Today I ran across a phone announcement in my RSS feed.
After a large paragraph of specifications come one of the smallest sentences possible in Japanese.
「Android は4.0。」, “Android is 4.0″.
Less than four years ago no android phones existed. Now any smartphone is an android unless specified otherwise. For every computer that has Ubuntu installed, 1.4 Android phones are sold every month.
I just picked up a Kobo Vox from Future Shop. The Vox is the first reasonably priced android tablet you can get in Canada. Americans have been able to get a Nook Colour for a while.
The build is solid and the matte padding on the back feels quite nice. The volume rocker is located lower than I expected it to be which is nice for holding the Vox horizontally as the rocker is away from your hand.
The backlight has some noticeable leakage on black screens.
The setup process rquires you to download a firmware update and create a kobo account.
In the marketing material I had read that Google’s android market would be available, this is not the case rather a getjar app is installed. Honestly I should have expected this since Google will not allow devices without GPS and other phone specific features to ship with the market.
Oddly enough there does not appear to be a way to associate the Vox with a Google account, something I have had to do even with cheap Chinese tablets. The Gmail app is really a link to the mobile version of gmail.
Update: I’ve played with the Vox for a few hours now. The lack of Google Market is very noticeable and annoying. I used this guide to install the Amazon Appstore which has more quality apps than the default getjar market. Open source apps are easier to get, often apks are available for download from the project’s website. By default the backlight is not set to auto, which it should be for the battery’s sake. I should mention again the build quality, the Vox is very nice to hold. The touch panel is very responsive.
Oh and angry birds works fine. Overall the Vox is a nice tablet.