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The integrated Android tablet on Peloton’s Tread is a mishmash of nonsense that no one would ever approve of for a handheld device. Huge screen, $4,450 price tag, tiny storage, runs Android 10. It makes no sense, and yet I'm charmed by it. Android tablets always feel limited as to what they can accomplish, and the one on the Peleton Tread made this limitation its strength.
I’ve bought and tested Android tablets back from the Samsung Tab S2, and even as they get more advanced there is only so much you can do with them. Plenty of brands want to replace your laptop, or become your easel, but these are promises they simply haven’t kept. While Samsung in particular has made improvements over the years (especially on the Samsung Tab S9 Ultra), for me Android tablets will always be entertainment devices striving to be more.
Yet the Peloton Tread tablet doesn’t strive to be anything more than it is, in fact it actively discourages it. On the Tread’s copious 23.8-inch display you’re all-but locked to the tablet version of the Peloton App. After some sneaking around I managed to get direct access to the 8MP camera, and find a secret web browser. Even within this browser you can’t do much. My dreams of turning the Tread into a walking desk with a bluetooth keyboard, and using the inbuilt camera for Zoom meetings were thwarted. While you can access a few sites, only a handful will let you run video, and there is no chance of launching a Zoom meeting.
Since the Tablet doesn’t have a launcher, in order to get any further functionality you need to sideload one. In theory this opens the enormous tablet up to infinite possibilities but there is a snag. Side-loading on the Peloton Tablet requires quite advanced computer knowledge, and ultimately is more work than the bounty would bring in. Plus it goes against the Peloton terms of service, so doing so may make your network more vulnerable and void support from Peloton. More on that later. Even if side-loading apps onto the Peloton was worth the time, there isn’t enough storage to hold them. Of the 8GB internal memory, 5.17GB is taken up by Peloton’s system leaving close to 3GB to play around with.
Since it runs Android 10 we can assume that Android security updates are no longer supported. Even the best supported Android devices only get five years worth of updates, while most have between two and three. We can assume this tablet is in the later category, which would mean the Tablet is several years behind in Android security patches. Peloton does however have its own Information Security Team so it is doing its due diligence for the app, but anything side-loaded onto the device may leave you at risk. Regardless, running an old version of the operating system, without patches and updates is just so very Android.
Despite these criticisms, the Peloton Tablet is my personal favourite Android tablet because it isn’t trying to be anything other than it is. Peloton infers its own share of unrealistic promises (like that you’ll enjoy cardio), but the tablet experience? It's only promise is that it will run your workouts on the screen. And in that sense, it over delivers - especially in the context of a touch-screen strapped to a treadmill. This severely limited functionality is a fun antithesis of what Android tablets are trying to be, and instead is the embrace of what they by-and-large actually are.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the official views or endorsement of Peloton. The author's exploration of the Peloton Tread tablet's unconventional functionality is a subjective perspective, and users are encouraged to use the device as intended for optimal fitness experiences. Any modifications or side-loading of apps may void warranties and could pose security risks, and we advise users to exercise caution and adhere to Peloton's terms of service.