The $75 Google Android Apple iPad Tablet, Sort Of - Gady Epstein - Beijing Dispatch - Forbes

It's coming!  These Chinese low-cost Android devices may not be ready for primetime yet, but if history is any guide they will be.  It all depends on how quickly/effectively Google is able to perfect its free, open-source Android UI, so design-driven companies like HTC and Motorola no longer enjoy competitive advantage from dropping custom UI shells on top of Android to make it usable or attractive.  

Google's hiring of WebOS head Mathias is indication they're pointed in the right direction.  Google would like nothing more than Google-powered Android/Chrome devices to be everywhere, as ubiquitous sockets for its real business of monetizing off web services.

For today's big name tech HW companies, the big question is how valuable their brand names and entrenched marketing/distribution arms are -- in the wake of no name, low cost upstarts.  I've been wrong before, and history also shows HP and Dell laoptops/netbooks dominating in ways that are antithetical to my hypothesis.   

An excerpt:

"Apple has yet to roll out the iPad in China, and Google’s business plan hit a rough patch here this year, but Chinese masterinnovators

 imitators in the innovation knock-off hotbed of Shenzhen are racing ahead to give consumers what they want: iPad-look-sorta-like tablets that support Google’s Android operating system, at prices starting below $75.

"It’s the best of all worlds! Unless you want everything a real iPad or real Android device like the new Dell Streak really has to offer, and you want to pay for it. Or, you know, an HP tablet that runs on Microsoft Windows, if you’re into that. Why do that when you can get an ePad or a FlyPad via Taobao, the popular online marketplace? A quick search finds this Android-supporting iPad ePad starting as low as 554 RMB, or $82. Why pay nearly 10 times that much for an iPad, the company asks, when you can get this made-in-China product, with “Chinese characteristics,” instead? And another seller openly admits their product is a “shanzhai” (rough translation: pirated) iPad,selling for as low as 520 RMB, or $77."

Sent from iPhone

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