Using Android on Devices Other Than Phones - dummies

Using Android on Devices Other Than Phones

By Daniel A. Begun

The Android operating system is designed for use in mobile devices, but not all Android devices are mobile phones. The majority of Android devices on the market now are cell phones, but that’s starting to change.

Android tablets are becoming increasingly popular, thanks in part to devices such as the 5-inch Dell Streak and the 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab. Certainly the popularity of Apple’s iPad helped spark some healthy competition on the Android front.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab Android tablet. [Credit: Image furnished by Samsung]
Credit: Image furnished by Samsung
The Samsung Galaxy Tab Android tablet.

As of this writing, the Dell Streak runs Android 1.6 (code-named Donut), the CherryPal CherryPad America (C515) runs Android 2.1 (Éclair), and the Samsung Galaxy Tab runs Android 2.2 (Froyo). The Android operating system won’t be truly optimized to run on tablets until the next version of Android (“Honeycomb”), which is due out sometime in 2011.

The Android OS powers some portable media players as well, such as the popular Archos 7 home tablet. And let’s not forget about e-readers. Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader device also happens to be powered by the Android operating system.

Neither the Archos 7 home tablet nor the Barnes & Noble Nook can access the Android Market. This doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to install Android apps on these devices, but doing so involves more convoluted means or outright hacking the devices beyond the manufacturers’ intent.