View Full Version : This thing is a usability nightmare


maynard
04-16-2010, 11:46 PM
How do I scroll a web page without accidentally hitting other links or the dock? How do I stop a page from loading once I do hit the wrong link? How do I move files on and off from the device? How do I install applications? (Entourage should provide documentation for manual installs if it doesn't have a marketplace ready). The onscreen keyboard badly lags behind typing and autocorrect makes many mistakes.

only a few hours with this thing and I want to return it. It is a usability nightmare.

posted from an edge, but it took far too long waiting for keyboard input to catch up. Pathetic.

maynard
04-16-2010, 11:51 PM
When I set a zoom mode for a web page why does the browser reset my choice once I load another page? Must I zoom in and out after loading each page?

Nate the great
04-17-2010, 12:12 AM
How do I scroll a web page without accidentally hitting other links or the dock?

That's a common Android touchscreen problem. I've seen it on a three devices now. I can't explain exactly how to scroll the screen without hitting links, but it can be done.

How do I stop a page from loading once I do hit the wrong link?

I don't know how to stop it loading, but the the button with a triangle symbol is a back button. Press it in the middle of a page load to reload the previous page. I agree that a cancel button would be useful.

How do I move files on and off from the device?

You can remove the SD card and put it in a reader, and the internal Flash can be accessed from a PC over a USB cable.

To enable the USB mode, first plug in the cable (in the mini USB port). Then look at the LCD screen. Drag down the white bar at the top. Select "Turn on USB Storage". Select "mount" from the menu that pops up.

How do I install applications? (Entourage should provide documentation for manual installs if it doesn't have a marketplace ready).

You can search for the install files online. You might also download Appslib (http://appslib.com/), which is an open market of free apps.

I believe that on the Entourage forums (https://www.entourageedge.com/forums/) there is a topic about what apps work well on the Edge.

The onscreen keyboard badly lags behind typing and autocorrect makes many mistakes.

only a few hours with this thing and I want to return it. It is a usability nightmare.

posted from an edge, but it took far too long waiting for keyboard input to catch up. Pathetic.

I agree with you about the keyboard. It's both _slow_ and barely usable. If I kept the loaner, I'd get an external keyboard.

I also think that the Edge has a fairly steep learning curve. But once you get used to the Edge, the frustration will pass. I know this from personal experience.

maynard
04-17-2010, 12:41 AM
I'm one who remembers using pip to move files on RT-11. I can deal with a learning curve. But this device is immensly frustrating to use. I like the hardware. But the software - not ready for prime time. OTOH its eink screen is nice. Would like simplified Chinese character fonts for Gutenberg titles though. So far, in general, though the device is sadly a dissapointment.

Dellaster
04-17-2010, 05:10 AM
So far, in general, though the device is sadly a dissapointment.

That's not something I wanted to hear. :(

Hopefully the shortcomings can be overcome. It does sound like it has a steep learning curve.

maynard
04-17-2010, 08:11 AM
"appslib could not be installed on this phone"

And finding apk files amidst the swash of spam download sites is another nightmare. Though, that's not Entourage's fault. Still, the company must address their app installation problems, or the device will fail at market.

Actually, my opinion right now is that the company has no more than two or three months to make this product usable or they will miss start of class, September 2010. I couldn't recommend the product to faculty or students in its current state.

Dellaster
04-17-2010, 01:27 PM
"appslib could not be installed on this phone"

And finding apk files amidst the swash of spam download sites is another nightmare. Though, that's not Entourage's fault. Still, the company must address their app installation problems, or the device will fail at market.

Yeah, even with Adblock active in Firefox those app sites are awful. The folks at enTourage say they're working on their own app store. Who knows what the timetable is.

Actually, my opinion right now is that the company has no more than two or three months to make this product usable or they will miss start of class, September 2010. I couldn't recommend the product to faculty or students in its current state.

I hope they're not banking on academic adoption by September. Even if it suddenly became perfect, today, I don't think there's time for that to happen. Except on an individual basis: a student here, a faculty member there.

