Tablets

ASUS gets it right with the TF300, but is it too late?

Donovan Colbert is impressed with the ASUS TF300, and he can use it to complete most of his IT work. With the proliferation of iOS devices, do you think it's too late for Android tablets?

I was in a conference room, surrounded by the IT team of a company that recently acquired us. Two of their employees had Fujitsu convertible tablet PCs and iPhones. One of them had a new iPad. The other two had Mac PowerBooks -- one of these guys also had an iPhone and an iPad2. So, when I pulled out my ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF300, I felt a bit self-conscious. All the big guns had iOS products, and I was the odd-ball with Android. I certainly picked a bad day to begin my test to see if I could replace all of my daily functions with the TF300 tablet/netbook convertible.

Surrounded by brushed aluminum and fancy folding magnetic cases, I'd like to argue that my TF300 looked more pragmatic and business-like than the sexy Apple devices surrounding it -- but the truth was that it looked cheap and undependable. But let's overlook the superficial, career-limiting aspects of showing up for a black-tie event in a tuxedo t-shirt. How did my second-rate, non-iOS device perform?

Honestly, most of the flaws that remain in the Transformer line are the fault of the Android OS, not the hardware itself. Android 4.x (Ice Cream Sandwich - ICS) remains a mixed bag, offering tremendous advantages in some aspects, and not quite delivering the goods in others.

First and most importantly, the device was stable throughout a heavy day of use. The only thing more embarrassing than the plastic aesthetics would have been telling my new co-workers, "Hold on, I think I'm going to have to reboot my tablet."

Chrome beta allowed me to keep an active corporate email connection via OWA and to pull up the full desktop version of vendor sites in other tabs while discussing them. I was able to transfer proposals from consultants and present those documents and slides without lags, hiccups, or glitches. I copied a PDF proposal from my laptop to Dropbox and back to the TF300, where it presented in an ideal format to pass around for review. The PowerPoint presentation using Quickoffice Pro 6 felt natural and intuitive. There were no issues with having multiple apps open.

Passing the PDF around was a great example of the utility of transforming from a netbook to a tablet. For accessing web sites, reading, and responding to email, the docked format worked best -- but for handing it off for others to read, undocked was superior.

The new dock has a better tactile feel than the original. The keys seem to have more travel now, and my typing speed is improved. Perhaps this is just another example where the quad-core CPU of the TF300 delivers better performance. It's still a cramped fit for big hands and retains the original, unfortunate layout with the up-cursor key next to the right-shift key. I've adjusted to this after a year with the TF101, but new users will be frustrated as they adapt.

I felt some envy when one of the visitors pulled out his stylus and started taking notes on his iPad. Later, I realized SuperNote was installed on my TF300. Using my stylus, I transcribed my paper notes to my tablet, and it worked just as smoothly as his iPad app. I'll be ditching paper notepads in future meetings.

I started my morning at 7:30 AM, used the TF300 all day, and returned home around 9:30 PM. After a full day of use as a laptop replacement, the dock was depleted, but the tablet still had 60% charge remaining. After reading for an hour before bed, the charge was still above 50%.

Things were not perfect, though. Chrome Beta in desktop mode only offered the light version of OWA. I found myself wondering if a Motorola phone with a webtop dock and a non-mobile browser might have delivered a full Outlook web app experience. Little deal-breakers like this prevent users from replacing laptops with tablets. But the TF300 is not alone here. In fact, none of the visitors brought only an iPad. Tablet devices just aren't there yet.

The TF300 is a step in the right direction, though. The original Transformer suffered from laggy, virtual keyboard input and poor browser-based text input. Android 4.0 cleared up the latter issue, but the TF101 was still unstable. Battery management on the TF300 delivers similar run-time and better standby than the original, even when docked, and it's far more stable.

I'm a Windows IT professional. I need multiple machines for much of my work. I interact with dozens of PCs and servers daily. Increasingly, I can leave everything behind except my tablet and do the things I need to (including remote administrative sessions in RDP and Citrix through clients like 2x, PocketCloud, and Citrix Receiver). Android continues to mature, and tablet hardware is finally achieving the performance to support those ambitions.

