May 8th, 2010

marcus 2013

Internet tablet

Received the Maplins internet tablet today (in fact the postman tried to deliver it yesterday, but I was out), it actually seems to be quite a nice piece of kit, albeit running a fairly limited range of apps as supplied. It's robustly built with a black bezel around a recessed touch panel, with a pull-out stylus, USB, phone, power and SD card slots on the right-hand end.

On the "desktop" you get a clock and date display, neither of which has any extra functions e.g. stopwatch, and big icons for Network, Amusement, My Device, Calculator, System, and Game, plus indicators for e.g. battery status, WiFi, etc.

Network gives you the CE version of Internet Explorer, which works OK, Skype, MS messenger (How the hell do you turn it off completely?), Mail (don't know the program, it's pretty basic) and an icon for returning to the main panel. A fairly tiny keyboard popup appears if you need to enter text, e.g. a URL, but it's way too small and fiddly.

Amusement goes to an image viewer, text viewer (not an editor), foxit reader, excel (or rather something called SpreadCE which should be excel compatible), Word viewer (for looking at word documents) and Wordpad for editing documents. There's also coreplayer for Youtube videos - it isn't integrated into the browser and I suspect it'll be a pain to use.

My device is the Windows CE desktop, which appears to be the only way to do multitasking and tweak the system.

Calculator is indeed a calculator app - reasonably good, and not tiny like the one I saw a few months back, though you really do need a stylus to use it.

System lets you set basic stuff like brightness, key and touchscreen noises,date and time, etc and an app for updating if you have the right files on an SD card

Finally, "game" gives you Freecell and Solitaire.

And that's it for the out of the box configuration.

Not incredibly impressive but usable. After lunch I'm going to try downloading a free package called Miopocket which is said to add a LOT of functionality.

later Forgot to say that it's supplied with a charger, mini-USB synch lead, and a USB to mini-usb adapter for plugging in keyboards and other accessories.

and even later Miopocket is so feature-packed I will be a long time getting to grips with it. VERY impressed.
marcus 2013


I'd better say something about Miopocket, since it looks to be a very useful package for any Windows CE machine.

It's basically a suite of freeware programs intended to be added to e.g. a Windows CE GPS to give it more bells and whistles. It doesn't seem to be compatible with the old Jornada 720, unfortunately. There are six screens of icons, plus a lot of smaller icons for things like controlling the sound, turning the screen vertical or horizontal, etc. The main types of program are

Navigation - use the internal software of a satnav unit and not much good if the unit doesn't include GPS or software)-

Multimedia - music and video players, image viewers, paint softwareebook readers, etc.

Games - cards, sudoku, tetris, etc. etc.

Productivity - Some file viewers, calculators, wordpad and spreadsheet, calendar, appointmets, Internet Explorer, Opera, a remote desktop program, ink writer, etc.

Tools - system stuff, benchmarking, etc.

Settings - more system stuff

Most of it is formatted for pocket PC screens, but functionality is pretty good - I've found a couple that just won't run, but most things seem fine.

Best of all, things like the keyboard entry popup are much better than in the native applications for the tablet, and it doesn't seem to be impacting speed.

As far as I can tell this will run on most internet tablets, CE netbooks, etc., and it can run entirely off an SD card. I think it's well worth a look for any CE device, but make sure you back up before trying it!