iPad rival from Eken causes stir

Shenzen’s Eken Group seems to have caused a stir with the news that its iPad rival, the M001/TP701, might retail for as little as $100. It was thought, unfairly, to have low internal memory. Customers are offered the choice of either Android or Win CE 6.0 as the OS.

Connectivity is provided by Wi-fi or Ethernet (via a docking station) as, despite using Android, this is definitely not a mobile phone.

There’s some dispute as to which version of Android the device will be running, although one site which has managed to get its paws on one – Shanzai.com, seems convinced it will be v 1.6.

On the manufacturer’s web site, however, there is clearly an option to have the tablet run Win CE for an extra $2.20 or $11 if you want the Microsoft browser.

Plus, apparently, you can have Wordpad, Excel and Powerpoint. It seems logical that both versions will provide access to email, Youtube, MSN and Skype.

The screen looks impressive. It’s a 7″ colour touchscreen offering a resolution of 800 x 480. Some confusion was caused by the mention of its Icon video RAM of 128 MB whereas it actually boasts a flash disk of 2GB for storage.

You can, of course, add an SD card of up to 32 GB to increase capacity. The CPU is a 600 MHz MW8505 from VIA. Plus there’s a 1.3 megapixel camera which is reasonable.

The one parameter which the Eken site doesn’t mention is battery life which is rumoured to be as low as just two hours. Perhaps you get more if you turn the Wi-fi off?

If Android tablets are priced this low, it’s going to prove a major incentive for software developers.