This has been a sore spot with me for some time. We keep hearing about these potentially wonderful Android tablets, and what ends up appearing is something underpowered, with a poor resolution screen and underwhelming built-in software. Augen’s tablet was the darling of the internet world for a few weeks, since it was cheap, being sold at KMart, and promised Google Marketplace!
Of course, like all things that sound too good to be true, the Augen tablet didn’t live up to the hype. It was slow, the resistive screen was unimpressive, and Google Marketplace didn’t work. Augen kept promising it would be fixed in the next software update, but apparently “fixed” means “We sort of didn’t have Google’s permission and now we need to pull it entirely for future releases”. Not exactly a serious blow to the iPad juggernaut.
It isn’t going to take much to create a compelling and exciting Android tablet. There are rumors that Motorola has one in the works with Verizon FiOS integration, and Samsung has promised the Galaxy Tab later this year. But nothing yet, and in the meantime, the void is being filled by crappy knockoff tablets that appeal at best to a small group of tinkerers, but are being sold as mass market devices.
And I hate to say it, but at Gear Diary we know from knockoff tablets. Judie and Dan were early adopters of the Camangi Webstation, which isn’t a bad device, it’s just hampered by slow hardware and poor software integration. I still have a Camangi, and I might be one of five people in the world who actually likes the little guy, but it’s mostly on the strength of what it could be, not what it is. Camangi tries, and they’re extremely responsive, but the hardware is weak, and Android without the “Google Experience” isn’t a great OS. Finally, Android desperately needs a capacitive touchscreen. It’s an OS that was never designed around a stylus, and any experience that requires you to pull one out while using your Android tablet is destined to make for a terribly frustrating experience.
Google kicked off the “Android Superphone” army with the Nexus One. Even though some incredible new phones were in the pipeline already, the Nexus One generated a lot of hype and buzz for high-end phones. Maybe it’s time for the “Google Tablet” to be resurrected, and light a fire under other manufacturers looking to get into the Android tablet market. Something needs to be done since this race to the bottom appears to have few winners, and a very large subset of losers: the average consumer.
Here’s the official press release from Augen regarding Google Marketplace, courtesy of Engadget:
Florida- August 07, 2010 – Augen Electronics Corp., an innovator of tablet pc’s, netbooks, and eReaders, would like to deliver the following statement to address the circulating media gossip regarding Augen’s preloaded apps.
On July, 29 2010 Augen had a constructive conversation with Google Inc. The topic of the discussion was Google’s Application Suite. As you know, Google Inc. has released the source code for the entire Android platform under the flexible and commercial-friendly Apache 2.0 open source license. Augen is free to use that open source code; however, the suite of applications comprising Google Mobile Services on Android are proprietary to Google and have not been released under open source licenses. The Google Mobile Service and Android Apps were pre installed during the development process on our tablets for testing purposes, and were not removed unintentionally before releasing the products in the market place.
Google and Augen came to a mutual understanding that the Google Mobile Services Application Suite pre-installed on the GENTOUCH/ GENBOOK Series; could not be removed due to technological constraints for the products that were sold, shipped, or already produced.
For future production runs and deliveries, Augen will block and remove the Google Mobile Services Application Suite from the current devices until further notice. We are currently in communication with Google Inc. to obtain the required licensing for upcoming products, and will announce in our future statements the timelines and availability of these products as it will become available to us. However, for your convenience Augen will add applications to accommodate the absence of the Google Mobile Services Application Suite.
OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU…
The future of Augen holds a key to develop market conscious products with a vision of delivering the latest and emerging technologies, being available and affordable to every household, big/small corporation in the United States of America and worldwide.
We are at the final stages of releasing an entire new line of products which incorporates the newest technology and concepts, that will make a difference in your every day lives. We encourage you our Gen Nation, to follow the exciting products that Augen will be unveiling in the very near future. We are here to put the world at your fingertips and take you beyond the realm of the market that exists today, bringing you with us into a new era of open world communication and computing.
We are a US based company and understand and incorporate your wishes, desires, and requirements in our company’s DNA. We are here for you and are looking for your continued support, and excitement in our current and future releases.
Augen Electronics Corp.