Low-cost Android tablets resembling Apple’s iconic iPad are on sale through retail sites like eBay for US$50 to $125, though observers say they could be a pain to own since they lack hardware and software support.
The inexpensive tablets come in different designs, with some resembling the iPad. The devices have 7-inch touchscreens, which are smaller than iPad’s 9.7-inch screen, and run the older Android 1.7 OS.
The devices are being sold under names like Apad and ePad, mostly from vendors in China. One eBay seller, Goodstore-2010 is selling an iPad lookalike called ePad for US$99 with free shipping out of Hong Kong. The retailer has a reliability rating of 98.9 percent. The same retailer is selling Apads for $48, but is tacking on a heavy shipping fee of $46, bringing the total sale price to $94.
Another retailer, Ego-2010, offers a couple of 7-inch tablets for $80 with a $26 shipping fee. The retailer has a reliability rating of 98.9 percent, and a company representative said the device is real.
“The item is of course perfect,” the representative said in e-mail. The retailer also sells the device through its Buy Electronic Store Web site, the representative said. The Android tablet is listed at $114 on the site, and also includes a forum with instructions to upgrade from Android 1.7 to Android 1.82.
Another eBay retailer, Hao00686 sold an Apad for $96 in an auction. The retailer has a reliability rating of 99.3 percent and has sold close to 100 of these devices.