Wednesday, April 28, 2010

More iPad challengers: WePad and ZenPad

(Brought over from A Kindle World - Originally there March 23, 2010)
iPad challengers are gathering outside the castle.  Besides the Dell Streak and the Adam by Notion Ink, both described here March 10, there is the amazing-sounding WePad (shouldn't that be "wePad"?)Android device to be released soon in Germany by Neofonie,

 While the iPad will have the Golden Apple clout, the WePad will have an even bigger (11.6") multitouch screen and a faster CPU and promises the following features that are missing in the iPad:
' [It] runs Flash, has USB ports, an inbuilt card reader and expandable memory.  Additionally it allows complete multitasking and has a webcam. '
Neofonie GmbH is a 12-yr old software company that also runs a search engine called WeFind and sells an e-publishing platform by the name of WeMagazine. It makes newspapers and magazines readable on computers and smartphones, and they see as the real business for their WePad tablet PC.  They are planning to undercut the iPad in price.  Supposedly, it's for release fairly soon.  It's not being marketed as an e-book reader, as there's no mention of that, but the chart indicates that the file formats it can read include "all open standards" which would mean, for now, almost no current books with rights-protection (DRM) until they partner with a bookstore or add Adobe's Digital Edition (unless I'm missing something there).
  See the comparison chart on their site.

 And there's a very low-cost one gaining considerable interest - the ZenPad by Enso.  It's only 5" so and, like the far more expensive Dell Streak, it's pocketable.

  Priced at $155 and shipping now, the 800 x 480 Android 1.6 tablet with 8GB of storage (on a replaceable microSD) comes with GPS for an additional $25.   Powered by a 667MHz Samsung 6410 processor, with about six hours of battery life, it has WiFi built-in while an external 3G cellular wireless adapter is just another $35. As Engadget says, "a fully max'd out unit with GPS and 3G would set you back $210 -- plus $25 for shipping."  Engadget also says that commenter 'Raikus' writes that it appears to be a rebrand of the Smit MID-650.
  There's a video at that site of the Smit but the videoclip itself is labeled the 'Archos 7 Home Tablet' while showing what is clearly a "MID-650."

I'm interested in a smaller carry-about device but I'd want to read reviews of it before deciding to plunk down even $155 or $210.  I'm also not interested in an expensive monthly data plan and I already have a great GPS unit.  But we will have a lot to choose from in the next half-year if wanting a portable web tablet.  The idea of carrying something small that does not have 3G wireless becomes strange though.  Makes me appreciate even more the ability to look up web info on the Kindle w/o having to pay for a monthly plan, though there is no colorful pizazz in that.

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