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Ask Slashdot: How to Pimp My Android Tablet?

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the ain't-easy-but-it's-necessary dept.

Android 154

New submitter capsfan100 writes "At Christmas I got an $89 Android tablet by MID. The 7" tablet has sufficient RAM, etc. The battery, however, was rather pathetic out of the box. It's already fading, so we know where this is headed — decent tablet, but it constantly needs the plug. How would you take this 'old' tablet and turn it into a rockin' stereo component? Is there a ROM build out there titled Pimp My Tablet Into An MP3 Player? The current music app can look up lyrics on-line. I'd like to keep that feature. Any ideas on a good app for syncing music videos with my *ahem* random music collection? Any fun, off-beat party apps this middle-aged suburban dad hasn't heard of? Since the Android security nightmare is so well documented, I'd rather not use services that require passwords. I also need top-notch security and monitoring software so I can see what my kids and their friends are doing with it next year when I'm not home while keeping them anonymous and safe on-line. As for my living room stereo system, how best to mount a sleek MP3 tablet? I was thinking velcro, but it would ruin the feel. Maybe a wall-mount arm like my HDTV has? We want to be able to unplug it and move around the room, so I'll need to upgrade the speakers to wireless. Any thoughts there? I'm not afraid of the command line — indeed, I insist on one — but no Gentoo-type projects, thank you. Just a good sleek and secure ROM for optimal tunage with all the top apps the kids are using today."

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Don't forget .. (5, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990889)

Don't forget to ask for a Pony as well!

Re:Don't forget .. (5, Informative)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991939)

The Android-derived tablet he got is horrible! The battery is the least of its problems.

As a rule of thumb, if someone offers you a tablet for Christmas with resistive touch, you shouldn't even open the box and you should try to return it for a full/partial refund as soon as possible. As to the security issues, the article he pointed to talks about apps being "security risks" or "malware" for requesting GPS permissions when they shouldn't (which is really FUD). In any case, since his tablet doesn't have a GPS chip in it, that issue doesn't apply to him.

Also since he doesn't have access to the official Android Market/Google Play, he should just look on the XDA forums, root his device, install Cyanogen on it, and go through the Cyanogen repo for apps. And he should refrain from installing apps from other locations.

His tablet will still be horrible after that, but it should be more bearable. And frankly, I don't think he should be spending any more money on this tablet to try to customize it, spending money on it will just be throwing good money after bad. Even if he resolves the battery issue and the app store issue, and makes a kick ass stereo out of it, the tablet will still need to be rebooted every hour or so.

Next time, he or the person who gave him this tablet should just spend twice the money initially, and just buy an Asus Nexus 7. That one is really good. And he won't even need to root it to do all the things he wants to do with it.

Re:Don't forget .. (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42992093)

Even if he resolves the battery issue and the app store issue, and makes a kick ass stereo out of it...

Well, he'll never be able to make a kickass stereo out of it by adding wireless speakers. There just is not one decent example of these to be had. The best way (IMHO) of building a decent stereo is to find a combination of amplifier and speakers that you like and can afford (not necessarily in that order), and build a simple and stable linux box (for me that implies Slackware, but anything will work, even Fubuntu...) with a *good* (not necessarily expensive) soundcard and a big HDD, and use it to play your flac-encoded music with something like XBMC.

Re:Don't forget .. (3, Interesting)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42992837)

If you aren't a 'music purist', you don't need much nowadays to have a very good sound system. Several years ago I bought a Curtis brand 5.1. dvd system (300 watts) for $60 new. I'm listening to my music on it rigt now, and it sounds great. I could really piss off my neighbors if I cranked it up and pulled out the sock I plug the bass port! All I did was run a wire adaptor (1/8" to two rca jacks) from rhe device playing the Mp3s to the dvd's amp, routing it through an A/B multi-switch from Radio Shack. The 5 little cube speakers sound clearer and better than those huge expensive speakers from 20 years ago, thanks to the powerful tiny magnets that are made so cheaply today.This setup is not anything fancy, but it doesn't need to be, it just has to work and sound good.

The guy with this cheap-o tablet can use the stock player for music outputting and lite internet browsing. It's not even worth going to the trouble of rooting and installing any software to. Leave the electric plugged into it 24/7, and enjoy it as a capable mp3 player.

Re:Don't forget .. (4, Insightful)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about a year and a half ago | (#42992239)

The Android-derived tablet he got is horrible! The battery is the least of its problems.

I think it's pretty obvious that timothy got trolled. The "top-notch security and monitoring" line should have been a giveaway.

Re:Don't forget .. (2)

sdsucks (1161899) | about a year and a half ago | (#42992877)

As to the security issues, the article he pointed to talks about apps being "security risks" or "malware" for requesting GPS permissions when they shouldn't (which is really FUD).

The article mentions a lot more than that - and the issues mentioned are real and potentially (depending one use scenario) very significant.

