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Tabletphones vrs Netbooks

by joseluis7696 / November 19, 2013 4:23 AM PST

I travel often and would like to save weight and space by carrying only one communication device, such as the new Huawei Ascend mate tablet/phone. It serves as a smart phone and also as 6.1" tablet with Android 4.1. But I am not sure what limitations I may have. When on travel, I need at least Internet browsing, Email service and Openoffice or equivalent, with printing capability on an external printer and support for external storage such as portable HD or 32 Gb USB stick.
Anybody has experience with this type of device?
Thank you

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Sorry I mean Notebooks, not Netbooks
by joseluis7696 / November 19, 2013 4:24 AM PST

Sorry I posted the wrong title. I want to substitue a Notebook with a tablet phone Ascend Mate.

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Re: tabletphone
by Kees_B Forum moderator / November 19, 2013 5:04 AM PST

If you ever need to type a 100-page report (that's what some people do with OpenOffice) with some pics and graphs in it on a 6" screen without an external keyboard, you might get the idea that it isn't the best device for such a task.


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Could be an eye opener.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 19, 2013 5:28 AM PST

Or least a finger tip numbing device. No one I know would do this.

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100 pages reports are not what I am thinking of
by joseluis7696 / November 19, 2013 7:54 AM PST

Thank you. I agree. And I suppose that carrying an external keyboard (even if it could be connected to the tabletphone) would make the advantage of a single, small device practically vanish. However, It is not such long reports what I would be working on during most of my trips: I mostly travel now for pleasure, but I have to keep an eye on my business even if I am away for a few days. In my case, it is mainly much reading, little writing. The difference between af 200 grams Huawei Mate and a 1500+ grams small netbook + phone is still quite attractive for me. So, apart from the difficulties of working with small touch screens, there are no other important limitations, in your opinion? Do normal office applications run well on Android?
for R. Proffit: Sorry I did not get the meaning of a "finger tip numbing device".

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Do normal office applications run well on Android?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 19, 2013 8:04 AM PST

What are those? We know Microsoft Office isn't there and I continue to find folk buying an android tablet/device then shocked you can't run the apps you do on your PC.

I'll wait for you to tell us what and where these normal office apps are and come from.

As to the finger tip numbing, if I use it for a hour I feel it.

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Google Apps AndrOpen Office could be one
by joseluis7696 / November 19, 2013 11:38 PM PST

Sorry I have no experience on Android and I have no tablet so far. That is why I am asking here about other people experiences with OpenOffice-type apps running on Android. There are a few references on Internet about "forks" and "ports" (whatever these are) to OpenOffice on Android, but I cannot say whether they work acceptably.
With "normal" office applications I meant "Writer" (equivalent, to MS Word), Calc (equivalent to MS Exel) and Impress (equivalent to MS to Powerpoint).

There may be also other solutions like Cloudon, to work on MS office from Android tablets on the "cloud" (but not what I am looking for), In my Nokia Symbian mobile I have QuickOffice, but it is very limited.

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Then I have to write no. Here's why.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 20, 2013 12:35 AM PST

One of the things Word does is to ask for printer metrics so it can give you a WYSIWYG display of how it will come out of the printer. Since Android doesn't have a print subsystem that can be called up for printer metrics then that part of the system doesn't exist and therefore a big part of what folk depend on is missing altogether.

That doesn't stop you from typing in a paper or viewing a document but it could really give someone a really bad day as they copy their document to a PC to print or send it out to print and it comes out awful.

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No good printing could be a problem, yes
by joseluis7696 / November 20, 2013 3:47 AM PST

That could be a drawback. Although printing locally from the Android device is not mandatory when I am on travel, it is something to be taken into account. Looks that those mobile OS are not much prepared for anything outside a smart telephone environment. It is therefore astonishing the huge sucess that tablets have enjoyed so far, as almost all, if not all, are based on Android OS.
Firefox has already shown their own open source OS too, but it is also designed for mobile phones

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Keep in mind that it was not a priority (printed page)
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 20, 2013 3:55 AM PST

And the industry ran amok with how many different printer protocols, metrics and more?

I don't know how long you've been around but not long ago that was solved by using a printer language such as PostScript. And my opinion is that didn't gather enough support for some simple reasons such as it's owners and license costs pushed it out of the market. I'm not opening up the old PostScript debate here but it was a fine example where you didn't have to know the printer metrics to get WYSIWYG.

It was 2009 when we had to select some other mobile platform for some app and today it comes up why we didn't go with Android. Strange but true, Android was not out then.

Android is very new stuff and as you are realizing it's not a PC replacement.

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by Dafydd Forum moderator / November 20, 2013 4:04 AM PST

... Cloudprint be any use here? I haven't used myself.