ASUS finally had a launch go smoothly for the Transformer line. The TF101 was plagued with shortages and QA issues. The TF201 Prime arrived with Bluetooth, GPS, and Wi-Fi issues and at a premium price that caused a tepid reception. The TF300 was received in large quantities at big-box retailers, and at a great price point.

Suggested retail price:
  • $379 - 16GB
  • $399 - 32GB
  • $150 - Keyboard dock

So far, it seems like "no news is good news," concerning QA issues, but the question remains, "Is the third time the charm for ASUS, or will Android tablets strike out if the TF300 doesn't gain a better share of the market than its predecessors?" Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.

About

Donovan Colbert has over 16 years of experience in the IT Industry. He's worked in help-desk, enterprise software support, systems administration and engineering, IT management, and is a regular contributor for TechRepublic. Currently, his profession...

50 comments
dcolbert
dcolbert

Above there was a branch of the conversation where Tea.Rollins challenged my assertion that you were not able to access the full Outlook Web App (OWA) page through the Android or Chrome browsers on the TF300. He asserted that he was in fact able to access OWA through his Droid 4. He did not provide instructions on how he achieved this. After some research, one of my developers shared the "about://debug" command in the Android browser. The details are in the branch of the thread, above. I tested this, and confirmed that this did in fact work - only, I made a mistake in my testing. I only tested this on the Droid 4 and the Droid 4 in a lapdock. I assumed that the tablet versions of the Android Browser and Chrome Beta for Android worked in the same manner as the smartphone versions. It appears that I was wrong. So far I have been unable to recreate the steps on my tablet that work with the Droid 4. The settings menu remains unchanged after issuing the about://debug command, and the ability to change UAString to "desktop" is not enabled by issuing the command. Maybe I am doing something wrong - but this points out another challenge with Android. What works on one Android device might not work on another, and frequently tablet behavior is far different than smart-phone behavior. That is one challenge that Android faces when iOS devices generally behave consistently - and a very difficult one for Google to address by the very nature of Android. At this point, I'd say that rendering a genuine, full desktop browser experience from within Android tablets is dicey and difficult at best - and I stand by my contention above - it was the one significant "con" in my attempt to use the TF300 as an alternative to a traditional PC in my daily work.

Wee Willie 20
Wee Willie 20

I just recently purchased an ASUS TF300T and I love it. It has replaced my 32 & 64 GB jump drives & my Toshiba Thrive tablet all of which are very good but the TF300T is better. I am an IT Consultant & System Administrator for three small to medium size companies.

martin
martin

I have the TF201 and use it all the time to do my many IT functions. Our environment has a Citrix XenDesktop environment and run a virtual desktop with access to all my servers right from my tablet and it works great. I have also had some issues with Chrome beta however I have found no issues when using Opera. It has had no issues and runs everything my desktop browser runs.

realvarezm
realvarezm

There are certain things that need time, a child needs 1 or 2 years to learn to walk, then needs another 4 years to learn how to ride a bike and so on. Machines and SO are made and desing by humans so its natural to get frustated by the "slow" evolution of the smartphones and tablets. In that aspect Android world is supported by hundred of devs and corporations so it will get there soon and i say 2 or 3 year at most. The IOS could get there a little later seeing that lately they wait to see the evolution of android in certain apps or hardware and then copy it The exciting part of this, we are witness to a whole new world in technology. Soon ( 5 years) the PC age will be dead and replace by this tiny devices and soon with the Google glasses will see another jump to that direction.

billfranke
billfranke

Don't you wish it were possible? But when dealing with human beings, that's almost all there is, unfortunately. All that should really matter is whether the hardware and software allow you to get the job done, not whether it's eye candy or sexy or faddish and trendy.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... but even you describe it as more a netbook than a tablet in the way you use it. Is it a good tablet? I don't know. All I know is that I don't want a clamshell form factor device that forces me to set it down when I need to use it. I'm not faulting the Transformer's abilities, just not calling it a "Tablet".

katy_61
katy_61

I think in the long run android will win out. All the comparisons are of say, Asus vs Ipad etc.. the fact is these are not accurate comparisons since the is only 1 tablet vehicle for iOs while there are dozens of reliable, powerful android tablets. I think eventually a few "best in class" of these will emerge. Basically due to the android/PC ease of compatibility, android customization and broad price availability.

waynehx
waynehx

I have the TF201 model and it works great for me. Use it to take notes at clients location using SuperNote. SuperNote is a great app.

