It's no question that Android is taking a strong hold in the consumer electronics marketplace. Like the smart device craze in the 1990s and early 2000s with Palm and Windows CE, there are a couple of primary systems used by most devices. Instead of Palm and CE, Apple's iOS and Google's Android are the biggest players. Other lesser players are Symbian and Blackberry.
This rapid influx of smart phone devices has turned the market into a small niche segment into an intense and diverse field. This, plus the popularity of Netbooks and other "net" devices has created its own new category of devices. Of course, the Apple iPad is the best known product, but they weren't the first and are not necessarily the best. Welcome Camangi with their Webstation. An Android tablet, similar to the iPad, was the first to hit the market. Unfortunately it was plagued with lots of bugs that made it impractical and hardly usable. With some recent updates however, Camangi has attempted to fix the issues and turn it into the iPad killer it was meant to be.
Let's first take a look at the stats:
7" 800×480 Resistive touchstreen with 16 million colors
Marvell PXA303 624mhz X-scale processor
128 MB Mobile DDR
256 MB Onboard Flash memory
8 GB included MicroSD Card
Android 1.5 OS
It doesn't look so bad. The processor is comparable with the iPhone 3GS and the ram is similar to the iPhone 3G. With this information, I would expect it to be relatively quick. Well it isn't. Versions 2 and 3 are definitely slower than the current version 4 which patched several issues including the inability to wake up the device from sleep and extreme lag during processor heavy situations. I would definitely recommend an update. Other oddities are the inability to actually use the GPS for anything. Because the Webstation is not a phone, it is unable to use the standard Android store. It also cannot be upgraded beyond Android 1.5 which is in my opinion terrible. No apps that I could find in the Camangi specific store use the GPS. There is no navigation system. Battery life is less than my Asus EEE PC. It can't play most video formats and lags with DVD resolutions in the compatible formats. The touchscreen frankly sucks without using the stylus. There is no multitouch and a very strong press is required to activate the screen. USB Keyboards and Mice work, but not well. You can sync the Webstation to your PC with included USB cable but I couldn't get it to work even once on 3 different computers running Windows Vista and 7.
So, the Camangi Webstation is full of bugs. Because of this, I really can only think of a couple of reasons to get the Webstation. For how poorly it performs with most tasks, it does perform a couple pretty well. It is a decent eBook reader, a decent MP3 player, and an alright web browser (except there's no flash). So let's compare it to three common devices that it could potentially replace.
Check back tomorrow for our first comparison: Camangi webstation vs the Amazon Kindle eBook reader