Saturday, July 02, 2011

SKYPE new version NO VIDEO what a bummer.

I have waited with interest for the new version of SKYPE to be released. The existing version supports audio calls and although the format of the screens do not make full use of the tablet screen resolution , the audio calls do work.

So today I downloaded the update from the Android market and I am absolutely gutted and disappointed to discover that it doesnt support video calls on the ASUS Transformer. The ASUS transformer has a forward facing camera and a large screen but no apps available support video calls .

The tablet is designed to be an ideal mobile conferencing platform  and the fragmentation of the market and the immature development of applications is choking the format.

My windows netbook runs Skype with video it cost me £200. My HTC phone runs Skype with audio why do I want to use a bigger device to do just the same.

Another example of an own goal by Android

What a crock of Eartha Kitt .

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cheer up you miserable blogger.

I have just reread my last posts and I am a little concerned that I may be coming over as a bit of a wingeing negative gimmer.

To redress the balance a bit what do I like about the ASUS Transformer?

  • The screen is beautiful , colours are bright , the high resolution makes photographs and videos beautiful. (make sure you install Moboplayer and QQplayer, both free from the android market, and you have support for many codecs such as DIVX and MKV).
  • Software is nippy.
  • Battery life with the tablet on its own is great, when you attach the keyboard , which has another battery built into it, the battery lasts for 12 hours plus. This is where the tablet scores over a laptop and my netbook.
  • Buy the keyboard dock, it adds 2 full sized USBs , the extra battery , a good fullsized keyboard and it acts as a stand for the tablet. When closed it protects the screen.
  • When mounted on the keyboard the device recognises a wireless mouse , I plugged in my Logitech Mouse,( it has the mini universal transmitter that plugs into the USB), and the mouse worked straight away without installation of any extra drivers. It also recognises full sized wired keyboard and a wired mouse each plugged into a different USB.
  • The keyboard makes the unit into a good netbook replacement for email, word processing and excel . The ASUS Transformer ships with Polaris Office which is a Microsoft Office compatible suit of programs.
  • It supports a wii remote control to play N64 Emulators.
  • Browsing with the tablet on your knee is great .
  • Media streaming from other PCs works smoothly.
So smile you cheerless blogger.
The Problem Connector : The curse of the ASUS Transformer.

The picture shows the proprietary connector used to charge the tablet and the keyboard. The tablet and the keyboard each have a socket to receive the connector and so can be charged individually or as a unit. News flash 24th August 2011 Asus are stocking the power pack and spare cable I received one today see post below
UNDERSTAND THIS matey, it is not possible to charge the tablet using USB slots contained on the keyboard dock . The only way to charge the tablet or the keyboard is to use this special cable. Let me put a simple way if you lose, or if you break, that cable you are well and truly STUFFED.

I cannot find a source for a replacement cable.

This worries me I have a £429 device which relies on the cable which should cost £10. By making this unique connector ASUS have introduced a failure point which gives people a good reason not to buy the device.

This is where the iPad wins, because the android market for devices is not standardised individual manufacturers are free to include their own skins for the android software and their own connectors and accessories. The sales figures for Android device may have overtaken iPads but  the sales figures of individual devices have not. We have a series of mini markets within the maxi market of android devices. The Ipad is a single device, same interfaces, same ports ,same connectors and therefore a flourishing market for third-party accessories. ( another article bemoaning the fragmentation of the android market is here)
It doesn't help that the Asus transformer has had initial supply problems and so the number of units sold are really relatively low-level.  I  really hope that our friends in China believe that the volume of Transformers in the market is large enough for them to manufacture third-party replacement connector  for the for the ASUS transformer . Until then guard this piddly little connector with your life.

Oh and by the way the charging device is also special as it puts out 15 V, you need to source a USB 3 charger ,as the normal wall chargers don't work( Forum link)


What do you get in the box?

This is what you get in the box, the keyboard dock, the tablet , the connector, and the mains charger. (Oh and a small instruction book) All components , with the exception of the connector (more on that later) feel solid and well made. The tablet clicks into the keyboard dock with the minimum of fuss and together they feel like a solid , if a little top heavy , netbook.

The tablet has a mini hdmi socket and a Microsd slot which will take upto 32GB . The keyboard dock has two full sized USB slots and an SD Card slot , which will take even more memory , Ive got 16GB in there without a problem.