

        Honestly, Froyo or Gingerbread on a tablet isn't that bad. I'm perfectly happy with the interface of Froyo on my Huawei S7. (What I'm not happy about is how long Huawei took to release Froyo, the fact that they only released it in Indonesia and only via "authorized service center" making it take forever to get a leaked version of the update, and how horribly buggy their Eclair build and radio baseband was.)

        However, if you're going to make a Froyo tablet, you should at least include the normal Android butt

      • by gmhowell (26755)

        Can anyone explain what is the difference between 2.2 and 3.0 that would make the latter 'tabletized'? I haven't used Android enough to know what this could possibly mean.

        • Basically, core UI and stock apps are less aggressive about hiding widgets to conserve space.

          For example, in the browser, in 2.x the address bar is hidden once you scroll down (and will only reappear if you scroll all the way up, or open context menu), and to switch between tabs you have to go to context menu -> Windows. You also only get a single button crammed into address bar, doubling as bookmark list (normally) or stop (when page is loading) - reload, back, forward etc are all in context menu

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The Wacom-equipped tablets I've seen have all been gutless wonders, usually with Pentium M. Who is making good ones and how do I find them?

      • Thinkpad X61 Works for me. Wacom convertable tablet with Intel Core Duo. More powerful than I think I'll ever need, lol
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Thanks, looking now. It looks like they have both a tablet and a notebook sold as the X61, as in, a convertible AND a nonconvertible. WTF?

          • Yep, they have both. When new the nonconvertible is cheaper to buy, and as some people wanted the form factor and power without the extra cost of a tablet they don't use. I suspect the hinge is also stronger (The convertible version has one hinge in the middle that has to rotate, which is weaker than two on the side).

            You can usually tell the difference by the hinges. The nonconvertible has two ones near the edges, the tablet one big one in the centre.

            Have a look at the picture here to see what I mean (table

        • by kwark (512736)

          The Thinkpad X201T sports an (previous generation) i7 at 2.13GHz (2.9 GHzin turbo mode), the fastest machine I own. The slowest thing about it is the Intel video.

    • by b0bby (201198)

      If it's priced right, then I think it would be a good alternative to those other Android tablets.

      It's not priced right ($600), Windows 7 runs very poorly on a low end Atom, and it's running Android 2.2 with no marketplace. So it's teh suck. Of course, most of the other Android tablets are too, which is a shame. I was hoping that by this time there'd be a decent selection of reasonably priced Android tablets out there, but so far there's nothing that's even remotely tempting me.

      • Google announced a new version of the Galaxy Tab earlier today, the second tablet running 3.0/honeycomb. Should be out in a month or so.
        • by PCM2 (4486)

          They gave one to every Google I/O attendee, in fact, so I have one right here. It seems pretty decent, for just having used it for a few minutes. For that matter, the Motorola Xoom isn't all that bad. I'm not sure either one is really competitive with the iPad yet, but that seems to mostly be a matter of what you can actually do with them -- meaning software -- which Google is working on, too.

          • by b0bby (201198)

            Yeah, the Xoom doesn't seem all that bad, but I'm not going to pay more for it. The fact is, the ipad is better than any of the Android tablets, and it's only the fact that it's too tied down for my taste that I'm even waiting for a decent option to come along. But I'm sure I'd be happy with a free Tab!

      • so far there's nothing that's even remotely tempting me.

        Did you see this [asus.com]?

        • by b0bby (201198)

          Ok, that one is a little tempting; when I last looked at it they were guessing it would be $500, but at $400 it's worth a visit to Best Buy to check it out.

          • Unfortunately, brick and mortar Best Buy would likely not have any in stock (unless you're extremely lucky), as pretty much everyone is sold out on that now. They get new batches every now and then, but there's normally a few hundred online backorders everywhere so they go to those people first.

    • So you didn't RTFA and see the price was a ridiculous $680?
  • by _0xd0ad (1974778) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @01:42PM (#36086146) Journal

    You know the Reese's ad about how chocolate and peanut better go better together? I bet whoever came up with the ViewSonic ViewPad 10 had the same aspiration. The problem is this dual-OS tablet is not a delectable combination. Think creamed spinach and red licorice, not peanut butter and chocolate.

