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In 2010, a lot of people were unfamiliar with a-Pads, ePads or Wowpads – otherwise known as  “iPad clones”. A few that purchased these devices concluded that a-Pads lacked the touch or feel of the iPad. A good number of people also acknowledged that the a-Pads are not user-friendly due to poor documentation, problems accessing Android Market, the “resistive” touchscreen and lack of just in time (JIT) support.

Within the last couple of months, just before the iPad 2 release, there has been a wave of new Android Tablets from Asia that have capacitive screens, faster processors and other cool features that make these devices stand out.

These a-Pads are getting more popular since the release of Tablets running Android 2.2 and higher from Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) like Motorola, Asus, Dell and Samsung.  I can now talk apples to apples when comparing an a-Pad clone to OEM Android Tablets out there.

I am also bold enough to compare the new a-Pads with the iPad2 from Apple and the Blackberry Playbook from RIM.

This new wave of devices has the following strong selling points.

Price: Android powered Tablet pcs are still the least expensive units in the market compared to the OEM versions (Dell, Samsung and Motorola). One online retailer had an apad running Android 2.2 with a resistive selling for only $79. Units with capacitive screens start from about $189.99

The general rule of thumb is that you can get 2 top grade a-pads or epads for price of one OEM Android Tablet.

Size: Most OEM Android Tablets come in 7 inch or smaller models. There are few 10 inch models like he Motorola Xoom in the retail stores. I am sure that OEMs will produce units with a larger screen, but expect the price to be more.  However there are floods of a-pads in multiple sizes – 7, 8 and 10.1 inch tablets.

Some individuals that love reading ebooks will go for the 7inch a-pads, the gamer or the movie watcher will go for the 10.1 a-pad units.

More accessories in the box: Most a-Pads come with all the accessories in the box. The a-Pads that I have tested comes with male and female USB cables, a carrying case, Mini HDMI cable and a screen protector. This will not be the case for OEM models – expect to purchase the HDMI cable and screen protector for another $50 or so.

More Connectivity Ports: Most a-Pads are generous when it comes to external ports. The Flytouch II and III a-Pad models come with 2 USB ports and 2 microSD cards, an Ethernet port and an HDMI out port. The HaiPad M7/Dropad A8 comes with 2 USB ports and an HDMI port (the HDMI experience with the HaiPad unit is mind-blowing – 1080P!!).

However OEM units have the following features that will always attract customers – better marketing exposure, Better documentation, better Q and A checks (although most people may not agree to Q&A due to many store returns) and easier access to customer support.

In closing, makers of a-Pads and other devices are improving their products and continually add features without waiting for a grand product launch done by the OEMs. We can take advantage of this and enjoy new technology before the others do – at least I watched movies on my a-Pads via HDMI at least 6 months before the release of iPad2.

 Posted on : May 9, 2011

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