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Old January 3rd, 2012, 12:39 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Skypad Alpha 2 hands on review



Caffeine Mark Score - 4853
Quadrant Score - 1693
NenaMark1 Score - 52FPS

So this is the next level in the Skytex Alpha line. I was surprised to see a new pad so soon after the release of the original Alpha, but was not disappointing.
Skytex listened to what it's customers were saying and came up with a nice successor in the Alpha 2. Let's start with the specs. A faster Cortex A8 bundled with the Mali 400MP graphics processor. This is a big deal if you are into gaming. With the Mali and a faster A8 the Alpha 2 handles some newer game Surprisingly well, GTA 3 anyone? Now this will not take the place of a Tegra 2 1GB tablet, but within this price range it is a more than respectable showing.



Start with the full specs:

Screen

Type: 7" (diagonal) color LCD Display
Resolution: 800x480 WVGA
Touch type: Capacitive with 5-points of touch

CPU
1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A8

GPU
Mali-400MP

Memory
512MB RAM

Storage
4GB Internal microSD Card support (up to 32GB)

Wireless
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n

I/O
mini USB OTG 2.0 port
micro SD card slot
3.5mm Earphone Jack
HDMI 1.4 out
.3MP front-facing camera

Power
Voltage: 100~240VAC, 50/60Hz
Battery: 3000mAh Rechargeable Li-Polymer

The case is a much sleeker and lighter design. Skytex took the issue people had with port placement wand went with all the ports on the right hand side, Speaker, Microsd, Earphones, Mini USB OTG, HDMI out, Power, and Mic. They have placed the power button on the top right corner, and added hard buttons for volume up and down. The Back, Home, and Menu are on the front right face and are the soft sensor type button, ala Coby Kyros. This design has my one and only pet peeve. When holding the Alpha 2 in portrait mode with both hands the speaker is covered by my hand. Not a huge issue except in games. The speaker itself is very good for watching movies or gaming. They have given up Bluetooth in favor of HDMI out which in my opinion is the best trade they could have made. Bluetooth is a very nice feature, but the quality of the new HDMI out is great. Add a 32GB Class 4 or better and you have a killer little media player.

The capacitive touch screen is very responsive. With the factory protector on, which is about twice as thick as a normal screen protector, the pad suffered no response issues. I had read some "pre complaints" that it was "only 5 point touch". Seriously? Unless you are a direct descendant of Tom Thumb there is no way a 10 point touch could even be useful on a 7" inch pad.

As with many pads it does not come with Android Market installed. Now for anyone who thinks this is a bad thing, many tablets do not. And they don't to save you the consumer money. No licensing fees, no additional cost to us. That being said there is a misconception that not having it is the same as not being able to use it. Pretty much anything that says Android OS can run Market with a few minutes of your time. And your tablet does not have to be rooted.

The Alpha 2 comes with the alternative 1 Mobile Market. This is not Getjar, Slide-me or any of the other semi market places. 1 Mobile is a serious market contender with access to Netflix, Flash, Skype to name a couple. I have not yet not found the app I was looking for. But if you combine this with something like Amazon App Store you have all the bases covered. Personally I think whoever suggested hooking up with 1 Mobile was a genius.



Speaking of apps, like the original Alph, the Alpha 2 comes with a bare bones install. This is good for several reason, no bloat slowing the pad down, you control what you want/don't want. It comes with your basic media player, file browser, email app. One other nice little app is Recipes, a recipe search engine that actually works. You can type in what ingredients you have, or look for specific recipes.

Which brings me to my next "feature". While I cannot say it will remain this way, my tablet came with full root access already in place. Skytex has always supported the mod community if this remains the standard I think the mod community will begin to support Skytex. Within 10 minutes of opening the box I had all my favorite tweaks and managers installed and running. No rebooting, adb pushing, downloading, or hacking. Just go. Nice.

