Budget Android tablets dip below $200

The iPads, Xooms and Galaxy Tabs of the world may be stealing most of the tablet-related headlines of late, but there’s a breed of Android tablets that is gaining a prominent place in the consumer electronics market by keeping prices capped at the $200 mark.

Amazon’s soon to be released $199 7" Kindle Fire is the most iconic of the bunch but the low-cost tablet market has expanded to include the newly announced Kobo Vox; the Lenovo IdeaPad A1; Pandigital’s Star, Nova and Planet tablets; and the Archos Arnova 10.

Consumer electronics company ViewSonic is now blazoning a sub-$200 Android tablet called the ViewPad 7e too.

The 7” Android 2.3 tablet has been designed for "economical consumers" who want the tablet experience without a $400-$1000 price tag.

The tablet isn’t the most powerful device in its category, nor will it win any awards for being the slimmest hand-held gadget on the market but it is a suitable alternative for people who want an e-reader-like tablet that can play HD multimedia.

"The ViewPad 7e extends our quality commitment to consumers that want an excellent mobile multimedia experience, at a very aggressive price point,” said Michael Holstein, vice president of business development, ViewSonic.

Under the hood is a 1GHz processor that’s powerful enough to play flash video and surf the web, a 800x600 LED backlit touchscreen, dual cameras (3MP and VGA 0.3MP), 4GB of internal storage, a Micro SD card slot, 1080p video playback via the Micro HDMI connection, and WiFi and Bluetooth support.

The ViewPad 7e will start shipping in North America at the end of October for $199.99. The tablet is expected to be available in Latin America in November.  

If $200 still seems like too much money to spend on a tablet, Canadian manufacturer DataWind has finally unveiled the world’s cheapest tablet in India -- a Rs. 2,999 ($60) Android device called the Ubislate7. The Ubislate7 is expected on the market in early December.

In October 100,000 units of the tablet were distributed to students in India under a different name, the Aakash Tablet, as part of a government initiative.



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