Next fashions budget 10in Android tablet
Cheap for a reason
UK clothing retailer Next has quietly begun offering a 10in Android 2.1 tablet.
The £180 gadget packs in 8GB of Flash storage, a 1GHz ARM processor, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi connectivity, one or two USB ports depending on which spec list you read, a Micro SD card slot, and a headphone socket.
The LED-backlit screen is said to be "WXGA", but it's actually 1024 x 600, we understand, and it's resistive, which explains why the tablet is so relatively cheap. So does the three-hour battery life.
A closer look at the shots on the Next site point to a machine very much like this 10in Android 2.1 tablet from Hong Kong-based Yeeway, which is offering the tablet for $153-161 (£96-101) for the 2GB model and probably less if you buy in bulk.
The Yeeway tablet is the same size as the Next one - 270 x 180 x 15mm, according to a spec sent to use by Next. The CPU is a 1GHz LNX Code 11, in case you were wondering, and there's 256MB of DDR 2 memory on board too. The tablet weighs 695g. ®
Since Apple is now a Fashion company ...
... we should not be surprised in the least to see a fashion retailer flogging lookalike products.
I've got one of those.
It is truly, absolutely, biblically horrible. I only bought it for a laugh, so I wasn't too disappointed, but the response from the "touch" screen is completely unusable - inaccurate in position, completely ignoring 50% of pokes, and the view is like looking through a smoked window at a computer in another house.
Still, it's convinced me that Android will work for a tablet, so now I'm just waiting on one with decent hardware.
Had one for a few weeks
You really get whet you pay for here. It is cheap, it is cheerful, but it does one thing wonderfully well. It allows you to dig around and experiemnt with Android in a real world (not SDK) environment. There are plenty of forums and custom ROMS to play with, and you will really get a feel for how Android works and how to 'fettle' it without borking your own prized Android handset. If you look around on Ebay you will seem many 'shanzhai' (Chinese knock offs\cheap imitations) Android tablets out there. I even got a 7 inch Android 2.2 tablet with GPS built in (£150) and now have a large touch-screen sat-nav\media player for the car. The Next device is surprisingly robust for an all plastic shelled device as well!!
Go symbol because you get what you pay for and it gives a bit more once you've scratched the surface.
The updates do vastly improve the accuracy, and they are coming out thick and fast. Yes they rushed it out early - too early - but they are catching up quick and in the meantime we have it in our hands.
OK, so in the UK, can you buy any other 10 inch tablet (iPad excluded) on the high street, right at this point in time? Haven't heard of any other one, so good or bad, cheaply made or not, at least you can buy it now.
It has real usb, an ARM processor, Android, and it costs way less then the iPad. I'd say, until we have better alternatives in the shops, these are all good points. It's a good start. Let's have other options available to choose from, and will talk about it then. In the meanwhile I'm happy at least Next is offering one. The media seems to be full of *planned* devices - but nobody is actually selling them yet.