When Google announced the first Android tablets back in January, one thing stood out to many - the price. The Motorola XOOM was launched at a price point of $800 (or £500 in the UK), a considerable amount considering that its direct competitor, the iPad, could be had for significantly less. Other Android tablets followed and a common factor seemed to be a high asking price, such as the HTC Flyer which is to cost £599. The Asus Transformer is £379, a bit of a drop but still fairly expensive, after all you can get a pretty decent laptop for that amount these days.
Along side these expensive tablets came a range of cheaper tablets, often from Chinese manufacturers. They may be cheap in price, but they're also cheap in terms of build quality and features.
If you thought there could be some sort of middle ground, you're not the only one and that's exactly what the Andy Pad is.
For your money, you get a pretty top spec 7" device. It'll boast a 1.2Ghz ARM A8 CPU, which is certainly no slouch, 1080p HDMI out, WiFi, Android 2.3, 8Gb of internal storage and a "Powerful GPU". While the absolute top end Android tablets may be more powerful, the Andy Pad doesn't appear to be a slow coach, either. In fact, the device will come preloaded with a bunch of apps to get people going straight out of the box. You'll have your Twitter and Facebook ready to go, but you'll also have a nice selection of games such as Tank Hero and Drag Racing. The idea is that the Andy Pad will be a fully capable Android tablet from the very moment you take it out of the box.
"We are counting down to the Andy Pad, a more complete tablet designed to work straight out of the box. It aims to provide the best Android experience at a price which opens up this new technology to a market which has so far been denied an adequate solution.
Running the latest open source Android operating system, the Andy Pad is a portable 7 inches; perfect for slipping into a briefcase or school bag.
To showcase the best of Android, we’ve selected the most popular games, utilities and tools for use immediately, including cutting edge 3D games. This serves as an introduction to a world of apps; where you’ll discover thousands of programs crafted by dedicated Android app developers around the world. There’s also a cracking amount of internal storage to fill up with new discoveries, music or HD video with room for extra storage if required.
Ideal for media, business, homework, gaming or simply browsing the internet, the Andy Pad is going to be right at home inside your world."
If you lament the idea of apps coming preloaded on a device, perhaps because you've been stung by your mobile operator's bloatware in the past, then do not fear as the Andy Pad will come with an unlocked bootloader. That's right, custom ROMs willl be a go on this device and at least one well known Android developer has already pledged his support.
Some of the details aren't quite final yet - the screen technology used, the amount of RAM supplied or even if it'll have Bluetooth, but if done right, the Andy Pad could well be the Android tablet that many of us have been waiting for.
The Andy Pad is due to launch in a couple of month's time, just in time for the kids going back to school. At £129, it almost sounds too good to be true. Stay tuned, Neowin will have more details soon, as well as an interview with the team behind Andy Pad and, of course, the obligatory review.