German ISP 1&1 announced a free Android tablet some weeks ago.
Of course, it is not completely free, it is a vehicle for selling mobile internet data plans. And that could be the reason why the 1&1 SmartPad won’t be a a very powerful tablet.
Look at the parts they used:
|Processor||500 Mhz ARM 11|
|RAM||256MB DDR RAM|
|Screen||7-Inch / LED / 800 x 480 / touch screen|
|Storage||1GB flash storage / SD Cards|
|A/V Output||Headphones / Speakers /Audio Connectors through docking station|
|Network||WLAN (802.11b/g/n) / Infrared /3G only with additional dongle|
|Connectors||micro USB 2.0 / 3.5mm headphone jack / dock connector|
|Sensors||Ambient Light Sensor / Accelerometer|
|Battery||2.500 mAh Lithium-Ion|
|Extras||SD Card Slot / Docking Station / Can be used as universal remote control with some devices / No Android market support/ Android 1.6|
|Price Range||only with a data plan/ 30€ for the docking station|
In my eyes, 1&1 just realized that now is the moment to sell tablet computers along with data plans. That’s clever. But, I would not buy it. The 1&1 SmartPad can not be fast enough to provide a smooth and satisfying user experience. I am also sceptical because they only presented computer illustrations and no video of the UI in action.
I wonder why the SmartPad has no 3G support. 1&1 is a ISP that offers mobile data plans and home internet data plans.
But it seems that this device is only meant to be used at home through a Wifi connection.
Not very convincing. Another big handicap of the device is the missing Android market licence. Of course there are other ways to get good apps on any Android device, but the market is the most complete.
For me this is just another chapter of the story “How to profit of the tablet hype”. Let’s see if they roll it out quickly enough to sell some to impatient tablet enthusiasts. If they wait too long, it could be a shelf warmer because other tablets are much more promising…
UPDATE July 6, 2010: Mr. Maurer from 1&1 Internet had some additions to my post. Read them in the comments section. He also tipped me to a video of a hands-on of the SmartPad provided by ndeviltv.com:
There is another video in german, showing how Youtube performs on the SmartPad, watch it on Youtube…