    Does anybody else want to try that now?

    No? Just me?

    Okay...

    • See a doctor. My informed (through television) opinion is that you may be pregnant and not know it.
    • Saag paneer (curried spinach with fried fresh acid-set cheese) often includes star anise in the spice mix. Star anise tastes a bit like licorice.

      So, the combination isn't THAT outrageous, though the contribution of the star anise is subtle at best.

      Now, as for the pickled herring and raspberry jam my mother once came up with, well, lets just say it looks the same coming up as going down.

      • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

        Saag paneer (curried spinach with fried fresh acid-set cheese) often includes star anise in the spice mix. Star anise tastes a bit like licorice.

        Red licorice is generally either strawberry or cherry flavor.

  • The gTablet is a completely different product that is android only. Has dual 1 GHz tegra2 processor and really kicks ass. LOTS of dev support; with three viable alternate ROMs. I'm running Vegan-Tab on mine.

    They can be had for less than $300 new if you look around a bit.

    • by Microlith (54737)

      Beware the terrible screen though, and Nvidia is dropping support for Harmony-based devices due to highly visible processor errata.

      • by drsmack1 (698392)

        The screen is subpar compared to the Xoom or iPad - true. But it still works just fine for it's intended purposes.

      • by LanMan04 (790429)

        The whole "dropping processor support" thing was overblown. Nvidia said they will produce Gingerbread video drivers for Harmony.

    • I'd rather spend $400 on this [androidcommunity.com]. And then if I love it another $150 on the keyboard+extended battery+port replicator unit. I trust Asus a million times more than Viewsonic. Maybe literally.

      • by drsmack1 (698392)

        If they are really $400 then that is a good deal. The things I liked about the gTablet (and the reason I bought one a few months ago) is that it has a unlocked bootloader and tacit cooperation from Viewsonic for third party ROMs.

        If ASUS is the same deal - then it will be VERY popular.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          It's going to be a while before you can actually get your hands on one, because it's only becoming available today and selling out about as fast as it's going on sale, stocks are limited. It's Asus though so we know they will crank out some more if they sell, which they clearly are.

          • It largely depends on your luck when hitting the stores, as well as occasional availability at brick and mortar stores in vicinity. FWIW, I ordered one online earlier today, and miraculously they had it in stock and actually shipped.

            Of course, the real gem is the dock, and those are just as hard to find...

        • They really are $400, except that they're sold out practically everywhere. Right now you have to sit on NowInStock to snatch one when any retailer gets a new batch - they sell out within 10-15 minutes after they appear, every time (I think because there is a huge number of people on XDA forums jumping on every new batch).

          Scalpers on eBay and Amazon have them "available for shipping today", of course. For $500+.

      • by John3 (85454)

        Good luck finding it for $400. The supplies of this tablet are extremely limited leading to prices in the mid to high $500 range.

      • There was a time when ViewSonic made great stuff. I had a ViewSonic monitor that lasted for ages. What a shame.
    • Looks like you can hack MeeGo onto it too:

      http://wiki.meego.com/ARM/TEGRA2#Viewsonic_G_Tablet [meego.com]

  • by mfh (56) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @01:48PM (#36086188) Homepage Journal

    Anyone party to the specific details of the Frankenstein story by Mary Shelly, will know that the supposed monster created was actually quite articulate, kind and thoughtful even. It was his creator who was the true monster.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Uh.. except for that part where he "accidentally" strangles a child, frames a nanny for that child's murder, and deliberately murders two other people?

      • I say skip to the end where that monster of a tablet runs off to the north pole to never see people again and commit suicide by fire.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Uh.. except for that part where he "accidentally" strangles a child, frames a nanny for that child's murder, and deliberately murders two other people?

        Well I'm sure we've all had days like that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mfh (56)

        Uh.. except for that part where he "accidentally" strangles a child, frames a nanny for that child's murder, and deliberately murders two other people?