But beside that point - how is an app requesting location data when it doesn't need it NOT a significant problem? Do you review the code for all apps that request this permission or do you blindly trust them with your location data? Perhaps you just don't care if your device sends your location to others without you wanting it to? Imagine you were in charge of IS at a large enterprise (though size is really irrelevant) - do you think these types of problems are OK for your employees devices?

From a security perspective, it's unacceptable.

Unpimp ze auto (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990901)

Time to unpimp ze auto [youtube.com]

So you're feeling lazy I guess? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990907)

I'm confused why you're asking here. It basically sounds like you're saying: "I've got this whole project but research is a pain in the ass." You listed a bunch of things you want but showed no real effort into figuring it out yourself (saying that trying apps is scary is not research).

Also, why would you trust this group to tell you "safe" things more than any other bunch of random internet yahoos?

Well, of course. (5, Insightful)

TrekkieGod (627867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990931)

I'm confused why you're asking here. It basically sounds like you're saying: "I've got this whole project but research is a pain in the ass." You listed a bunch of things you want but showed no real effort into figuring it out yourself (saying that trying apps is scary is not research).

Also, why would you trust this group to tell you "safe" things more than any other bunch of random internet yahoos?

Why the hell ELSE would you post a question on slashdot?

I don't get people like you. The entire point about of asking a group of people who may be more informed about a subject than you are is to cut down on the amount of research needed by narrowing down the topic to a handful of options. What do you think ask slashdot should be used for?

Re:Well, of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990967)

The point is:

I've research these options A, B and C. A has widget type one, B. has widget type two, and C. has build it yourself widgets. Is anyone using A, B, or C, and can you share your experience? Right now I'm leaning toward B, but think C could be useful, and A has a great price point.

Re:Well, of course. (1)

TrekkieGod (627867) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991207)

The point is:

I've research these options A, B and C. A has widget type one, B. has widget type two, and C. has build it yourself widgets. Is anyone using A, B, or C, and can you share your experience? Right now I'm leaning toward B, but think C could be useful, and A has a great price point.

By the time you've narrowed it down that much, searching for and asking questions in specific forums related to A, B, and C is a far better choice than slashdot. Slashdot is a far more generic location, useful when you're not yet sure even where to start your search, but think there are lots of geeks around who have gone through the process and might help guide you to save you the time they had to spent during their research.

Re: Well, of course. (2)

Xeranar (2029624) | about a year and a half ago | (#42992477)

Every question like that on here has an obvious answer because the other options are ludicrous. This guy asked a great question that may help other /. types with their goals.

Re: Well, of course. (2)

Decker-Mage (782424) | about a year and a half ago | (#42992607)

I consider it a pretty great question as well as one of the recurring options people ask me about is "what if a buy [whatever < $100 tablet]?" What can I do with it rather than spend the big bucks?

I'm really interested in the answers here and I'll be checking in later to get them all. Not for myself, my Great Googley, CM'ed, rooted Nexus 7 suits me fine, thank ye.

Re:Well, of course. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991123)

Agreed. And here's the answer he's looking for.

If you want to pimp your Android, beat it nightly until it's giving BJs for coin. Then beat it some more. Remind it - with a beating - that you want your money rolded, not folded. And don't forget to beat it. A lot. That's pimping, in a nutshell.

Re:Well, of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991887)

Seriously, yo. You saved me the trouble of making a "get off my lawn" type post about this stupid new definition of "to pimp."

Re:Well, of course. (1)

WoOS (28173) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991497)

Why the hell ELSE would you post a question on slashdot?

I think the point of the parent is that the question has this nice, fuzzy "I didn't do my research [lifehacker.com] , please do it for me." feel, which will get you into trouble on any serious forum. One can even see it in the question. It asks: "Any fun, off-beat party apps this middle-aged suburban dad hasn't heard of?" But never lists which apps he has heard of.

The OP also asks for a ROM but never tells us the modell of tablet (except that it is 7'' and from MID, hope they have only one of those). Basically it asks at least two questions where IMHO the only answer a self-respecting nerd seeing the lack of research can give is LMGTFY [lmgtfy.com] :

  1. What custom ROMs are there for my device - Google [google.de] leads in its first entry to xda-developers the ROM source.
  2. What MP3 player apps are there - (ignoring the play store) Google finds [google.de] quite some [google.de]

Mentioning Gentoo in a negative conotation doesn't help either (and no I am not using any beta ROMs either but neither do I compare them to Gentoo).

Re:Well, of course. (4, Informative)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991645)

yeah.. asking for help AFTER showing evidence of trying yourself is one thing. We aren't paid, so the pay off is in personal reward for helping someone who has shown interest and a desire to learn on his own. This article reads like a half assed forum post by someone who wants it fed through a needle and didn't bother reading "How to ask questions the smart way" by ESR. Lazy, lazy, lazy..especially in this era of easy to use search.

http://www.catb.org/esr/faqs/smart-questions.html [catb.org]

Re:Well, of course. (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991941)

"Let's all share our favorite apps!" is always welcome, if you want to branch out from Farmville and Birds.

Granny: My tablet used to be all farmville as far as the eye could see.

