Android tablets are finally starting to gain traction, whether it be for unbelievable specifications, low price tags or a slew of different sizes to choose from. We knew it would happen with time, but it wasn't until the past three months or so that things really started picking up for Android in the tablet sector. And when you think of Android and tablets together, a few come to mind: Samsung Galaxy Tab, Kindle Fire, Motorola XOOM and the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer.
These are the Android tablets that top people's holiday wish lists this year. But there's a problem. Either the tablets don't fit in the budget or they're hard to come by. Take the Kindle Fire, for instance. Amazon has been met with more demand than they ever could have imagined from their 7-inch tablet. Come closer to Christmas, the Kindle Fire will be hard to track down, along with the ASUS Transformer Prime and other discounted tablets.
So what's a person looking for that perfect gift for their loved one to do?
Well, there are ... other tablets. There are tens, maybe even hundreds of different models of Android tablets we've never heard of. They're brought to the market at breakneck pace, without any form of marketing and it's impossible to keeps tabs on all of them. But they do exist.
A perfect example of this is the Pandigital Nova, Planet or SuperNova. They're a family of Android-powered tablets with low-end specifications and no access to Android Market out of box (you have to hack it on, if you want it). Specifically, the 8-inch SuperNova sells for $199.99 and comes with 4GB built-in storage, 512MB RAM, 1.06GHz Samsung S5PV210 Cortex processor and front and rear cameras. It won't be the best tablet money can buy, but it certainly isn't the worst -- it holds a rating of four out of five stars by user reviews on BestBuy.com and three and a half out of five stars on Amazon.com.
As we approach the holidays and new year, more of these will begin to come to market. Coby, for instance, just announced a family of Android 4.0 tablets for 2012. While I obviously can't attest to the quality of the slates, the specifications at least seem reasonable. Price wasn't revealed, but the tablets will come in 7-inch, 8-inch, 9-inch, 9.7-inch and 10-inch models and will feature 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 CPU, 1GB RAM, expandable memory slots and HDMI out. Coby isn't necessarily a lesser-known company, but they are relatively new and unknown to the tablet industry. There are also other brands that have been around for ages that you may not have heard of, like Archos.
My question to you is: if the tablet fits the bill and has decent reviews, would you consider buying it, regardless of brand? Or would you only stick to well-known tablet manufacturers like ASUS, Acer, Motorola, Samsung and ... well, Apple?
I'm a tablet lover and have bought several cheaper tablets out of curiosity, only to find they're not worth the money involved. In my experience, for the most part, you get what you pay for. Then again, that line will undoubtedly become blurred once the average price of tablets begins to come down, as it is expected to do in 2012. The only sub-$400 tablet I have ever purchased that I didn't immediately want to return was the Kindle Fire. Chances are, I'll never go with an unknown brand again, unless the tablet shows serious promise.
But for all intents and purposes, these cheaper, lesser-known tabs are a legitimate option. People don't want to pay an arm and a leg, yet they want a tablet for Internet browsing from the couch and all of the games available. They may not do it in grand fashion, but they won't make you take out a second mortgage or give your first born to do it, either.
What say you, pups? Would you buy one of these cheap tablets from lesser-known brands as a gift? For yourself? Or would you prefer to fight the masses and pay the extra change for one of the more popular Android tablets? Have you ever bought a cheap tablet? What was your experience like?
Image via PR Newswire