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The Android-powered Augen GenTouch78 is no iPad - page 2

Good News, Bad News

  • August 16, 2010
  • By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
The system comes with Android 2.1 and a relatively large collection of software including Skype, YouTube, iReader, and a host of Google applications. There's only one little problem: The Google apps don't currently work. Ouch!

You see, when Augen released the device, under pressure from Kmart, the device really wasn't ready yet. In particular, Augen hadn't signed up with Google and the Open Handset Alliance, so the Google applications and, worst of all, the Android Market app store, don't work. When you try, you get a brief set-up message and then the tablet sits idly for a few minute until it reports that the application has failed.

You can get them to work via the built-in Web browser, but that's not what most buyers will see. They'll see a tablet where many of important applications simply fail to work.

This is beyond awful. Without the ability to add applications, short of jumping through hoops with the Android Central Sideload Wonder Machine or updating the system to a version that includes another Android application shopping program, I think the GenTouch78 to be almost unusable. Most users, running into the non-working Google applications and Android Market, I suspect will just end up taking the device back to Kmart because it's broken.

And, the bottom line, is as it is now, the GenTouch78 is broken. I'm not ready to write off the device yet because Augen is in talks with Google to get the Google applications and Android Market working. With luck, the GenTouch78 may be a working Android tablet as early as late August.

Even after this is done though, the GenTouch78 will only have one thing going for it: its price. Other Android tablets should perform better than this rushed-to-market model. At least, I hope so, or the iPad is going to have a lot less competition from the open-source world than I had thought it would.

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