Bashing Android tabs is the point of this Ask /. (2)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991977)

"The battery, however, was rather pathetic out of the box." General description that pretends Android doesn't have myriad media player options everywhere. "Since the Android security nightmare is so well documented"

I have three of these $89 tabs. The media play - including Netflix, Pandora, yadda yadda, myriad media formats - is freaking excellent right out of the box and more options are available on Google Play. No Rooting, ROMing or odd nerd skills required - just turn it on, log into your Gmail account and go. Still no Hulu Plus though. Battery life is good and with nonstop use since Christmas is holding up fine. With a 16GB uSDHC added storage is just fine too - the Android 4+ versions they come with natively let you offload almost all of the apps to the SD. Security is not a problem if you're not scanning Russian warez sites for a hacked pirated version of an app you could just buy for a buck, or looking on Google play for apps that are clearly sketchy from people who have only pushed 100 downloads ever.

They're pretty durable too. The kids throw them around, step on them, spill beverages and sometimes throw up on them. I was worried about the ruggedness and got the "extended service" plan, but it looks like that's not going to be a problem.

Pushing these "unreliable, insecure, inadequate Android" tropes in the form of a question isn't really what an Ask Slashdot is for. It's more of a "Mohave Project" or "Get The Facts" sort of thing where you pay for placement of your BS, or at least place it with the usual cNET, ZDNet, RedmondChannelPartners and such and run ads against it for the "Amazingly versatile and universally lauded Windows RT Tablet" that you've got warehouses full of that you can't seem to shift despite hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing.

Re:Bashing Android tabs is the point of this Ask / (1)

Decker-Mage (782424) | about a year and a half ago | (#42992625)

Toddler proof is damned good to know, even if I'll never use that info. Thank you.

Re:Bashing Android tabs is the point of this Ask / (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | about a year and a half ago | (#42992691)

They're pretty durable too. The kids throw them around, step on them, spill beverages and sometimes throw up on them.

Sometimes? Wait, how many times have your kids thrown up on them?

Maybe you should have them put aside the tablet for a sec and get them a bucket.

Re:So you're feeling lazy I guess? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991777)

Tablets are getting to the age where some have issues. I'd like to know what I "could" do with mine. Not how to do something, but what are good ideas for what to do with it. He is a little more specific with some media things he'd like, but it's still mostly a generic request for ideas (and maybe an app or two for his media operation).

Please don't... (5, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990925)

Using your cheap DAC in that tablet to play music is practically a crime, or should be. It's going to sound terrible. There are some decent DACs out there for $99 that can run via Android with some customization. I realize this is more than the cost of your tablet... but seriously man, the sound is world's better.

Re:Please don't... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991027)

Oh, go buy more monster cables.

Re:Please don't... (5, Funny)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991107)

I don't understand posters like you. Have you even tried Monster cables? I was skeptical about them at first, like you but when I hooked up a pair (making sure they were oriented in the right direction) I was blown away by how much better my collection of 128k MP3s sounded.

Re:Please don't... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991445)

I use Monster cables exclusively ever since purchasing a set for my guitar rig. However my tablet still sounds like shit unless I push it through my PC or guitar effect rig to clean up the poor signal quality.

You can pimp a pinto all you want. But it'll still be a shitty beater in the end.

Re:Please don't... (2)

gander666 (723553) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991831)

You can pimp a pinto all you want. But it'll still be a shitty beater in the end.

Funny you should mention the Pinto. In high school a buddy of mine did just that. By the time he was done, he had spent a shit-ton of money, dropped in a Boss 302 motor (from a wrecked Mustang) and he still had a fast piece of shit. Probably could have gotten a real Boss 302 Mustang for what he had into it.

Re:Please don't... (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991469)

(making sure they were oriented in the right direction)

That's right. I too thought Monster Cables were bogus until I arranged them along the earth's ley lines. Now, they totally rock!

The only problem is, the Monster cables and the ley lines have a multiplying effect on the amount of EMF radiation that they emit, which causes genetic mutations, so now I'm growing this silver-covered, foil-like substance around the crown of my head!

But I get kick-ass bass out of my mp3 files.

Re:Please don't... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991935)

So the Russians have you to blame for that meteor last week...

Re:Please don't... (1, Flamebait)

blind biker (1066130) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991191)

This is BS: the great majority of people don't hear any difference between the sound created by a "cheap" DAC or an expensive one.

Besides, the person who posted this Ask Slashdot has probably used headphones with his tablet and is satisfied with the sound quality, otherwise he/she wouldn't have asked this question in the first place.

Re:Please don't... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991403)

He wants a wireless connection to the speakers anyway. What that suggests to me is that he wants to connect a bluetooth receiver to his hi-fi and assuming the cheap tablet actually has bluetooth built-in then the sound will stay digital until it hits the bluetooth receiver and thus the cheap DAC in the tablet won't be an issue. You would then have the issue of diminished audio quality due to the audio compression used by bluetooth, but that is another issue and personally I use bluetooth headphones all the time and I'm happy with the quality.

