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The INQUIRER Android Experiment: Phablets and 10in tablets

Episode five covers a history of hardware, because size matters
Wed Jan 15 2014, 14:42

UP TO NOW, our Android experiment has concentrated largely on the mobile operating system itself.

However, we must not forget that our little green friend is now present on thousands of different items. If we were being totally strict about the rules, I should now only be allowed to cook food in the crockpot powered by Android that was announced at CES. But we're not. That would be silly.

But my point remains, the days when Android was simply a mobile phone operating system are long gone, though on the big screens of PCs and TVs it still struggles.

At CES, Philips announced a range of Smart TVs with Android onboard. I've been using an Android-powered Mini PC device for nearly 18 months now to play media files. Originally, I had an MK802+ which met its demise after our esteemed news editor came round one evening and laughed at me trying to get it to do anything useful for a full hour.

The new one is a Minix G4, a much better machine, but still needlessly fiddly. I've already said how much I love the Chromecast for its simplicity, but its functionality remains limited. Games consoles such as the Ouya and Gamestick have not met with particularly warm receptions.

So for the moment, at least, devices that run Android mostly have screens that are 10in and smaller. I've already mentioned the Asus Transformer Pad TF701 that I've been using to write these articles, and I've just been lent a Lenovo Yoga 10 to try out. I will report back on that later.

My favourite "little tablet that could" has been the Goclever Aries 785, a mid-range iPad mini clone from Poland that punches way above its weight and that I actually have found myself becoming "fond" of, much in the same way the Richard Hammond grows attached to some of his modest challenge cars on Top Gear.

However, what if I wanted to go big? I'm not a small man, I come from rugby-playing stock. I've got pudgy fingers and 10in devices are a bit dainty for them. My main phone is a Samsung Galaxy Mega i9205 that has a 6.3in screen, and I can't relate to critics who've said that you can't use it one-handed.

So I've also sought out two larger machines to play with. One is a 13.3in tablet from Hannspree, the other is a gigantic 27in all-in-one (AIO) machine from Acer. The next time I write, I'll be looking at whether size makes a difference when it comes to successful Android devices.

If you'd like to help me think big by suggesting challenges for larger screen Android devices, then you can comment below or tweet to @INQ using hashtag #INQAndroid. µ


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