Android 2.1 tablet from Sylvania undercuts Apple, Samsung on price

The new Android 2.1-powered tablet from Sylvania sells for under $150, far less than the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab. But is it any good?

An Android 2.1 tablet for roughly the same price as an Amazon Kindle? Check. At left, the new Sylvania tablet, which runs Google's Android 2.1 operating system.

Android 2.1. Tablet. Under a hundred and fifty bucks.

Sylvania is hoping those three key points will be enough to lure consumers to their new Android tablet, which is currently selling at Kmart for $150 – and will soon be selling at Toys R Us for $140. Interestingly, at least on paper, the MID Tablet Wireless Mobile Internet Device, as Sylvania is billing this thing – someone get a branding consultant over there, stat – doesn't look too shabby.

The device gets 512MB RAM, 2GB of flash memory, a claimed six hours of battery life, a 7-inch screen, and Android 2.1 capability. "Compact and ultra-light with a touch screen puts all your web browsing at your fingertips," reads the clunky ad copy on the Kmart site. Still! This is a tablet computer, that costs about the same amount as an Amazon Kindle.

These, of course, are exciting times for tablet connoisseurs. The market is currently dominated by the Apple iPad. (Which, incidentally, recently began selling at Verizon stores nationwide.) But Samsung recently introduced the Android-powered Galaxy Tab – the tablet has received some high marks from reviewers – and RIM is poised to release the BlackBerry PlayBook sometime in early 2011.

On Wednesday, RIM exec Jim Balsillie told Bloomberg that the forthcoming PlayBook would sell for under $500, which would put the device in direct competition with the Apple iPad. The news temporarily sent RIM shares to surge 7.53 percent in afternoon trading. But does the PlayBook – which will ship with a 1 GHz dual-core processor, front- and rear-facing cameras (both HD), and Flash support – really have a chance against the iPad?

Or, for that matter, does a device such as the Sylvania Android 2.1 tablet? Hard to say. Apple has proven to be a remarkably tenacious competitor in recent years, and many analysts expect the company to either eventually drop the price of the current iPad model, or introduce an upgraded device. That would again raise the hype around Apple – and probably to cause a lot of consumers to forget all about any tablet not featuring the silver Apple logo.

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