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Packard Bell Reveals Liberty Tab

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Packard Bell Reveals Liberty Tab

Packard Bell (PB) has announced its first ever tablet and it seems as if its main selling point is the fact that it comes in a burgundy red version.

We got a chance to have a brief hands-on look at the Liberty Tab from Acer's subsidiary last week and while it wasn't a finished version of the 10.1in tablet, we certainly got the feeling that a lot of "inspiration" for the patriotic sounding slate must have come from Acer's A500 Iconia Tab. The Liberty Tab will ship with Android Honeycomb this June and will be powered by nVidia's dual-core Tegra 2 processor. It will have a HDMI port as well as regular and mini USB ports. However, as the executives from PB kept telling us, it will also come with a burgundy red back - as well as the compulsory black version. We were told repeatedly that no other manufacturer would be doing this, which is probably true - though there's probably a good reason for that. There will also be a line of similarly coloured accessories such as keyboard and mouse available.

The Liberty Tab will support microSD cards up to 32GB and will ship in 3G and 3G Wi-Fi versions this summer. Speaking about cost, PB said it didn't have an exact price for the UK yet but that it would be between £400 and £500 pounds. Considering last week Acer announced the A500 would cost £449 for the Wi-Fi only model and £529 for the 3G model, it seems as if PB is sticking by what Acer is doing every step of the way. While the model of the Liberty Tab we saw was not the final version, it still felt decidedly flimsy and plastic-y. It was running Froyo rather than Honeycomb and PB told us that it would be putting its own UI on top of Honeycomb before shipping - which it seemed very excited about, but we were less enthusiastic.

We will reserve our final judgement until we get our hands on one, but with a lot of competition heading to this sector of the market, Packard Bell will be hoping the Liberty Tab has more than a different colour to make it stand out.

Stewart

April 11, 2011, 3:21 pm

The introduction of this article and the ongoing malaise during the reporting in the article goes a long way to highlight the challenge Android tablets and iPad competitors in general face.
If these products can't summon any enthusiasm in the tech press or among their readers, what chance do they face in getting any attention in the non-tech consumer market which are stripping iPads of the shelves before they even get a chance to land on them.

Together with delays on capitalising on any interest following announcements because of delays in reaching the market, a competent but slightly unfinished OS in Honeycomb, a stuggle to compete on price with the iPad (probably down to Apple's dominance of the supply chain and it's economies of scale), and a lack of dedicated tablet apps, I can't see 2011 being the year of the Android tablet as is being predicted. I see it being at least another couple of years before Android makes any real inroads into the tablet market.

Nav Garayal

April 11, 2011, 4:43 pm

There seems to be a lack of balance when mr Gilbert reports on apple and it's product competitors. I am sure the iPad is a wonderful device but it is very expensive and the second version asks for another £100 for a fancy cover and hdmi adaptor . All the while I can't even watch TR video reviews on it because it doesn't support flash which is extraordinary. A bit more balance please. Thanks

Stelph

April 11, 2011, 6:01 pm

Bugger, these manufacturers just dont seem to be learning/listening! £400-£500???

Far, far too expensive in a market dominated by the iPad, cut the greed, drop the price to under £300 and fight back!

David Gilbert

April 11, 2011, 6:08 pm

@Nav Garayal I don't think I mentioned the iPad in my report so why you think I am comparing it to Apple tablet I'm not sure.

@Stewart I agree that there was a certain malaise in my reporting on the product but having handled it and been told not to touch certain parts of it because it wasn't ready yet all led to a feeling that this was another Android tablet being an Android tablet for the sake of it. There was nothing to make it appeal to a member of the general public who PB need to convince should the Liberty Tab want to be a success. 14 months on from the iPad and no viable Android tablet has come to market.....that says it all I think about the state of play at the moment.

Stewart

April 11, 2011, 9:20 pm

@David - Wholeheartedly agree, and I think your lack of enthusiasm is totally understandable. I was just using it to illustrate a very real problem for tablet market.
I think the market for tablets is a much trickier beast for iPad competitors than the one they had to deal with for the iPhone.
The iPhone had to capture market share, and whilst it did revolutionise the smartphone market, people had to make a conscious decision to get one at significant premium over other phones in the market. When Android phones appeared to challenge it, it was into a mature market where the public were used to buying different handsets, and where subsidised phones were updated frequently, and it still took a few generations of OS and hardware before it did.
With the iPad, anyone in the market for a tablet will be looking for a reason not to get the iPad, if they look elsewhere at all, and at the moment, there just isn't a compelling feature or a worthwhile cost reason for them to do so.
It will take a couple of iterations of OS and hardware, a maturing in the Android tablet market eco system (e.g. apps), lower prices and crucially a growing acceptance of iPad alternatives before they take off amongst consumers.

simonm

April 11, 2011, 11:02 pm

@Stelph

I loved Jobs’s recent boast that other manufacturers have been unable to beat the iPad on price.

Laugh? I nearly fell of my chair.

You can get a 2GHz dual-core laptop with 3GB RAM, 320GB HDD, DVD, 64-bit Windows 7, etc. for £70 less than the very cheapest iPad (Samsung R540).

The margins on the iPad are stupendous. The point underlying his misleading statement is that the other manufacturers are attracted to the segment *because* of the margins and have no interest in beating them down!

Keithe6e

April 11, 2011, 11:22 pm

@Stewart: a maturing in the Android tablet market eco system (e.g. apps)

One area Android needs a good eco-system, is the hardware front. Eg. Speaker Docks and such. I've recently got the perfect phone, it's open like Android, and works with all these speaker docks / airplay accessories etc. It's called a Jailbroken iPhone4 :), yeah yeah, I've done it, just felt like Apple were dragging there feet with updated features recently.

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