Photog7
Photog7

Very enjoyable article. I've gone back and forth owning and then selling multiple Android tablets and iPads (I currently have an iPad3, MacBook Air, and a souped up Lenovo netbook), but I keep carrying the laptops because I find it more troublesome to print with tablets, and because the file systems are a nuisance compared with "real" computers. My other problem with tablets is their inability to use a mouse or touchpad when the keyboard is attached. Even mentioning this perceived lack of a feature usually opens me up to personal attacks and ridicule just because I don't like being forced to reach over the keyboard and use a touchscreen. Touchscreens are less precise than cursors and mice. The pictures of the TF300's mobile dock kind of make it look like it has a touchpad in the keyboard, but I haven't read anything saying that is the case. Is there a touchpad in the mobile dock? I figure not, since these tablet operating systems don't seem to offer a cursor.

seanakers
seanakers

I generally use it docked most of the time but the dock will power it all working day from 7am to 5pm with about 5% dock battery left. After this, there is at least another 7 hours of battery left in the pad itself. Does all the entertainment stuff I want, Netflix, Kindle, playing movies, Spotify and some light gaming. Also it runs Evernote which is a tool I use for proper work all the time. The dock has an excellent keyboard which is a pleasure to type on. I can take this baby to an all day conference and use it for mail and taking notes all day and still have enough battery to watch a movie on on the train home again.

camcost
camcost

It's about time. After two years of droid fanatics embarrassingly trying to convince their coworkers that their android tablet is better than an iPad, but having their device betray them, this Asus just might be up for the task.

dfaucher
dfaucher

Great review Donovan. I have been using the tf101 in the same way and have been recommending it to everyone looking for a tablet. Personally, I have "moved on" from tablets for a while as my job requires too much document creation that requires Windows (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, editing Excel directly on Sharepoint, group calendaring in Outlook). The Android equivalents weren't perfect and I kept using remote desktop to get work done. I realized that what I loved about the tf101 was the weight and the battery life, so I sold all my tablets and bought an ultrabook (HP Folio 13).

dogknees
dogknees

I was under the impression there are 2 iOS devices made by one manufacturer. Hardly a proliferation of devices.

Tea.Rollins
Tea.Rollins

Is not the fault of the hardware. My droid X gets full OWA

chadness
chadness

I assume you're using Exchange 2010, otherwise it would be IE only, correct? if so, have you tried the Firefox mobile browser? I know OWA does some sort of check on Linux and Mac systems that only allow Firefox or Safari, so it could be similar. Just curious, as I'll be going down this route myself soon.

QAonCall
QAonCall

Bought one for my GF for Easter, and can't pry it from her fingers...gotta break down and get my own! Completely gotta have it, and compared to the 'i sore' company, way better!

jfuller05
jfuller05

I'm seriously going to look into this asus model. The battery life sounds stellar and so does the functionality of the device. I haven't bought a tablet yet because the tablets just haven't impressed me from a business perspective until now. A co-worker of mine bought the HP elitebook which is a tablet/laptop hybrid running windows 7 pro. Yeah, it's nice to look at and it functions well, but the $1500 price tag turned me off. This, however, is impressive in function and price. Thanks for writing on this.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Where the iPad arrived looking like a child prodigy. It had been carefully trained to be far more advanced in a very select range of impressive abilities. The fact was that outside of that, it couldn't do much else - but Apple is so brilliant at controlling their environment that they simply didn't give you an option to realize that while it could play an advanced symphony at birth, it couldn't dress itself. In the meantime, the Android tablets - normal kids advancing at normal rates - looked like paste-eating nose-pickers in need of being held back a grade. So here is what I wonder - as we get out of tablet Kindergarten, is the iPad's EARLY development going to hold it back because it was unable to really learn some OTHER fundamentals as they focused only on learning what was most immediately impressive? Is the iPad ALWAYS going to be the high achiever who takes to every new thing as if it were a natural gift, or will Android slowly mature into the better tablet platform because it was busy learning the basics while the iPad was playing at being a child genius?

