Fermata, a Cruz Velocity T104, was my first Android tablet. $200 out the door with extended product protection and everything. Dandy little machine, but very limited. The interface was laggy, seemingly accepting presses at random. Video playback was fine within certain limits. Running 2.0, which was outdated when I got it. Even worse now. I couldn't even load the US Constitution app, which just displays the text of the US Constitution, on it.
As much as I loved the little bugger, I could tell I was not happy with it. I was behaving the same way I did just before I ditched my Cloudbook in exchange for Kylie, my IBM S10 netbook. I would spin through the tablet aisles in the stores. Around Christmas, I was actually considering buying a new one. Wasn't sure what I'd do with Fermata (I don't usually get rid of tech unless it breaks), but I really was getting tired of having to coax the tech to make it work. I'm very good at coaxing tech (I ran WindowsME for three years), but I was just tired of doing that. I refuse to pay the price of a new computer ($600) for a tablet. I kept my eyes open in hopes of finding a decent one (with authorized Android) and that the price would come in in the $300-$400 range. I really didn't want to spend that much money, but having a tablet with me has become indispensable.
Last week, Fermata stopped charging her battery correctly. Despite being plugged it, she went from over a week on standby to just under two days, even worse if you actually turned her on to do anything. Replacement battery (what I initially thought was the culprit) was $35 plus shipping. But I really wasn't thrilled with Fermata anymore, and not charging the battery was a decent enough excuse to use the product replacement plan to trade her in, get my money, and use it to knock down the price of a new tablet. I stop by Sears and talk with the guy. He points out a Toshiba Thrive. 16G, $400. This thing was loaded, more than any other tablet I had seen. It has a full size USB port, meaning you can plug a regular keyboard into it to type with. Full size SD card slot (when you get to higher memory, full sizers are about half the price of micros). GPS. The whole shebang.
I call up Sears product center and they give me two options. I can send Fermata back to them as defective and get a gift card. Or, if I don't want to be without a tablet that long, I can buy the new one, get the coverage plan, call them back. Once they get the info, I send Fermata in, and they send me a check for the money to do as I want with. Good enough for me.
But when I got to Sears the next day, the lady in the electronics department was less than helpful. I said I wanted the Thrive. She looks up the Internet site and says, "We don't have any of those?"
Sears has a separate inventory network (I know, they've used it to look up stuff for me). I ask, can you just make sure you don't have any in the store?
"Web site says we don't." Actually, the web site says they have none in stock they can ship, there might be limited quantities at the stores.
While trying to decide what to do next (they had an Asus that was $450, but microSD and mini USB), Fermata starts working correctly (or as correctly as she gets) again. I smirk and think, well, I guess I'm stuck with her for a while longer.
Cut to last Friday night. I had just downloaded some fanfilms to watch on Fermata. One was a Doctor Who fanfilm that was almost two hours long. THAT'S ambition! The movie had just started when Fermata's interface started acting goofy. The keyboard would pop up then vanish. Playback controls would pop up and vanish. Control keys on the side were no responsive. Then she powered down.
Wouldn't start up again.
I literally had Fermata held above my head and was ready to throw it to the ground when a little voice whispered to me, "If you break it, you don't get your money back." Seething, I carefully lowered her and put her down. She had bricked herself, and I had no interest in trying to revive her. I was done with coaxing her. I was done with the hit and miss quality of the onscreen controls. I was done with being unable to update her and sometimes bricking her while attempting to do so. A CPU running half the speed of anything on the market when I got her. And the final straw -- found out the Cruz tablets are apparently made by Samsung.
That did it. I. WANT. A. NEW. TABLET.
I call up the Sears in my usual stomping grounds to see if they have a Toshiba Thrive. Supposedly they do, 32G, $350. During the week, I had also gotten a bonus for perfect attendance at work, a $100 gift card I could spend anywhere.
Turns out, the one they had looked up was sold by a third party vendor through Sears and was only a 7" model, not the 10" like the Thrive, and minis and micros. But they had a full blown 16G Thrive in stock, the last one.
Did everything, got the plan, now I'm just waiting for Sears to send me the shipping label so I can get my check for $200. So, a $450 (with tax and everything) tablet got $300 knocked off the price. For less than the price of one of those cheapo Popstation quality (you Brits know what I'm talking about) tablets, I have a full size, high rez, top of the line Android tablet now.
This thing is NICE!
The interface is crisp. In fact, I'm having to relearn how to use it because the presses work like they are supposed to. Plays back regular quality video instead of low quality only and in a variety of formats. Invidia GPU. Backgammon (one of my favorite games) is pre-installed. HDMI. Cameras. GPS. This thing is awesome.
Now, I need a name. I name my machines to keep them separate and organized in my mind. My convention is the desktops are named after men (Darwin, Becket, Lenny, Super Dave) and the portables are named after women (Stella, Pam, Maria, Genny, Kylie, and Fermata).
I have the name.
Folks, say hello to Twilight.