Another day, another competitor in the oh so crowded world of tablets and eReaders. This time, it sells at Walmart for $149, store only for now. I don’t understand what is with these weird distribution channels – Pandigital Novel 7 to sell at Bed Bath & Beyond, Augen Gentouch at Walmart…Anyway, the good news is that the new tablet is based on Android 2.1 so you can tinker with it if you want, and install additional applications. The bad news is that the touchscreen is resistive technology and as a result, it sucks. I was able to play a little bit at the local KMart store and this are some quick thoughts: Text is hard to input via the on-screen keyboard, and the screen is non-responsive, pretty much like the Pandigital Novel 7 is. So, from this point of view, it is a good thing Augen includes a stylus in the package, but it feels like 2005. The Gentouch also comes with Android Market (Pandigital Novel 7 doesn’t), but I wasn’t able to test it in the store. Skype and Google Maps are also included, together with several others. During the short time I had, I wasn’t able to turn on the portrait mode, not sure if this is because I just couldn’t figure out how or they will add the feature in a future firmware release. All in all, the same feeling I had for the Pandigital Novel 7 – firmware not fully baked and cheap. If you want to use it as an eReader, you better get the new Amazon Kindle 3 that has a version including 3G for life. If you like tinkering, it is a nice little Android machine and you’ll probably be OK. Expect a lot of firmware fixes soon.
Check after the break for technical specs.