The quality of the mic is much better than the original Alpha and in lower light camera works very well. This is another point that should be brought up. Unless you order a tablet that has cameras on both sides, the camera is not intended for taking stills or making home movies. You can try but these are basic web cams for apps like Facebook, Skype, Fling.

I tried the latest release of Netflix, and like people are reporting on other tablets the audio is a little out of sync. I will try some older version, which as been reported to fix it.

Wifi is actually better than a lot of my pads. I don't get quite as high of KBS transfer as some others, but the connection is rock solid, If I am getting 2 bars, it doesn't waver or bounce.

Another new feature is the Skytex will now charge off of USB as well. It took about 5 hours off to get a full charge, when it is on with Wifi off it continues to charge, with WiFi on it seems to just hold it steady, which is about average. With A USB cable and a car USB charger you would be good to go.

The tablet comes with your basics, a charger, headphones (surprisingly good sounding) and a USB cable.

Overall it is a fast and responsive mid range tablet, a very nice sophomore effort. I can personally see me going one brand if the line continues to expand. Many of the features are direct from customer input like HDMI, USB Charge, and the capacitive screen.

Another feature I am looking forward to the announce Ice Cream Sandwich OS coming for the Alpha 2. The new firmware flash is pretty simple and painless compared to the original Alpha.

Pros
Competitive pricing
Capacitive Touchscreen
HDMI out
New Slimmer Design
Good Market Alternative
USB Charge

Cons
Speaker placement is the only real complaint I have that isn't aesthetic over function

I would deduct points for the speaker actually, but the GPU and being pre-rooted more than make up for it. At this price range with this performance it's a great choice.

I would like to note, when I rate a product it is always within class. I do not compare apples to oranges. If you buy a resistive screen device and complain it is not as nice as capacitive, well yes, but you new it didn't have capacitive when you bought it so it should not be a complaint. If you bought a single core tablets and complained it could not perform as well as a dual core with twice the memory, I would like to know what planet you have visited where it could, and do they ship intergalactic?

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Old January 3rd, 2012, 08:18 AM   #2 (permalink)
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What exactly is "1 Mobile Market"? Never heard of it, not Chinese is it then?
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Old January 3rd, 2012, 10:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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What exactly is "1 Mobile Market"? Never heard of it, not Chinese is it then?

No not at all. It actually has apps, LOL. It is just a good Market alternative, keeps a list of your apps, tracks updates. One wish would be a way to keep and app list across multiple devices.
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Old January 3rd, 2012, 06:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The Processor is overclockable. I tried Overclock Widget and SetCPU, stayed stable @ 1.2. But When running Benchmarks Wifi Had issues when running SetCPU, might try different governors.

Quadrant - 1995
CaffeineMark - 5450
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Old January 7th, 2012, 04:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Now testing the ICS beta for the Alpha 2. pretty sweet so far.
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Old February 14th, 2012, 01:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Just an update. There is going to be a big sale on Groupon for the tablets starting tomorrow. Tipstir over on Android Tablet Zone is currently tweaking a killer mod for these.

I can;t say what the groupon price is going to be but it is a steal for what this pad has to offer. I have been told the company discount isn't as good.
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Old February 15th, 2012, 10:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Sale is on Groupon right now $125 + $5 SH.
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Old February 23rd, 2012, 09:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Better than my ecost $128 + shipping. Initial reaction: this thing rocks! Downloads from 1 Mobile are slower than molasses though.
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Old February 24th, 2012, 11:28 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Argh! It appears that MacMall sold 230 of these on Ebay for $99 apiece w/free shipping.
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Old February 27th, 2012, 06:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Rabid1 View Post
Now testing the ICS beta for the Alpha 2. pretty sweet so far.
Can you share the download link for ICS?
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Old March 1st, 2012, 09:15 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I got mine yesterday and it is pretty slick.
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Old March 1st, 2012, 07:12 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I got mine two days ago and love it.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 09:28 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Installed Android Market

Got my Alpha 2 in the android market now. Great stuff! Now I can install the things I have been wanting to use. So far now, I am impressed with this tablet.

