Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cherrypad Review: What You Get for $188

I'm going to put my shipment issues to the side and review the actual device. I've been putting it through its paces and I think I have a pretty good grasp on what its capable of doing. $206 shipped is a fraction of what you'll pay for other tablet devices, but I think its surprisingly worth it if you're a particular type of user. Let me set the scenario for you: you've got a dumbphone and you need a little something extra- you contemplated getting a Kindle, but then decided you wanted to be able to surf the web, watch videos, listen to music maybe...
The Cherrypad is made of a lightweight aluminum, which gives it an impressive look but the edges can dig into the hand after a while. It has 3 side buttons (power, volume up and down) and 3 front buttons (home, back and menu- curiously missing is search). The screen is resistive, but also has some movement to it-pressing firmly feels like you might 'crumple' the top layer. There's also a lot of bezel which makes you wish they had made the device slightly smaller. The resolution isn't awful and when videos playback they are crystal clear and bright.
Battery life is impressive- with wifi on and medium brightness I am getting through a day of assorted tasks including streaming videos and podcasts. The Cherrypad comes with an AC charger and a USB sync/charge cable only. The charging port is proprietary, although I don't have any other chargers at the moment to confirm if there is some crossover.
Android Market is what sets the Cherrypad apart from its similarly-priced competitors. You can even download the Google voice app and you will be able to send and receive texts over wifi (no voice calls as far as I could see). Most apps are present in the market, but a few -such as Slingplayer) aren't there. And then there are some oddities with running apps- mainly weird layout issues. Angry Birds runs, but there is no visible text and all the glass and cages appear white. I tried to install the apk for Slingplayer (using the handy included 'App Installer') but the app simply wouldn't launch once installed.
Audio is ample but at the highest levels it becomes a bit tinny- could be because of the aluminum body. There is also over 1 GB of internal storage space which is great for being able to store items onboard. Today I did a hard reset and the items in storage space remained- good to know in case of any critical crashes!
The first thing you'll need to know is that you will not want to load this up with a bunch of apps. I did that initially and it finally slowed to a crawl. You should plan to load it up with a few critical apps- an ereader, newsreader and battery watch app at most. You'll have Google Maps, Talk and YouTube preinstalled along with the usual staples. Initially I had it loaded up with LauncherPro, BeyondPod and other high-overhead apps and finally today I was forced to do a hard reset.
So, what's the verdict? That's a tough one- for a hundred dollars more you might be able to pick up a full-fledged netbook....but how much fun would you really have with that? In my opinion, I'd say that the Cherrypad is a perfect alternative to those higher priced tablets. For $200 you'll have a portable device capable of handling your multimedia and running your favorite Android apps, and in this holiday season where so many are cash-strapped I'd say you could do worse. No carrier contract, no next day buyers remorse if you know exactly what you're getting in to.
What will I be doing? Well, sadly I'll be sending my Cherrypad back as Zecozi was so kind as to process a refund for me already. I'm hoping I can ship it back next week so I can get some side-by-side shots with the Galaxy Tab. I really wanted to keep the Cherrypad, but then the 3 week shipping ordeal soured me on the experience. Zecozi and Cherrypal have indicated that they would be willing to reprocess the transaction....jury is still out.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Arguments for a Tablet Device

Photobucket


When the tablet craze began I was interested because I thought at minimum it would give me a convenient way to watch shows during my lunch break at work. But then on Thursday night I received the Cherrypad and suddenly realized a million and one uses- okay, maybe not exactly a million, but certainly more than I had thought. At 7 inches, it makes a very handy e-reader once connected to the Kindle app. I popped my sd card and I was able to enjoy using it as my music device with one important feature I never realized I was missing- uninterrupted playback. Using my phone as my music device has been convenient, but also keeps me 'in the mix' of what's going on: reading a book, or trying any other 'escapist' activity is always cut short by incoming email, text messages, phone calls, or IM message. But yesterday as I hopped onto my stationary bike for a workout I was able to listen to music and read an ebook completely undisturbed.
That experience gave me a complete understanding of why the Kindle has become the runaway success it is. Being able to become totally submerged in the experience without the interruptions of real life is an amazing concept. Its good to be connected , but then its also great to be able to enjoy the experience of technology without the perpetual pings, flashing leds and pop-up messages.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Cherrypad Cometh!

Yesterday the Cherrypad I ordered on Oct 8th finally arrived! Yes, it came- and the sad part is had it simply come a week after I ordered it, I probably would have been really impressed. It's a delightful little piece of kit and well worth the money. In the end the screen (resistive and low-res) and the curious absence of Slingplayer from its version of the Market. Battery life has been pretty good- 12 hours off the charger today and I showed it to a few co-workers, tried a book and generally checked it out.