Re:Please don't... (2)

monkeyhybrid (1677192) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991979)

Exactly.

I have one of these £24 / $36 Logitech Bluetooth audio receivers [amazon.co.uk] connected to my hi-fi and then send audio to it from my tablet, phone or PC. The weak point of the audio feed is then either the DAC in the Logitech device (seems good to me), the analogue RCA cables (again, fine by me), or the Bluetooth A2DP profile. I'm not sure about the specifics any more, but the Bluetooth A2DP profile is more than adequate for my MP3 collection.

Oh, and I use Google Play to host my ~100GB MP3 collection so it is accessible and streamable from any device.

Re:Please don't... (1)

Larryish (1215510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42993101)

I got a Cobalt Tab s700 for Xmas, and use it at work quite a bit.

Found a pair of USB-powered external speakers on sale at Wallyworld; they plug into the tablet's USB port and 3.5mm jack.

Good sound, very loud, and can run for about 2 hours before needing to recharge.

That's a seriously underpowered device (4, Informative)

tlambert (566799) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990929)

It has 200M of RAM available to the system.

Expect that most of it's capability is going to be used in running the display. Here are the stats in case someone else needs to understand how limited it is:

http://www.osnews.com/story/24619/Review_MID_M80003W_Tablet_with_Android_2_2/ [osnews.com]

Re:That's a seriously underpowered device (0)

robthebloke (1308483) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991083)

Why would anyone need more than 640Kb?

Re:That's a seriously underpowered device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42992151)

Why do people continue to caw on this old shit in 2013?
 
Your meme is old and you brought absolutely nothing else to the conversation. Epic fail.

Re:That's a seriously underpowered device (0)

ultrasawblade (2105922) | about a year and a half ago | (#42992233)

-1 Microsoft Shill detected.

Re:That's a seriously underpowered device (4, Informative)

dukeblue219 (212029) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991253)

Wrong device I'm sure. There's an M9000 that was available for $89 this year (that one you linked is from 2011). The newer one has Android 4.0 and 512MB RAM (same as iPad 2, for comparison). No idea if it's any good, but definitely not the same as the M80003 you found.

Re:That's a seriously underpowered device (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42992061)

From the m80003 review:

To show you how impossibly little test this device has gone through, consider that it runs the Android Dialer and Bluetooth services, even if there's no hardware to support these functions. Wasted RAM. The camera app crashes, the browser reports that it's running Mac OS X. Basically, the whole device feels like "it compiles? ship it". For the first time possibly, this meme can be taken quite literally.

The ipad 2/ipad mini may be cursed with only 512MB, but Apple's programmers are at least semi competent.

Re:That's a seriously underpowered device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42993525)

"Apple's programmers are at least semi competent"

You've obviously never used iTunes on Windows.

Re:That's a seriously underpowered device (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991269)

Submitter didn't specify, but I assume it's the M9000, which is Android 4.0, 8GB Flash, 512MB RAM, Capacitive screen. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA1M80E16107

Re:That's a seriously underpowered device (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991363)

The Mid M9000 has a 9" screen, so that isn't the tab in question.

http://7inchtablets.net/reviews/midpad-mid-m9000-review [7inchtablets.net]

Re:That's a seriously underpowered device (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991273)

You can put a bow on a pig, but it'll still be a pig.

Thank you, I now feel much better having paid 11 dollars more for a 1ghz Arnova/Archos 1ghz A10 chip tablet, ICS 4.0, HDMI out tablet that gets maybe 5/6 hours of battery. (If it lasts at least a year it will have been worth it.)

Seriously, your tab's way underpowered for what you want to do. It doesn't get market/playstore, that's a security problem right there since you're forced to get apps not from outside the android playstore. No HDMI/USB port.

Leave it plugged into electric, fill up a 32 gb sdcard with Mp3s and use it as a hard wired mp3 player plugged into your stereo/amplifier. Copy any video files to the card. Then just go and buy a more capable tablet/laptop. Accept that this tablet's best suited for cruising the internet with, and a music player.

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990941)

You require too much things for a poor man $89 Android tablet don't you

recycling (5, Interesting)

SethJohnson (112166) | about a year and a half ago | (#42990979)

Sounds like a trip to the electronics recycler. For all the time you're going to invest into getting some very limited use out of that device, you could just get a decent $300 tablet that will be suited for many uses. Since you're a dad, you know that your time is valuable. More valuable than making this thing marginally more useful so you can save $212.

Put some edutainment apps on their and hand it over to your kids. No need to ruggedize it.

Re:recycling (3, Funny)

sesshomaru (173381) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991131)

Dr. Evil: No, we'll leave them alone and not actually witness them dying, and we'll just assume it all went to plan.

Scott: I have a gun in my room. Give me five seconds, I'll come back and blow their brains out.

Dr. Evil: No Scott.

Dr. Evil: ....you just don't get it, do you?

