2011-07-08

First experience with a genuine tablet computer

My first experience with an ereader running on Android kindled my interest in this operating system by Google for mobile devices so much that I decided to buy a genuine Android-based tablet computer this week. The choice, based on the screen size (8") and the price (less than $200), was fairly easy. I purchased Arnova 8 for as little as about $150 at a nearby computer store in Jerusalem. In spite of its price, I was very impressed with this tablet computer - even more than with the ereader I had received several days before.

I spent a few days fiddling with Android and trying a number of applications for it. I think Android is a quite charming operating system, even (or especially) for someone like myself who has never used it before. I am quite convinced that it will increase its popularity and importance more and more as the number of users of tablet computers increases. This tablet computer and Android have already become integral parts of my computing in addition to my laptop computer and Windows. But unlike the easiness of purchasing and/or downloading applications for Windows, I found it extremely frustrating to do the same with Android. Android Market by Google itself, which is the biggest and most popular online store-cum-repository for Android applications, is especially frustrating, mainly because it is tightly connected with Google accounts. In the end I have found far more user-friendly repositories/stores: APKTOP and SlideME.

I have tried tens of applications so far, but as of now I am using only two. One is a free system tool called ZDBox (mainly for locking applications with a password), and the other is a commercial PDF & EPUB reader called Mantano Reader. All the free PDF readers, including Adobe Reader, were quite disappointing; most of them were very slow in rendering PDF documents and very limited in functionality. I also tried two other commercial PDF readers, but they are far less polished. Mantano Reader alone is a sufficient reason for me to continue to use a tablet computer; it is even better than Adobe Reader for Windows! Its UI is very esthetic, its functionality is sophisticated, and most importantly, it is slick unlike the other PDF readers for Android. Its excellent customer support and readiness to listen to customers are also commendable. I highly recommend it to everyone who is using Android and looking for an excellent PDF & EPUB reader. Although it is a commercial application, its price seems to me ridiculously low (about €4 as of this writing), at least in comparison to that of any commercial PDF reader for Windows.

From the next academic year I will read handouts of my courses with this Mantano-powered tablet computer instead of printing them for myself as I used to. I hope that this way I will be able to instigate as many students of mine as possible to finally come to the 21st century. ;-)