If you were expecting a big bang to usher in the next era of personal computing devices in India, you probably weren’t expecting Olive to come out with India’s first 3G enabled tablet. Yes, the OlivePad 3G didn’t cause too much of a ripple when it was revealed back in July and I’m guessing it won’t exactly cause stampedes when its launched on October 1st. However, to be fair to the OlivePad, it’s a solid product that sets its targets high with good hardware and features. Let’s see how it did in our tests.
The OlivePad’s 7-inch display might not be as large as the Apple iPad’s, but it’s still large enough to not warrant any complaints.
The OlivePad has a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 800x400. We got a pre-production model for review from Olive and the tablet was running Android 2.1. Olive told us that at launch, this would be updated to Android 2.2. The Olive also has a 3MP camera and a VGA front-facing camera. It comes with 512MB of internal memory and Olive has stated that a 16GB microSD will be a part of the packaging bundle. Connectivity is well taken care of by the OlivePad and it supports Wi-Fi and GPS. You can also put in your SIM card and use 3G connectivity (once it becomes available) and use the Olive as a regular smartphone.
Android 2.1 Now; 2.2 Later
The OlivePad uses Android 2.1 as its OS and that means access to both Google Mobile Services and the Android Market. All the regular Google Mobile Services work flawlessly on the tablet, which means that you can check your Gmail account, watch YouTube videos through the YouTube app, directly search your phone or the Web using the Google toolbar, sync your contacts and calendar on the tablet with their online counterparts or just plan your next trip using Google Maps easily and with minimum fuss.
The OlivePad's Main Homescreen.
The same can be said about installing and executing apps from the Android Market, it feels natural and works fine. However, the more apps we installed, small issues began cropping up. The first issue was something I was anticipating. Due to the 7-inch display, there were some apps that were only occupying about 1/3rd of the display. Also, very few of these apps actually aligned themselves to the centre of the screen and were usually hanging around at one of the top corners. Subsequently, there were some issues with the onscreen control buttons in some apps not being placed accurately onscreen.
Reading e-books and comics on the OlivePad is a pretty good experience. I used the pre-installed Aldiko book reader (also downloadable from the Android Market) and the free Android Comic Viewer (ACV) app to test out the OlivePad. The display is suited for reading e-books and comics and there are plenty of apps that let you do so easily and in style.
If you also want to engage in some office work on the OlivePad, then it lets you do that through the pre-installed Documents to Go app that lets you view and edit Word docs, Excel sheets and PowerPoint presentations and also read your PDF documents.