Re:recycling (3, Interesting)

MangoCats (2757129) | about a year and a half ago | (#42993123)

Normally, I would agree with the one good device trumps four pieces of junk approach, but in the case of 7" tablets, there's a great deal of power in junk. There are a lot of dedicated use scenarios (such as OP's music station) where a junker tablet will do that job quite well, and with the cash you saved from buying a "great" tablet, you can get a Kindle Fire HD for handheld media consumption - still not the ultimate tablet, but great at what it does, and I thought it was a pretty good buy at $249...

Re:recycling (1)

Nexzus (673421) | about a year and a half ago | (#42993573)

Agreed. I bought a cheap Aliexpress 7" tablet and night vision IP camera to use as a baby monitor. Total cost was just north of $100, and it has better quality (video) and can do more (pan/tilt and internet streaming) than the dedicated sets costing thrice the money.

You're aiming too low... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990985)

I'm sure you can ask for more. Just want the best media oriented tablet with great security and remote access. You certainly can get much more from a low end android tablet

Where is the option? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42990993)

Where is the moderation option for the actual submission so we can mark it, "-1, stupid fucking question". Imagine an under-powered, garbage $89 tablet running a stereo, keeping kids safe online without passwords while running those scary apps while no parent is around... I mean W. T. F.

Put it in an ipad mini case and sell it? (3, Insightful)

mveloso (325617) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991007)

Try and pass your device on as a broken iPad mini and sell it on craigslist or ebay. That's pretty much the only way to turn that thing into something useful.

You could maybe use it as a picture frame too.

Re:Put it in an ipad mini case and sell it? (1)

MangoCats (2757129) | about a year and a half ago | (#42993107)

I have a couple of these, they make great security camera monitors.

Hard to asnwer (2)

obarthelemy (160321) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991139)

Hard to answer with so few details.

If it's that tablet (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA1M80H28093), the good news is that it has HDMI out, so if your stereo also has HDMI, you can get good sound by wiring the tablet to the stereo. Wireless sound broadly sucks (it goes through bluetooth, which compresses sound a lot); I'd just forget about it. I'm assuming your music collection is accessible via a network share or DLNA. That tablet can access both (ES File explorer and BubbleUPnP respectively). I am not aware of any program to automaticalle DL videos for your music; you're better off doing that from your PC, mot probably.

Thinking of an Android tablet as a Linux PC isn't very useful: Android is a very customized version of Linux, so regular Linux software won't work. And installing a new distro, or even another, tweaked, version of Android requires a skilled hacker to build it specifically for your exact device, which probably won't happen in this case. You're better off combing through the Google PlayStore for apps that suit your needs. You'll find "kid's safety" apps, antiviruses... If you don't enable 3rd-party apps install (thus only get stuff from the playstore), risks of hacking are fairly low. Moreso with an antivirus, especially since most hackers just want to dial for-pay phone numbers, which your tablet can't do anyway. I wouldn't be too worried about viruses, I'd even skip the antivirus in your case because your tablet is not very powerful.

Re:Hard to asnwer (1)

kwark (512736) | about a year and a half ago | (#42992181)

>Thinking of an Android tablet as a Linux PC isn't very useful: Android is a very customized
>version of Linux, so regular Linux software won't work.

"Android" is binary compatible with "Linux". Any static compiled binary for the architecture the tablet is running will work if display output is available. Building dynamic files is a little harder (it's not glibc environment). The hard part to get a generic distribution running is the storage, but if the installed Android environment has ext[234] FS support you can chroot to a full distro. I've been running a debian chroot on all my Android phones so far, at first for openvpn (is now available native), rsync and occasionaly firefox.

Re:Hard to asnwer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42992323)

I've got a 7" Allwinner10 tablet and a 10" Allwinner10 tablet, both were 100$ ish. ( a Visual Land 7" and a Stealth 9.7C)

Both have ubuntu as well as android on them. In fact, ubuntu on both run out of a partitioned "sdcard" (that nand that's in there, all chopped up it is). chroot into an instant glibc environment. For a desktop I use xvnc and some stupid (ARGH) android VNC viewer. Still on the lookout for a properly working X11 server for the things.

None of this matters, since both tables are super pokey with their single core CPU's.

I agree with the above though. Hook the tablet to your Amp via headphone or HDMI, use a DLNA server to host and stream the music (I even set up a shoutcast server to play a randomized largish (2 weeks worth) playlist).

I would recommend using BubbleUPnP as the DLNA client since it will do both DLNA as well as shoutcast/icecast streams.

If you want all that meta-data available to your player, then you need to figure out some way of mounting a network share. Totally possible with the addition of a glibc Linux environment, rather difficult with just Android. I just use sshfs to mount a ssh "share" on a folder in the /sdcard tree and then let the built-in media scanning slurp up all the music metadata it can stand. Android, on the other hand, doesn't do that easily, and if you want to mount any other kind of network share, then you're looking at a bunch of work to get the correct kernel modules built and working... Might as well go with CyanogenMod if it supports your tablet in that case.

You can also get Pandora, Digitally Imported, and several other online music services on that android, allowing for even more variety in available music.

