Since the launch of the iPad, many Android tablets have been launched, but none of them have been able to match the iPad in terms of usability, price or even apps. The iPad (and the iPad 2) starts at $499 (for the 16 GB Wi-Fi version, while most Android tablets start at $599 (Galaxy Tab) for the unlocked version. Some of them are even priced as high at $799. Now that it’s clear that none of them can beat the iPad in terms of price, I can’t think of any Android tablet that offers more bang for your buck than the iPad.
Granted that the Wi-Fi versions of the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the Motorola Xoom will be priced around $499, but they still can’t beat the iPad in terms of apps. The App Store has 65,000 tablet apps while Honeycomb has just about 100. The number of apps will surely increase over time, but for the time being, the iPad is the king of the hill.
So why this post?
Well, Barnes and Noble launched the Nook Color last year to compete with the Amazon Kindle. It has a 7 inch color touchscreen display and is powered by Android. It was meant to be just a simple ebook reader, until some Android enthusiasts discovered that it could very well be used as a fully functioning tablet. It was hacked to enable Android apps, the Android Market. It also has a Cyanogen Mod 7 ROM using which you can install Android 2.3 Gingerbread on it.
In short, you can use it for almost everything that you would want to use an Android tablet for – Android apps, games, email, browsing, video, music and obviously, ebooks. Even so, it was still a slightly risky hack which deterred the average Joe from modding it to unlock its true potential.
Today, Barnes and Noble officially released a new software update (1.20) which installs Android 2.2 Froyo on your Nook Color. It brings a new App Store curated by B&N- Nook Apps which has a selection of some Android Apps. The new update makes it an even better tablet, which offers really good value for money. It is priced at just $249, which is half what the iPad is priced at. Obviously, it is not as powerful as the iPad, but it easily handles basic video playback, web browsing, light games, email and ebooks. I have been a big fan of the Amazon Kindle, but the Nook Color beats it in every aspect. Unless Amazon launches its rumored Android tablet soon, the Nook Color is poised to grab a larger share of the ebook reader market.
Coming back to the topic, the Nook Color is probably the best Android tablet you can buy today, at least in terms of value for money.