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Amazon bottom end tablet Fire 5th Generation

When the sale came up with the $50 tablet (Fire 7) for $35, the cost to benefit equation got a bit skewed. This is a large company branded complete tablet that is getting into the noise on the price point. Consider the $5 Rasberry Pi or the $15 Pine 64 (kickstarter) or the other $9 kickstarter computer project. Time to see what the buzz is all about with tablets.

A decent micro SD card costs just about as much as the tablet. Pre-loading the card with media and stuff means the primary computer needs ex-fat file system support. On Ubuntu, this means “sudo apt-get install exfat-utils exfat-fuse“. This allows plugging a large capacity memory card into the computer and being able to read and write to it.

The exfat file system support is in addition to the MPT support needed if you plug the device into the computer’s USB port. MPT support means “sudo apt-get install mtp-tools mtpfs“.

With exfat and MPT support, you can back up selected Android apps from the cell phone to install them on the tablet. First up, though, is to take a tour through Amazon’s app store and see what’s there. That’s the easiest way to get the ES file manager, for instance. F-Droid will require a download or install from the card. the file manager is a handy way to install from APK backups on the card but you’ll need to get into settings first to allow foreign and alien app installs. From here, you can add the Google ecosystem or your favorite Android apps.

The screen on this tablet is medium sized. It is just big enough to be able to read the online edition of QST or a pdf of letter sized pages. The resolution (600×976) is adequate in that you need very good eyes or a very close examination to see any graininess. Computing capability is sufficient to provide responsive interaction. Cost savings are in such things as no LED flash for the camera, no cell or GPS radios, sensors minimized to just what is needed, and limited memory. The memory is 1 GB RAM and 8 GB flash of which about 5 is available for apps and stuff. You can cover a lot of needs with Amazon’s low budget tablet.

The tablet supports OTG USB access so now I have to install SDRTouch and plug in the DVT dongle to see if I can get that working. That should make for interesting radio spectrum monitoring while out on RV rallies.