Despite being all about Android customization, it took me until this weekend to flash my first ROM. The target was my Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, a tablet that has steadily been approaching complete uselessness in the wake of my iPad 2 and Galaxy S II becoming more and more customized. Flashing a new ROM was the final attempt at finding a use for this thing, and while the flash was successful, I just put the tablet up for sale.
The ROM i chose was one of very few actually available for the 7.0 Plus, but it’s also the only ROM I’ve ever really wanted to try. Paranoid Android has been mentioned on this site several times, and what’s special about it is that it makes it very easy to switch between tablet, phone, and phablet interface modes – even on per-app basis. Phablet mode is what the Nexus 7 runs, a hybrid between tablet mode and phone mode. The ROM itself is Jelly Bean 4.1.2-based.
I was initially impressed by both Paranoid Android and Jelly Bean. It looks nicer than Gingerbread, and the stock interface looks fairly good. The new notifications look good, and the added control the settings give me are very nice. I was particularly happy to see that it does full screen mode properly, by actually removing the status bar instead of just blanking it out while playing videos. Whether that is Jelly Bean or Paranoid Android I don’t know.
So, why am I selling it? Jelly Bean looks good, but that’s frankly the only difference to ICS, Honeycomb, or even Gingerbread. I’m sure the new lock screen impresses those that don’t have a custom one. I can control half the non-sensitive features on my phone from my custom lock screen, so a shortcut to Google Now doesn’t exactly impress me. Speaking of Google Now, it’s…OK, I guess. My self made voice assistant on Gingerbread controls the lighting in my house and reads me information from weather sensors I have inside and outside my apartment, Google Now…googles things… Excuse me for not finding that overly impressive.
The way I see it, every feature that makes Jelly Bean different from Gingerbread is a ripoff from existing third party software. Third party software that is better, in my humble opinion. That leaves you with a good looking OS version that doesn’t actually do anything more than what Android did years ago. That means that all the reasons I listed for being done with Android on tablets are still just as true. I brought the Tab to class with me today and actually tried to use it, but the PDF reader apps on Android are so beyond useless and slow compared to what’s on iOS that the Tab was this close to being chucked out a window. I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that I need to get rid of it and use it to finance an iPad mini. Even though I said I didn’t want one because it’s lacking a digitizer pen, I’m starting to think that having one to complement my iPad 2 might be the way to go. After all, the size and weight of a 7-inch device makes it ideal for a lot of situations where my iPad 2 is too heavy.
Assuming I’m able to sell the Tab for what I want for it here in Norway, an iPad mini might be heading my way soon. Despite all its flaws, it’s a 300 gram iPad, which means it’s a 300 gram way of running the apps I rely on every day.