I have only had the tablet for 2 days now. i installed a 16gig sdcard, and am just starting to figure out what I can do with this thing.
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Old March 5th, 2012, 12:22 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Default problem parsing the package..

I got mine the other day and when i try to download the adobe flash 11, it gave me an error said.,.... problem parsing the package...and can't install....some app are ok to dl and install except this one and a few others... any one know how to fix it..? tks
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Old March 6th, 2012, 11:24 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Cry Skytex: Buyer Beware!

I purchased a Skytex Alpha2 through a groupon deal from Beach Camera. I agree with everything in the review and I think this tablet is an awesome deal for the price.

However, mine came with a malfunctioning SDCARD slot. The pad would read 157MB no matter if there was a card inserted or not. I tried a 4GB MicroSD, a 16GB Class 2 MicroSDHC and a 16GB Class 4 MicroSDHC. I was successful in flashing to the firmware on the Skytex website but it didn't change anything.

Skytex tech support was laughable. Their warranty policy is horrible. They wanted me to send a days-old unit in at my cost for repair without a guarantee of a new replacement. Sorry guys. I will not be playing that game. If I receive a non-working unit, I will get a new replacement cross-shipped or I will not be your customer.

If you buy one of these, hope it works from the factory, you do not want to work with these people. It's too bad, because I liked the tablet. it was solid and very usable, but without sdcard capability, it's worthless to me.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 11:26 AM   #16 (permalink)
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On mine I had the same problem with the market flash. I searched Google for a standalone Adobe Flash apk package. I downloaded and installed it without going through the market. I wish their customer service policies were better I really liked the tablet.
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Old March 6th, 2012, 01:35 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by archivedbyte View Post
On mine I had the same problem with the market flash. I searched Google for a standalone Adobe Flash apk package. I downloaded and installed it without going through the market. I wish their customer service policies were better I really liked the tablet.
thanks for the reply..ok, i am new on this...so when you say dl and installed..
you mean after dl from the desktop, then use the usb cable and transfer the dl to the skypad ?
or do something more...please advise...thanks
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Old March 6th, 2012, 09:08 PM   #18 (permalink)
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"thanks for the reply..ok, i am new on this...so when you say dl and installed..
you mean after dl from the desktop, then use the usb cable and transfer the dl to the skypad ?
or do something more...please advise...thanks"

google for android freeware and go to the freewarelovers website.
Then search for Adobe Flash, you will see toward the bottom version 11.
Click on the drop down and then you can download directly from there.
Use the file browser installed on the skypad and just look for the .apk file and click to install.

Btw, none of this needs to be done from a computer first; all of this can be done directly from the Skypad.

Hope that solves your question.

Btw, I only got one to try out before wrapping it back up as a present. Pretty sure I'll be buying one more for myself next time a deal comes out .
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Old March 6th, 2012, 09:57 PM   #19 (permalink)
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thanks for the detail walk thru....got it ..thanks buddy...also on the sd card issue, i got the same ...it shows the sd card storage has only 1.6gb free...131mb used...and i put in a 32 gb card..!! but when i check the setting/storage/...then it shows the correct amt on the sd card....just wonder ??
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Old March 8th, 2012, 02:44 PM   #20 (permalink)
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The link for Adobe Flash Player 11.1.111.5 seems to be broken at the moment.
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Old March 8th, 2012, 11:47 PM   #21 (permalink)
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The link for Adobe Flash Player 11.1.111.5 seems to be broken at the moment.
try the lower verson...and wait for the update arrive from skypad..
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Old March 10th, 2012, 05:46 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Quote:
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thanks for the detail walk thru....got it ..thanks buddy...also on the sd card issue, i got the same ...it shows the sd card storage has only 1.6gb free...131mb used...and i put in a 32 gb card..!! but when i check the setting/storage/...then it shows the correct amt on the sd card....just wonder ??
Sorry guys haven't been on here for awhile. The reason you see the 1.6 is because the Alpha 2 uses /sdcard on the internal memory so you are seeing the amount of space available on the internal nand. The 32Gb would be under /extsd.
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Old March 10th, 2012, 05:54 PM   #23 (permalink)
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We have a new support forum for Skytex products, particularly the Alpha 2 forward.

