Digital Housing Hub - #digihousing

where social housing providers meet to help their residents embrace the web

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Comment by John Popham on July 19, 2014 at 13:42
Swapped my old iPad with my son for his Ubislate £30 tablet. Have to admit the Ubislate is incredibly clunky. But it IS £30
Comment by Matt Nelson on July 24, 2014 at 14:54

John. I've been reading lots of blogs where people have been road testing this tablet. Do you think it is a possible solution for bulk buying and giving out to tenants as part of inclusion?

Comment by Matthew Lowe on July 25, 2014 at 8:58

We purchased one to test out but as you say John quite clunky.  Ours was weeks in coming after placing the order and when it arrived looked pre-used.  I tested it over a couple of days using it in place of my normal smartphone and tablet and found it quite frustrating; i had to download an alternate browser and often the one i did use reset itself when moving from portrait to landscape - very annoying!   But, not bad for £30 i suppose..... as a solution for tenants, possibly, but wouldnt want to use it for any important / detailed transactions....

Comment by Matt Nelson on July 25, 2014 at 10:54

Pretty much what I have been hearing Matt. I might buy one for myself to see first hand.

Comment by John Popham on July 25, 2014 at 11:48

I think the trick with this is to try to forget all the other devices you have used and put yourself in the shoes of someone for whom it would be the only option. I am worried that the clunkiness might put someone off persevering with it. 

Something you need to know to use one effectively:

  • it has its own built-in app store which has an extremely limited apps, but does include Facebook and Gmail. Confusingly, it includes the Skype wifi app (for accessing paid hotspots using Skype credit) but not the actual Skype app;
  • It can load the Google Play Store, but, in my experience and those of many others, you can't actually download any apps from the Store;
  • The best way to download apps not on the built-in store is to install the Amazon app store. This gives access to a much wider range of apps, but not the full panoply.
  • Use Chrome, not the built-in browser which has popup adverts in it.
  • It is very slow, and I have lost patience with it lots of times. I suppose you have to stick with it

Comment by James Lewis on July 25, 2014 at 16:58

I think one perspective is to be amazed it can do anything at all for £30! I have a similar device that I bought a few months back (unbranded) through a daily deals offer for around £33, and its main use for me is as a media device (keep kids happy in back of car) but you can just about do the basics on them. CHS has given a number of similar spec'd devices (with a keyboard case I think) to young people projects to help the residents with their job search and the feedback has been positive from what has filtered through to me.

An important question of course, is if you can get this for £30, what can you expect for maybe £50 for example. The race to to the bottom will throw out some diamonds in the rough I am sure, much as the Moto G has given budget smartphones a kick up the err...  micro-USB port!

It is a sign of hope for more "democratisation" of technology at least...

Comment by James Lewis on July 25, 2014 at 17:01

It might be worth keeping an eye on sites such as XDAdevelopers and Modaco to see if anyone brings out a custom ROM for it that address some of your issues of clunkiness - a lot of people of the site tinker with new launchers too and often claim improved results. Not that some of the people you might target can do either of these of course, but it might be feasible to pimp them up before you distribute!

Comment by Matthew Lowe on July 29, 2014 at 13:42

A better alternative....?

The £70 GoClever Quantum 700M reviewed by Halton Housing Trust maybe.....?

Comment by John Popham on July 29, 2014 at 13:45

Quite possibly. As a few have said, you get what you pay for. That one is more than twice the price of the Ubislate

Comment by James Lewis on July 30, 2014 at 11:03

There are any number of cheap tablets on Amazon at just about every price point from £30, many of them with pretty positive reviews from users. I agree you get what you pay for, up to a point, but I think it's true some are (occasionally well) ahead of the curve and some are behind. Take this one for example which I pciked as first cheap one I saw, with 96 reviews and even the 'most helpful critical review' hardly being a drubbing.

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