Augen Gentouch 78 Portrait Mode Hack For eBook Reading

I acquired one of the cheap Augen Gentouch 78 Android tablets K-Mart is offering - a crazy excursion that made me wonder if the Delorean didn't go over 88 (it really hasn't seemed to change in the last couple of decades since I last went). Anyway, the goal was to acquire an ebook reader and a platform for experimenting with Android as I'm not terribly keen to risk my phone.

There are lots of other people going over the drawbacks of the device, but I try to be a glass-half-full kind of guy. As an e-reader I need to be able to open:

FBReader handles ePub and can handle either orientation.

Using iReader, pdb and chm are covered and they do a good job as you can configure the orientation. The Kindle app works really well in either orientation. vuDroid handles djvu, but doesn't take up the full screen. Still looking for a decent djvu reader.

Pdf is the critical one and that's why I saved it for last. There are several options, including a few that come with. However, as-is, there are problems with all of them. Repligo Reader handles orientation changing, but doesn't go full screen - that seriously affects real-estate and reading experience. Every other one, including Adobe Reader, doesn't handle orientation change. However, I found a quick and easy hack to force the device into portrait mode and act as a serviceable reader.

The trick is to open an app that defaults into portrait mode and then open the pdf from there. In my case, I discovered this by accident while showing off the device at the local Tampa Web Developer Meetup. I opened up RealCalc, a great scientific calculator with rpn for android, and then bounced to the home screen. From there, I opened ES File Explorer and selected my pdf. The Adobe Reader worked well and, especially with reflow, has transformed the Gentouch into a decent device. Still impatient for the update from Augen and the rom from Cyanogen, but it's a more comfortable wait now.

I plan to share more observations about the device - particularly after the Augen update (scheduled for 8/10/2010, or so I hear), but am happy to answer any questions about it.

Comments (Comment Moderation is enabled. Your comment will not appear until approved.)
Amos's Gravatar Would you have any idea how I could run Windows CE on an Augen Gentouch? I am not all that technical, but I have a specific application that I use that runs only on my Windows mobile and would love to be able to use the Augen to do so. I too got the Augen at Kmart and the sales rep said I should have no problem running Win CE 6.1 on it. I am at a loss trying to figure out how to change the OS. Any help or guidance would be most appreciated. TIA!
# Posted By Amos | 8/28/10 7:52 PM
jason olmsted's Gravatar Not sure how (or why) one would put Win CE on the device. Since it is not an open source operating system, you are realistically going to be limited to the hardware that is officially supported and I'm not so sure that includes the Gentouch.

For the most part, I wouldn't trust a sales rep at any store for technical details or even inventory situation (my own adventures at KMart left me with mixed thoughts about their staff).

For technical details about how to get the most with your Gentouch, I'd start here: http://augendev.wikispaces.com/
# Posted By jason olmsted | 8/30/10 10:25 AM
Bored369's Gravatar The full screen problem has a fix; app menu->spare parts-> uncheck 'Compatibility Mode' from what i've read around the net, rebooting should make the app take advantage of the full screen, granted haven't tried it with your app or actually had any app to try it with honestly; just something i read that sounds like would help
# Posted By Bored369 | 9/5/10 1:25 AM
jason olmsted's Gravatar Yep, unchecking "Compatibility Mode" works to solve that problem.

Thanks.
# Posted By jason olmsted | 9/8/10 10:45 PM
Johnny's Gravatar The comment was made such as, "The full screen problem has a fix; app menu->spare parts-> uncheck 'Compatibility Mode' from what i've read around the net, rebooting should make the app take advantage of the full screen, granted haven't tried it with your app or actually had any app to try it with honestly; just something i read that sounds like would help " Where is this app menu with the spare parts at on the Gentouch 78? I could not find anything with compatibility mode.
# Posted By Johnny | 10/23/10 7:50 PM
jason olmsted's Gravatar Admittedly, I've already returned the Gentouch in hopes that something better will come along ... still waiting for the Notion Ink Adam.

Anyway, "Spare Parts" is a developer application, http://developer.android.com/sdk/android-2.1.html. I remember that my Gentouch had it, but, of course, my stock droid does not. If you haven't done anything crazy to your tablet, you ought to have it.
# Posted By jason olmsted | 10/25/10 4:11 PM
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