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Android e-reader tablets sell for under $180

Aug 2, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Pandigital began selling a $170, seven-inch Android tablet called the Nova Digital Reader, a lighter spinoff of its previous Novel color e-reader. This follows a similar, $180 “Planet” device the company launched two weeks ago, with both tablets featuring seven-inch, 800 x 600 touchscreens, 802.11n, and front- and rear-facing cameras.

The relative positioning of the $180 Planet (which began selling at about two weeks ago), vs. the  $170 Nova that was just posted on is unclear, especially since the more affordable Nova seems to offer slightly better features. Meanwhile, an eight-inch SuperNova, approved by the FCC last week, appears to be due for release in the coming months, and is also quite similar to the Nova.

Pandigital Nova

Both tablets are variations on the very similarly configured Pandigital Novel, which debuted last year as the first third-party device offering integrated functions that support Barnes & Noble's eBookstore, giving it much of the functionality found on B&N's own Android-based Nook e-reader.

Like the Nook Color that followed it, the Novel has a color screen, but was sold as an e-reader, lacking full Android compatibility. But just as the Nook Color was updated in April to make it more of a complete Android tablet, the $200 Novel received a firmware update that both improved performance and permitted users to freely download third-party Android apps.

Pandigital Planet in landscape mode

(Click to enlarge)

Like the Novel, the Nova offers integrated access to Barnes & Noble's eBookstore. The Planet model featured on the Pandigital site hypes B&N access, but the version is instead touted as  offering Amazon's Kindle for Android e-reader app (while — no surprise there! — mentioning nothing about B&N).

The Nova page lists an unnamed 800MHz processor, and the Planet doesn't mention a processor at all. It is unclear whether the Planet and the Nova use a variation on the unnamed ARM11 processor found in the Novel, although one or both may have moved up to a Cortex-A8 CPU.

The Nova ships with 4GB of internal flash memory, while the Planet gets by with 2GB, says Pandigital. Each ships with a microSD card for storage expansion up to 32GB.

Pandigital Planet in portrait mode

(Click to enlarge)

Like the Novel, the Nova and Planet offer seven-inch, 800 x 600-pixel touchscreens, says the company. The Planet's display uses resistive technology, while the Nova offers an "ActiveTouch" display, which might or might not refer to capacitive technology. The tablets are said to offer virtual keyboards and accelerometers.

Both tablets are notable for being significantly lighter than the one-pound Novel, with the Nova weighing in a 13.8 ounces and the Planet at 12 ounces, according to Pandigital. Each is said to measure 0.5 inches thick.

Both the Nova and Planet are equipped with 802.11n Wi-Fi, micro-HDMI and mini-USB 2.0 ports, and microphones and speakers, says the company. Front- and rear-facing cameras are available on both, although megapixels aren't listed. The Planet also lists a headphone jack.

Aside from mentioning Android 2.3 and the B&N access, the Nova page does not reveal software details, so it's unclear whether Android Market access is available, for example.

The Planet page notes SlideMe access as a third-party alternative to Android Market. Other software listed for the Planet includes the aforementioned Kindle for Android, as well as a web browser, email, and InTouch for consolidating social networking inputs. The Planet also provides notes and gallery apps, as well as music and video players, says Pandigital.


The "Pandigital – Nova Digital Reader" is available for $170 at, and is said to be backordered with one to two week delivery. Pandigital has yet to post a web-page for the device, but that may change soon.

The "Pandigital Planet Android 2.2 2GB 7-Inch Multimedia Tablet and Color eReader with Kindle, R70A200FR" is available on for $180, with shipping in two to four weeks. A Planet page is also posted on Pandigital's web-site.

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