MobileTechMinutes — Android 1.6 on a Samsung UMPC

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I’ve been admiring the ARCHOS Internet Tablet with Android from afar lately. A current Android device is appealing, but I’m on the fence between adding a CDMA Android phone that I can swap with my Pre or simply getting a standalone Android unit. That’s when it hit me — why not repurpose my Samsung Q1UP to run Android to get a feel for such a device? I did just that over the weekend, thanks to the community at Android-x86. I found a port of Android 1.6 that’s really geared for netbooks like the original Eee PC 701 and got it working on my UMPC. You can run the port from a Live CD or USB drive, so you don’t have to remove your current operating system.

My first impressions — Android is blazing on a 1.33GHz Intel Core Solo, just like you’d expect. It seems like the battery lasts longer on a charge as well, but I haven’t had time to really test that theory. Of course, this ported implementation isn’t perfect on my device. In fact, there’s enough that’s not working for me to say: only do this for fun right now. I can work on the web over Wi-Fi and the built-in keyboard and mouse work great. No touchscreen yet though, nor any sound or Bluetooth either. The biggest killer that I’m focused on solving? No buttons map to the Menu screen in Android. I’m talking to developers on that because it’s completely limiting my usage. Oh and so is the lack of persistent data storage among other glitches. Have I scared you away yet?

Even with the problems, this has me leaning towards a non-phone Android device. I already have two phones and there are times I’d like to use the browser on a bigger screen on the couch or in a coffee shop. I don’t need the pocketable web because I already have that in my phones. Hmmm….. decisions, decisions.