Just when you thought the world didn't need another 7-inch Android tablet that few would end up buying, here comes the T-Mobile SpringBoard, the 7-inch tablet you'd do well to look at, for the right price.
Announced just before CTIA officially kicked off in San Diego, the SpringBoard offers quite a bit--"4G" speeds, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1,280x800 screen resolution, and surround sound. There's also a 5-megapixel camera that can record 720p HD video, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, support for HDMI, and up to six hours of battery life. There are plenty of preloaded apps like T-Mobile TV.
Busy bees that we were, we couldn't tinker with the tablet as long as we wanted, but it did make a strong impression during our brief time together. First, there's that stylish and compact aluminum unibody package, with white accents, which makes it look like the latest eye candy out of HTC's labs. Here's the shocker, though: it's made by Huawei, a company whose U.S. products almost always occupy the entry level or mid-tier range. The SpringBoard could help change that perspective.
T-Mobile has taken some gutsy risks in giving some of its products a unique identity--we're talking about the youthful T-Mobile Sidekick family and the T-Mobile MyTouch family, which have several distinct features all their own. In this case, the SpringBoard gets five thematic home screens: one preset for productivity, one for social networking, two for entertainment, and one they left to your own tastes. So far the layout sees smart and handy.
What it all comes down to is price. There's no official price tag yet, but expect to see it come in less than $200, perhaps sparked by Amazon's forthcoming Kindle Fire. Of course, the 4G data service would cost more per month, but based on the numbers and our time with the tablet, that's a goodly amount of features for not very much money. Don't you worry; we'll scrutinize the SpringBoard in due course, but in the meantime, it's got our attention.