It is at Skypad Tablet Zone . We already have a huge WiFi performance tweak. A couple of mods with tweaks, overclocking, and visualizations that have windows installers that come with the windows Android drivers. I am working on wireless versions so you can use ADB over WiFi or ADBWireless , no ADB drivers necessary.

There is a ICS MOD coming. We have had a few people signing up from Sd and a lot of new users.

I have a flashable version of the mod in a full image that you can use the Livesuit tool from Skytex to flash as well.
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Old March 10th, 2012, 06:45 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabid1 View Post
We have a new support forum for Skytex products, particularly the Alpha 2 forward.

It is at Skypad Tablet Zone . We already have a huge WiFi performance tweak. A couple of mods with tweaks, overclocking, and visualizations that have windows installers that come with the windows Android drivers. I am working on wireless versions so you can use ADB over WiFi or ADBWireless , no ADB drivers necessary.

There is a ICS MOD coming. We have had a few people signing up from Sd and a lot of new users.

I have a flashable version of the mod in a full image that you can use the Livesuit tool from Skytex to flash as well.
just a simple question here...try to dl Yelp from the 1mobile market, says..
problem parsing package..i tried it several time, same thing, then i try to dl direct
from the net..same thing...why ??
also, when u go to 1market/my app/, all the apk with the parsing problem will be on there(with a blue dl sign)..how do u delete them??
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Old March 10th, 2012, 06:54 PM   #25 (permalink)
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We already have a huge WiFi performance tweak
Thanks! I've been having a heck of a time staying connected to my D-link DIR-655.
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Old March 10th, 2012, 10:05 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Thanks! I've been having a heck of a time staying connected to my D-link DIR-655.
And on the D link routers I had similar problems but converting my router to DD-WRT fixed a lot of those.
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Old March 15th, 2012, 11:19 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Hey guys if you have or know anybody who purchased the Alpha 2 we have the new mods and a full custom rom based off the stock 2.3.4 and the mods. We need Beta testers so we can go full release. Install is done through the Livesuit software used for the stock firmware flash.

Info Here
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Old March 16th, 2012, 03:13 AM   #28 (permalink)
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STZ won't allow me to log in all of a sudden. It was working fine a couple of days ago...
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Old March 16th, 2012, 01:23 PM   #29 (permalink)
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STZ won't allow me to log in all of a sudden. It was working fine a couple of days ago...

What is the error? Sites up and running. if your user name is the same I will PM the admin. let me know.
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Old March 16th, 2012, 01:43 PM   #30 (permalink)
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The error earlier was "unregisterd username or incorrect password", or something to that effect. Anyhow, this was already fixed so no need to PM the admin. Thanks!
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Old March 17th, 2012, 09:03 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Problem returned. The error message when I try to log in on STZ is:

Quote:
You have specified an incorrect or inactive username, or an invalid password.
Yes, my username is the same.
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Old March 17th, 2012, 11:41 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Problem returned. The error message when I try to log in on STZ is:



Yes, my username is the same.

You aren't using a tablet to log in are you?
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Old March 18th, 2012, 03:11 AM   #33 (permalink)
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No, a PC using FF 11.

OK, cured again! Thanks.
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Old March 23rd, 2012, 10:15 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Any opinions about the 4.0 beta available from Skytex?

SKYTEX - Alpha2 4.0 Beta
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Old March 25th, 2012, 12:42 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Any opinions about the 4.0 beta available from Skytex?