dcolbert
dcolbert

In fact, that is one of the significant improvements of the TF300. The TF101 was really best DOCKED. The processor really couldn't hande a lot of website forums like this on the TF101. The virtual keyboard was laggy at best, and unusable on a forum like this. The TF300, the physical and virtual keyboards are iPad smooth. I've made all 3 responses to you on the tablet, using the physical keyboard. When I go to bed, I'll read What the Plus by Guy Kawasaki in tablet mode on Kindle - check in on social networks and post some responses using the virtual keyboard. That is the thing - the TF300 *is* a good tablet... but it is also a good netbook... so it has far more utility for me than any other tablet I've owned (and at this point, I've owned quite a few, and demoed a bunch of others). The iPad *is* best in class, and the TF300 delivers an iPad like experience as a tablet - but it delivers more, too, if you want to use it that way. If you just wanted an Android tablet, and you weren't going to buy the dock, I'd still recommend it as an option - because it is a good tablet, too - and of the tablets in this class, it offers the best value per dollar spent.

dcolbert
dcolbert

There is a built in touchpad. It is very popular with many users. I don't like it. It is very sensitive and responsive, and I tend to drag my thumb across it when typing. This results in the cursor moving and causes me a lot of errors. Fortunately there is a function key assigned to enabling/disabling the touchpad. I use it occasionally when I am just browsing and not typing and need to do some precise pointing and clicking - and it works very well in those cases - but it is rare that I find a reason to use it in this capacity. I just use the touch screen (though I won't mock you for preferring to use a mouse/pointer/touchpad). Additionally, when docked, you can use the USB host port to hook up an external mouse, if you don't like the touchpad *and* don't like the touch-screen. And yeah, when you activate the touchpad, there is a regular arrow shaped pointer and it works just like you would expect. Again, sorry for the delay in responding.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... is insisting you set it down to use it, at which point you lose all of the advantages of a mobile device. All you want is a portable computer.

RockerGeek!
RockerGeek!

The Transformer dock/keyboards have a trackpad in them... quite nice, too. That's what makes them a good netbook replacement (IMHO).

dcolbert
dcolbert

Does Touchdown connect to Exchange through the same method that the default client connects? Does it require you to accept the default mobile device policy from Exchange on your mobile device like the regular Google client? That is - do you enter your OWA mail address as the server for your mail account with Touchdown, and if you have corporate polices like require PIN and require encryption of storage media - are those enforced? OWA is a nice, robust web based app - and it is simply a nice option to have that available and working. It is also free. Isn't Touchdown a paid app? On my corporate Android device - I just use the default Android enterprise e-mail client. But it also means that my device is encrypted and requires a pin. I didn't wantto go through that in order to test my personal TF300 as a BYOD solution.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... if you're using it at a desk all day? Go back to your desktop computer and be happy.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I don't think anyone has ever claimed that an Android tablet is BETTER than an iPad. That is really a subjective thing. Some people do better with a very simple device that is a glorified toy with artificial boundaries to ensure that users color inside the lines and don't get in over their heads. That is why an iPad is so easy for a 2 year old or a chimp to grasp. You don't need a very complex world view to figure out how an iOS device works. Heck, for most of the world, Jobs is probably right - that is EXACTLY what they need. It isn't hard to live up to expectations when you set the bar low enough. Android has had loftier ambitions from the start, and requires users more willing to look to the realization of a long term vision than immediate gratification of a lower level of consistent performance. Hardware and OS platforms are finally delivering on that vision. They're not there yet, but they will be. iOS will always be a *simpler* platform, and probably a more stable one. Android will always be more *powerful* and flexible. That doesn't make either better or worse. It affects where one or the other is most appropriate to use, though. (I saw what you did there. I returned the favor - with interest. Enjoy).

