What to Do With an Eight Year Old Android Tablet?

What to Do With an Eight Year Old Android Tablet? e-Reading Hardware Tips and Tricks I have been covering Android tablets on this blog since the very beginning. I wrote about the first pretty awful Pandigital tablets when they were still locked down as ereaders, and chronicled cheap Android tablets as new models gradually got better.

I reported on the launch of the first Kindle Fire, and Google's response in 2012 (launching the Nexus tablet, and later allowing cheap Android tablets to ship with Google Play). As a result I have how-to guides for tablets that are no longer supported by their makers, and even for tablets made by companies that no longer exist.

People are still reading those old posts because they still have those older tablets. I even get emails from people with questions about those older tablets, which is why I was only slightly surprised to get two emails in two days about one of the original Pandigital Android tablets from 2010.

Both tablet owners asked me for the copy of the update file I used to have. It somehow got lost, so I can't help them, but I thought that responding to their request on the blog might help other owners of old Android tablets.

Here's one of the emails I got:

7.5 years ago my husband bought me the PanDigital e-reader black model R70E200. I tried to set it up but was having issues getting content from the Kobo bookstore so just left it for the summer as I had plenty of paperbacks to get through.

Aside from an attempt a few years ago the never-used reader has sat in a drawer ever since. I would really like to get this thing going. It seems Pan Digital is no longer around and I think I need to update everything on it. I came across your article from Dec. 11: New Update for Pandigital Novel (Black 7?) Adds Android Market and thought I might start with that but when I clicked on the Dat link it just took me to your About me page. I know this unit is old but I am sure it could be functional.

Some of the issues are: I get security certificate warnings constantly every time I try and open a webpage; I get an "Oops" message when I try to open the Kobo bookstore; when opening Fb (which I deleted when I reset to factory defaults) no content would load, just the top menu bar.

My recommendation is that you buy a new tablet.

I can appreciate the desire to get the most value out of old hardware; I am in fact typing this post on a six plus year old laptop.

But I would not recommend that anyone use a six-year-old Android tablet that they stuck in a drawer years ago. For starters, it's running software that is so old that it may no longer be compatible with existing services.

The above quoted email explains a few of the possible problems, and other issues might include simple things like no longer being compatible with Wifi. Seriously, I have an original iPod Touch sitting in a drawer somewhere because it is not compatible with current Wifi security standards.

But even if all the software worked, you should still leave that tablet in the drawer (or better yet, chuck it in the trash).

Edit: A reader pointed out that rules on hazardous waste make it illegal to put an Android tablet in the trash. Instead, maybe you could give it away?

The thing is, you probably put it in the drawer because it was frustrating to use, or because of some similar problem. The tablet is still going to have the same usability issues that bugged you way back when, and you're not going to be any happier with it now. This is why I think it is better to buy a new (or new-ish) tablet rather than reuse the old one. Not only will it perform better, it will have better battery life and other specs.

There are any number of tablets on Amazon in the $50 to $100 price range that offer acceptable performance for the price. My bet is that you will be happier with one of those new tablets than with an old one. They're not great, no, but they are cheap, and they will be a better tablet than whatever you had six or eight years ago.

image by rennes_i via Flickr

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

11 Comments

  1. Mike Cane16 January, 2019

    >or better yet, chuck it in the trash

    That’s illegal in NYC. Keep up!
    https://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/service/4661/electronic-disposal-information

    And, hmph, never thought of devices becoming incompatible with WiFi!

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder16 January, 2019

      Whoops, I forgot about the rules concerning hazardous wastes. I need to go back and suggest a better alternative.

      Reply
  2. Ana16 January, 2019

    Besides, probably that tablet used a long extinct Android version which no longer has a marketplace, so you have to be tech savvy to get the apps you want, if possible at all, quite time consuming even knowing what you need.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder16 January, 2019

      Yes, it’s not always possible to update older versions of the Android Market (trust me, I have tried). That is another reason the software will fail.

      Reply
      1. Hussman16 January, 2019

        Yeah, I love my Nexus 10, but it really bugs me it’s not easy to update it beyond 5.0 (easily)

        Reply
  3. IM16 January, 2019

    If you know someone with the expertise you could ask them if they would try to install a new OS on the device. It’s not always possible, and if it is it’s different and hacky for every device, so you might want to “pay” for the service even if you’re asking a friend. And don’t expect magic. But if it works, it’s better than throwing working hardware away.

    Reply
  4. Pete16 January, 2019

    The 10.1 Amazon Tablet is a real disappointment.
    – All ads.
    – Can’t side load books (they go on there) and I can open them once, then they disappear from view (still there as seen from computer).
    – Can’t put icon I want where I want.

    Not worth the $99

    Reply
  5. Marilynn Byerly16 January, 2019

    Most, if not all, states have a law about recycling rather than throwing electronics in the trash. My city has a recycling site where you can drop them off. And remember that even most coffee machines are electronics. Computer chips are everywhere.

    If you are one of those who gets the newest version every few years, give the older version to someone who would appreciate it like a tech-clueless parent or a charity. I have a local charity that accepts older computers, repairs them, and gives them to people who can’t afford them. The workers learn how to repair computers, machine parts that no longer work are recycled properly, and others gain a computer. A win all around.

    Reply
  6. Apparition16 January, 2019

    A law passed in Pennsylvania a few years ago that requires all stores in the Commonwealth that offer to recycle electronic devices (like Best Buy or Office Depot) to recycle all electronics for free, including large televisions. As a result, stores in Pennsylvania that used to offer electronic recycling simply stopped entirely. Now if you want to recycle electronics in Pennsylvania you generally have to go to a special ewaste depot and pay to have your electronic devices recycled. There’s one or two in every county.

    Anyway, recycling the Android tablet is your best bet.

    Reply
  7. Floyd H Johnson18 January, 2019

    One exception may be if it has an unique feature. I have an older Android that is/was able to control our flat screen TV when our remote failed us. We eventually got a universal remote, but for a few weeks that old Android allowed us to watch TV when we otherwise would not have allowed us to.

    Reply
  8. aus19 January, 2019

    If the tablet has reasonable specs, installing a different OS may be an option.

    I have a Fire HDX 7 from 2013 running Lineage OS 14. It’s actually useful now.

    Reply

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