(I did, however, upgrade to a Nexus 10 for daily use.... So I might do this with the 10" tab, and maybe even the same thing with the 7" tab in my car)

I did something similar. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991161)

I did something like this, only I found that the tablet wasn't the best solution for the actual media centre, so instead I built a mythtv box and then download one of the remote control apps. My tablet is now the fanciest TV remote in the world!!

Don't waste your time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991175)

The specs are a joke. I agree as a dad also. Give it to the kids. Slashdot please don't attack me for this link but Best Buy for example has 60+ tablets running ICS probably all with better specs than that tablet. For your security concerns toss Lookout on the tablet and don't download active wallpaper apps from China and take a few seconds before installing any apps to look at the permissions.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olstemplatemapper.jsp?id=pcat17080&type=page&qp=cabcat0500000%23%230%23%232cw~~cpcmcat209000050006%23%230%23%239~~cpcmcat209000050008%23%230%23%231~~f1147||24313030202d20243239392e3939~~q70726f63657373696e6774696d653a3e313930302d30312d3031~~f865||416e64726f6964~~nf1024||416e64726f696420342e302049636520437265616d2053616e6477696368&list=y&nrp=15&sc=abComputerSP&ks=960&usc=abcat0500000&sp=-bestsellingsort+skuid&list=y&iht=n&st=processingtime%3A%3E1900-01-01&gf=y

Does anybody know (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991185)

Where I can find a blacklist with those questionable apps?

Re:Does anybody know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42992935)

Where I can find a blacklist with those questionable apps?

Just download them from playstore or amazon if you can and they should be okay. Some of the 3rd party app sites can't be trusted, apps might have been tampered with and had viruses or malware added to them. There are antivirus programs out there that will scan them for you. Stick with reliable sources when downloading them, if at all possible. If you can't access playstore, get a friend who can to make backups of the apps, and copy them over to a microsdcard and install the apps from the card.

Re:Does anybody know (3, Informative)

Larryish (1215510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42993153)

If you can't access playstore, get a friend who can to make backups of the apps, and copy them over to a microsdcard and install the apps from the card.

THIS.

My wife and I have tablets which will access the Play Store.

Our daughter has a tablet which will not access the Play Store. This was intentional, because we want to vet what she uses on the tablet.

When we have an app that our daughter likes, I use SaveAPK on my tablet to export the apk file and then copy it to her tablet across the network.

It works very well.

Uhhh...$89 tablet? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991189)

The specs are a joke. I agree as a dad also. Give it to the kids. Slashdot please don't attack me for this link but Best Buy for example has 60+ tablets running ICS probably all with better specs than that tablet. For your security concerns toss Lookout on the tablet and don't download active wallpaper apps from China and take a few seconds before installing any apps to look at the permissions.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olstemplatemapper.jsp?id=pcat17080&type=page&qp=cabcat0500000%23%230%23%232cw~~cpcmcat209000050006%23%230%23%239~~cpcmcat209000050008%23%230%23%231~~f1147||24313030202d20243239392e3939~~q70726f63657373696e6774696d653a3e313930302d30312d3031~~f865||416e64726f6964~~nf1024||416e64726f696420342e302049636520437265616d2053616e6477696368&list=y&nrp=15&sc=abComputerSP&ks=960&usc=abcat0500000&sp=-bestsellingsort+skuid&list=y&iht=n&st=processingtime%3A%3E1900-01-01&gf=y

I was thinking... (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991199)

of getting something like this as a second tablet, to do stuff like play videos when I'm using my other tablet. The videos I'm talking about are not movies or such, just talks of one form or another, while making notes on my main tab. It bothers me to hear the battery is dying because to me that would be a real killer. Is it possible to open it up replace the battery and use it as a second tab?

Re:I was thinking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991345)

..or you could use one laptop instead of two tablets.

Re:I was thinking... (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991817)

The laptop sucks for taking notes. Right now I use a laptop and a tablet.

easy. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991221)

1. Murdered out tint over the display
2. Gold spinners
3. Huge wing bolted to the case
4. Light kit
5. Neon running lights
6. Low-pass filter on the audio for thump

I'm sure there's more but that should get you started.

Re:easy. (1)

dr_dank (472072) | about a year and a half ago | (#42992201)

Yo dawg, I heard you like tablets, so I put a tablet in your tablet so you can tablet while you tablet.

Throw it away...or use as remote for XBMC (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991229)

Cannot think of any other options, sorry. If you want a rocking sound system, get a cheap PC and install XBMC. Cannot understand why you think a tablet would be good as your main media sever / player.

Seriously?! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991235)

You can't polish this turd, don't even try. Just throw it away & start over.

Recycle; Buy a Raspberry-Pi if you want control (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991241)

A cheap Android tablet is meant to get you into Android and want to spend more for the next one, not to be useful. You are learning this now.

Android is a "personal tracking OS" - so forget about security. If you ever hook up a gmail account to the device, you are being tracked. If you don't, get used to the cheesy apps pre-installed. Every app that you install has an ulterior motive - that is to get personal data and report back to the vendor. That is how they make money.