dcolbert
dcolbert

I have to admit ignorance about the Ultrabooks. Like the Chromebooks, these have seemed like non-starters to me, so I haven't even researched them. Let me tell you my reasons, and you can tell me if I've judged too quickly. The ultrabooks run a regular desktop OS - generally from an SSD drive. While this means ultra-fast resume and boot times, and the ability to run full desktop apps, it seems that still can't match the "open the lid and you're ready to go" standby of a mobile device OS. The efficiencies of ARM type processors and mobile OS platforms seem difficult for the overhead of IA processors and desktop OS platforms to compete with. Also - I've found that most of what I do these days no longer requires Microsoft desktop OS platforms. The alternatives are not perfect, but for most of my tasks, they get the job done. I'm largely platform independent these days. I can get almost all of what I want done on a Mac, Windows, Linux, or Android device. In fact, writing my latest article, I started on my TF300, did some editing on a Windows 7 laptop, finished up part of it on my Droid 4 in a Lapdock, and followed up with sending screen shots from a Mac Mini. There are still some things I absolutely prefer Microsoft platforms for - though, and those are generally really "heavy lifting" tasks. I mean, there is no doubt that the weight and battery life of Ultrabooks are awesome. Really, the Motorola lapdock delivers that same kind of blade-thin format that the Macbook Air introduced, and I can see how for some users who really require a desktop OS, this is the best solution. I just wonder if it would be overkill for MOST of what I want, and not quite enough juice for the things I really need a traditional desktop OS platform for.

mckinnej
mckinnej

he meant that from a "devices sold" perspective. I was in Dulles a few weeks ago and "i" tablets were everywhere. I didn't see a single Android tablet. But instead of doing "real work" everyone I saw was using them as eReaders or web browsers. I think I'm taking the same path as dfaucher did below and skip the tablets. Although a lot more expensive, an ultrabook looks to be the sweet spot for me.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Please, do share. How do you configure the browser for the application to get the full OWA experience on an Android device?

dcolbert
dcolbert

Just tried it out, and it would not let me deselct "use the light version". I checked the configuration, but couldn't find anything I was missing that would change that. I'm very interested in Mr. Tea's follow up explaining how he is making this work on his Droid X.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I try Chrome and the native browser. I haven't been giving Firefox much of a chance. As I understand, the stable is really a dog at this point, and the beta is the version to be on. I'll give it a look and see if that is the magic solution.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I'm in my lab, building out a domain on Xenserver. I use the TF300 to access Technet to get my keys. In the past, I wasn't a big fan of bringing a full laptop to the DC or a lab with me. If you have a traditional laptop turned off or in hibernate, the resume time is an issue that disrupts the build process. If you leave it running, you either have to drag along a transformer and plug into AC (which may not be allowed in a DC) or run off battery and hope you can get a full day's runtime out of your extended cell battery. I've tried with a traditional laptop, and had it die on me in the middle of a workday. I used to print out or scribble down my keys at my desk and take them with me. I'd lose or throw away the paper when done, so the next rebuild, I'd do the same thing. With the TF300, it is instant on, and the battery can handle an 8 hour shift plus, including moderate use doing other things while waiting for system builds to complete. Now I just go to the website and get my keys on demand, right when I need them. So there is more justification for an enterprise value to these devices now. I think other tablets can do this too, but the dock is still what makes the Transformer special - that and the affordability for the value. I'm getting a lot more professional use out of the TF300 than the TF101 could deliver. The original was good for being able to create content on the go, but it didn't have the same enterprise abilities that the TF300 has. I am bleeding edge with this stuff, so it still might be frustrating to the average person - but if you're willing to put up with some disappointments, the current generation of Android tablets can do a lot more than the previous ones. They're finally delivering nearly "netbook" like performance - which is good enough for simple tasks like I describe here. I've also recently picked up an Atrix lapdock and modded it to work with my Droid 4 - and there are some advantages to that approach to this kind of device convergence that are pretty significant. Those mostly have to do with the convenience of having a full blown Ubuntu desktop version of Firefox at your disposal. Overall, though, the "Lapdock" approach is not as robust and flexible as the Transformer tablet design.

Photog7
Photog7

Very informative. I'm surprised the press doesn't make a bigger deal out of this advantage the Transformer series has over the iPad.

