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Android Tablets from China - Bargain or Garbage?


Zenithink, 10.2', Android 2.1

Soon to be Reviewed

APad A8, 8', Android 2.2.

Flytouch 2, 10.2', Android 2.1

iRobot, 7' tablet, Android 1.6

Everyone's heard of the iPad, one of the more popular new gadgets of 2010. Following Apple's success with this touch screen tablet PC, a steady stream of Android-based competitors has been hitting the market.

We've decided to take a look at these Android tablets, in particular the cheaper ones made in China. Is it true that you always get what you pay for, or can you really get the bargain that the low prices lead you to believe? As always, it depends on what you are looking for.

The early models might not be useful for much more than basic tasks such as surfing the internet, listening to music, and reading e-books, but new models are coming all the time.

Still perhaps no real competitors for iPad, or "brand" Android tablets, in terms of quality, and feel, they can definitely compete when it comes to speed, features and usability. This combined with a price tag that is often a fraction of the price for the "real deal", does make them an attractive option.

A tablet PC is basically a mobile computer with a touch screen instead of keyboard. Another acronym that is often used for these devices is MID or Mobile Internet Device. The touch screen interface makes them more user friendly than a laptop, and the screen size (typically ranging from 5-10 inches) make them more versatile than smartphones, whose 2-3 inch screens limit their usability.

The success of the iPad, as well as the iPhone, is largely due to Apple's software ecosystem, iOS, which includes the App Store from which thousands upon thousands of useful third party "apps" can be downloaded to your tablet PC or mobile phone.

Android is a software system for hand-held devices, developed by Google. In contrast to the iOS system, the Android system is open source, which means free to use for anyone. The Android Market, the equivalent of App Store for iOS, is teaming with readily accessible third party applications as well, and a large majority of these apps are free.

The arrival of Android, and its open source nature, basically means that anyone who can manufacture a decent hardware can compete on the handset market without the having to develop their own software system. Most of the well known mobile phone manufacturers now have Android based products in their portfolio. They're also slowly starting to catch up with iPad by releasing Android based tablet PCs. Most popular of the brand Android Tablets so far, is probably the Galaxy tab from Samsung.

The Chinese electronics industry has been (in)famous for producing cheap copies of brand products. Since the arrival of Android, however, some of these manufacturers are slowly starting to build their own brand names. It is still a bit of an adventure to buy electronics from China, and not always easy to know what you are getting. It's possible to get a really good tablet PC at a fraction of the cost of an iPad, it's also possible to get a piece of garbage.

As the abundance of Android tablets is growing, we're going to do our best to guide you to choose the most suitable one for your needs. Our comprehensive reviews and comparisons will hopefully make it a piece of cake to sort out the pros and cons.

So if your in the market for a bargain Android tablet, then this will be a good place to start.

For many of you the only option for buying these tablets is to order online. Finding low prices isn't hard, but is it safe? What about import taxes and fees? We'll try to give relevant info and recommendations in this area as well.

If you're looking to buy tablets wholesale, on the other hand, that's a whole other story. Then you're at least gonna need a local agent to check the quality of deliveries. And make sure that the money is not transferred to the seller until everything checks out. Otherwise it is easy to get ripped off.