Augen's Alternate App Store, Firmware Update Fail to Impress

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Last week, Augen issued a firmware update for its $149 GenTouch78 tablet, which was designed to allow USB charging and to provide calibration for the device's terrible touchscreen. In light of its mistaken installation of the Android Market, Augen also posted a copy of the AndAppStore Client, a program which searches an unofficial Android app store. Today, we installed both the firmware update and the AndAppStore client and tried them both out. While they offer some small improvements, we're extremely underwhelmed both with the tablet and the device as a whole.

Firmware Update

We downloaded the 66MB update file from Augen, because it's not available as an OTA (over the air) automatic update and if you didn't visit the support site and click into the "news" section, you wouldn't know it existed. After unzipping the file, we read the instructions which advised us to copy one of the two included folders to our desktop and another to the root (and only the root) of our PC's C drive. After running an update file from the folder on the C drive and following the directions, which called for us to reset the device with a paperclip twice, our update installed without hassle.

The first thing we noticed after rebooting the GenTouch78 was that, with USB connected, the battery icon indicated that the device was charging. However, the device seems to get a lot more juice from its AC adapter, because we tried turning it one with the battery at low charge, and it wouldn't when it was plugged into USB only but would after we attached it to the outlet instead.

The second thing we noticed was the the presence of another app called AndroidCalibrate in the applications folder. Once we tapped it we were presented with a green crosshair icon on top of a black background. We tapped it and it moved to another location. This happened a few times so we could calibrate the screen. After calibrating, the screen seemed a bit more accurate, but required just as much brute force as it had before. In other words, the screen is still terrible and forces you to push really really hard before it will register your touch.

We were able to mount the GenTouch78 as a drive in Windows 7, but it the mounted drive only gave us access to an empty folder named DCIM, which sits somewhere on the device's internal memory. We say "somewhere" because even after we copied a file to that directory, we were unable to find it on the GenTouch78 itself, using the AndExplorer file browser that comes preloaded. We were also unpleasantly suprised to find we could not mount the microSD card we had plugged into the system as a drive on our PC.

Finally, a huge unadvertised benefit of the firmware upgrade is that it includes an ADB driver that allowed us to access the GenTouch78 from Davlik Debug Monitor (part of the Android SDK). This meant that we could finally capture screen shots from the device.

Alternate App Store

Last week, Augen also posted a copy of the AndAppStore Client on its site, which is a good thing because, we also learned that Augen made a mistake when it preloaded Google's Android Market. AndAppStore is a much smaller unofficial marketplace that has a few apps, but doesn't have a lot of the most popular ones. For example,, we were unable to find the Task Killer utility, the Raging Thunder racing game, the Dictionary.com app, or Google Translate. However, we did find Dolphin Browser.

Installing the AndAppStore client app on our GenTouch78 was an extremely difficult and unwieldy process, which involved downloading an APK file from the Augen site (get it here), copying it onto a microSD card from our PC, inserting that microSD card into our GenTouch78 (because we can't mount the SD card while it's in the GenTouch78), and then locating the file in the AndExplorer file browser.

Using the AndAppStore installer was an exercise in futility. Not only was the selection poor, but the UI was a pain. In order to search for something, you have to tap on the search box, then watch as the entire screen is taken over by the on-screen keyboard, type in your query, and then click next. However, rather than showing you the results of your search after you hit the next button, nothing happens. You have to hit the back button to get back to the results page you generated by hitting next. Confused yet?

The list of apps is nothing to write home about and carries no user ratings to help you choose one. When you click through to download an app, you have to tap on its icon in the status bar it after it downloads. You don't have to do this sort-of two step installation process with the Android Market.

Overall, neither the firmware nor the app store has changed our view that the GenTouch78 is too expensive at any price. Its screen is still unresponsive and it provides an incredibly sluggish and frustrating user experience. USB charging and a handful of mostly unknown apps don't change that experience.

Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
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6 comments
  • SureNuff Says:

    I was able to root mine, for what its worth the unit isn't too bad after removing the crap apps. And updating to a real market place app

  • John Q Says:

    I was going to hold out and get one anyway until I saw that they were using the AndApp Store. Insiders know that that's been a joke since Day 1. FAIL.

  • jumpthegun Says:

    for $150 i had to at least try it... it has great potential but augen clearly got ahead of themselves with this device

    too bad that 10" galaxy tab isnt $150 :p


    p.s. anyone able to get their augen rooted? ive tried a few times and it doesnt seem to work, a google device without market is like a car without tires :(

  • Bob Helbig Says:

    I too was disappointed with this unit out of the box. But after downloading the calibration (touching lightly while using the stylus) my unit has a more responsive screen. And I downloaded ADW Launcher so I could download RotateD which now gives me both landscape and portrait capabilities. Now, I'm pretty satisfied with the device.

  • Al Sutton Says:

    Theres a newer version of the AndAppStore client which addresses your UI concerns, you can get it from http://tinyurl.com/aasclient

    As for application selection, yes, we're only at around 1,000 apps compared to Markets 80,000+, but the only thing that will change that is developer support, and that's a chicken and egg problem (developers want to see existing users to make listing the app worthwhile and users want to see apps from developers before they'll regularly use an app store).

    We're working with companies, such as the OEM of the Augen, to increase the number of users developers can reach via AndAppStore (and thus make AndAppStore more attractive to developers), and we welcome all feedback from users and developers which will help us make it more appealing to everyone.

  • Ray Newton Says:

    I returned mine after 10 days. One big problem was the inability to enter airplane mode and the ravenous power consumption. When I looked at what was consuming the power it was almost all the "Cell mode" and there was no way to turn it off. Off course, I tried their tech support, but never had a reply.

    The updates on their web site had non-descriptive names and were poorly documented.

    When I tried to clear my password from Gmail and reset to factory defaults the tablet kept crashing.

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