Photog7
Photog7

Vulpine, I very seldom use an external keyboard with a tablet. My tablet is fun and lightweight without one. But when I need a keyboard for serious typing (and that's the whole point of the TF300) it makes no sense to suffer through editing text without the benefit and precision of a touchpad or mouse. I'd rather not have to carry around a laptop in addition to my tablet. If you think that tablets must be used while hand-held and not propped in a stand or a dock I suspect you have a very tired left hand by the end of a movie and would not be interested in the Transformer series anyway. Of course a tablet IS a very "portable computer". One of the main advantages (and disadvantages) of tablets is their operating system, which is not currently available on any conventional portable computer. I'm glad to hear from Rocker Geek that the Transformer dock/ keyboards offer a touchpad with a curser and even the option of a mouse. I might just sell my iPad and buy one when they come out with a Transformer that has a retina-like display. And I have no doubt that will happen before Christmas.

dcolbert
dcolbert

You gain all of the advantages of a clamshell style PC. In fact, you gain the best of both worlds without kludgy "convertible PC" style solutions. I've got a real tablet, that is as thin as an iPad 2, and I've got a full fledged netbook that offers almost all of the expandability one would expect there. And it costs less than the new iPad. But it doesn't look as pretty.

seanakers
seanakers

By docked I mean docked to the special keyboard dock. This allows me to use it as a netbook style device but with massive battery runtime. I can wander around various meetings all day, taking notes and minutes with a proper keyboard and not having to worry about needing a power outlet. If I just need tablet functionality I can undock it from the keyboard and use it tablet style just like an iPad. I charge the unit over night and it will last me a whole working day without any charging required.

dcolbert
dcolbert

This is because you're an advocate of a device that had mediocre docking solutions, at best. The "dock", in this case, is a keyboard with a folding hinge that turns the tablet into a netbook style device. I'm sitting on my couch, watching Ultimate Cruise Ships on TV, responding to you with a full QWERTY physical keyboard - and it is ALL kinds of awesome, delivering an experience almost identical to a full fledged laptop. If I decide I want to just do something that is more suitable to a tablet, I just undock the keyboard, throw it on the table, and you know, read Kindle or whatever. That is just the surface of what this "dock" delivers (a full SD slot that doesn't just view the DCIM folder - that I can freely copy files back and forth between the tablet and the SD card from, a USB host port that will hook up to external hard drives, webcams, mice and joystick, and USB ethernet port, a 15 hour RUN time... and other wonders you cannot imagine with your iOS device). But it doesn't mean you are tied to a physical desk. But it is a different experience than an iPad. They both have their places.

dfaucher
dfaucher

Donovan, The key to usefulness in any device is "What do _you_ need it to do?" The answer is different for each person. For some, the iPad is all they need. For others, the Transformer is all they need. I still need to edit PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Visio, and Exchange group calendars on a daily basis. There are also proprietary Windows apps I use without a Droid equivalent. I do not think I represent the majority though.

dcolbert
dcolbert

And your example is important. You probably see 5 people with Android phones for every 3 you see with an iPhone, in any particular public situation. (although it is easier to see and count the iPhones, because they all look alike). Even if you only saw 2 Android devices for every 5 iPhones, Android would still be competitive. When you see *zero* Android tablets in public - then Android has a potential tablet problem. I'm still holding onto the hope that it was once very rare to see a G1 or G2 Android phone. Ah... that was another reason I forgot about on Ultrabooks. They ARE expensive. :) That might actually be the main reason I'm willing to sacrifice a little function and stick with a tablet. ;)

