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Motorola ET1 review: First Look

The ET1 enterprise tablet from Motorola Solutions is very different from all the other Android tablets available as Alan Lu finds out in our hands-on sneak peek.

The Motorola ET1 in hand using the hand strap.

This is essential for the ET1 given Motorola's numerous business-oriented modifications. Files stored on both SD cards and the internal 4GB of memory can be encrypted. Android has been modified to allow battery hot swapping and there's even support for multiple user accounts. Sadly, the latter wasn't working on the demo unit we saw. Due to all the modifications, Android Market won't be available on the ET1, although at least the capacitive touchscreen and operating system felt reasonably responsive.

To make up for this lack of easy access to existing Android apps, Motorola is emphasising the ET1's ability to run HTML5 apps. The company even has its own HTML5 development environment, RhoElements, so companies can develop apps for the ET1 in-house or subcontract the work to a developer.

Apps developed using RhoElements can be deployed as standard Android APK application package files or as special apps that must be run within a secured runtime environment. Although they can be developed to take advantage of the ET1's specific hardware features, they should also run on any HTML5-compatible tablet. The demo unit we saw had a couple of demonstration courier, buildings maintenace and real estate apps installed on it, but they were pretty basic, non-functional proofs of concept rather than actual, working apps.

Motorola will also have its own management utility for remotely locking, wiping and upgrading ET1 tablets although we didn't get a chance to look at this in action.

Motorola is aiming the ET1 at companies and institutions that work in specialised files such as retail, education, construction, health care and logistics/warehouses. Those companies will need deep pockets though the ET1 will have a list price of US$1,595 dropping to around US$1,000 when purchased in bulk.

So what are our first impressions?

Verdict

The Motorola ET1 is like no other tablet with several unique capabilities we haven't seen anywhere else. All of this comes at a price though. Whether it's a price worth paying for your company depends on how frustrated you are with current consumer tablets and how much you'll make use of the ET1's unique features – possibly by committing your own money to developing bespoke apps.

Connectivity: N/A

Display: 1,024 x 600 pixels, 7in

OS: Android 2.3.4

Camera: eight megapixels rear-facing, forward-facing camera specs not disclosed

GPS: non-assisted

Processor: 1GHz dual core processor

RAM: 1GB

Bluetooth: v2.1 + EDR

Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n

Storage:4GB internal

Ports: 1 x micro USB2, 1 x micro HDMI, 1 x dock connector

Slots: 1 x micro SDHC

Dimensions: 224 x 25 x 131 mm (WxDxH)

Weight: 630g

Battery: Lithium Ion 4620 mAh

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