Onyx T68 6.8″ Android eReader Update Borks Google Play
Onyx has rolled out a new update for their larger ereader, the T68 Lynx, the week before last. There’s been no formal announcement of the update, but a fellow Android ereader devotee tipped me to the news.
The T68 Lynx sports a 6.8″ Pearl E-ink screen and runs Android 4.0 on a 1GHz CPU. It was originally released in June and has been updated a couple times since then. The new update can be installed from the T68; it can be found in the about menu under the settings menu.
I’ve installed the update and after testing it I would strongly urge you not to touch it. The update adds a number of features (as well as a fix for the touchscreen) but not all of the changes are improvements.
Also, I have encountered a serious problem.
Google Play is no longer accessible. Every time I try to open it, it either closes right away or freezes and then closes. According to the changelog, the update is supposed to add a way to manage your Google account (there was no option for this before), and I suspect that something was inadvertently broken instead.
This issue is particularly troubling because I just put my T68 Lynx through a factory reset. I don’t have any apps at all, and now I can’t install them. I am currently waiting on ArtaTech, one of Onyx’s partners, to tell me how to fix this.
Update: After performing a couple factory resets, the problems have been resolved. ( For some weird reason I had to do it twice; the first reset didn’t fix the issue.)
When it comes to the rest of the update, it’s a mixed bag of useful improvements and changes that hurt more than they help. The official changelog is at the end of the post, and while I can’t say that I tested all of it both my source and I noted several changes.
My source reports that his touchscreen now performs better; I never experienced the issues reported by some so I can’t comment. The update adds several apps, including a sketchpad app called Onyx Scribbler and Drive and News apps from Midiapolis.
The update is also supposed to have added improved TTS, but since a recent factory update has deleted the Ivona folder I have no way to test it. There’s also supposed to be a better option for Google accounts, but I (still) can’t find anything which looks remotely like what I would expect on Android.
I can say that I’ve noticed that the icons in the menu bar have been rearranged; the option for the frontlight has been moved to the last position, and as a result I now have to press the more button before I can select it and adjust the frontlight. That was dumb; I need the frontlight more than I need the settings menu. (Also, the minimum setting is still too bright.)
But never mind the annoyances; after playing around with the T68 I have discovered that Onyx has also updated OReader, the stock reading app. I can’t tell you whether the changes were made in this update or an earlier update which I missed, but I have noticed that the design of the app has changed – and not for the better.
The stock reading app used to default to a full screen mode with nothing at the top and only a minimalist progress bar at the bottom, but now screen real estate is wasted on a status bar at the top and bottom of the screen. And I can’t find a way to make them go away, dammit. (To be clear, I used to have the option.)
But on the plus side, OReader is now considerably faster than it was when I reviewed the T68 Lynx in June. it now turns the page nearly as fast as the Paperwhite or the Aura HD. In June it was much slower.
I’m also seeing different options for fonts and other settings. For example, there is a slider bar for bold which I’m pretty sure wasn’t there before. There’s a similar slider bar for adjusting the contrast, but I can’t see that it is having any effect.
All in all, I am really disappointed in this update.
It adds almost nothing which benefits me, while at the same time it ruined the reading app. That last isn’t such a big deal, given that I can install 3rd-party reading apps, but it’s frustrating nonetheless.
- Improved touchscreen
- Improved TTS
- Improved google account management
- Improved search field suggestions
- Mediapolist drive and News Apps adds