25
Dec 10

OlivePad VT-1000 – 7 inch Android 2.2 Tablet Hands-on Review

P1020052 (Modified)

OlivePad VT1000

OlivePad VT1000 is a seven inch Android 2.2 Tablet computer from India based Olive Telecom.

OlivePad has been selling for a  few months now, but it has not been able to create the interest Notion Ink has been able to generate  on its yet to be released Adam tablet.   I had been on a hunt for a decent Android Tablet for many weeks and never came across the OlivePad until one day saw one on eBay India.   This led me to Olive Telecom’s website where I found out that OlivePad is available on retail at Croma stores across India.  I picked up my OlivePad from the new Croma Store on the Outer Ring Road in Bangalore for INR 23999 (cheaper than the online prices at eBay.in).

This review is based on my hands on experience of using the OlivePad in the last three weeks.  My familiarity with Android devices which includes a Samsung Galaxy S phone running Android 2.2, a Samsung Galaxy 3 that my wife owns.  In between I also used a ten inch Chinese Apad ZT180 tablet running  Android 2.1.

Lets begin the review  with the Quick Specs of the Olive Pad VT1000.

OSAndroid 2.2 Froyo
Processor ARM11 600MHz
Chipset Qualcomm MSM7227
Battery Li Polymer 3240 mAh
Screen 7 inch 800x400 LCD with Capacitive Touch screen
Connectivity 802.11bg wifi, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR, GPS, GSM, 3G
Memory 512 MB RAM
Storage 512 MB built in Flash, and my unit came bundled with a 16 GB micro-SD card
Camera Rear 3 mega pixel, front VGA
Audio microphone, stereo speakers, 3.5 mm stereo audio out
Others G-sensor, e-compass, ambient light sensor.

Hardware and Build

Design

The Olive Tab is rectangular with glass in front with a shiny black plastic in the rear. The sides are aluminum. The sides are not tapered like the Galaxy Tab which makes it look thicker. Nevertheless it’s comfortable to hold. The key here is the 7 inch form factor that is small enough to hold with hone hand. At 380 gm it’s not comfortable holding it for  long duration. However, its much comfortable using the OlivePad tablet  with the leather diary  styled jacket.

Processor Speed and Responsiveness

OlivePad comes with a 600 MHz ARM11 processor. The Tablet is  very responsive and I do not find any perceptible real world difference between the Galaxy S and the OlivePad in terms of responsiveness. However, ARM11 on paper appears slower compared to Cortex A8 chips being used in most recent Android Tablet, and not to mention the upcoming dual core Cortex A9 chips like the Nvidia Tegra2. Bottom line, the ARM11 chip in the OlivePd is adequate to give a very good user experience.

Storage and Memory

The SIM card and the SD card slots can be accessed from the side.OlivePad came bundles with a 16 GB microSD card. The internal flash is just 512 MB, which just leaves 173 MB for user applications. I wish OlivePad had at least  1 or 2 GH internal flash storage. With Froyo apps can be moved to the SD card, but still a lot of junk accumulates in the internal flash storage. The RAM is 512 MB is  adequate and at par with most of the high end Android tablets or phones.

Screen

The screen at best can be called average.   It looks nice  and vibrant when looking straight, but at the slightest angle the colours start getting weird. It indicates a cheap TN panel. I am not saying that it is not usable, but this no iPAD IPS panel or the Galaxy S Super AMOLED display.  Fonts look good and crisp providing a good web browsing experience and reading eBooks is a good experience. I would suggest giving the bundled Aldiko reader the skip and installing FBReader or Cool Reader from the market.

Audio

Two speakers have been places on the top and the bottom side of OlivePad. The speaks are excellent for the form factor.  These are clear and loader than the average tablet speaker and better than some Netbook speaker. a +1 to Olive Telecom fro this.  This is a great when playing games and  I can even dare to watch YouTube videos without a headphone.

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05
Feb 07

Netscape 9 browser on Mac OSX and Linux

After the windows only Netscape 8 disaster, there is Netscape 9 web browser being planned. Interestingly, according to this post [external link] in the Netscape blog, the Netscape 9 will be released for Mac OSX, Linux and Windows simultaneously.

For AOL Netscape has been a long and painful story of missed opportunity. Long back they could have used the Geeko engine as the default platform for their AOL browser. Instead they choose to persist with the Internet Explorer core and shut out the non Windows users. As a result, the Netscape platform became an non-entity in an internet ecosystem dominated by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

AOL has still not got it’s strategy right on what to do with the Netscape. The windows only Netscape 9, the super bloated Netscape 6 or even the new avatar of the digg-alike Netscape.com clearly illustrates this.

For a Mac user Netscape 9 will just be an alternative to Firefox or Safari. For Linux users Netscape 9 will just be an alternative to Firefox or Konqueror.
Considering how well Firefox web browser is doing, why do we need one more browser ?


