I was really excited to get my hands on a new Sony Dash for $70 from Walmart.com. I knew that the Dash, based on the Chumby, was not a super-fast device, sporting a middling resolution screen, a resistivle touch panel, and a wimpy 800MHz Marvel processor. My expectations were for a serviceable clock radio with the added bonus of Facebook and news updates.
But the Dash, well, dashed all hopes of even that.
The Dash, even after a firmware update, was unable to connect to Gmail using the Gmail checker app. It was unable, despite numerous attempts at registration through the Facebook device screen, to connect to my Facebook account.
OK, I thought, so I can't have email or Facebook, at least I can have news and weather, and internet radio.
But there are many other annoyances. Any interaction with the thing takes forever. It doesn't have a light sensor, so to make it to go night mode you have to either program a timer action, or manually hit the night mode button.
Then the dealbreaker. Sony didn't think to have the device save its settings in non-volatile memory. As a result, if you have a power glitch or brownout, the Dash wakes up and then sits there stupidly asking you to choose your wireless network, rather than automatically reconnect.
Which means that on some days, you may wake up late in the morning, wondering why your alarm never went off, to find your high-tech clock radio sitting there with a boot screen.
So it isn't really useful as a social networking device, it isn't really reliable as a clock radio.
Back to Walmart it goes.
Now, the Archos 35 Home looks promising...