Monday, September 21, 2015

A cheap tablet - from Amazon

The competition among tablet providers is heating up as the demand drops. I’ve mentioned the Ubislate in the past and while there are several other sub-$100 tablets available, support is often dismal, performance is not very good - and ​they’re not from Amazon. The only thing they’ve really got going for them is that they’re cheap.

Amazon has recently announced a $50, 7” Fire tablet. It’s got better viewing angle and color saturation than other sub-$100 tablets. It’s not high-performance – 1.3Ghz quad-core, 1024 X 600 display and 7 hour battery life. It has 8Gb of built-in storage, but you can add more in a microSD slot. It runs a modified version of the Android Lollipop operating system (Amazon Fire OS.) There are a couple of downsides. They show ads on the lock screen; apparently Amazon is using ad revenue to subsidize them... Also, it only runs apps from Amazon.

These devices are almost cheap enough to dedicate them to specific functions (I’ve got an old re-purposed B&N  Nook device running as a remote thermostat.) No word, however, on whether you can jail-break them to load a "standard" Android OS on them.

So, if you’re looking for a new alarm clock, a dedicated remote control, a browser to stick on the fridge, or a kid’s first tablet, this may be it. They’re also selling them in “six-packs” for $250.

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