If you want logging, do it on your pfSense router. Do not expect that from any Android device.

If you want a cheap device that lets you have control, get a Raspberry Pi and run Debian, though I doubt the audio processing will be very good.

Being anonymous on the internet is extremely hard. Tor is a step, but hardly the whole solution. Being secure on the internet is extremely difficult too, especially for untrained end-users.

Re:Recycle; Buy a Raspberry-Pi if you want control (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42992081)

> A cheap Android tablet is meant to get you into Android and want to spend more for the next one, not to be useful.

Lesson learned. To the Apple Store!

Raspberry Pi (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991271)

Get a Raspberry Pi, run mpd on it, use the tablet as a mounted remote control. I've looked at getting cheap tablets and flush mounting them in walls next to light switches using a build to measure frame to hid the wires but i still use a pi or itx format computer to actually run my stereo, tvs, home automation, etc.

pimping is for idiots (4, Funny)

hb253 (764272) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991283)

Pimp is such an idiotic term to use, I'm sick and tired of it.

But if you insist, I suggest a fur fedora, gaudy mink coat, glass platform shoes, and you must mount the tablet in a late 70's Cadillac with pink padded vinyl roof, V-shaped TV antenna on the trunk, bordello red upholstery, and fringe hung around the windshield.

Plus, you can only use it to listen to the Shaft soundtrack.

Bedazzler? (1)

dbug78 (151961) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991301)

Perhaps some puff paint? Maybe some stickers?

What's with keeping kids safe? (2)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991305)

You want to make this into a music listening device. What do you want to protect kids from? The evils of R'n'B?

Re:What's with keeping kids safe? (2)

cffrost (885375) | about a year and a half ago | (#42992917)

You want to make this into a music listening device. What do you want to protect kids from? The evils of R'n'B?

Maybe he lives in suburban development? In any cultural vacuum, "keeping the kids safe" isn't merely a way for uninspiring parents to interact with their poor offspring — it can be practiced as a completely enveloping way of life. :o)

wm8650 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991325)

If it's a wm8650-based device, check out Uberoid.

Replace the battery (4, Insightful)

Zinho (17895) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991383)

If the biggest problem you have with it is the battery life, then fix the problem - just replace the battery [aliexpress.com] !

Since you're posting to Slashdot I'm going to assume you are willing to do some soldering if you have to.

Invest $15-25 and you can get 2x or 4x the battery life; that tablet only came with 2500 mAh if the other posters here guessed your model correctly.

Make sure the new cell will fit, then have at it!

How to Pimp My Android Tablet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991451)

News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters.

What's to know? (3, Funny)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991531)

You cover it w/a shitload of mylittlepony stickers and your pimped. What else do you need, really?

Re:What's to know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991621)

What he really should do with it, is fix it on the wall in the bathroom, and have a slideshow with porn pictures. I'd say to stream movies instead of pictures, but it's probably too underpowered for that

Too bad it's battery is so weak, you could have hidden it under a friends bed use it to wake him up at random intervals with strange noises.

Re:What's to know? (1)

RubberDogBone (851604) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991719)

Well, I have a cheap Chinese JXD S6600 Android tablet which works ok as a photo gallery display, little more than a glorified digital photo frame.

But. The screen res sucks. It's dim, the colors are something "other than photo realistic" and it does weird scaling and resizing. So this makes porn pics look weird, off-color, and just not very appealing. By comparison, the same images look stunning on a Nexus 7. I've tested this quite a lot.

Perhaps a cheap tablet stuck in a humid bathroom is fine though.

Pathetic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991565)

"pimp" your android tablet? Like that's going to make you feel better about not being able to afford an iPad?

Get a job.

Stupid Post, Good Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991619)

That whole "gimme a chance to control my children - the world so bad"- part is really stupid imho (as ist the idea of running "all that cool" android apps on such device - has it even google play ?). But the basic idea behind is quite interesting, using your android tablet as an high-end remote to control your media playback systems. There are many apps for all types of (new) av-receivers, as well as for popular media centers like xbmc. If you don't have any of those i recommend you buy an old laptop (PIII or better) install the linux-distro of your choice and install the media-player demon which you can control with apps like droidmpd or threempd.

Front end for Amarok perhaps? (1)

See Attached (1269764) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991733)

Put a good sound card in a basic small form factor PC, and run Amarok on it (or some other Music Front end) and figure out how to make it web friendly... That way, you can screw the MID to the coffee table hardwire it in to 120VAC and make that your effective music console. Am assuming the MID can DHCP into your home network? Not really a tablet, but it becomes a quasi-dedicated device as you seek.

Make a wall clock out of it (3, Interesting)

cjb-nc (887319) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991845)

That's what I did with my MID tablet. I wanted a clock that could display NTP-synchronized time. I had an old MID lying around doing nothing. Rooted it. Added NTP software to run over the wifi. Setup the desktop with a big clock app and a smaller 3-day weather app. Stuck velcro to the back and hung it on my cube wall at work, just over my monitors. Just leave it plugged in all the time, as my MID also has under-1hr battery life. Works great.

