Does several things at once, but is it Open?

Multi-tasking is the new normal. None of us have time to do only one thing at a time. This is nothing new and Apple's iPad has it also now. Why buy Samsung then? If you buy the wrong tablet, you’re at the mercy of the manufacturer regarding how much you can customize or personalize your screens. But the beauty of Android is that you have much greater flexibility to arrange things however you want. You’ll have multiple home screens to compose and design, plus live wallpapers to express your mood and personality. The Tab also offers you the "freedom" of TouchWiz, the supposedly intuitive user interface that allows you to quickly drag and drop your icons, widgets and Live Panels with only the touch of a finger... if you believe the hype. Reality is a bit different though. Re-organizing your tablet’s menus and navigational options will not be so simple and straightforward as Samsung want's us to believe. Moving icons between the desktops is cumbersome at best and Android needs to come up with something better to keep us interested in it.

Android Market

On the plus side there is the Android Market. Unlike Nokia Store or Apple's Store - the Android Market is quite Open and easy to use. You can access Android Market for over 200,000 apps that keep your life moving with the speed you need. Sometimes your Tab is for work, sometimes it’s for play, and sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.

Can "The Tab" substitute a book?

Yes and no. Even though you can find excellent software to read your literature on Android Market there is still no all encompassing software to do this. None of the currently available App's can handle both your own electronic literature and store bought ones. The Tab comes with it's own 'eBook' reader that can manage PDF documents (and almost no other format), but in my opinion it does even this poorly and depending on your Tab's size the text often becomes hard to read on the included eBook reader.

For other formats though the FBReader is quite acceptable alternative. It comes with quite intuitive and easy to read formats that make reading you literature a pleasant experience. (Of course this depends on the weight of your Tab device. 10" device weighs over 100g more than the 8" one's 453 g.) Using FBReader feels very much like reading a real book. It's fast and clean, with no annoying background. The only problem I have with the FBReader is that there is no scrolling option for page turns (instead of page-by-page).

(The screen shots are from the mobile phone version of the App.)

At the moment your best option is to download "FBReader from Android Market" and use it to manage your book collection. Unfortunately it does not yet support PDF format. With FBReader you can easily access any Book repository that support catalog's in open digital library format like Project Gutenberg. This way adding literature to your library becomes quite easy and you can pretty much pick and choose the books you wish to read.

The same can not be said about the Kindle which is almost your only choice if you wish to buy a book that is in an encrypted format. If you intend to read "A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs" you could spend 6$ on it at Amazon or just download it for free legally on Freebooks OPDS Catalog and get it in open format that you can transfer to any device you want later on down the road. The choice is yours.


Can "The Tab" substitute a GPS car navigation systems?

NavFree is a hammer blow to paid satellite navigation apps like CoPilot Live.NavFree

The thing that got me was how easy it was to visualise where you were going when I was able to turn around the big map (tablet) and control it's ability to "Auto rotate." That is what you normally do with maps. You turn them around in your lap to get a better perspective on the directions and how you are positioned regarding your surroundings. Try to do that with your TomTom that is screwed on your hood.

NavFree is a very good satellite navigation system. The maps are good, the GPS link excellent. A Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) multi drop driver who can have tens of drops a day is easily able to survive his day. Selecting routes for the truck becomes very easy with the truck mode on. Unfortunatelly some countries are still lagging in behind on the maps and there is no easy way to uninstall a downloaded map or voice. Hopefully this will be made possible in the future.

(The screen shots are from the mobile phone version of the App.)

All in all Samsung Galaxy Tab is a quite a nice experience and can change the way you go about your daily life if you are not afraid to let it. There are still some bugs and 'not quite thought out' features in it but when it comes to choosing your options I will always choose the Open road rather than Closed Source. Even if it is only half Open (as Android is.)