Now that Apple’s unveiled its iPad tablet, here come the followers.
Among them is MSI, whose sales director, Sambora Chen, says the company will launch a $500 tablet in the United States in the second half of this year, DigiTimes reports. The 10-inch tablet will run Google’s Android mobile operating system on an Nvidia Tegra chip. MSI says there will be some flexibility in the tablet’s other specs based on market demand.
From the looks of it, this is the tablet I spied at CES earlier this month. Here’s a photo:
Sadly, this tablet is one of the reasons I came away from CES so unenthusiastic about what manufacturers were doing. Granted, what I tried was probably an early prototype, but it was a nightmare to use. There was no intuitive way to navigate back and forth between functions, and my hands-on time ended when the whole thing froze up.
That’s not to say I don’t still have hope for these generic Tegra tablets, whose other manufacturers include ICD and Notion Ink. Indeed, two of the major gripes with Apple’s iPad — no multitasking and no Flash support — could very well be addressed in these upcoming products. If manufacturers can get Android running smoothly and build simple-to-use hardware interfaces around them, they could prove attractive for people who would sacrifice the iPad’s high-end design and fast homemade processor.
Regardless of how I felt about MSI’s tablet showing at CES, the announcement of a $500 price point and a second half 2010 release date is big news. That’s more specific than any other manufacturer has been willing to get, and it matches Apple’s $499 for the basic 16 GB iPad with no 3G. MSI and its ilk may be following Apple, but that also gives them a chance to capitalize on Apple’s mistakes.