Friday, October 22, 2010

All's Well that Ends Well....Thanks to Zecozi

Yesterday I was kicking myself for ever getting involved with Cherrypal but it seems that every disappointment really is a blessing in disguise. After all, how would I have gotten to know about Zecozi, the marketplace that makes shopping a social experience?


This morning I had more emails with Deana Zelenka, the CEO who has taken what could have been a nightmare situation and handled it with more grace and class than I could have ever imagined. I finally spoke to Deana this morning and she not only processed my refund promptly while apologizing profusely- she also didn't throw Cherrypal under the bus. She expressed disappointment at the situation, but remained professional under pressure- impressive.
So, at the end of the day I learnt some valuable lessons:
-Sometimes it is good to pay attention to what the internet has to say
-Being an early adopter is not without risks
-If it sounds too good to be true, it just may be
-You can have a good outcome from a negative experience
-If you keep it classy, you always come out on top.
A tip of the hat to you, Ms Zelenka.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cherrypal Scam....Again?

They say a fool and his money are soon parted and it seems in this case, I am that fool. I should have listened to the naysayers that tried to warn me about Cherrypal and the historical issues they have had with order fulfillment. On October 7 I sent them th $206 to cover the Cherrypad and shipping and to date have received nothing from them.

I sent this email to Zecozi yesterday:


Good Morning,
On Oct 7 I paid $206.80 for the Cherrypad from Cherrypal.
Today is Oct 20 and I have not received that Cherrypad, nor has my purchase
changed status to shipped. I don't understand what is going on, but it seems
apparent that there is no intention to ship this item to me. I would like to
cancel my order and get my money back. Please let me know how to proceed.
Thank you.

Zecozi forwarded the message to Cherrypal, and their CEO sent this response:



I am sorry for the delay in you receiving your order as there was a delay in the
shipment from Asia. Your unit should be turned over to USPS today and you should
receive a tracking number. We still believe that all orders will be delivered
this week.
If after you receive you are not satisfied with the CherryPad
America you do have 30 days to return. I am sure you will be satisfied and I
look forward to receiving a note about your user experience.
Cherrypal
Corporation
Green, Open and Fair
John E Collier-CEO

To which I replied:



Good Morning Mr Collier,
I sympathize with your delivery issues, but I still
maintain that it has taken way too long and at this point you are still not even
able to say with certainty that my order will be delivered this week. I do not
believe that I should have to wait over 2 weeks to hear that it may possibly be
up to 3 weeks for me to receive an item I already paid for. Especially when your
store states that deliveries are made within 7 days. As I stated earlier, I
would like my order canceled and my money back. I would prefer to purchase from
a vendor who can provide speedy service and promptly communicate delays (without
me having to initiate the inquiry).
Thank you.

And then...nothing. So this morning I sent this message to Zecozi and Cherrypad:

Good Morning,
Another 24 hours have gone by and I have received neither the
USPS tracking number nor a response to my email. Can someone kindly communicate
with me- you have taken my money and are now ignoring me. Is this some kind of
scam??


At which point the CEO of Zecozi sent this message:



I apologize that Cherrypal has not gotten back to you. Zecozi is an open
marketplace that represents many sellers that are amazing. I do not want the
actions of one seller to influence your opinion of the rest. Please give me
the
chance to get to the office and I will personally check on this and
respond to
you.
Best
Deana Zelenka
CEO, Zecozi

So for now I will wait and see what Deana from Zecozi does to make the situation right...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Health....Mobile style

Ever since the days of Wakefieldsoft's HealthFile for Windows Mobile I've been looking for a way to manage my family's medical information. Ideally that app would have cloud syncing of some sort. Well this weekend after scouring the App Market I finally found such an app: ZipHealth. Even better, using Ziphealth turned me on to Google Health which it seamlessly syncs to.
Ziphealth works perfectly so far with keeping track of immunization info for the entire family. You can build a separate database for each person which in turn will sync with each Google Health user you've tied to your account.
Now a word of warning : a lot of people have issues with storing personal health data on Google. As far as I'm personally concerned Google already pwns me so adding my health info to the mix is no big deal. But if you have medical issues of a personal nature then you may not want to sync your info to Google Health (or Microsoft's Health Vault). Fear not though, since you can use the app on a standalone basis.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

CherryPad...Where are thou?

It's been a week since I placed my order for the Cherrypad from Zecozi and I'm not sure how close I am to actually receiving it. After my order status hadn't changed for several days I sent an email to the company about my order and received this reply:

Dear Customer:

We appreciate your order from Cherrypal America and want to communicate expected shipment dates. The demand and overwhelming response for orders is amazing and appreciate the opportunity to be your computing supplier of choice. We want to assure you that your order has been received, processed and is scheduled for shipment from our fulfillment center in Asia on Friday October 15th and should arrive to you by middle to end of the following week. Once the shipment arrives in the United States (usually three days later), you will receive a shipment confirmation email from Zecozi to include the U.S. tracking number.

