Aussie firm Pioneer to launch Android iPad rival


On the eve of the launch of the Apple iPad in Australia, local PC manufacturer Pioneer has revealed plans to launch an Android-based competitor.

The company issued a media release this week stating it would launch its DreamBook ePad 7 — which it has billed as “a revolutionary iPad-style mobile computer” at the Computex trade fair in Taiwan, which runs from the 1st to the 5th of June.

The device will come in two models — one with a 7″ screen for US$199 (AU$240 at current exchange rates), and one with a 10″ screen for US$299 ($AU$362). Both price points are significantly below the minimum price Australians will pay for the lowest end iPad — AU$629.

According to specifications published online, the Pioneer ePad has a Wi-Fi network connection, and can take an external 3G mobile broadband USB dongle to bring its networking capabilities up to speed with the upper iPad editions. It has 2GB of flash memory storage but can take up to 32GB more with an expansion card. Like the iPad and iPhone, it has a sensor which detects which way the screen rotates, and it can take external Bluetooth and GPS connections.

The tablet will support external USB storage devices and keyboard and mice, and the full range of applications from Google’s software store will run. The LCD screen supports a resolution of 800 by 480 pixels, and there is a built-in headphone socket and a microphone. Currently the tablet runs version 1.6 of the Android operating system.

The included CPU is listed as a ‘WM8505+’ model, and the tablet also comes with an included camera, although it’s not sure what megapixel rating it holds.

Further information is being requested from Pioneer about the device’s availability.

The ePad 7 is not the first tablet or eReader device that Pioneer has launched – it currently offers a range of others, ranging in price from US$149 for a basic colour eReader unit, up to $499 for a fully kitted out eReader. Its previous ePad, the B1, ran the Compact version of Microsoft Windows.

Image credit: Pioneer


  1. No built in 3g? Having a dongle sticking out is gonna get annoying if you want to put it in your bag quickly and kinda makes the price point not as attractive.

  2. The WM8505 is a Via-built ARM chip but its pretty old and very slow. Its ARM11 based (like the iPhone 3G) not Cortex A8 (like the 3GS & iPad) and on top of that its usually 3-400Mhz. So an order of magnitude slower then the iPad, which will greatly restrict its software.

    Android tablets have lots of promise but not a) that slow and b) that old a version of Android.

    • Correction- it looks like the WM8505 is actually ARM9, not ARM11. At that clock speed, it means it’d be lucky to be 20% of the speed of the iPad CPU.

    • Yeah that is always going to be the kicker with these kind of devices — the user interface. I think Apple has really nailed it with the iPad … I’m not sure Android has quite got the tablet form factor sewn up yet — Android is still trying to get the mobile phone right.

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