So, why haven't we seen more 10-inch or larger Android tablets to compete with the iPad? That's a question we've been asking and we're sure many of you have the been wondering about the situation as well. The primary reason is that Google's tablet-targeted operating system isn't here just yet. The latest version, Android 2.2, which is installed on most 7-inch and smaller slates like Samsung's Galaxy Tab and the Dell Streak, is Google's smartphone OS. Honeycomb is the OS that Google is slating for tablets (pun intended) and all the hype manufacturers can muster won't push the release earlier than when Google says it's ready. Though it does appear that at least one manufacturer may have the inside track.
Regardless, a few manufacturers have forged on and released 10-inch Android tablets regardless of Google's hamstringing of the OS, by limiting Android Marketplace functionality on any device larger than 7-inches. It's a hard line to walk without Google's blessing but ViewSonic has stepped out with their 10-inch gTablet and we've spent some quality time with it. The gTablet is driven by NVIDIA's Tegra 2 processor, comes equipped with 512MB of RAM, 16GB of Flash storage and a myriad of expansion options. We'll first give you a hands-on demo of the device and then break down the features and performance of it, to help complete the picture.
So, that's the out of the box experience currently with the gTablet, let's look at the specifics, build quality and then we'll see how the hardware stacks up performance-wise.
ViewSonic gTablet Specifications
Android 2.2-Driven Portability
Android 2.2 (Froyo) Operating System
Tap-n-Tap User Interface
1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 Processor, Dual-Core ARM 9
Front 1.3MP VGA Camera
16GB of ROM, 512 MB RAM
Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR
1024×660 TFT LCD
3650mAh Lithium Polymer Battery
8 - 10hr battery life
USB 2.0 (slave), Mini USB (host), and Micro SD Slot - Capacity Up To 32GB
3.5mm Audio Jack
Dock for HDMI/Headphone/USB (optional)
G-Sensor, E-Compass and Ambient Light Sensor
1.55lbs, 10.5" x 6.8" x .54" Thick
Handango app store, Android Market not available
* USB cable
* Power adapter
* Cleaning cloth
* ESD cover
* Warranty information
* User guide and quick-start guide
A quick scan of the specifics here can get you pretty excited if you're a tablet fan. NVIDIA's Tegra 2 chip is a 1GHz dual-core ARM 9-based device with an on-board NVIDIA graphics engine that reportedly not only offers great performance for things like full 1080p HD video playback but also great battery life, 8 - 10 hrs according to ViewSonic. There's also 16GB of Flash ROM and both mini USB and standard USB ports along with a micro SD card slot for further storage expansion. The only shortcomings we'd point out here is that another 512MB of RAM might make this well-equipped tablet even speedier and a higher resolution camera might be better for web conferencing. Let's take a closer look at the gTablet's build quality and software.