£180 Next tablet PC uncovered by Bitterwallet readers. Possibly.
Only yesterday, we brought you the news of an unlikely player certain to stir up the emerging tablet PC market in the run up to Christmas - Next. Their Christmas catalogue features a 10" tablet available to order now, with USB ports, a memory card slot, running on Android OS and WiFi enabled - all for £180.
However, the Next tablet PC on their website is unbadged - not so unusual since the men's gifts sold by Next are normally branded with the company's packaging. So who is manufacturing these tablets for the high street retailer, and are they any good?
Avid Bitterwallet readers have turned up two possible candidates for the Next tablet PC, both seemingly built from at least some of the same components. Reader Phil pointed us in the direction of the Android tablet from British firm Elonex, which has an identical casing to the Next product:
Meanwhile, avid reader Chris found this Android tablet from Zenithink:
So which is these is masquerading as the Next tablet? Elonex have a long history of doing deals with high street brands, supplying the likes of Marks & Spencer and Waterstones with netbooks and e-readers. That said, there's a chance it's neither; since both are using seemingly identical shells, it's probable there are several other manufacturers of a simlar product.
Worth blowing £180, then? Possibly, but not just yet. How good the product is will depend on what's stuffed inside that shell - given that it appears to be available in kit form, then it could be just about anything. Hunting around the intermaweb for reviews, there are some complaints that the Android Market isn't necessarily accessible, that the battery life clocks in at just four hours, and in all the videos we've seen, a lot of the sub-menus look like optimised web pages rather than a tablet interface - probably because the OS was designed with a mobile handset in mind, rather than a tablet.
The NExt tablet PC obviously less than half the price of an iPad so it'll no doubt fly off the shelves; if you've already got your mits on one, tell us all about it.