A couple of months ago, I was asked what I wanted for Christmas. I had only one thing on my wishlist, a tablet. Basically I wanted something that I could use to be mobile and not have to worry about lugging around a laptop. For a while now, I’ve been using my IPod Touch to fulfill the requirement. Yet, I really wanted a bigger screen with more capabilities. My IPod, which is a second generation, has been showing it’s age for a while now. I managed to work around things, including having to work in plain text and email myself any updates to the books because I couldn’t Dropbox them.

My requirements were pretty basic:

  1. Stay within a budget of less than $250.
  2. A known brand.
  3. The ability to store files on a MicroSD card.
  4. 16 to 32 GB of internal storage (My IPod has 16GB).
  5. A processor that would be compatible with most apps. Quad core, if possible since my desktop has that .
  6. A decent size screen of 8 inches or above with decent resolution.
  7. Added bonus – decent camera.

My idea was a Samsung 10.1, but that was way out of my budget. The 8 inch version barely fit it. I also really wanted an SD card to go with the tablet to help requirement #3. I finally chose an ASUS Memo Pad 8 after learning they co-developed the Google Nexus with Google. The Memo Pad fit all my requirements (even the camera part) and it was made by a brand that has been the heart of my last two desktop computers.

There are several reviews of the tablet out there, so I’m not going to beat a dead horse.  One thing I will say though is that there is a lot of pre-installed apps by both Asus and Google. So far I’ve disabled 13 of them.  Probably can and will disable a few more.

Android Olive Office Screenshot

Screen shot of Olive Office on an ASUS Memo Pad 8.

One of the things I really wanted to do with the tablet is write my books and use Dropbox to keep myself in sync by importing and exporting into Scrivener. Well, that’s where my interesting adventure began. I went through app after app looking for something that would do RTF or Scrivener’s version of a Word Doc, which for some reason on my computer was still RTF even when I told it to use Word for exporting (Tools->Options->Import/Export and then click the box that says use Microsoft Word or Open Office for doc and docx conversions.). There were a few that worked, but they either had clunky interfaces or tiny buttons. So I switched to docx format. I found a few apps that handled this, but I was uncomfortable with purchasing them because really I was going to be paying for more than I needed since I wasn’t even thinking about doing Excel or Powerpoint just to receive a feature I needed (the docx support) or I was paying for something that hadn’t been developed in what looked like 2 years.

I finally came across Olive Office Premium. It had everything I wanted and something I totally didn’t expect.  When I zoom in, it actually enlarges the fonts and makes the words wrap to fit the screen.  I don’t remember seeing that on the other apps that I tried.

I’m actually excited and thrilled by both the tablet and the app. I can’t believe that I spent hours at a time on the IPod, working on the books and making progress, especially when I hold up next to the tablet and am reminded of how small it really is.