The latest in a growing list of supposed Apple iPad competitors was shown off by Germany-based Neofonie GmbH, with the company promoting its WePad tablet device that offers a large screen, USB ports and a Webcam.
The WePad was originally launched a few weeks ago, but very few people knew this product was in development, or that Neofonie was working on a product to rival the iPad. When first revealed, it was promoted with multitasking enabled, external SD slot, Adobe Flash support, USB, and the Google Android Marketplace.
The WePad is now being shown off in Germany, with Neofonie executives seeking alliances with publishers and promoting the devices direct-to-consumer benefits. Publishers will be able to sell their own content directly to WePad owners via Android applications.
The iPad hasn’t been released to German consumers yet and Neofonie hopes to win over users by beating Apple to market. Neofonie hasn’t disclosed if the U.S. market will receive the WePad at any time in the future, but I think it’d be interesting if the iPad had yet another competitor here state-side.
The 16GB WePad with Wi-Fi support will ship for €449 ($610), a 32GB 3G model with GPS and 1080p HD support will ship for €569 ($775).
If devices such as the WePad are seen by casual consumers as something besides an iPad alternative, it’s possible European consumers may be willing to roll the dice and purchase the tablet. Apple has a large marketing influence on the consumer market that Neofonie and all other competitors obviously lack — which could be the difference between the WePad serving as contender or a pretender in the tablet market.
I’m not a big fan of tablets having such high retail price tags, but the WePad seemingly includes some of the features left out of the iPad. The tablet market is expected to explode in coming years– while eating into the netbook market — with Hewlett-Packard showing off its Slate tablet while Nokia and others scramble to develop their own tablet products.