        The position I carefully take is that of pity for the monster for being abandoned. Had Victor Frankenstein provided love to his creation, as a good parent would, the creation would have no hatred for humanity. Had the boy William not threatened to harm the monster, and also invoked the name of Frankenstein, the monster would not have harmed the boy. This is

        • by sdguero (1112795)
          MOD PARENT UP!
          I was going to reply to the coward but luckily you got there first. :)
        • by ginbot462 (626023)

          >> concise thematic explanation by mfh (56)

          Number 56 eh? You must be one the "cool" ones from the Village.

          Course, you're back from when the brainwashing had that personal touch like faked escapes or body doubles (Oh, and secret LSD experiments ... apparently they didn't want long lines of "volunteers").
          Nowadays, it's just "warrantless wiretap; seize the hard drive; force viewing Jersey Shore and Sandra Lee shows".

    • by sdguero (1112795) on Tuesday May 10, 2011 @04:14PM (#36087662)
      I think Mary Shelly's story actually fits pretty well. There is a lot of good qualities to the hardware and software in this Frankentablet, but the monster it has become is the result of Viewsonic's decisions.
  • From the article:

    I asked ViewSonic why the boot menu didn't match the actual buttons and was told that the company used a Linux boot loader.

    If only they used a product whose source code was available, rather than Linux, maybe they could have changed the text to line up with the buttons.

    • by oakgrove (845019)
      Exactly. Those guys are idiots and deserve to be mocked.
    • From the article:

      I asked ViewSonic why the boot menu didn't match the actual buttons and was told that the company used a Linux boot loader.

      If only they used a product whose source code was available, rather than Linux, maybe they could have changed the text to line up with the buttons.

      My thoughts exactly.

  • OMG they never quit do they? back in 2004 my company, Bluescreen (a services startup in http://www.hamk.fi/ [www.hamk.fi] s business park), ran a Linux operating system, with a little bit tweaked Enlightenment for ViewSonic to replace Windows in their Tablet PCs. ViewSonic having the opportunity to corner the market 5 years ahead Apple, decided to quit making tabs altogether. Now, another smart move.
  • It never fails to amaze me how some companies -insert the usual suspects- feel duty bound to rush 'me too' products to market no matter how shoddy or ill suited to their core business. The waste in money, man power and resources must be staggering. I propose the Morton salt business model - do a few things and do them really really well. When I think 'salt' I think of Morton...rain, girl under umbrella, when it rains it pours etc.
  • It's almost like Viewsonic set out to do a technological demonstration on why tablets don't work.

    • by itsdapead (734413)

      It's almost like Viewsonic set out to do a technological demonstration on why tablets don't work.

      ...or as if they got someone who hated tablets to design one which confirmed all their prejudices.

  • Sounds like a case of a company having absolutely no idea what makes a good tablet so they just try to do it all. Maybe throw in a lot of buzzwords to make it sound cool. The end product costs about the same as an iPad and the iPad is awesome. Why would I want to try a crappy knockoff that isn't even cheap?

    Almost all of these companies would do better if they'd just create cool accessories for Apple products. I can think of many cool accessories nobody has done yet but instead I see consumer electronics com

  • That may very well be the harshest review of a piece of electronics I have ever read. Kind of reminds me of that "American Idol" show where they have these 3 judges who berate the contestants until they cry sometimes when the contestant isn't good.
  • I don't have a lot of love for the tablet since I have read other reviews that complained of the performance but when I read:

    this "slap it together mentality" is one reason no tablets come close to the iPad.

    I couldn't really take anything he said seriously as I knew that the rest of the review would be a bunch of biased crap - and when he goes into the windows usage it did get really stupid.

  • I actually bought one of these as soon as I saw it advertised in the UK. My work involves developing software for Windows, and we are interested in touch-screen devices, so it seemed reasonable to give it a go. The Android option is a free bonus.

    It was disappointing to see Android 1.6 only, and now that it seems 2.2 is available, I'll upgrade.

    I agree with the review article that the Windows 7 OS (Explorer, etc.) is not well-suited to touch operation. Try re-sizing a window to see how hard it is. Can you see

  • It's a shame this tablet seems so half-assed.. Is it possible to wipe it and install Android 3.x on it? Or are they planning to upgrade to android 3 with a future update?

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