Regardless, I do hope enTourage has sufficient funding to get through these early stages. Owning an orphaned device would stink.

sarah11918
04-17-2010, 02:41 PM
That's not something I wanted to hear. :(

I'm sure it's true of all devices, but I'm *really* noticing it with the edge: if you already work with text the way that the edge is designed to work, you'll probably be happy. If instead you look at the edge and think, "oh, that might be a cool thing to be able to do" then your mileage may vary.

There are reports of happy owners, satisfied owners and yes, some disappointed owners. I would say the bulk of what people who own the device have been reporting is positive for the device in general, but noticing areas of usability improvement. I know of one person who returned their device already, but even he didn't hate it - just decided it wasn't for him.

I've said in a few posts that you really have to know what you want out of the device, and what you want has to be what the device offers, in order to be happy with this purchase. There is no other device right now that offers some of its features, and it seems from reading the collective experiences that if those are the features you truly care about, then the fact that it's not sleek and cool like an iPad or that there's a learning curve probably won't bother you very much.

I've had the keyboard click keys I didn't mean for it to. I've had the power cut off unexpectedly. I've rotated the screen inadvertently I don't know how many times by pressing a physical button by mistake. I've spent an hour trying to get highlighting just right.

But, I tend to choose devices for features instead of polish, and I am very happy with the features that I use on this thing, mostly: journal app, reading/annotating pdfs, checking email and twitter, web browsing and a few games. I think you do need to care about handwritten notes, pdfs and a few key apps that run without disrupting your text screen in order to like this device.

If you just wanted to read, and thought, "Oh hey, I guess having an LCD tablet attached must make it better than just a reader," then this maybe isn't the device for you. If you just wanted a speedy little netbook, and thought, "Oh hey, I guess it must be better if I could also handwrite on another screen," this maybe isn't for you.

I think you have to know you want a stylus to mark up text (probably pdfs) or take journal notes AND know that you want a basic functioning slate tablet device. Furthermore, you have to want that as an all-in-one convenience even at the expense of size and weight. Otherwise, I can't see (a) why someone would choose a bigger, clunkier device and (b) how you could overlook some of the first-gen glitches forgivingly. (Of course, just because I can't see it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.)

It probably also doesn't hurt if you don't mind "using the machine." Good technology is like a good referee: you know things are going well the less you notice it. One thing to know about the edge is that you'll be aware of the technology; yes, you'll be reading/taking notes, but you'll be aware that you're using technology to do it because you'll ask yourself, "Now which button am I supposed to press again?" or mentally talk your way through, "Home... Settings... About... Battery..." This machine clearly didn't fall off the Starship Enterprise, and you will have to think about what you're doing while you're doing it. The UI is not so smooth as to approach invisible. It's like the difference between an accelerometer to auto-rotate the screen vs. needing to press a button to do it. Some don't mind it, and some dislike it. Some would rather have the manual control in case there's a situation where we actually want the non-intuitive layout. Others don't even want to have to think about orientation - they just want to focus on what they're actually using the machine for.

I say all this not to imply that people who aren't happy didn't think about their purchase enough or are somehow at fault. I'm just replying to Dellaster's comment about being concerned about negative feedback from others knowing he's already purchased, and trying to paint what I think is a realistic picture of who's generally happy with the device so he can have reasonable expectations.

pricecw
04-17-2010, 06:43 PM
Funny thing, it took me a while to get the hang of things (I was actually thinking at one point, how the heck do I scroll this window), but now, I actually kind of like the way it works, and am to the point I am not often inadvertently clicking things.

Weirdest thing, and the thing that points out there will never be one device for everyone, I have a number of coworkers who love the look of this thing (won't be surprised to see some order them), but the general thought is they all wish the screens were a little bigger (the rotate to landscape on e-ink is the other big want from them). The ideal size would be about the same as an 8.5x11 in sheet of paper, at least in my peer group.

Granted that group has different uses, and even though I love this, I will probably end up with a 6" for fiction paperback style books at one point, since this is a little large for the exercise bike. In my ideal world, I would have a larger one of these, and a dual e-ink/mirasol screen 6" device, esp if they could communicate with each other over wireless (bookmarks, location in book, etc).

