I found a reasonably good, inexpensive keyboard for the Sero 7 Pro

I bought a keyboard this week for the Hisense Sero 7 Pro. It’s a universal keyboard/case made by Afunta, and I paid $12.50 for it. I took a chance on it, and now you don’t have to. Its spring-loaded jaws nicely accomodate the Sero 7 Pro, and the keyboard works with the Sero 7 Pro with no issues. Plug it in, wait a moment, and it starts working, replacing the onscreen keyboard when you need keyboard input, basically turning your tablet into a convertible. It has a micro USB connector, unlike many 7-inch keyboards, so it works with the Sero 7 without an adapter. It’s odd that most keyboards seem to have full-size USB connectors but most 7-inch tablets have micro ports.

I wouldn’t want to type at length with the keyboard, but it’s much nicer than using an onscreen keyboard on a 7-inch screen.

Read more

More thoughts on the $150 Hisense Sero 7 Pro tablet

Steve Aubrey wrote in with a link to a useful site dedicated to the Hisense Sero 7. It collects all the useful information that’s surfaced from xda-developers and other sites, including custom ROMs, rooting instructions, and where to get accessories.

He asked if I recommend rooting. The short answer: Yes, if you know what you’re doing. If you’re willing to read the prompts when an app requests root access and understand what it’s asking for, then sure. If you just blindly click yes to everything, then no, by all means, leave the tablet stock.

But if you know what you’re doing, one nice thing you can do is install a firewall, so a rooted Android tablet can be safer than an unrooted one. Have fun wrapping your head around that slice of counter-intuitiveness.

Let’s talk about my impressions of the tablet itself.

Read more

The low-cost tablet invasion

Over at PCMag, Tim Bajarin took notice of the low-cost tablet invasion.

Don’t get too excited about the $89 tablet he just heard about; it’s a single-core, 1.2 GHz tablet with a 4:3-ratio 800×600 screen. For $89, it’s fine, but I wouldn’t call it unexpected, and certainly not revolutionary. It’s a couple hundred megahertz faster than the $79 tablets at Big Lots, and has 120 more pixels in one direction.
Read more

Speed up Android with Seeder Entropy Generator

Seeder Entropy Generator, released on XDA Developers, became a sensation the last couple of days. There’s debate whether it works, and debate over why it works, but enough people reported an improvement that I gave it a whirl. The difference was noticeable. There is a downside–more on that in a bit.

I don’t know why it works either, but it made my pokey 800 MHz Nook Color running Cyanogenmod 7.2 more responsive. What I haven’t seen is a nice how-to on installing it. Read more

That other use of Stability Test that I promised

I promised earlier this week to write about another use of Stability Test. The other use of Stability Test is for underclocking your CPU for better performance, undervolting it for better battery life, or both.

While a good number of people do both to their Nook Color, I can’t get mine to run for any length of time without crashing when I do either. Oddly enough, my Nook Color will pass Stability Test for 12 hours at 1.1 GHz, but then when I go to use it, it freezes up.

Mine was a refurb unit, so I may not have gotten the best chip in the batch. It’s entirely possible that it’s a refurb because some other enthusiast got it, tried to overclock it and couldn’t, then exchanged it for another, and then B&N tested and resold it as a refurb. But I find using Go Launcher EX makes life at 800 MHz tolerable on the machine anyway, especially when I use the apps for the web sites I visit most frequently, rather than trying to use a web browser.

A cheap Nook Color case from an unexpected place

I take my Nook Color with me enough that I wanted a case for it, but nothing too fancy, seeing as I’d rather spend money on hardware than on accessories.

Most retail stores carry cases for 7-inch tablets and e-readers, but they’re a high-margin item, often selling for $20 and up, which is 25% of what I paid for the device. I looked on Amazon, of course, where I found multiple cases for less than $10, but found conflicting reports as to whether any given case actually fit the Nook Color. Read more

Go Launcher Ex is a nice upgrade for Android

I gave Go Launcher Ex a whirl on my hacked Nook Color-turned-tablet. The promise was that it’s faster and smoother than ADW Launcher, the default program launcher that comes with Cyanogenmod. Unlike some promises, it was true. It’s fast, smooth, polished, and customizable.

I was a little apprehensive at first–how does one go about changing something so fundamental as the program launcher–but it was easy.

Read more

How to burn-in an Android

How to burn-in an Android

I always burn in my computers. But how do you burn-in an Android?

Here’s what burn-in means, if you’re unaware. When you first buy a computer, the very best thing you can do for it is leave it on for 24 hours nonstop, preferably doing something that’s reasonably hard work. That practice is called burning in a computer. If there’s anything at all wrong with it, there’s a very good chance it will come up in that initial 24 hour period. I’ve been doing that for more than 20 years, and of all the computers I’ve owned in that timeframe–and it’s an army of them, believe me–I’ve only had one machine fail prematurely. One.

The practice works.

So what about a tablet or a smartphone?

Read more

Mobile malware is coming. Get prepared.

One thing I’m seeing in the predictions-for-2013 columns is that mobile malware is going to increase this year. While I can’t be certain it’s going to happen, all of the ingredients are there. The only thing stopping it is motive.

I’m familiar with Avast antivirus on Android. It’s nice. Whenever I download an app from the Google Play store, it scans it, and if it finds something it doesn’t like, it intervenes. Read more