Olive is still building its name in the Indian technology market although it’s been here for awhile now. They first brought in a series of mobile phones which didn’t really bring anything new to the table, except for their rather innovative FrvrOn mobile that uses an AA battery as a backup. From there they progressed to the netbook arena and made quite a splash with their 3G supported X107H Zipbook. Olive has recently taken things to the next level with the announcement of their very first Android powered 3.5 supported tablet/slate device in India. Prototypes of other such devices have been making themselves known for a long time now but we have yet to see one that is ready to hit the shelves. Even Apple’s iPad has yet to make its official entry into the country. Olive says theirs is ready, willing and able.
Since what we’re dealing with here is a large mobile phone slash portable computing device, that’s how we decided to test it. So here’s a closer look at the OlivePad.
Equipped with a 7-inch widescreen touch sensitive display (capacitive) the OlivePad looks comfortable to use. It’s a tad on the heavy side but not heavy enough that it feels awkward to hold in one hand and navigate with the other. It’s a lot smaller than the iPad obviously. The display sports an 800 x 480 pixel resolution with 65K colors which doesn’t really make it the ‘sharpest’ display in the shed, nevertheless viewing from any angle is comfortable. It also supports multi touch. A set of touch sensitive keys are also available. It’s quite a slim device at just 11.5mm in depth and can very easy slip comfortably into most rear pockets to be toted around. We’re not recommending this as a primary mode of transportation of course.
A set of volume/zoom keys as well as the microSD and SIM (GSM or WCDMA supported) card slots are located on the top with stereo speakers on either side of the device. Just below the left speaker is a screen lock/power button. A standard 3.5mm handsfree socket is located at the bottom right beside the mini USB (2.0) port that doubles up for a charging port.
A 3MP (auto focus) camera is placed dead centre at the rear of the device. This could be a potential issue as the glass covering the lens could get scratched every time the Pad is placed on any hard surface. Image quality would of course get affected to an extent. A secondary front facing VGA camera for video calls is located in one corner near the display. One major drawback is that it has just 512MB of internal storage, but Olive will be including a 16GB microSD card with the package.
It’s not as classy or refined in terms of looks as the iPad but it’s not altogether an eyesore either. It’s sleek enough to be easy to use and that’s the point.
Features and Performance
The OlivePad is just a very large Android Mobile, just like the iPad is essentially a large iPod Touch. It comes preloaded with Android 2.1 (no word on a Froyo update). There is absolutely no difference in functionality between this and any high-end Android mobile phone. From features to settings and navigation it’s the same. It offer widgets (for apps that have them) to be dropped onto the multiple desktops as well as social networking integration with your phone book. The UI can be customized just like you would any Android phone. Apps, games, UI add-ons, social networking applications etc. can be downloaded and applied quite easily via the Android Market. Olive has also incorporated a customized UI into the Pad so viewing media, emails, messages etc. is a little more streamlined and definitely better looking.
It’s equipped with a Qualcomm MSM7227 chipset with a 600MHz processor. Which could explain why the UI was just relatively smooth but quite buggy in a few instances - the accelerometer required that the entire handset be shaken into submission before the screen would switch orientation for using the keypad or while accessing web pages. Pinch-zooming was not as fluid as we’d hoped. On the other hand, this is just a prototype for testing so we could expect the actual device to be a lot smoother (fingers crossed). Multiple keypad options can be accessed by simply flicking the onscreen keypad to the left or right – QWERTY, Half-QWERTY and Alphanumeric. Thanks to the large screen, typing is very comfortable and after a couple of seconds your fingers will be flying across the display. All the goodies that Android 2.1 brings to the table are available so you’ll want for almost nothing. What you don’t see you can download off the Market.
HTC’s Sense UI would have been brilliant on this device. Having said that, the default UI with Olive’s additions still gets the job done and as we mentioned, there are plenty of customizable apps.
Call Quality and Media
When it comes to taking calls, you’ll need to use a handsfree kit or risk slapping yourself in the head if you try lifting it to your ear if you presume it to be a cell phone. It has no speaker for that purpose, other than the two built in. Although the speakers are just about adequate for audio, the microphone’s pick-up was not as strong as we hoped. So go with the handsfree or use a Bluetooth headset for a wire free experience. Incidentally the Pad also supports A2DP (Stereo Bluetooth) but it tends to drain your battery a lot quicker.
Music quality is average at best but could certainly have been louder. In a crowded area even peak volume is not nearly enough. It comes with the native Android music player that you can sync with Windows Media Player on your PC to transfer files, playlists etc. Playlists can also be created on the device itself. Like any standard Android or other mobile handset, the OlivePad reads MPEG4 and 3GP file formats for video. Get yourself a good video converter to optimize your videos to the screen size. We recommend AnyVideo Converter and using the iPhone/iPod Touch default settings.
Essentially the OlivePad is a communications device, but having some light entertainment at your disposal on those short flights or long bus/train journeys where there’s no on-board entertainment is something we can all appreciate. Don’t expect the experience of a proper hand-held gaming console though as Android games still have a way to go.
