Lenovo A1 tablet: Facts


Ideapad-a1-tablet-hero1
Pros:
  • CPU: Cortex A8 1 GHz – fast enough for common tasks.
  • 16GB of storage
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 7-inch capacitive screen, 1024×600 pixels
  • Charging via micro-USB port – no additional chargers/plugs/ports.
  • Sturdy construction, feels solid in hand.
  • Hardware GPS receiver / works without 3G/WiFi

Cons:

  • No HDMI port /no video out (so no watching on large tv screens…)
  • Android 2.3.4 – it should be upgraded at least to 3.2 for tablets. A rumor exists about upgrading directly to ICS!
  • Annoying Skype issue, which shows the users video image upside down. The issue has been acknowledged and the Skype team says that they are currently working on it.
  • No USB host functionality (so far, maybe it is the cable so still investigating it…)
  • Various useful apps are not compatible with A1, such as Posterous Spaces, Google Goggles and Popsci (apps already installed in my ZTE Blade mobile phone). See a detailed list here.

How to solve various issues:

  1. USB Host mode: There is at least a post at Amazon by a user stating that even Android 2.3 devices without native (hardware) USB host mode support may be able to connect to other USB devices and transfer data from them, but a really special cable will be needed… too hard to even test that!
  2. Incompatibility with apps: It seems that a large part of the incompatibility of A1 with Android apps was due to a strange combination of changed screen density to 200dpi (instead of the native 240dpi) and the new version of the Android Market. So, when I changed the screen density back to 240 dpi & uninstalled the Market update, I could install my long missed apps, like Opera Mini, Airtickets.gr, FXCamera, Google+ etc. The issue was solved by XDA user TippyTurtle, to whom I feel grateful!

Everyday use includes (Updated 13/3/2012):

  • Checking emails: I download my last batch of emails before leaving home/office and check them on the road (in the train), so that I can be ready to reply as soon as I get home. Sometimes I reply on the fly and send the emails when I connect to my home/office network.
  •  I catch up with the latest Lifehacker/PopScience/Engadget articles using the corresponding free apps, doing the same trick: Updating them before I leave home/office so I have all the time to relax and go through the full text articles while I am offline in the train.
  • I read some ebooks using Kindle app or a pdf viewer. Mostly manuals and handbooks that I can refer to, while I am away from the office, as well as literature.
  • I browse heavily the web while I am at home, sitting on my couch and too bored to use my laptop.
  • Retrieving files that I have shared/uploaded using Dropbox or Sugarsync (this has been a lifesaver in a couple of project meetings, when I didn’t have my laptop with me).
  •  Web 2.0 tools: Updating my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. status and checking updates of my friends using the corresponding apps.

I haven’t tried to watch any movie yet, but I am pretty sure that it will happen within the next weeks. I have read a guide on optimizing the file before sending it to my tablet.

Rooted in order to install specific useful apps:

Useful links:

 

Lenovo A1 and Android ICS!

 

This post will be updated often, so make sure that you come back and see any additions/revisions

** Last update: 13/03/2012 **

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