Thanks for following up, Andrew.
That IS disappointing. I grabbed this tablet after finding a thread about how hackable it was. But I only read about the first four or five of 13 some pages on that forum before buying.
Later, after buying, I read all the pages and found that the firmware had changed in September of 2010 and that the great hacks described were apparently "bricking" newer machines.
I NEED to be able to connect a portable, full-size keyboard in order to get the use out of this that I purchased it for. I also need a GREAT pdf reader that will reflow pdfs so that they do not exceed the width of the screen AND that will let me annotate pdf docs. Apparently, the latter does not exist yet for Android. For any Android. The prior MAY, but I haven't found it yet.
Even the user's manual that comes as a loaded pdf on the Velocity Micro Cruz Reader displays wider than the screen and requires scrolling from left to right line by line when read with the native "trial" office app included out of the box.
I'm still within my 30-days return window on this machine and may just give up and take it back and search for a lighter-weight e-ink device. Or, maybe I'll just wait until the technology and applications get better. And replace the bios battery in my pocket pc and use it for my PDF reader, annotator and portable writing device as I did for years. The Pocket PC's drawbacks are:
- screen size -- too small for comfortable reading of book-length documents.
- need to pick up the stylus to scroll down each time you've read a screen (no rapid, single touch page turn function)
- 10-hour battery life.
But this little thing -- even in '03 -- would accept a full-size (folding) keyboard and would reflow pdfs so that they are readable. And by '05 or '06, there were non-Adobe pdf programs available for it that would allow you to highlight, bookmark and annotate pdf documents.
Don't understand why Droid is so far behind on these essential functions for using the devices in a true, efficient, portable working office environment. Or maybe I do. Really, they are designed as game machines and show-off toys for the thumb-texting cellphone generation. And their utility is super limited. You can't sit in a lecture and take a thousand words of notes at 120 wpm. Or sit on a commuter train seat and review notes on the screen and type a detailed proposal for a client. Or write an 8-page report that you will finish editing on your laptop later and then print and distribute at a business meeting.
Rather, these are toys that make sending 10- or 15-word emails possible from your phone; that let you surf websites without too much difficulty and update your Facebook status and maybe even send a tweet; let you play some computer games; keep an electronic appointment calendar if you want to; read some forms of e-docs; and make some really brief notes. Oh yeah, and make phone calls , if you have the original Droid phone or a successor.
I want the utility I had with my 2003 Pocket PC, but with more storage, faster operating system; much bigger memory; greater expandability (32GB sdk and up); easier file swapping between portable device and personal computer; much longer battery life, PLEASE; bigger screen (7" inch is fine); and freedom from the stylus. And DEFINITELY want the ability to use mini-USB peripherals, like a folding full-size keyboard. And, my own personal huge need: the ability to read pdfs at full-screen width and to make notes in them as I read.
And I want it for $200. Or so.
I appreciate the touch-screen aspect of the tablets, but don't care for the fingerprints and smudges and doubt that there is much to be done about that.
I need a highly portable note-taking, report-writing, wifi-web-researching, pdf-reading/annotating device. Something smaller, lighter, thinner, easier to carry than my netbook. Something readable in nearly any light. (Unlike my old Palm Pilots.) Something I can touch-type on at a 120 words per minute and that has a simple, Word-compatible, basic full-function word processor. And it would be cool if it had a webcam that would let me scan or take macro jpgs of research materials I'm sorting through, so I would have perfectly readable copies of pages of essential research materials available later for viewing or OCR scanning.
Wonder how long 'til something like that is available at a price that is LESS than I paid for my netbook?
End of description of my dream machine.
Funny. I had read that the Android System -- from I thought 1.6-on -- had native support for external keyboards. And it may. But the real issue seems to be the USB hosting capability. Which may vary from device to device?
I've still got 15 days or so to return / refund this Micro Cruz. Maybe someone really really innovative in that time will stumble upon this and post and explain how THEY have managed to get USB hosting working on their Android device.
Wouldn't that be cool?
— modified on Jan 15, 2011 10:40:18 PM