--Carl

maynard
04-17-2010, 08:10 PM
Not to delve into trolling, but I just went to an Apple store and tried out an iPad again. I've seen it a few times. I still recognize that it doesn't really do what I want: annotate technical and academic PDFs. The eink side of the Edge does actually do this, and at about half the cost of an iRex DR1000. The Kindle DX is out simply because it lacks Wacom input. The iPad does a reasonable job with PDFs in landscape, but it doesn't really show a full page.

Where the iPad shines is its attention to interface detail. For example, animation is a _big_ part of that, because animations are used as interface cues (rather than being flash, they are function). Multitouch and the capacitive touchscreen on that device is highly accurate compared to the edge. The onscreen keyboard is responsive in real time. Unlike the edge, doesn't _wait_ for the device when performing simple interface related tasks (though computationally intensive tasks take time).

IMO: The edge is better hardware than the iPad. But the iPad software works so.much.better. It is incredibly responsive in comparison to the edge.

This is my first experience with Android. I sincerely hope Android 2.1 is a significant leap ahead of 1.6, because this release is no competition to iPhone/iPad OS. It may offer many features that Apple restricts, but it does so at the cost of not just interface simplicity, but usability itself. Waiting ten seconds for buffered keystrokes to finally be output to the screen is simply unacceptable. Entourage should _know_ that. This product, as it sells right now, simply will not succeed in this market because the features that Entourage markets this product as having ... _don't really exist._ Not in a meaningful and usable manner.

maynard
04-17-2010, 08:38 PM
And on the price of books (which I know has more to do with publisher's contracts than Entourage policy). So, this afternoon I watched a C-SPAN bookTV discussion by the author of "Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction". The price at the Edge store is $18.99, while Amazon's HARDCOVER price is $17.99. Amazon's Kindle version is $14.79. It astonishes me that publishers honestly think they can sell an electronic copy of a book at _more_ than hardcover prices.

This market is completely upside down.

Dellaster
04-17-2010, 08:58 PM
Sarah, great post. It should be a mandatory read for prospective eDGe buyers. Indeed, know what you want and/or need; know what the device can deliver.

I think my expectations are in line with the reality of the eDGe. It's certainly not going to replace my iRex DR800 for long-form prose reading, nor for many PDFs -- not when I want to kick back for hours of reading. And I've been fooling around with the Android SDK emulator so I'm quite aware of the limitations of that platform. Nevertheless, for reasons I won't get into for fear of boring everyone, I think the eDGe will suit me well. For the purposes I foresee.

What I "didn't want to hear" was the report on usability, the flaws such as the zoom resetting of the browser window when changing page, laggy on-screen keyboard, inaccurate (?) touch interface on the LCD side. The latter concerns me most because one of my purposes for the eDGe includes Japanese written input (kanji, kana). For translation and self-education.

Has anyone loaded up aedict.apk and tried the KanjiPad recognition? It's very good using my mouse to draw in the Android emulator. Got my kanji recognized every time. But if the touch interface on the eDGe is sloppy there may be a problem.

Anyway, I'm still good to go on the eDGe. I'm not looking for a turnkey appliance like the iPad. I like to get my hands dirty, so to speak. (One of my other purposes is to try out some ideas via the Android SDK. Brushing up on my Java now. ;))

ckole
04-17-2010, 09:02 PM
And on the price of books (which I know has more to do with publisher's contracts than Entourage policy). So, this afternoon I watched a C-SPAN bookTV discussion by the author of "Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction". The price at the Edge store is $18.99, while Amazon's HARDCOVER price is $17.99. Amazon's Kindle version is $14.79. It astonishes me that publishers honestly think they can sell an electronic copy of a book at _more_ than hardcover prices.



It is easy to get content from the Sony store onto the eDGe so you can always check there.

Gunnerp245
04-17-2010, 10:10 PM
$18.86 :eek:
:eek:

Gunner...