05
Feb 07

More on the Neo Sports tastless ads

In my earlier post ,Tasteless Ads on Neo Sports Can Send Wrong Message, I had pointed out the these ads does not show India in a good light.

According to this news report [external link] in Hindustan Times, some people have approached the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) with complaints against Neo Sports India regarding these ads. The report seems to indicate that the concern in the complaints related to racism.

I do not think the intent of the ads is racism. However, the way these ads are projecting foreign visitors being treated in such shabby and disrespectful manner could dent India’s image, irrespective of whether you consider racisim or not.

Meanwhile, West Indian cricket series is over. And now the Sri Lankan team is in India to play a 4 match ODI series against India. Predictibly, Neo Sports India has extended the “Tough to be …” ads now on the visiting Sri Lankan side. So as an Indian and a cricket fan can I assume, Neo Sports will continue such ads against any cricket team that comes to visit India.

I think irrespective of what the ASCI says on the matter related to the “Tough to be …” ads, Neo Sports can show some maturity and pull off those ads.


26
Jan 07

Tasteless Ads on Neo Sports Can Send Wrong Message

Neo Sports is a new TV channel in India. Their tag-line is “Home of Cricket in Indian Television”. They are carrying the ongoing India-West Indies cricket series being played in India. I am not writing this post, not about their cricket coverage. But about some in-house ads they are running with the tag-line “It’s tough to be a West Indian in India”. To many such ads can be considered racial and provocative.

In one of the ads, they show a West Indian guy going to a dhaba where he is fed a dish red with chillies. He is crying for water after the first bite of this red curry. No one in the dhaba let him have water. One gentleman in the dhaba pokes his finder into a glass of water so that the West indian guy cannot drink, finally he goes to the hand-wash. Here another gentlemen just cuts off he water supply. The ad end with the pathetic tag-line “It’s tough to be a West Indian in India“. Sick ad.

Then there is another ad. A West Indian couple goes on a romantic boat ride on a large lake. Here their Indian boatman takes them to the middle of the lake throws his oars into the water. Then he jumps into the water swimming back to the shore. Leaving a visibily terrifed West Indian couple stranded in the middle of the lake on a small boat with no oar-man and no oars. This ad also ends with the sick tag line “It’s tough to be a West Indian in India

Indian tradition says “atithi deva bhabo” (a guest is like god). If these ads are a measure of how a guest is treated in India, then who will visit India. These ads do not project the real picture, but just creativity gone wrong.

Does Neo Sports realize that in 2 months, the Indian cricket team will be in West Indies to play the Cricket Work Cup ? So, will the West Indians or anyone else send such tasteless messages to the Indian team when they go to play cricket series abroad.

I am unable to see any humor in this ads. I think these will send a very wrong message to our West Indian guests. Neo Sports channel can help by show more maturity. Is anyone listening ?


26
Jan 07

ICICI Bank : Anti-Phising ads on National TV

In recent times phishing (read scam) on the internet in increasingly becoming a nasty threat. The term phising generally refers to a kind of internet fraud where an unsupecting person receives an apparently genuine looking email, which has been carefully forged to look almost like an genuine email. Typically, such emails would cite some genuine looking information and ask unsuspecting people to reply back with passwords or pin numbers. In some cases, these emails would provide links to phishing website, that impersonated the real website. If a user clicks on such links and tried to log into the forged website, his/her password would get logged and misused by the phisher(the person or the group responsible for the scam).
Know more about phishing here and here.

ICICI Bank is one of the largest banks in India. Recently it has started a Television campaign on national TV to make people aware of threats of phishing. It is really appreciable effort on the part of the ICICI Bank to launch this effort. In general most people are not aware of what phishing is all about and can easily fall prey to internet scamsters. Like most banks ICICI has a web page education customers on internet frauds and phishing (Link to the page) .
The internet scamsters are always finding innovative ways to dupe normal people who use the internet. Along with awareness of the internet threats, using a good set of tools while using internet could help :

  1. Use email service or email clients that support anti-spam.Email services like Yahoo mail and Gmail have effective anti-spam tools. Email clients like Mozilla Thunderbird, Apple Mail have very good anti-spam filters built into it.
  2. Use web browser that warns when a the user for some reason ends up in a suspected phishing site. Mozilla Firefox 2.0, Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 and Opera 9 supports built in anti-phishing protection.
  3. Third party tools like MacAfee Site Advisor can also be very helpful on protecting the end user against phishing and other internet spam. Site Advisor works with both Internet Explorer and Firefox.

ICICI Bank is right on with their campaign against the internet threats like phising. Their nationalally televised ads against phishing will go a long way to make the average internet user aware of threats of internet scams and help safer internet experience. Keep up the good work ICICI Bank.