Last weekend after I had after boarding a Jet Lite flight at Guwahati, I noticed the gentlemen on the aisle seat pull out a Galaxy S. He did not seem to be the usual tech savvy person I would have expected to see with a high end android phone. I little later I noticed a younger girl with a Xperia X10 mini on the other aisle seat in my row.. This made four android phones in a row of 6 people, this after counting my Galaxy S and wife’s Galaxy 3 Apollo.
Only a couple of days back, the tenant at my father’s house in Guwahati was talking about buying a Galaxy Tab 10.1 and not buy a iPad2.
All this time, I was under the impression that Android phones were becoming a hit only with the tech savvy folks in bigger cities. It is common to see plenty of folks with Android phones at my office in Bangalore. In a place like Guwahati and other smaller cities where feature phones still rule and where Nokia is still a very strong brand, I was not expecting to see Android making such a headway.
This is the Android moment.
The mainstream tech press hails Android as a success because it now sells more than iPhone in US. But can the Android phone makers get a true mass market phone for places like India.
What would it take for a successful mass selling Android phone in India –
Price should be sub-5K INR, a capacitive screen, a processor adequate to make the UI responsive without lag and at least 5 day standby without mobile data. All fancy features can be cut, as long as the phone is not crippled by a underpowered CPU and badly customised OS. Think like GPS, 3G , even wifi can be skipped to keep the cost down. At this time 3G services in India is a sham, too expensive and cant do much with the crippled metered plans.
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.
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Hardware and Build
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.
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.
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.