SmartQ T7 As eBook Reader

Yesterday, Steve “Chippy” Paine of Carrypad held a live video session demonstrating various aspects of the new SmartQ T7 internet tablet, with jkk of jkkmobile participating and assisting.

He’s done a follow-up report that also embeds recordings from last night.

In this post, I’ll focus on eBook-related aspects.

I have screensnaps from the Ustream session. They are small, but still worth seeing.

Before Chippy’s live event, I was on YouTube and happened to search to see if there were any videos for this device. There were.

Surprisingly, I was impressed. What I saw was superior to reviews of the Pandigital Novel and also superior to the brief video posted by the Cruz Reader company. I compare it to those because of identical screen resolution: 800×600.

While it has a resistive screen like the two others, it’s soft touch and markedly more responsive. While a stylus is included, only one video on YouTube showed it being used — and Chippy never used it during the live session.

As the photos show, it has buttons on the front. The Pandigital Novel and Cruz Reader have them on the side.

Unlike both of those devices here in America, the SmartQ T7 is not locked down to be an eReader (like the Pandigital Novel) or bundled with branded eBook software (like the Cruz Reader, with Kobo).

The SmartQ T7 is bundled with iReader. This is not very impressive eBook software. Chippy tried to demo it but it couldn’t file a compatible file to read other than a JPEG to display.

Most people reading this will be interested in Aldiko, Kindle for Android, Nook for Android, and Kobo for Android. And possibly Adobe Reader for PDFs.

Of that line-up, Chippy had time to load and test the Kindle, Nook, and Adobe Reader apps.

The Kindle app worked very well, with smooth page transitions. It was entirely trouble-free.

On the other hand, the Nook software was problematic.

The Nook app was not available in the Android Market in Finland or Germany (the two countries the Ustream video originated). jkk had to grab it, unofficially, another way (it’s free software, so this was not piracy). He then emailed it to Chippy to sideload onto the T7.

That said, both were shocked that eBook reading software should require a whopping seventeen megabytes of storage space.

Once it was installed, it looked like this:

And it crashed!

After another re-installation of it, it was working again and revealed something lacking in the Pandigital Novel version of the Nook software …

… pagecurl animation!

While it was on screen, a book — in this case, the free Little Women — looked good. But every time Chippy tried to change the typeface size — crash!

It was at this point that JKK asked, “Why would people want the Nook software since Kindle is everywhere and its software works?”

I had to explain that Nook is also a device here in America, like Kindle. And the Nook app is mainly an adjunct to that device for people to catch up on their reading with a cellphone, when they’re not carrying their Nook.

I don’t see why I should defend the Nook software when Barnes & Noble’s own chairman won’t use his company’s own device, but I will. Chippy had pre-release Android OS software that might have been buggy.

On the other hand, there were no problems with the Kindle app. Draw your own conclusions.

Chippy also loaded the original eReader software to test …

… but he didn’t have any eBook to try.

Next was Adobe Reader. I bet you can guess the outcome of that already.

It opened a PDF brochure after a few seconds but when Chippy tried to enlarge it …

… crash! Attempting to enlarge it also chewed up the CPU something fierce, making the device totally unresponsive to screen taps and button presses. It was ugly! None of this is surprising, I think. Typical Adobe buggy bloatware.

If you take the time to watch Chippy’s videos, keep in mind his unit seemed a bit off to me, compared to the performance I saw in other YouTube videos. Loading web pages, for example, happened quicker than Chippy experienced.

The SmartQ T7 has an MSRP of $235 for the Wifi/Bluetooth model and $289 for the Wifi/3G model (Bluetooth not included in that one).

If someone placed the Pandigital Novel, Cruz Reader, and SmartQ T7 before me and asked which one I’d buy, it’d be the SmartQ T7.

But hang onto your money right now. Next week is going to bring a bunch of new tablet announcements. Including new ones from Archos. If Archos includes a capacitive screen finally, they’ll be the one to beat.



Filed under Amazon Kindle, Android, Barnes & Noble Nook, eBooks: General, Kobo Reader, Other Hardware

2 responses to “SmartQ T7 As eBook Reader

  1. Paul Johnson

    Ugly machine.

    • mikecane

      Not exactly a looker, true, but at least they didn’t do Yet Another iPad Clone design, so give them some credit for that.

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