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Old 12-01-2009, 12:58 PM   #1
celtica96
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A Brief Review of the SmartQ 5 With Covia Android 1.5 (Build 2009/12/01)

***Now With Photos***

Those of you who read my review of the SmartDevices V7 know that I was not able to get Android to load on that platform. Someone who read the review convinced me to reflash my SmartQ 5 to try the latest release of Android from Covia, the Japanese SmartDevices reseller. You can visit them on the web at www.covia.net. Registered users can download the new firmware from Covia's SmartQ5 forum.

This edition of Android is the Cupcake version and fixes the power management and wifi problems that dogged Covia's September 2009 release in Japan. Build 2009/12/01 is the final version that Covia will release for Cupcake on the Q5. Donut (Android 1.6) and Eclair (2.0) will come later. Are you hungry yet? Read on.

With Android 1.5, the SmartQ 5 is a completely different machine! I feel like Santa came early and changed my Q5 from a lump of coal into a diamond. Before reflashing with Android, I was running Ubuntu Linux (SmartDevices Version 5). Ubuntu is a great OS but it's clearly not designed from the ground up for mobile devices. Android, like the Mer OS, is made specifically for mobile devices. Best of all, Covia Android runs beautifully on the Q5.

With a strong wireless Internet connection and the Q5's 802.11b/g hardware, the Web browser does an excellent job. One of my favorite sites, Chippy's UMPC Portal, loaded so fast (under 8 seconds) that I thought I was using a desktop machine. This was with the Q5 more than 40 feet from my wireless router and in a different room. The down side is that multitouch gestures like pinching don't work. (An alternative, the Android Dolphin Browser, is supposed to fix this but I haven't experimented with it.) Also, the browser won't play YouTube videos. Flash support should come sometime next year. Of course, the Q5's resistive touch screen is not in the same league as the iTouch/iPhone but the 800x480 resolution makes up for it to some extent.

To get the most from the Android experience, you need to set up an Android Market account. If you already have a Gmail account, you can use that username and password. Once set up, the first application I downloaded was FBReader. Then, I went to Project Gutenberg and downloaded an illustrated book and sat back to read. Page scrolling is as simple as a flick of the fingertip. Take that, Amazon Kindle!

The default landscape mode can be changed to portrait by pressing and holding the "Move" hardware key. Doing the same again takes the screen back to landscape mode. Pressing the "+" hardware key takes you back a step and the "-" hardware key takes you to the Android home page.

Other free applications I downloaded from the Android Market include AP Mobile, Last.fm, Talking Clock, USA Today, and Weatherbug. All performed well. Weatherbug, for example, used my current location to provide real-time weather as well as forecasts. (Current location [with your permission] is determined by Android querying the wireless router to which it is connected.) Also, I set up different zip codes to see the weather in other parts of the country, viewed satellite imagery, watched Rachel's WeatherCast video, etc. The video had scratchy audio but that doesn't seem to be the Q5's fault because the feed from Last.fm played well on its one tiny speaker.

Am I glad I downloaded Covia Android for the Q5? You bet. Everything worked well and I was even able to get Android to address my "dead" hardware clock issue by relying on its real-time network. (I also solved this under Ubuntu Linux. See http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...=47223&page=41 and post #605.) The bottom line is that I strongly prefer Covia Android 1.5 to SmartDevice's edition of Ubuntu Linux.

How do you get a hold of a Q5 with Android? SmartDevices is rebranding the Q5 with Android as the 5A. However, this is not the version of Android made by Covia. It will be a SmartDevices port. I hope it will run as well as or better than the Covia Cupcake build but it may not.

The Q5 sells at Eletroworld for $150 and the 5A may be pre-ordered for $200 (plus shipping). Is it worth the extra $50? I don't know. The SmartDevices Android OS is due out on December 4th. If I'm able to get a copy, I'll report back. Right now, Covia has convinced me that Android is the best game in town. A free alternative, the Mer OS, is not yet ready for non-developers. (To learn more about Mer, go to http://wiki.maemo.org/Mer.)

Also, Buyers may want to consider the SmartDevices V7 once the bugs are fixed. Eletroworld is pricing it at $250 plus shipping. For the money you get Android (1.6), Ubuntu Linux (8.04), and Windows CE (6.0). Plus, it has an HDMI port. See my review here: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62831.

***If you liked this brief review, don't forget to pass along some karma!***

***Update 12/03/2009***

Covia Settings for USB
USB OTG works with a Windows 7 laptop.
USB Host works with a basic Windows USB keyboard. However, a special USB adapter is needed.
ADB mode does not work with the above laptop (due to the lack of Windows 7 drivers). I am unable to get ADB to work with an XP laptop either.

Becoming Root
I am not able to establish Root identity.
Covia is very protective of its Android port and won't share the password.
The commands "su -" and "su root" produce the error message: "uid 1#### not allowed to su".