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Remember I work with students.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 20, 2013 4:35 AM PST
In reply to: Would..

And even today the printed page still is required. So if you edited a paper and the page breaks were off and not shown as you type then what a mess.

CloudPrint? Can't see how that could fix the lack of a printer subsystem.

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More confused than ever
by joseluis7696 / November 20, 2013 4:46 AM PST

I get more and more confused, because I keep asking friends and getting contradictory answers. Last friend (knowledgeable in computing) said the printing issue is solved (no idea how) by WiFi connection between printer and tablets (though he has no experience with phablets), however. I was recommended to check applications on Google Play, but for that I need a tablet to tests things.
I also posted a question about the printing subsystem on this Forum:, because there they suggest several office-like suites.
I will come back when I get some answers, if applicable.
Thank you for all your ideas and answers so far.

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"Printing" is indeed solved.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 20, 2013 4:50 AM PST

I wanted to be very clear about WYSIWYG and page layout. If you can't get the printer metrics, how would you get WYSIWYG?

If you just need printing and can live without WYSIWYG then for you it is solved. But if you handed in a paper with bad layout on the page, you might get it returned or worse, a grade letter less.

How important is that to you?

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Printing is not the main concern
by joseluis7696 / November 20, 2013 6:27 AM PST

Printing WYSIWYG is not my main concern, but it is good to know the limitations. However, nobody seems to pay attention to this problem, not a single comment about this in Google Play. Probably paper prints are too rare these days.

I have revised all the mobile office apps on Google Play There are about a dozen, some free, some to pay) and it looks that all are MS Office-oriented and none supports .odt writer formats (the standard with OpenOffice writer). Now this is a problem, as most of my files are in .odt and not .doc (i.e. I do not use MS office at all and have no MS Office apps installed on my main PC). I file documents as .odt and only convert to .doc when I send files to other people.

Anyway my conclusion is that I will (probably) buy an Android phablet and enter this new world, with its advantages and limitations. I hope that the Android application for OpenOffice will soon be available; there are already some versions around. Perhaps even before end of December, in time for my next trip and on this opportunity I dream of leaving the Notebook at home. You know, I travel with light luggage and the Notebook, chargers, etc. can amount to about 20% of total luggage weight!

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To me, ODT is not a big hurdle.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 20, 2013 6:40 AM PST
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PS. And while I'm here.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 20, 2013 6:44 AM PST
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Andropenoffice 1.3.5 is now available.
by joseluis7696 / November 20, 2013 4:48 PM PST

I confirm that andropenoffice 1.3.5 is now available at GooglePlay, for free. It is a "fork" from Apache OpenOfice, the one I use.

BTW, I found out what a "fork" is: a kind of split or secession from the original developing group, by people that take the original source code and continue developing it in an independent way. This is something legal under the GNU licensing, but one could question the future (and resulting support) of such a smaller, dissident group.

A report I have read was positive, albeit it worked slow on the mobile phone of the person reporting. But the phablet from Huawei has a quadcore processor at 1.5GB (i.e. better than my NB100 Toshiba Notebook) and probably will do better. So I have to try this option. I will begin by installing it on my wife Galaxy Fame smart phone and see what happens, before deciding on the phablet. Hope it does not produce a divorce.

By the way, I am very satisfied with the Apache OpenOffice suit; I have been using it for several years and it does everything I need and more. It supports all the text formats I know and use (doc and docx included). It comes with dozens of dictionaries for almost all languages on earth, some Thesaurus and hyphenation dicts. too. I can even edit PDF files with the "Draw" component. So I do not see the advantage of moving to LibreOffice, as Apache OpenOffice is well established, very stable and continuously updated and supported by a big and active community. And I know where all its buttons are hidden. Or almost.
But it's just my personal opinion.
What are the advantages of Libreoffice that you perceive?

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 20, 2013 10:55 PM PST

But I changed over a year ago and would not be able to compare the two today. However at the time it was mainly due to the reasons widely discussed at the time. Those are in the web, out there and here I found LibreOffice to have the same great price but startup faster and handle Office documents better.

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Want mustard on that?
by Willy / November 20, 2013 11:20 PM PST

The devices is question are overall small, so why even decide, just take both. You really need to decide what is the "PRIMARY NEED" and allow that to help you. Sure, you may find multiple uses and maybe even all, but rarely is one happy 100% once it all said and done. then you'll want the best service provider out there or what maybe better batter batteries or remote power needs, etc., so it may all settle on the best compromise with what is available. It seems you already burden with a printer and ext. storage, so having both may not be a bad idea in the long run.

tada -----Willy Happy

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