Friday, September 9, 2011

Android FAQ Sheet

Can I use OverDrive?
Yes! There is an OverDrive app for the Android operating system.

Do I need a separate computer to use OverDrive?
No. You will only need to install the OverDrive app. In most cases you will not need to install Adobe Digital Editions (it's already installed), but you will still need to enter an Adobe ID and register the device.

How many books will it hold?
Most Android tablets have a slot for an SD or microSD card, so the number of books it can hold will vary considerably, depending on how much built-in memory is available for user content, and how much memory is on the SD card. For example, The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, is 453KB in the EPUB format, so an Android tablet could hold about 2,207 copies of The Help in 1GB of memory.

How long does the battery last?
Most Android tablets will run for several hours on a single charge, in constant use, depending on what features are in use. Turning off the WiFi and setting the display timeout to one minute instead of one hour will conserve the charge, for example.

Can I read the screen in sunlight?
The LED backlit display gives an effect that is more like a computer monitor than a page in a book, and can be hard to read in strong daylight. However, there are anti-glare screen protectors that can be purchased separately, and the brightness of the display itself can be adjusted from within the reader applications. The background can be changed from white to a pale sepia.

Screen resolution?
Varies. The 10" Acer Iconia A500 pictured here has a screen resolution of 1280x800 pixels.

Size? Weight?
Varies. Right now there are two screen sizes that predominate: 7” and 10”, as measured diagonally. The weight varies as well, but the 10” Android tablets are about as heavy as the iPad (1.3 lbs), and most are heavier.

How large / how many sizes can I make the words display?
There is a choice of seven (7) font sizes in the OverDrive app, as well as font styles and color and brightness settings.

How do you turn the page?
Touch or swipe the screen from right to left to turn to the next page, or from left to right to go to the previous page.

Does it remember my place?
Yes, when you reopen a book you were reading, it opens at the last page you were reading. You can also set bookmarks and go to the beginning of any chapter.

How much does it cost?
Varies. A new 7” tablet from a lesser known brand can be bought for as little as $150, but won’t have access to the full range of Android applications (apps) and won’t have the latest version of the Android operating system. A new 10” tablet such as the Motorola XOOM, WiFi-only, starts at $499, but has the latest Android o/s release, uses the full range of Android features, and is upgradable to the next Android release. The 10" Acer Iconia, pictured here, currently sells for $399 with 16GB of permanent storage and the Android 3.0 o/s.

Do I have to subscribe to a service?
Your choice. The WiFi model works with any wireless network. The WiFi+3G model works with both wireless and with the 3G cellphone network, but you’ll need a contract with a cellphone carrier.

Are the batteries self-replaceable or does it need to be sent in when they die?
The batteries are generally not user-replaceable. If the batteries stop holding a charge, you’ll have to get a factory replacement or discard it and purchase a new tablet.

Can I use it with multiple formats?
Yes. You name it, the Android tablet probably supports it: TXT, PDF, Audible (Audible Enhanced (AA, AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC, HTML, DOC, JPEG, GIF, PNG.

Can it connect to the Internet?
Yes, the Android o/s includes a browser, and there are other browsers available for download.

Can I use it to watch video?
Yes. You can watch YouTube and, depending on the Android version and the manufacturer, you can watch Netflix and Amazon streaming video.

What else does it do?
Almost anything a general purpose notebook computer can do: email, text messaging, web browsing, display maps. If the tablet hardware supports it, and if you subscribe to a 3G service, it can also serve as a GPS. There are apps for the Nook, Sony Reader, and the Kindle, so you can purchase e-books from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Sony’s ebookstore. You can also purchase e-books from a number of other sites like There is an Audible app, to purchase and listen to e-books from You can also borrow and play audiobooks from OverDrive. There are apps to read and create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations that are compatible with Microsoft Office Suite. Articles from our EBSCO subscription databases can be read, whether they are in PDF or HTML format. Some tablets have a true multi-touch screen and the web browser display can be zoomed in and out easily by “pinching” the display with two fingers.

Excellent general purpose computer, in addition to offering a good reading experience.

If you're looking for a general purpose computer, as opposed to a single-purpose e-reader, the choice really comes down to the iPad or an Android tablet. If you've always been a Mac fan, you'll buy an iPad. If you like the iPad but don't want to spend that much, or if you'd like to have the capability to view Flash video, you'll buy an Android tablet.

Where can I get more information?
manufacturers’ websites: Motorola, Samsung, Acer, Asus, etc.

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