In case you haven’t noticed people have been going crazy these days over the $99 HP TouchPad. The only problem? They’ve sold out way too early, and a lot more people would want one. It seems that people don’t care that much about the availability of apps as long as it’s a tablet with a good browser and of course the core apps such as e-mail clients, music players, and so on.


HP TouchPad – The Best Android 4.0 Tablet?

The hardware for the TouchPad is very powerful. It’s a 1.2 Ghz Qualcomm processor, like the one found in HTC Sensation. So as soon as Google open sources Android 4.0 this fall, which will work for both phones and tablets, you can be sure that there will be a stable Android 4.0 ROM on it by Christmas time. ROM developers are already working on porting Android 2.3 to it. And for the $99 price and the high quality of the tablet, you just can’t beat it as an Android tablet. If enough Android fans are buying these tablets right now, I wouldn’t be surprised if, ironically enough, the TouchPad would be one of the most popular Android tablets out there by the end of the year.

Huge Potential in the Low-end

If Google and manufacturers are smart, instead of focusing 100% of their energy on competing with Apple at the $500 level (or worse at $800 level like Motorola did), they should spend at least half of that time making quality $250(or less) tablets.

If you ask most people now, they’d probably tell you they don’t feel the need to spend $500 on a tablet – any tablet – including the iPad. But what about $250 or less? The more the price drops, the more tempting the tablets feel, even to people who weren’t even considering them before.

The Minimum Requirements

Specs are important. They are part of the experience. The faster the processor, the faster your web page will load. But there is such a thing as “good enough”. As long as a tablet is fast enough, say with a 1 Ghz Cortex A8 chip, has a decent resolution, a quality display with good viewing angles (most important part in a tablet) and it’s light enough, they will be good enough for most people who don’t even know that “quad core tablets” already exist.

Manufacturers could invade the market very quickly and this in turn will convince many more developers to make Android tablet apps. Does that mean there shouldn’t be $500 Android tablets anymore? Absolutely not. I, for one, don’t think I’d even be happy with the performance of a Kal-El tablet, and I’m probably going to wait until quad core 2.5 Ghz Transformer tablets appear, and that’s because I want to turn it into a main computer whenever I’ll get one. But that’s just me, and I don’t think most people are like that. As long as the UI moves well enough, web pages load in a reasonable amount of time, and they can read books on them, a 1 Ghz chip will be more than enough for these tablets.

  • Anonymous

    Its less to do with webos on it / apps etc and everything to do with people thinking they will get android ported to it eventually.. its all about the price/deal and potential and less about the tablet itself.. but yes android will win because competition and new devices all the time breads great deals on the older ones and thats where android will win, just like with phones.. apple/ipads only get these deals once a year, android gets em once a month :) choice is good and competition even among android tablets is even better.. apple is not consumer deal friendly, they arent building space ships and making those large margins of money by looking out for you ;)

  • Lucian,

    I think you are right. With how the economy has been the past decade or so people are looking for the most affordable solutions, whether it be tablets or a new car. The point is, even for people where money is no object they are still cautious about their spending and in most cases they just want something that works even if it doesn’t have the most expensive super fast and top of the line specs, that is not always necessary. So yes, affordable Android tablets could very well be the wave of the future, perhaps the very near future.

  • Jon Garrett

    This is a great article but Id like to add my 2 cents.

    The $100 Touch Pad is definitely something worth paying attention to because it does prove that people want a tablet. but at $250-$300 how much would have to be sacrificed to sell tablets at that price and still make a profit?

    If these tablets take a hit on specs then apps wont run well on them and devs might not want to be bothered with them.

    just my 2 cents. :-)

  • BillGunter76

    $100 tablets and people went nuts, the middle class in North America, the majority of the herd is becoming quite frugal and they are going to want tablets. Regardless of the brand people will dub them “Android Tablets” and Google is cool, sure it might not have the brand manipulation of Apple but Google is just plain fucking cool, this makes Android cool. Manufacturers like Asus/Acer, etc.. aren’t cool, they have no brand recognition except as some mystery Asian company. They can put Android devices on any old device, charge $100 and people will love it.. As far as lack of specs, the people buying the $100 tablets are a different crowd, they don’t need top of the line specs, just enough to do the daily tasks….

    Android for the win!

  • Gfacekilla

    Very good point. Just last week I returned the $299 Vizio tablet because I found a NookColor for $99. The Nook was subsequently rooted and overclocked and is awesome. If tablet makers are smart then there will be price cuts across the board or more manufactures throwing in the towel similar to HP. All which is good for us end users and tweekers.

  • Bignumone

    I hate to throw cold water on your Android love fest but…
    I don’t know, those cheap tablet are just plain garbage. People went nuts on the HP because they were buying $300 worth of hardware for $100. There was some actual quality there and people knew it.
    Now the problem is, how do you make a $100 tablet that can turn a profit with $300 in manufacturing costs?
    Why do you think HP was giving them away and shutting down the unit? They could not sell them and make a profit.
    Still, the transformer has my attention. Low priced and feature rich. If they can do it with-out Apple turning around and making a product with the same features, Android will “win”. And so will we, the consumer.

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