***Update 12/10/2009***
Qhero posts a link below that allows Q5 Covia Android (1.5) users to root their machine. I've tested it and it works. That's awesome--the Q5 and DROID rooted in the same week!
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Last edited by celtica96; 12-10-2009 at 11:50 PM. Reason: Additional Information
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Old 12-01-2009, 01:23 PM   #2
AlanMc
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Hope you will put some photos to let me have a look at it.
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Old 12-01-2009, 06:22 PM   #3
celtica96
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@AlanMc

As per your request, I've added some photos.

Enjoy!
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Old 12-01-2009, 09:58 PM   #4
qhero
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Quote:
Originally Posted by celtica96 View Post
Q5 more than 40 feet from my wireless router and in a different room. The down side is that multitouch gestures like pinching don't work.
There wont be multitouch ability, because smartq is not using Capacitive Touch Panel like iphone or htc hero...etc

Its using Resistive Touch Panel with chip that supports only single touch.

The only advantage of Resistive Touch Panel is .... Lower costs.

----------------------------

BTW , about the Q5A sells at Eletroworld ... its base on covia version , I think.
Because of the same Calibration App found on the photo on its web site.
And I have looked into the Calibration App because I want to port it to Q7.
But I found that it needs the kernel support, and cant just copy paste.

I am sorry if I am wrong...its only my guess.

Last edited by qhero; 12-01-2009 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 12-02-2009, 04:10 PM   #5
kwisatz
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Video playback

Thanks for the review.

What's the video playback performance like under Covia android?

Also, if you can test it, does bluetooth stereo work?
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Old 12-02-2009, 10:36 PM   #6
akd
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Another option to consider and cheaper than the Archos 5 internet Android tablet! Thanks for the review!
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:39 AM   #7
celtica96
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Responses to Your Questions

@qhero

As noted in the review, the Q5 uses a resistive touch screen. You are right that resistive screens lack multi-touch capabilities.

The Dolphin browser is supposed to add multi-touch to capacitive models like the Motorola DROID.

I tried Dolpin on the Q5 yesterday and the DROID briefly this morning. It's got some nice features.

Competition among browsers is a good thing.

---------

The Motorola DROID feels very dense and heavy compared to the Q5! Yet, there's not much difference in actual weight.

The DROID weighs 169 grams and the Q5, 150 grams.

Of course, the quality of the DROID build is far superior but the Q5 actually has the higher-rated battery (2000 mAh vs. 1400 mAh).

It's nice to see the little guy win one of the specs.


@kwisatz

I used the Q5 with PSA's Stream Media Player (0.9.2) to play the MP4 file described here (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62831, post#11).

The playback is watchable but with noticeable frame drops.

The V7 with VLC/Ubuntu does a much better job playing the file than the Q5 with Stream Media Player/Android but the underlying V7 hardware is much faster.

With regard to Bluetooth, I can get the Q5 to pair but not connect with a Gateway P-6831FX laptop.

Under Ubuntu, I am able to get the Q5 to pair and connect.

Sorry, I don't own any Bluetooth stereo devices.


@all
Thanks for reading and sharing your insights!
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:31 PM   #8
qhero
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hi...
I just found out that a user wrote some tools (2 apks) to help using covia version android on smartq 5.
Here is his discription:


1. Q5 Root Enabler - An application allow you to get root access to your device, so you can use more application like the one below and many others like BlueZ etc.

2. Q5 Bluetooth DUN - A program which can make your bluetooth phone work as a modem for connect to the internet.(aka Bluetooth Tethering)

Please visit http://android.gval.biz


If anyone likes the tools, I think its ok to write a letter and say thank you to the author.
BTW, the author say a "Q5 USB Memory Stick Manager" is comming soon.
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Old 12-10-2009, 09:04 PM   #9
celtica96
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Root Enabler Works!

Quote:
Originally Posted by qhero View Post
Q5 Root Enabler - An application allow you to get root access to your device, so you can use more application like the one below and many others like BlueZ etc.
Thanks so much for listing the above.

I downloaded the Q5 Root Enabler and it worked like a charm.

Here's a dose of karma for you....
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Old 03-01-2010, 06:30 PM   #10
redline135
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Looks like there hasn't been much more info on this thread about Android and the SmartQ 5. Is this still a good alternative for the Linux install on the Q5?

Or if there are more threads or sites with information regarding installing Android onto the SmartQ 5 that would be welcome too.

Thanks,

=-=Redline.
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Old 04-08-2010, 06:01 PM   #11
MarCn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qhero View Post
hi...
I just found out that a user wrote some tools (2 apks) to help using covia version android on smartq 5.
Here is his discription:


1. Q5 Root Enabler - An application allow you to get root access to your device seroquel, so you can use more application like the one below and many others acomplia like BlueZ etc.

2. Q5 Bluetooth DUN - A program which can make your bluetooth phone work as a modem for connect to the internet.(aka Bluetooth Tethering)

Please visit http://android.gval.biz


If anyone likes the tools, I think its ok to write a letter and say thank you to the author.
BTW, the author say a "Q5 USB Memory Stick Manager" is comming soon.
Android based Smart Q5 MID spotted

Last edited by MarCn; 04-22-2010 at 12:16 PM.
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