Augen may not be likely to bring full Android Market access to the GenTouch78 tablet anytime soon, but the company did push out some software updates last week that goes a long way in addressing some issues early customers have had with the $150 Android tablet.
The company’s August 4th firmware update adds a screen calibration tool to the list of installed apps. When you run the calibration utility you’ll be asked to tap the stylus on 5 different points on the display. Once you’re done, the screen should be much more responsive. I found it much easier to type after running the calibration utility, whether using a stylus or my fingertips.
You still have to press the screen pretty firmly, even after the update. But you don’t have to worry that P will pop up every time you hit the L key anymore.
The August 4th update also allows you to charge the tablet using a USB cable, so you don’t have to plug in the wall jack and the USB cable in order to copy files to and from a PC.The instructions for installing the firmware update are pretty detailed, so make sure to follow them to a T or you might run into problems.
Some users have also noticed that the update seems to fix the Recovery menu, which is the first thing that hackers need in order to install custom ROMS. So it might not be too long before we start to see custom versions of Android designed to run on the Augen GenTouch78.
Augen also release a new app store application called AndAppStore which you can copy to the tablet’s SD card or internal storage to install. It’s not the full Android Market, but it is an app that gives you the ability to go online and grab some third party applications directly from your device.
I found it interesting that one of the apps was MarketAccess by CrazyCoder — an app which emulates a SIM card and is designed to enable support for the full Android Market despite Google’s blocks. It only works on rooted devices.
Even after these updates, the Augen GenTouch78 feels like a cheap, limited device compared with a powerful Android smartphone like the Google Nexus One. There’s no easy way to rotate the display; the buttons are on the back of the device; there’s no support for multitouch; some apps weren’t designed for landscape mode; and many apps are still unavailable.
But the tablet is much more usable with the screen calibration software and AndAppStore utility are in place. And I suspect that future updates (or unofficial hacked firmware) could make the user experience even better.