Wrong way round. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991897)

Find a ROM you like and then find a tablet its been ported to. Universally the stock roms suck asinus phalii.

In the process you exclude tablets whose hardware design is so poor no one is intending to put in the work to port new roms.

What Android security nightmare ? (1)

Pop69 (700500) | about a year and a half ago | (#42991911)

Some damning with faint praise going on there, the only link in the whole thing is to a piece on security FUD

decent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42991971)

"decent tablet, but it constantly needs the plug"
I would toss it in the trash.

NOT “a decent tablet“ (0)

gig (78408) | about a year and a half ago | (#42992039)

Needs to constantly be plugged in, runs viruses, only runs phone apps, has taken up a bunch of your time, and cost 30% of the very best tablet in the world, which gives you 10 hours per day for 2 years of AC-free, weight-free, desk-free computing. How in the fuck is that “a decent tablet?”

Forget local music, use it as a remote. DLNA FTW. (1)

Anonymice (1400397) | about a year and a half ago | (#42992063)

I use my 7" tablet almost exclusively for reading the news & as a remote for my media centre.
Video & CPU intensive stuff slows it to a halt & kills the battery, however it's superb for the less demanding work.

If you enable DLNA on whatever device you store your media on, it will be automatically discoverable on the network & controllable via the tablet.
You can stream music to/from the tablet, or any other DLNA enabled device. It's very straightforward to setup on Windows, Linux & (I would assume) OSX.

For my personal setup, I have an XBMC box connected to my TV & Hi-Fi which I control via Yatse (way better than the official XBMC remote) & 2player.
As well as acting as an XBMC remote, Yatse allows me to organise playlists, browse & preview (album/movie art, reviews, trailers, lyrics, etc.) my entire library & then command my media centre to play it.
2player is just a straightforward DLNA controller, allowing you to play music from the selected source, to the selected destination.

None of this needed any geeky fiddling around or delving into config files. I simply enabled the appropriate network sharing options on my devices & it *just worked*.

Another possible use (1)

CdBee (742846) | about a year and a half ago | (#42992075)

Look up (on Youtube) a MightyCarMods video called 'iPad Dash Install' or similar. they cover installing a tablet into a Double DIN car stereo mount with some widening (a 7 inch tablet would fit a double DIN car stereo mount unextended). If you have a car worth improving this way you can use a tablet to get onscreen album access while driving, extra car gauges (engine temp, mileage, boost, emissions) via OBD-2 interfaces, FM or DAB radio on-the-go cia USB dongles, etc

How to pimp Android tablet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42992123)

Throw in garbage. Get iPad.

Don't Pimp It (1)

DFurno2003 (739807) | about a year and a half ago | (#42992185)

Punt it into the trash instead.

Huh? (1)

Sir Holo (531007) | about a year and a half ago | (#42992515)

I'm not even remotely clear on what you are asking for.

Is this some device that you find gives you underwhelming performance, yet you want to configure it to be a mounted, in-home, ultra-secure but child-monitoring, tiny-screened media player?

If that's the case, then you should not waste your valuable time. Just buy a used laptop off of ebay and set it up as a media center. Then you're done!

subsonic.org (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42992589)

Install a media PC somewhere and use the tablet as a remote. Subsonic is *excellent* for this purpose as it allows both streaming to the android device or playing on the media PC (using tablet as remote). Automatically downloads podcasts and allows video viewing also.

Free to try. Donation ware.

My Little Pony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42992897)

It is the only way. Also get a cutie mark tattoo.

I've had a similar recent thought myself (2)

Teknikal69 (1769274) | about a year and a half ago | (#42993283)

I bought myself a cheap 10,000mah portable battery which is flat and basicly the size of a very thin ereader for charging my phone if the powers down but the shape and size got me thinking I know my Sony T1 reader has what's a tiny 1000mah battery and yet lasts a month or so, so what if I could alter the case and put this 10,000 mah into it. I'm thinking it would last at least a year between charges, it also has me wondering why no manufacturer has put a really big battery in one, maybe there is a flaw in my thinking. It's something I'm not likely to try however although if I had a 3d printer or something it could probably be done quite well.

dsploit (1)

p0p0 (1841106) | about a year and a half ago | (#42993461)

Install "dsploit" and mess around with your friends and family. It allows for changing all the image in someones browser with a specified image, and you can do the same with text. Made my friend think she was being haunted by changing her name on Facebook to "you're next" and all her images to scary faces that say things a virus wouldn't know.

And she had no idea because I was on my tablet.
There is also password sniffing and such but I'm not interested in that.

Cat got tongue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42993539)

I got a Pierre Cardin Tablet and it died after a year of mid usage. And nobody offers support for it, only I can find "Oh Pierre Cardin did launched an Android tablet. Kekekekeke!". Tablets are disposable so bad luck if yours are lame like mine. Save for a new one and good luck!

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