SKYTEX - Alpha2 4.0 Beta

I'm not sold on 4.0 as a whole, to begin with. I don;t see a lot of devs going out of their way to support it when issues are found. Jelly Bean being just around the corner how much will it really get.
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Old March 29th, 2012, 05:28 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Default using other markets

Anyone know how to use the Amazon app market with this device? Amazon wants me to put in my "phone number" for my device to set up one-touch download of an app, but I have no phone number for my alpha 2, since it is wifi only. I'm trying to get a needed app that is not available in the market that is included on the alpha 2.
Thanks in advance for any help you might be able to give.
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Old April 1st, 2012, 02:11 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Default sd card says 157 MB

Quote:
Originally Posted by archivedbyte View Post
I purchased a Skytex Alpha2 through a groupon deal from Beach Camera. I agree with everything in the review and I think this tablet is an awesome deal for the price.

However, mine came with a malfunctioning SDCARD slot. The pad would read 157MB no matter if there was a card inserted or not. I tried a 4GB MicroSD, a 16GB Class 2 MicroSDHC and a 16GB Class 4 MicroSDHC. I was successful in flashing to the firmware on the Skytex website but it didn't change anything.

Skytex tech support was laughable. Their warranty policy is horrible. They wanted me to send a days-old unit in at my cost for repair without a guarantee of a new replacement. Sorry guys. I will not be playing that game. If I receive a non-working unit, I will get a new replacement cross-shipped or I will not be your customer.

If you buy one of these, hope it works from the factory, you do not want to work with these people. It's too bad, because I liked the tablet. it was solid and very usable, but without sdcard capability, it's worthless to me.
i had that problem too .... seems like the sd card needs to be formatted by a linux machine
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Old April 4th, 2012, 11:15 AM   #38 (permalink)
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i had that problem too .... seems like the sd card needs to be formatted by a linux machine
Or simply repartitioned, when your see that 157MB it pretty much says it is a problem with the way a card is setup. One issue is when a card has been formatted on a phone instead of a computer.
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Old April 8th, 2012, 04:23 PM   #39 (permalink)
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If you install the beta 4.0 then google play will install when you look for apps.Atleast mine did
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Old April 8th, 2012, 05:30 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Yup. I noticed that too. Many more apps, and newer versions of some apps that do exist on Mobile1. Plus it seems to understand what apps are already installed better than Mobile1. I recall updating Mobile1 itself while on 2.3, and all my apps disappeared out of the Mobile1 market app. (They were still there; just unknown to Mobile1.)
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Old May 6th, 2012, 08:13 PM   #41 (permalink)
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We have a new support forum for Skytex products, particularly the Alpha 2 forward.

It is at Skypad Tablet Zone .
IIRC, it went down for maintenance on Saturday. Came back up this morning with most STZ posts missing. Now Sunday evening it's showing "site closed".

Do you have any plans for a replacement?
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Old May 21st, 2012, 02:13 AM   #42 (permalink)
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Hi can anyone help me with a touch pad problem for a Transformer Prime please.
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Old May 23rd, 2012, 12:54 AM   #43 (permalink)
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IIRC, it went down for maintenance on Saturday. Came back up this morning with most STZ posts missing. Now Sunday evening it's showing "site closed".
And now SKYPAD TABLET ZONE is back with only 2 placeholder posts. It appears that the devs moved over to android tablet zone instead. For some reason, androidforums is mangling my URL for "android tablet zone.the-talk.net/forum"
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Old August 4th, 2012, 12:09 AM   #44 (permalink)
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Just recieved the alpha 2,how can ipassword protect the downloading of apps by my children?
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Old October 21st, 2012, 04:16 AM   #45 (permalink)
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I just ordered this tablet off of amazon for $94. I am an avid android modder too. Is there a working clockworkmod version for this? I visited atz but they only have a paid custom rom,maybe i was looking at the wrong thing. Anyways is there a way to NOT use livesuite to install custom roms? Has anyone successfuly implementeď init.d on this tablet yet?
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Old October 21st, 2012, 04:18 AM   #46 (permalink)
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Just recieved the alpha 2,how can ipassword protect the downloading of apps by my children?
There is an app on the market for that. Cant remember what it is called at the moment though
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