We will be including in you’re your shipment a free pouch for your CherryPad America as away of saying thank you for your patience.

Please let me know if you have further questions and we know that your experience with the CherryPad America will exceed your expectations.


Cherrypal Corporation Green, Open and Fair John E Collier-CEO
712 Sutter Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94303 704-451-0903 johnc@cherrypal.com www.cherrypal.com www.edwinfoundation.org
So for now I won't panic just yet, in spite of some of the more disturbing things I've been reading about Cherrypal. I will choose instead to be optimistic and believe the best about people.

'Wearable suitcase' lets you beat airline baggage fees

 
 

Sent to you by Lulu via Google Reader:

 
 

via DVICE by Stewart Wolpin on 10/14/10

'Wearable suitcase' lets you beat airline baggage fees

With all the electronic crap we schlep on even over-night trips, we may still have to check a bag — unless you wear your allowed carry-on. This latest compartmentalized unfortunately flasher-styled overcoat from Scottevest has 33 pockets, many large enough to stuff with toiletries, underwear, shirts, even an iPad.


 
 

Things you can do from here:

 
 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Insomnia

Lately its been hard to fall asleep and to stay asleep. I counted 6 separate dreams I had night before last! While I'm awake my mind goes to the most random places...
- I read some bad reviews about Cherrypal, the storefront I bought the Cherrypad from. Seems he scammed a few people last year and never sent them their items. *sigh*
- I need to get everyone using my Google voice number so that my switch to Verizon (and back and forth phone use ) is transparent to everyone.
- Dean is on vacation this week. I need to make him a honey-do list.
-Seth's 3rd birthday is in 2 weeks. We are having a birthday party for him and I really hope it goes well.

Time to try counting sheep again....

Friday, October 8, 2010

Cherry pickin'


In a fit of irritation yesterday I ordered a CherryPad. Basically the perfect storm of events led up to this:
- My Asus is still freezing occasionally during video playback. Very annoying
- Carrying my Asus everyday in my purse is killing my back. I've also got my thermos in there, so its not just those 2lbs.
- We still have episodic network issues at home with our AT&T wifi so I'm not sure I can rely on being able to watch my Slingplayer every day.
-Samsung is continuing to play emotional mindgames with me regarding release dates and pricing.
-The newly announced Motorola Droid Pro is going to be my new phone the day its released. So with that in mind, the idea of having the tablet be my 'do-it-all' device has been shelved.
My Cherrypad should be arriving next week and I look forward to seeing what this device brings. If it can play video well enough, that should be enough to satisfy my needs....I think.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Her Royal Hotness: The Motorola Droid Pro

FINALLY! A high-end QWERTY Bar running Android! That wasn't too hard now, was it? Yes, I will be purchasing this device the day its available. I hope Verizon is as good as everyone says.

On a separate but related note: Since Verizon doesn't do voice and data simulateously, what happens if I get a call while using GPS navigation?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Verizon Wireless announced Motorola DROID Pro and Citrus

Verizon Wireless announced Motorola DROID Pro and Citrus: "


Today, Verizon Wireless announced the addition of two Motorola, Android handset to their smartphone lineup, the DROID Pro and Citrus. The DROID Pro is a candybar-style, Android 2.2, world-phone that is, to be blunt, not what anyone really expected.


The Citrus is a full-touchscreen Android 2.1 device, complete with MOTOBLUR, and full touchscreen display. The official press released haven’t dropped yet. We’re waiting at the ready to give your the full rundown on both devices.


Developing…


"

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Science of Size, The Size of Science

I recently showed Dean a video of the Samsung Galaxy Tab that I'm hoping to get once its released (any day now, right?) and his response was "Oh, so you're going big again?" I knew exactly what he meant. It seems like just yesterday that I was using the Jasjar as my main device and it was about the same size (open) as the Tab. I swore off devices that size and decided that thin was in.
Fast forward to 2010 and I have the thinnest device I've ever had in the Nexus one, and a phone that can almost fit in the palm of my hand (the Pixi) and I am not content until I have the 7-inch Tab in my arsenal. I know I'm not the only one in that frame of mind. After Apple was able to finally get the ipod shuffle to be nearly the size of the Zoolander phone they came out with the iPad which nearly defies the laws of mobility.So the question remains- what's happened to us?
As we've started to enjoy a richer variety of content on our mobile devices, as well as spend more time with our mobile gadgetry, we have a need for a bigger screen which is a far cry from when all we wanted was the smallest device possible.