Out Of Nowhere, The iPad Has A Real Competitor

Oh, it’s not an iPad. Not even close to the smoothness and sleekness of one.

However, consider these points:

1) It’s less than half the price of the least-expensive iPad.
That’s $500 for a 16GB iPad versus less than $200 for something you can stick an SD card into — one up to 32GB!

2) It’s Android — which you can now make your own apps for.
Want a silly app with a picture of your cat meowing just for your own amusement? You can do that.

3) It’s in the price point of a crappy eInk device — yet it combines the features of three of them!
Forget buying a Kindle or a Nook or a Kobo Reader. This can do all three of those!

4) It will be on sale all over the place.
Staples, Target, Office Depot, Best Buy, and many, many other places.

What is this mystery device out of nowhere?

It’s the Pandigital Novel. And a very easy method has been discovered to turn it into a full seven-inch screen Android tablet! No rooting is involved!

Click = huge

This weekend, Nate the Great of The Digital Reader was kind enough to give me a sneak peek of a video he’d done of his modified Pandigital Novel.

My jaw dropped.

There it was doing not only the included Barnes & Noble Nook eBook software, but also the Amazon Kindle software and the Kobo Reader software! This turned it into three eBook devices! But Nate didn’t try Aldiko, so I asked him to. He went and re-did the video with that.

Here are some screensnaps from the original unpublished video:

When I asked him what was involved in rooting the device to do that, he revealed no rooting is necessary! All that’s involved is installing a different device driver and then a new Home launcher! This makes modifying the device just about as easy as it can get for nearly everyone!

This is going to shake up everything.

1) The Pandigital Novel will be on sale in more places than the iPad or even the Archos 7 Home Tablet.

2) The Pandigital Novel is allegedly running Android 2.0 — not the 1.5 the Archos 7 Home Tablet is stuck with.

3) This is the cheapest seven-inch tablet out there, period.

4) The screen’s aspect ratio matches that of the iPad, which makes it better for reading.

What are the downsides? What does a sub-$200 price really mean?

1) It’s a resistive screen.
It simply won’t be as responsive as an iPad.

2) It’s not a very bright screen, like the iPad.
But if you intend to do a lot of reading, this is a plus.

3) It’s not a blazing fast CPU.
The specs haven’t been published, but I suspect this is in the 400-600MHz range. It was originally designed primarily for reading, which doesn’t require a lot of horsepower.

4) It’s limited for video.
Unlike the Archos, this will only do MP4 and 3GP video. It’s unknown yet if this new Android video player software will work — or work well.

5) It will be heavier than most eInk devices.

Apple iPad: 9.56” x 7.47” x 0.5” – 24 oz
Pandigital Novel: 5.5” x 7.5” x 0.5” – 16 oz
Barnes & Noble Nook: 7.7” x 4.9” x 0.5” – 12.1 oz
Sony Reader Touch: 6.9” x 4.8” x 0.4” – 10.1 oz
Archos 7HT: 8” x 4.2” x 0.5” – 13.7 oz
Camangi WebStation: 4.72″ x 7.87″ x 0.57″ – 13.75 oz
Sony Reader Daily: 5″ x 8-1/8″ x 19/32″ – 12.75 oz
Sony Reader Pocket: 6.25” x 4.25” x 13/32” – 7.6 oz
Archos 5IT: 5.64” x 3.10” x 0.4” – 6.4 oz (32GB Flash)
Apple iPod Touch: 4.3” x 2.4” x 0.33” – 4.05 oz

6) There’s no 3G, it’s WiFi-only.
But does that really matter?! Tether or MiFi, if you can.

However, keep this in your mind: it’s a full-blown Android tablet for less than $200 freakin dollars! Where are you going to match that?! Everything else I’ve seen in that price range has been from shady sellers on eBay hawking fall-apart hardware from China. Pandigital is based here in America and has even embarrassed themselves to do the right thing for its customers.

And, oh, here’s how to make an Android app with your kitty meowing:

OK, now are you sold?

This cheap tablet, combined with Google’s new app tool, is really going to make a huge different in the Android eco-system. People will be able to inexpensively see how they should design software for larger-screen devices. And by the time more expensive and more powerful Android tablets arrive, there will already be a library of apps available for them. Apple really should get to work on reviving HyperCard. Why shouldn’t I be allowed to make a personal kitty-meow app for myself?!

Go to The Digital Reader post, see the new video, and download the simple instructions!

Previously here:

Pandigital’s Strange Android Tablet

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