When I looked at the hand-built pre-production model (one of just two at the show), images looked good, but text still appeared to be not as smooth as I’d like. Of course, this could be due to pixel depth, or to yet-to-be-tweaked drivers, or to the operating system.
This unit will ship in February with Android 2.2, but it will be upgradeable to Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). The company expects to offer a selection of built-in storage options, with capacities including 4GB ($449), 16GB ($499), 32GB ($599), 64GB ($699), 128GB ($899), and 256GB (about $1000). StreamTV plans to ship the 8GB model through mobile carriers; it will be sold in both GSM and CDMA varietals.
This version adds some additional coating to reduce glare (though it was tough to tell with the handmade pre-production unit shown on the show floor, which is an unrealistically extreme test of glare). It has ups the front-facing camera to 3 megapixels (from 1.3 megapixels on the A7), and it has a USB 2.0 port, full-size HDMI output, a micro SDHC card slot for up to 32GB of additional storage, and 512MB of RAM. Unlike the A7, this model offers full multitouch (previously, the A7 just detected two fingers).
Interestingly, one Android icon I noticed was for USB On-The-Go. This spec has been in place for a while, but hasn’t been widely implemented in mobile devices. USB OTG allows for a portable device to act in a dual-manner, as either a host or a peripheral. This means you can connect other devices to it, when it acts as the host; or, you can connect it to a PC as a peripheral. I’m sure others of the tablets with USB ports will also allow this functionality, but this was the first one I’d actually noticed the OTG app on, and saw how it could be implemented.
Without full and final specs and software, it’s hard to make too many judgments as to where this 10-inch model fits into the Android tablet universe. But it has enough assets to have caught my attention.