dcolbert
dcolbert

To share with the class, does anyone ELSE have any idea how you might easily achieve getting the full OWA on a Droid X through "proper configuration" of your browser settings? If it can be done, I'm interested in hearing how. I want to know if it is a persistent change, or one that must be done every time you connect, and how difficult it is to do (and if it requires special steps, like rooting or even using a particular aftermarket browser lie DolphinHD or Firefox beta). Here is the thing, though - Mr. Rollins has already walked into a land-mine with his arrogant claims, without even realizing it. He has exemplified the same kind of self-righteous, "you're a Luser if you can't figure this out" attitude that is a huge part of the reason why Linux struggled for so long, and arguably still does, for desktop market share. Android is a commercial, consumer-oriented OS platform. If the solution isn't, "Go into the default browser and click "display desktop version of site", then it doesn't matter what special configuration Tea.Rollins is using to get the full OWA experience, it is *too difficult*. I'm an experienced IT professional - I'm not unfamiliar with complex configuration tweaks and settings. The answer may be a Google search away. "OWA, full app, Android"... 1 *BILLION* results. If I have to search, or dig around deeply in configurations, then the point is really moot. Typical Android users are going to be puzzled by the simple option to "display desktop version of site" (especially when they select this and it still renders a mobile site anyhow, but that is a whole other post). Alienate those users, and they go to iOS, and Android becomes further marginalized and less likely to succeed in the long term. So, guys like this, with attitudes like these, they're doing no favors for the Android community - in fact, they're the worst thing possible for it. The best thing for Android would be for users like this to go find *any* other platform to support. With friends like these, Android doesn't need any enemies. Pffff - puny forum troll...

RockerGeek!
RockerGeek!

Did you try Aurora or FF Beta? I have the Galaxy nexus w/the stock ICS Android (I'm about to put a phone/tablet hybrid ROM on it) and I tried to access the OWA I have here and it isn't in lite mode. I even turned lite on and off. The view isn't optimized like using the corporate mail app...but it works for me to get my mail in a pinch. I can fool around more tonight when I get a chance to flash the new ROM and see what it does in "tablet mode". The daily updates for Aurora can be kind of annoying, but I expect it being on a nightly. Here's the link for it http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/channel/android#aurora if you want to give it a try. :)

jfuller05
jfuller05

:D The battery life for this device is incredible! It can handle an 8 hour plus day? Wow. I deal with the same problems you have with carrying along a laptop for system builds, network installs, etc., so I can see an improvement in those jobs by using the tf300. Now, it seems the only excuse I can think of for not purchasing one is that I don't want to spend the money right now. I'm really impressed with this device, probably more so than other devices because of your real-world examples.

dcolbert
dcolbert

They did - and then ASUS made some major flubs on both the TF101 and the Transformer Prime that made a lot of the people (like myself) who said, "Android tablets will be competitive" look foolish. ASUS has a few problems. #1, they don't have the marketing reach that Apple does. When is the last time you saw a commercial for a Transformer? #2 - They don't have the distribution channels or clout that Apple has. This ties in with... #3 - They had trouble with delivering their release date for the TF101. They didn't have enough supply. The 1st batch of Transformers had some significant issues. Then the follow up, the Prime, had even worse issues out of the box. #4 - Motorola and Samsung's early tablets were very expensive and unable to deliver the same kind of experience as the iPad - and those were the most recognized brands. Things were very slow starting - and no one was getting it right. The TF101 got it the MOST right - but it wasn't good enough. There are some other minor reasons (there isn't the same dynamic for Android tablets as there was for Android phones when Verizon announced the original Droid 1)... But ultimately at this point consumers don't really know ASUS compared to a name like Motorola or even HTC or LG, Android has a bad rap, and Apple has this premium perception and cultural cachet. From the perspective of a business and marketing focus - this could ultimately be a case study of how narrow windows of opportunity are and how many stars have to be aligned for a superior product to unseat an incumbent.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Google Search for the Transformer Infinity. IPS+ 600 nit display at 1920x1200 resolution. With brushed aluminum. :) This one will be branded and priced to compete directly with the iPad on features, finish and price. I suspect it will be priced like the Prime... $499 for 32gb, $550 or more for 64gb, with the dock at $150. http://eee.asus.com/eeepad/transformer-infinity/features/

dcolbert
dcolbert

But any laptop could deliver those criteria - so there are things beyond that driving you toward an Ultrabook solution. Physical dimensions, weight and battery life? I've got a coworker who is apathetic about all my tablets. He has an iPhone and so does his wife, but he isn't interested in a tablet. My Motorola Lapdock got him excited, though - and what appealed to him was the thin profile, "like a Macbook air". I think he would be very disappointed with the performance, though. He should be looking at Ultrabooks too.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Your company requires encryption on enterprise attached mobile devices or doesn't allow mobile devices on the corporate network, but will allow OWA connections through a public network. For a long time, I didn't test demo phones and tablets on my corporate network because I didn't want to limit them with my corporate policies and restrictions on BYODs.