The OlivePad is India’s very first 3.5G enabled Tablet/Slate device. Of course we still seem a long way off from being even 3G ready so you’ll have to suffice with EDGE/GPRS speeds for now. Nevertheless, when 3G does eventually get here, you know Olive will be ready. The native Android browser works out just fine but the lack of Flash support is a bit of a bummer. You can download and use any other Android compatible browser like Opera Mini if you so choose. The two strongest points and perhaps the main of the device are connectivity and office work on the go. In addition to the phone feature, you can stay connected with friends and colleagues, without having to carry a laptop or a netbook.
Wi-Fi connectivity, along with the pre-installed applications for social networking, emails (POP3 and web-based), Gtalk, Facebook, Twitter and such, make this tablet an excellent travel mate. Push email with support for ActiveSync and MS Exchange are part of the device’s feature set. Setting up accounts is quite simple but no different than any other smartphone. Another feather in the Pad’s cap is on-board GPS to be used with Google Maps. For a real navigation experience it’d go great with better mapping software considering it comes with built-in speakers and a large touchscreen display.
As far as work is concerned, you can use the pre-loaded documents on the go app by DataViz. You can create Word documents, make Spreadsheets, Presentations, and there’s also a PDF reader included. Thanks to the RSS reader you can subscribe and pull RSS feeds and news whenever you’re online, and then read them later even if you’re offline or without access to the net. Standard mobile phone features like a Calendar (syncs with your Google Calendar), calculator, voice recorder, etc. are included as well.
The 3MP AF camera also supports video recording (VGA = 640 x 480) and features 4X digital zoom. Features include white balance, color settings, saturation and brightness levels etc. as well as geo-tagging. Image quality is actually quite good for a 3MP camera. A slight reddish tone was evident but pictures were nevertheless crisp and well focused.
A 3240mAh Li-Polymer battery rides inside this device and proves to be quite adequate to handle all of it’s functionality, large screen display and connectivity features. On a single full charge we were able to use the device quite extensively for just about 2 days. Usage included calls, text messages, emails, social networking and a little media thrown in as well.
The Bottom Line
With this small device you won’t need a netbook or laptop, it suffices well for connectivity. Also, a netbook won’t give you the convenience of simply minimizing applications and making that urgent phone call, whereas this device does. All-in-all it’s a great piece of hardware for people who want to travel really light and still have the accessibility to the Internet and who wish to stay well-connected with the rest world.
The officially price tag hasn’t been revealed but it’s said to be priced between Rs. 22,000 and Rs. 25,000. The obvious question we’re sure you’re asking yourself is - what does Apple’s iPad have to say about it? Android and Apple have been at it for awhile now and the OlivePad just took things to the ‘larger’ level. We believe it’s defiantly a worthy opponent and will give the iPad an exhausting run for its money.
Update - Thanks to Vishal Pahlajani for loaning us his iPad.
The OlivePad is a lot more than just a 3G Tablet PC. It combines the features of a Tablet PC with an Entertainment Device, a GPS Navigator, a Smartphone, an Ebook Reader, an Internet Tablet and a whole lot more. The OlivePad gives you the full blown internet and multimedia experience in a portable form factor unlike other mobile devices (Check out OlivePad comparison vs. other tablet devices). With a vast feature set and an ever expanding library of Android Applications, the OlivePad's capabilities are only limited by your imagination. Stop being weighed down by multiple gadgets, introducing India’s first 3G Android Tablet PC. One Tablet to rule them all and the only gadget you will ever need. Android: What to do more on your Olive Pad? Guess what you can! With more than 100,000 apps available, you can expand the capabilities of your Olive Pad. With apps for Business, Entertainment & Multimedia, the Olive pad is all you will ever need and a true convergence device. For more info check out Android Applications on Olive Pad Tablet. Internet: View WebPages in their full glory. No more squinting and scrolling. With Olive Pad’s wide 7” TFT and superfast webpage rendering, the Internet looks just like it does on your desktop. Surf by your touch. Click to know more about 3G Internet on the OlivePad. Email: With Olive Pad, setting up and viewing your emails are an easy affair. With up to 4 email accounts setup and push mail functionality, your email is as mobile as you. Click to know more about Email using the OlivePad Tablet Office Documents: Now you can take your office anywhere you go. The Olive Pad comes preloaded with DataViz Documents to go which allows you to view, edit and create Word, PowerPoint and Excel files. Using the Olive Pad Tablet PC you can break free from your office. Learn more about Office Documents on the Olive Pad. Ebook reader: Read great stories and experience books in a way you have never done before. With great looking pages on the OlivePad’s crisp WVGA TFT & pages that turn with just a flick of your finger, reading a book will never be the same. Click to know more about Reading ebooks on the OlivePad 3G Tablet. Calendar: Manage everything from work to play in an easy and simple way. The Olive Pad’s Calendar app helps you organize your life right down to the minutest detail. Add or edit appointments and schedule meetings all from the palm of your hand. Learn more about using the Calendar application on the Olive Tablet.
|Screen Resolution (pixels)||800 X 400|
|External Memory Type||microSD|
|Front facing camera||VGA|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||11.5 x 110 x 179.4|
|Bundled Apps||YouTube|#|Social Networking|
|Other Features||Email, Office Documents, Ebook reader, Music Player, Notes, Calendar|
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Published Date: Aug 16, 2010 12:17 pm | Updated Date: Aug 16, 2010 12:17 pm