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A £90 ($145) Android-powered tablet is winging its way to Toys 'R' Us stores in time for Christmas, putting the rip-off iPad and Galaxy Tab thoroughly to shame.
Two models of the Elonex eTouch tablet will be available, a 7-inch version which will go for £89.99 ($145) and a 10-inch version to more directly rival the 9.7-inch iPad. This latter one will sell for £149.99 ($240).
Compare this to the price of the iPad, which sells for between £420 ($669) and £650 ($1,035), or the Galaxy Tab, which was advertised for £799 ($1,275) on the UK version of Amazon before being discounted to £529 ($850) after mounting consumer and media pressure.
Of course, it's selling at a toy store, so that raises some questions about what's going on under the hood, but let's not be misled into thinking that either the iPad or Galaxy Tab is a powerhouse of technology, because both barely match up in specifications to some smartphones that were released a year ago.
The eTouch runs Android 2.1, only slightly behind the 2.2 version that the Galaxy Tab runs. It was not confirmed if an update to FroYo will be made available at a later date, but even if that was not possible it's pretty much on par with what many tablets and phones that have been in development for the last six or more months are releasing.
The tablet is powered by an ARM 11 1GHz processor. The Galaxy Tab uses an ARM Cortex A8 1GHz processor, while the iPad uses an Apple A4 1GHz processor. So, it's pretty much on par in terms of processor speed.
The eTouch comes with a 2GB SSD drive and a microSD slot with a 2GB microSD card, which can be further expanded. The iPad comes with built-in Flash storage of up to 64GB, while the Galaxy Tab comes with up to 32GB of built-in storage and allows microSD card expansion. So, from the get go it will store less than its high-end rivals, but with microSD cards as cheap as they are nowadays this will hardly be an issue.
It has 128MB of RAM, which is only a quarter of the 512MB of memory available on the iPad and Galaxy Tab, so in this aspect it definitely loses out. However, the iPhone 3G only had 128MB, and while this is low for a tablet, it's one of the only drawbacks of this device.
Parents who are being nagged into getting their kids an iPad for Christmas will be delighted at the news of a cheaper alternative which still offers much of the same punch and an app store that has recently reached the 100,000 mark.