pauln1
pauln1

I don't understand why you wouldn't want to use the built in mail client or better yet something like Touchdown (I've been using TD since early betas on Froyo and just love it)...

dcolbert
dcolbert

Open browser... type about:debug in URL hit enter Bring up browser menu. Select MORE, select settings... Scroll all the way to bottom, select USString. From the menu selections... select Desktop. Then browse to your OWA site. Mr. Rollins is right. It works. But... it isn't a very elegant solution. It is persistent once changed. BUT - it only worked on my Droid 4 running Android 2.3.6. I'm not sure HOW persistent it is. I'm assuming if Browser is unloaded from memory and you reload it, you have to enter debugging mode and change the UAString setting to desktop again. I did the same series of changes on my TF300 running Android 4.0.3, and even after changing the UAString to "desktop", it still was not able to disable the checkmark on "Use the light version of Outlook Web App". So really - this doesn't seem to be any sort of solution, at all. It isn't *that* big of a deal. The lite version of OWA on Exchange 2010 is pretty robust. Good enough for me to use on an entire day away from my desktop Outlook client. It was really just a minor observation about a relatively tiny frustration with the whole experience. In all honesty, rather than going into debug mode with a command entered in the URL then digging through the menu to set the UAString, I'd probably just deal with the lite version of OWA in most cases. One last edit: Below I responded that the great thing about Android is that it doesn't confine you to artificial boundaries like some other mobile OS platforms and allows you to push the limits to your level of knowledge - and this is a GREAT example of that aspect of the platform. So I'm totally willing to acknowledge that this is something of an exploit that can be leveraged to go further with your Android device. It is a hassle, it is not elegant, but it is there. My biggest problem is someone coming along and taking the time to mention this, but not going that extra step to share how it is done. If you're going to lay down the challenge, explain. Otherwise, you're just wasting everyone's time.

dcolbert
dcolbert

It can easily go an additional 4 hours beyond that with the dock... and is rated for something like 16 hours of run-time with the dock by ASUS. Reviewers who run benchmark and performance tests are saying it'll run for about 7.5 hours on the tablet battery alone. It is always hard to determine what they mean by that. Did they turn it on and use it constantly for 7.5 hours until the battery gave out? In real world experience, the run and standby time together are FAR more than 8 hours - but you're not running it all the time - it spends most time in standby. So... long story short, your use patterns are going to determine how much life you get out of it, but either way, it has a phenomenal battery life. Do you carry a USB thumb drive around with you? Check out these scenarios... 1: You can easily download a file to the TF300, insert your USB drive into the TF300's USB port on the dock, copy the file over to the USB drive, and then insert the USB drive into the machine you're working on. 2: Or just carry around the USB cable for the TF300, and connect the whole TF300 via USB to the device you're working on. The internal memory will map as a browseable USB drive on that system. A lot of times, the usability models for these devices come from thinking OUTSIDE the limitations you normally would accept. I could have been doing the thing with accessing Technet for awhile. I just realized I could do it recently, like a dim 40 watt bulb flickering feebly to life over my head. I recently wrote another article on some apps I am using to leverage my Android devices in a corporate environment, and after I had finished the review, another justified use model occurred to me that is pretty cool. I'll share that one when that blog is posted. In almost all of these cases, though... you've got to think beyond how you USED to do things to realize, "how can I do things DIFFERENTLY and BETTER" with this kind of device. Recently we held a Change Control meeting. Our regular minute taker wasn't present. I've been taking notes using SuperNote - a bundled app. I was able to complete the notes and send them via e-mail to all attendees before they had left the conference room. One of the attendees couldn't find a particular note. I was able to pull my notes up, quickly find the notes he was talking about, and find the particular note he couldn't find and read it back to him. But I hadn't been taking digital notes until I saw someone else do it, as I mentioned above.