Walgreens Offers $99 Tablet Through Friday But Quality Uncertain

A few weeks back, we covered Cherrypal's announcement of the CherryPad. a 7" tablet aimed at the "sub-iPad" market with a retail price of just $188. Not even a month later, Walgreens is offering the Maylong M-150, a 7" tablet for just $99—$30 less than the $129 base price. The tablet's hardware is modest, even in comparison to the CherryPad. Rather than an 800MHz ARM11 core, the system uses a 533MHz VIA-designed VM8505+. It includes 256MB of RAM, an unknown amount of additional flash memory, and instead of Android 2.1, it's running Android 1.6 (Donut). There's no word yet on whether or not more recent versions of Android can be slipped into the device, or whether or not it's worth the trouble.

Behold the Maylong M-150. Another innovative design from the country whose name is synonymous with quality.

When yours truly dropped information on this sale on the news desk, the only response was silence. After several minutes, an unseen coworker took pity on my place at the center of this awkward tableau and muttered "Good luck with that."  Follow up questions revealed that I'm not the first staff member to take a chance on an unknown, dirt-cheap peripheral. In hushed tones, our writers and editors revealed the merciless depths of their torment; one poor soul's testimony included the phrase "the misbegotten spawn of Jabba, Rosie O'Donnell, and a dead yak."

That's the Yak on top, with....no, wait a minute...

Under such circumstances, Caveat Emptor should be considered less of a good idea and more of a life philosophy. The good news, however, is that Walgreens is willing to accept returns for up to 30 days after purchase, provided you have a receipt. Products can be returned via mail or to a store and a full refund is available. With a Walgreens right up the road, I've felt secure enough to purchase one of these devices—we'll have more information on it when it arrives. If you choose to order (or, even better, have played with one), drop your thoughts and experience below.