Dellaster
04-17-2010, 10:24 PM
And on the price of books (which I know has more to do with publisher's contracts than Entourage policy). So, this afternoon I watched a C-SPAN bookTV discussion by the author of "Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction". The price at the Edge store is $18.99, while Amazon's HARDCOVER price is $17.99. Amazon's Kindle version is $14.79. It astonishes me that publishers honestly think they can sell an electronic copy of a book at _more_ than hardcover prices.

This market is completely upside down.

Curious, I checked Inkmesh to see the prices (http://tinyurl.com/y4qz67y). BooksOnBoard has it in PDF and ePub for the same price as the Kindle; the Sony Store has it for the same price as Entourage; Lulu eBooks and eBooks.com have it at $26.95. :eek:

maynard
04-19-2010, 01:14 PM
I have elected to return the device and have just submitted a request for an RMA #.

maynard
04-27-2010, 06:10 PM
I still have a couple days left before I run out of time to return the device. Some points I'd like to make:

- It is true that one can better learn how to use the touchscreen to navigate web pages. But it's also true that the touchscreen is often too inaccurate for touch typing.

- The softkeyboard buffering is horrible. Perhaps one of the commercial keyboards would help. Android 2.1 is supposed to have a significantly better keyboard. Hopefully Entourage will deploy 2.1 in the near future.

- Power management is completely broken. It simply doesn't have a real sleep state. At best, it can turn off the LCD backlight- but that's not enough. Entourage really needs to resolve that issue ASAP.

A big problem I have with returning the device is that I'm now actually _using_ it. I have to admit that the web browsing experience outright sucks (especially compared to an iPad). However, having a large LCD screen next to that big eink screen is turns out to be _tremendously_ useful. Here's what I'm doing with it:

I've installed a Chinese language textbook in PDF format into both the ereader and Docs to Go. This way I can read the textbook either on the LCD screen or the eink screen. The textbook uses some color coding for grammar elements, so being able to see color is - at times - really useful. Also, since I've got the textbook displayed on the LCD, I have the eink screen free for notes. This lets me practice character writing without burning through paper! I think I've destroyed whole forests practicing my character writing while going through the language program. With the Edge, no more! And no more carrying heavy notebooks. Instead, I carry a heavy Edge. D'oh!

Next, I installed mp3s of the language audio supplement for the textbook. Now I have the textbook, a notebook, and all the audio supplements in one device. That's *really* useful! My only complaint is that an audio control isn't available in the top menu bar so I could load other programs (like Docs to Go) while simultaneously reading the textook in color. I can read it on the eink screen and control the audio player from the LCD screen though.

Other uses are more mundane... mostly just loading PDFs of various studies and academic reports. That eink screen is simply gorgeous.

I'm leaning toward keeping the Edge now.

borisb
04-27-2010, 06:13 PM
A true sleep state is in the works, as is an Android 2.x update. The latter enTourage has said within the next few months.

maynard
04-27-2010, 06:19 PM
Do you think that the LCD screen accuracy issues could be helped with updated software? Or would the Edge need an upgrade to a capacitive touchscreen?

borisb
04-27-2010, 06:22 PM
The first patch helped with some issues like scroll vs. clicking sensitivity. I haven't seen anything to say enTourage can or cannot do anything about the accuracy. Certainly a stylus is 100% accurate, although some users still experience the screen "jumping" suddenly when they just tap. Not sure if this is a resistive screen issue or not, but certainly my cell phone, which has a resistive screen, doesn't have these jump issues (i.e., it's pretty accurate with just a finger).

maynard
04-27-2010, 07:38 PM
That's interesting. One thing I note is that when using the touch keyboard, the screen often recognizes the wrong key even with a clean button press. And when making menu selections, sometimes it recognizes the wrong menu item.

As you point out, however, when used with a stylus the LCD screen is reasonably accurate. Also, many point of sale terminals with resistive touch screens don't have this problem. Perhaps it can be resolved with new software.

What did this latest update do? When I first received the Edge last week I updated. Then I notice last weekend that a new update was available so I installed it. Never saw any release notes though.

