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Eight-inch Android 2.3 tablet sells for $229

Oct 6, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

Pandigital SuperNova announced an eight-inch Android 2.3 tablet that costs just $229 and offers one-stop access to Barnes & Noble's eStore. The SuperNova offers a 1GHz Samsung Hummingbird processor, 4GB internal storage, a seven-inch, 800 x 600 screen, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity, says the company.

Pandigital's $170 Nova and $180 Planet seemed like pretty good deals when we covered the seven-inch tablets Aug. 2. Several days later when the company unveiled a slightly downgraded, seven-inch Star tablet for $160, and said all three tablets were equipped with Cortex-A9 processors, we were both surprised and impressed.

But Pandigital continues to surprise us, this time in that the promised, top-of-the-line eight-inch SuperNova tablet turns out to feature an older Cortex-A8 processor. In this case it's the highly-regarded, 1GHz Samsung S5PV210 "Hummingbird" system on chip (SoC). Performance might not lag far behind the smaller siblings, however, considering that they run on an unnamed Cortex-A9 processor with no stated clock speed.


Pandigital SuperNova, with GetJar App Store shown on right

(Click on either to enlarge)

The SuperNova would have been priced perfectly at $229 a few weeks ago, but Amazon.com's $200 Kindle Fire changed the equation, and the SuperNova may require a price cut sooner rather than later. While the SuperNova offers a slightly larger eight-inch display, its 800 x 600 resolution is behind the times compared to the seven-inch Kindle Fire's 1024 x 600-pixel IPS (in-plane switching display) screen, let alone the Toshiba Thrive 7" with its 1280 x 800 display.

Meanwhile, the SuperNovas's Hummingbird certainly doesn't compare to the Fire's dual-core, Cortex-A9 Texas Instruments OMAP4 processor.

Are we being unfair in comparing the SuperNova to the Fire? Perhaps, but life is tough for discount tablets in the post-Fire era, and with the SuperNova's one-touch access to Barnes & Noble's eStore, Pandigital is placing its Android tablets in direct competition with the Amazon's first tablet.

To some, Pandigital would have the advantage over the Fire in offering a standard Android 2.3 stack as opposed to the highly customized, Amazon-focused Fire firmware. However, most other seven-inch Android tablets these days are moving up to the Android 3.2 version of Honeycomb. On the other hand, most of those start at $300 — the newly discounted price of the seven-inch HTC Flyer — and go up from there.

SuperNova details

The Pandigital's 1GHz Hummingbird processor is backed up with 512MB RAM, as well as 4GB internal flash storage and a 32GB-ready microSD slot, says the company. Front and back cameras are available, but no megapixels are listed.

The tablet offers 802.11b/g/n, and unlike its siblings, it provides Bluetooth 2.1, says Pandigital. A micro-HDMI port is also supplied, as well as a mini-USB 2.0 OTG (On The Go) port and a mini headphone port, says the company. Other features are said to include an integrated mic and accelerometers.

The tablet is reasonably thin for a budget model, measuring 6.13 x 8.38 x 0.44 inches, and weighs a typical 16.6 ounces, according to the Pandigital specs. The battery is said to last six hours under mixed use.

In addition to providing Android 2.3 and one-touch access to the Barnes & Noble eStore, the SuperNova offers Adobe Flash 10.3 support and access to the GetJar app store, says Pandigital. Pre-installed apps are said to include Facebook, MS Exchange support, ES File Explorer, OfficeSuite Viewer, and a U-Player app that provides access to YouTube.

In-house apps include an InTouch social networking aggregator that offers combined views of Facebook, Twitter, and email accounts, as well as RSS news feed data, says Pandigital. Also supplied is a Wi-Fi Connection Wizard for automating firmware updates, which the company says will include future versions of Android.

Stated John Clough, president, Pandigital, "We added some features to the SuperNova that we didn't offer in previous versions of our tablets, but felt were important to the consumer for this flagship product, including an 8-inch capacitive touchscreen display and integrated Bluetooth."

Availability

The Pandigital SuperNova will be available in mid-October at leading retailers across the U.S. for $229 MSRP, says Pandigital. More information may be found at its SuperNova product page.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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