The Android tablet wars gained two new combatants today when Skytex Technology announced a pair of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich devices for release later in July. Priced lower than most products in their class, the tablets might have been much more appealing if only they arrived a few months earlier.
On the lower end of the spectrum, the Skypad Gemini is a 7-inch tablet with a $179 price tag and your standard fare of Android features. Inside are a 1.2GHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera. Like nearly every other tablet on the market, the Gemini offers Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a 3,000mAh battery, and microSD expansion. Yet, the Skypad Gemini provides a considerably lower 800x480-pixel WVGA resolution. Imagine expanding an Evo 4G screen to 7 inches and you have a general sense of the display quality.
Considering the beefier hardware, Android 4.1, Google Play support, and Asus branding, the Nexus 7 is well worth the $20 difference. On the other hand, the Nexus 7 doesn't provide users with a microSD card slot or HDMI output.
Meanwhile, the Skypad Protos offers a 9.7-inch 1,024x768-pixel IPS display with a 4:3 aspect ratio. Priced at $279, users also benefit from picking up a front-facing 5-megapixel camera and larger 6,000mAh battery.
Both the Skypad Gemini and the Skypad Protos provides users with 5GB of cloud storage and include access to the 1Mobile Market. Promising access to more than 200,000 "must-have" Android applications, each tablet is also but a click or two away from the Amazon Appstore, Getjar, and other options.
I have to wonder what companies like Skytex Technology are thinking in the days following Google I/O and the Nexus 7. Will they drop prices even lower in order to compete? Are they even able to do this seeing as they don't have the volume discounts afforded to larger manufacturers? Most importantly, will consumers even know that such companies even exist?