Dellaster
04-27-2010, 07:54 PM
I have no disagreement with maynard's assessment. I think we just differ somewhat in what's most important to us, individually. For example: the keyboard was never going to be anything but hunt-n-peck for me -- I touch type with the Dvorak layout so an external keyboard is a must, regardless -- so I probably won't even notice if enTourage improves it.

No question, the LCD touch interface needs work. Even with the stylus I can get that screen jump, and that's unacceptable. I would say this is the issue that most bothers me about the eDGe. I'm trusting that enTourage will iron out that problem. I don't think it's due to Android 1.6 or the resistive touchscreen, so the ball is in their court.

On the other hand I'm delighted with the e-ink screen half and I'm not sure I can go back after experiencing the way it can interact with things on the LCD half. Just need to allow landscape mode. Please.

I'm well-enough satisfied with mine, but I completely understand how it might not be satisfactory for someone else.

borisb
04-28-2010, 09:53 AM
Maynard - The April 20th patch fixed problems people were having with registering their eDGe.

Dellaster - very well put!

sonict72
04-29-2010, 11:38 PM
That's interesting. One thing I note is that when using the touch keyboard, the screen often recognizes the wrong key even with a clean button press. And when making menu selections, sometimes it recognizes the wrong menu item.

As you point out, however, when used with a stylus the LCD screen is reasonably accurate. Also, many point of sale terminals with resistive touch screens don't have this problem. Perhaps it can be resolved with new software.

What did this latest update do? When I first received the Edge last week I updated. Then I notice last weekend that a new update was available so I installed it. Never saw any release notes though.

I am glad you are keeping the device. I love mine and you will too. As for the LCD screen, you have to remember that it is a resistive screen. Trying using your finger nail. Once you get used to it, you will find that it is accurate and responsive.

geekraver
05-03-2010, 04:42 PM
Maynard, you can use iAnnotatePDF as a PDF reader that supports annotations on iPad.

sarah11918
05-05-2010, 03:14 PM
Maynard, you can use iAnnotatePDF as a PDF reader that supports annotations on iPad.

I saw iAnnotate and I wondered whether it would compete with the edge on the main features of the e-ink screen, but it looks like it doesn't (yet) for a few reasons:

- One review mentions that you can basically only use the iPad in close proximity to your computer because of the way the app makes use of its own supporting app using shared folders to get your pdfs. You can't transfer pdfs to the device any other way (file transfer, email, download from web) or else they won't have the proper encoding to be able to use the annotation features. It looks like the next version is going to try to do away with the need to use their specific transfer app, but I still can't exactly figure out whether the pdfs are in fact "downloaded" to the iPad or simply "shared" from your computer. Similarly, you can only transfer back to your shared folder, not email or upload anyway. Kind of defeats the purpose if you can't take the iPad out and about or away from the network your laptop is on.

- the pencil tool (meant to be used with your finger, not a stylus) is reported as bulky and inaccurate. One person on the forum mentions that the only way they can really make handwritten notes is to zoom in a lot, write, then zoom back out and it looks OK. That will be fine for some people, but it doesn't lend itself to using the iPad as a journal

- they are having similar problems with being able to annotate pdfs accurately (especially highlighting) with any consistency just like we've been having on the edge because of the way the pdf is processed. Some work great, some not at all. But, all of the pdfs have to be transfered through the secondary app in order to work at all because it's not just a file transfer program; it also writes/encodes/finds (whatever the right action is) metadata that the annotation app can read. Otherwise, every pdf is just like the ones we struggle to highlight accurately on the edge.

I understand it's a first gen product, and the user manual has notes about the limitations of the first version of the app because it was written without access to an iPad, so I'm sure it will get better.

But, right now the two big things seem to be file transfer/management and handwriting. Though there may be improvements coming with the first, it doesn't sound like creating a real handwriting experience (even without recognition) is even on the radar. So it's definitely not a journal substitute, and if the stylus input is important to someone, it doesn't sound like this app will cut it.