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ViewSonic G Tablet: More stuff

I mentioned I got the ViewSonic G Tablet a bit back. My initial review is here. I’m still digging it. It’s much improved now. Before, I thought the hardware was fine but the software was lacking. Well, nerds on the internet to the rescue. Following the instructions here, I rooted it. Installed clockworkmod to repartition the device and then installed Vegan Tab, a much better and faster operating system for a tablet than the proprietary touch n go or whatever Viewsonic installed.

Installing VeganTab gets you access to more of the default google apps, which for some reason Veiwsonic thought weren’t worth putting on there, like gchat and google voice. Also, though there’s a trick to it, it gets you access to the regular android market. Highly recommend changing the software if you want to use it fully.

Make sure you follow the instructions carefully. I used the wrong version of clockworkmod and bricked the tablet. Fortunately, I’m not the only one to brick a droid and unbricked it using the posts here and here.

Now, it works much better. No more hideous home screen and no more bloatware.

The only real con is that I wish the navigation buttons would light up. I use it in the dark some and they’re hard to see. Fortunately, VeganTab puts the home and back buttons on the screen for you. But lighted buttons would be nice.

Otherwise, I’m a fan. Zippy web browsing. Good for kindle books. Great kids’ toy. I’m a fan of the ViewSonic G Tablet.

12 Responses to “ViewSonic G Tablet: More stuff”

  1. Fox Says:

    Not having access to Google apps and especially the Google Marketplace is actually not Viewsonic’s issue. It stems from how Google wishes to do business. Basically, anything that isn’t actually a “phone” (which is how the Galaxy tab got around it), is not licensed to the Marketplace because it can cause a “different standard of quality for user experience”.

    The answer to all of this is Android 3.0, which was made specifically for tablets. However, there’s a bunch of stuff going on with that about how certain tablets will never get it, can’t support it, or won’t pay for the update… etc.

    I got a Notion Ink Adam awhile back and I’m having a blast with it myself (had to do some hacking to get Marketplace, myself), but damn do I really want 3.0 for a native experience.

  2. Robert Says:

    Where’s it manufactured?

  3. SayUncle Says:

    no idea.

  4. Rivrdog Says:

    Basic issue here: I have a very hard time wanting to accept any form of technology which I must tweak in a major way to make it work well. That’s the job of those marketing it.

    I refuse to have any Apple equipment on the premises because of their pirate’s way of doing business, and Google anything turns me on less and less (see my blog).

    Someone will market a Unix-based tablet eventually, one which will be simple, which will have appropriate apps, and won’t cost too much.

    Until then, I’ll get by with my VZW netbook and a semi-smartphone.

  5. Freiheit Says:

    Rivrdog – I say this as a huge fan of *nix, but isn’t your wish to not have to tweak it contrary to it running *nix?

    Also Android is a derivative of Linux.

  6. Andy Says:

    Ok, I was about to make a snarky comment about how rooting a Viewsonic G is sure to be popular with the general public… but at $300 I am really tempted to get one of these things and do just that. However, I want to hold out for Android 3.

  7. Sigivald Says:

    Rivr: We must have different ideas of what “Pirates” do for business, since I can’t see how that’d even begin to apply.

    (Also, “Unix” and “simple and appropriate apps” [for non-geeks] don’t go together too well, so far.

    Yeah, Android is unix deep down – but for obvious reasons that’s hidden as much as possible from end-users.

    Similarly, iOS is based on OSX, which is not only unix, but Unix(tm) branded, and equally hides every hint of that from end-users.

    So at the core level, all the real tablet players are already unix. And thank God that none of it’s unix at the UI level.

    I’ve run unix variants at home for 15 years or more now, and they’ve never been user-friendly or something I’d ever recommend to a non-enthusiast, until OSX came along.

    And it’s still the only one, and can only manage it because Apple built a completely custom UI layer and UX standards system on top.

    Then again, I like my desktops like I like my appliances – not needing me to fuck around to make them useful.

    If I have to root it to make it useful, I’m not buying it – and I’ve got enough skill and knowledge to happily root it with no worries. But if I have to, that’s telling me I’m making the Wrong Choice.)

  8. Phelps Says:

    I had to go through a bunch of trouble to make my iPad work right too. My old phone charger wouldn’t work and I had to use the one that came with it.

  9. junyo Says:

    The lesson here isn’t that the G-tablet has to be tweaked to work right. It in fact has to be untweaked; the core issue (aside from the screen’s viewing angles) is Viewsonic’s incredibly bjorked interface overlay. It’s like a nice rifle, value priced, that comes with a crappy laser, an NC Star scope, and a crappy stock. You can complain, or take the junk off and end up with a nice gun.

    I now own three Android devices, and all of them suffer to some degree or another from the numbnuts that decided that they could do better than the default interface/application platform that Android provides. The best example of this is the Nook Color, which is a brilliant low cost 7″ tablet hidden under B&N’s interface. I went to the store and a customer was asking if he could transfer his Kindle books, and the clerk was going some spiel about how ‘Amazon choose to put their books ins proprietary format’, and I break my rule about not being an asshole to butt in and point out that if he took it home and rooted it he’d have a universal ebook reader/media consumption device. Which probably sold that particular Nook. One wonders when some non-fly by night Chinese manufacturer will figure out that they can skip the crappy interface design and just assemble a decent machine and release it with bone stock Android, and kill their competition by passing along some of the saving. Viewsonic essentially wasted all the software dev money because a) they’re selling for liquidation prices and b) no one’s running their software.

  10. Robert Says:

    “no idea.”

    There’s no label on the box or the unit? Odd. And a violation of federal law…

  11. SayUncle Says:

    Didn’t look.

  12. SayUncle Says:

    The lesson here isnt that the G-tablet has to be tweaked to work right. It in fact has to be untweaked;

    Exactly.