They all want something like the iPad, but they want it cheap. To meet this desire, Shenzhen based electronics company Moonse produced a 7″ tablet device looking a bit like the iPad, but with an Android working in it. It is widely called the Moonse e7001 and it is available through chinese wholesale sites and on ebay for 131$ to 250$, depending on the seller, the order quantity and the amount of RAM. The Moonse e7001 was spotted at the CCEF 2010 in Shenzhen and on several other occasions before.
The device comes in a white box with a little Android robot logo and the word “iRobot” on it
Let’s have a look at the specs as I collected them from various websites/shops:
|Specifications||Moonse e7001 iRobot|
|Processor||Rockchip RK2808 600MHZ GHz, 550MHz DSP hardware decoding|
|RAM||DDR 128MB (optional 256MB/512MB)|
|Screen||7″ / 800×480 (optional 1024×576 ???) / 16:9 / resistive touchscreen|
|Storage||2 – 32GB internal NAND Flash|
|A/V Input||built-in Microphone / 1.3 MP front webcam optional|
|Network||WLAN (802.11 a/b/g) / 3G optional|
|Connectors||USB Slave 2.0 / stereo headphone/microphone jack|
|Battery||3000mAh / up to 5hrs|
|Extras||micro SDHC card slot / supports 720p HD video / Android 1.5 / Android Market support (!)|
|Price Range||131$ – 250$ depending on options and seller|
|Manufacturer||Moonse?? / Utopia Tech Shenzhen|
These specs are not bad regarding the low price. The Rockchip RK2808 already showed that it’s possible to build a fast and cheap device with it and the option for 512MB RAM makes it even more attractive. The big amazing extra is the Android Market support, they where capable to add. I am not sure how they did it, but I doubt that Google releases an official Market license for a iPad clone like this.
On the weak side, I see the resistive touchscreen, the battery (I don’t believe its made for 5hrs) and the confusing distribution policy. Moonse does not have a single picture of it on their website and all these devices are sold on different wholesale websites, always with slightly other configurations, so you won’t always be sure which options you get. Maybe the company that produces it doesn’t want to get troubles with Apple, what in my eyes might happen pretty soon.
As a consequence of the different hardware options it is hard to judge speed and snappiness of this device. I could imagine that the 512MB RAM version will be a bit faster than the 128MB version, but RAM and processor aren’t the only factors for speed. It also depends on the Android customization and various other factors.
I found a video made by mpxmid.com on youtube (Attention, turn down sound!):
You see, the resistive touchscreen is not very responsive and overall speed of this device is not astonishing. I believe that the device in this video has 256MB RAM, as mpxmid.com sells 256MB versions. More impressive is the Android Market support, a key factor for Android tablets in my eyes. For a cheap device that’s a good start, but I doubt that the clone character helps to sell them widely. Maybe they would better pack this into an own design not referencing to Apples iPad.
Encipher tablet aka “The One” similarities
On May 1st, 2010 British-Nigerian company Encipher Limited revealed a tablet prototype they call the “Encipher Tablet” codename “The One” on their Facebook site. While this produced some buzz on african tech websites and on twitter, nobody realized that their Encipher tablet with that bizarre VIS 8505 processor (shouldn’t that be a VIA 8505?) looks like the Moonse e7001 apart that the slots, connectors and buttons on its bottom are arranged in an other order:
Now how comes the similarity of the Encipher tablet and the Moonse e7001? Why has the Encipher a slower processor? Who assembles the Encipher tablet? Could the Encipher be an earlier prototype design of the Moonse that is now sold to Nigeria? These are just speculations, we will see how this nigerian Android tablet wonder develops… Follow Loy Okezie’s blog for updates on that…
UPDATE June 2, 2010: Several reports from the Computex in Taiwan say that the company Fujan Sanxi is presenting exactly the same device. Same Hardware, also Marketplace support. Now, I am a bit confused about who is the real Manufacturer? Is it Moonse? Is it Fujan Sanxi? If anybody has precise Information, I’ll be glad to read about it. So here’s the video netbooknews.com made of the Fujan Sanxi 7-Inch Android tablet at Computex:
FYI: I ordered one of those and will provide a detailed review as soon as I get it… around June 8. If you like to know something specific about it, post your question in the comments and I will see to answer it…
UPDATE II June 2, 2010: After some searching and reading I think I found out who is the original Manufacturer of the iRobot aka Moonse E7001 aka Encipher aka Fujian Sanxi. It seems to be a company called Utopia Tech Shenzhen – read all about the rebranding history of the iRobot here on my new post.
UPDATE III September 12, 2010: For those of you that like to buy that tablet with the above specifications, you can get it for 150$ from Amazon.