Huawei MediaPad Takes On Tiny Tablet Rivals

The seven-inch MediaPad tablet hopes to take on the PlayBooks, G-Slates, and EVO View 4Gs of the slate market.
Motorola Xoom Teardown: Inside The New Android Tablet
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Motorola Xoom Teardown: Inside The New Android Tablet
There's no denying that the tablet market is coalescing around three different device sizes: those with 10-inch displays, those with 9-inch displays, and those with 7-inch displays. Each category has its standouts, and Huawei hopes its entry in the 7-inch segment will succeed where others failed.

The MediaPad runs Android 3.2 Honeycomb. This version of Honeycomb is apparently just for devices with 7-inch displays. The device has a dual-core 1.2-GHz SnapDragon processor and comes with a 4100mAh battery, which provides for six hours of battery life. The display offers WSVGA resolution at a respectable 217 pixels per inch. That's well ahead of the iPad 2's pixel density of 132ppi and the Motorola Xoom's 160ppi.

On the connectivity side of the equation, the MediaPad offers HSPA+ cellular data, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 2.1. The MediaPad can connect to media devices, such as HDTVs and home theater receivers, via HDMI. It also includes a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera and a user-facing 1.3-megapixel camera. It accepts microSD cards up to 32 GB for added storage. Huawei indicated that it has no plans to introduce a Wi-Fi only variant of the MediaPad.

At 10.5mm it comes in 2mm thicker than the iPad, but at a fraction the weight. It weighs in at just 0.85 pounds compared to the iPad 2's 1.33 pound rating. More importantly, the MediaPad eclipses the 0.9 pound weight of both the RIM PlayBook and HTC Flyer/EVO View 4G--both of which also have 7-inch displays.

So, what does the MediaPad offer that other 7-inchers don't? Well, in the Android space, Honeycomb for starters. The HTC Flyer/EVO View 4G ships with Android 2.3 Honeycomb and HTC's Sense user interface overlay. The RIM PlayBook has similar specs, but a cloudy app story and even cloudier outlook in terms of overall success. With two cores instead of one, the MediaPad out-fires the Flyer/EVO View 4G in the performance race, and probably edges out the dual-core PlayBook--at 1GHz per core--too.

The MediaPad may also find an audience with those not interested in the bigger devices, such as the iPad 2, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab, or HP TouchPad. The small size and weight makes the MediaPad a highly portable piece of electronics.

But Huawei intends to tackle the 10-inch tablet market, too. Victor Xu, the chief marketing officer of Huawei Device, told Reuters in an interview, "We are also developing a 10-inch tablet. We hope to launch it this year."

Xu didn't provide any details about the 10-inch model, nor did he offer an expected price point for the MediaPad.

Huawei also makes phones based on Google's Android platform and wireless networking equipment.

Virtual Event: Business Mobility Unleashed. Zero in on the top mobile technologies and techniques to ensure your organization thrives in the wireless world. Learn about strategies and products that offer remote user applications support, Wi-Fi management, security features, and device management. Our virtual event happens Thursday, July 14. Register now.

Editor's Choice
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Terry White, Associate Chief Analyst, Omdia
John Abel, Technical Director, Google Cloud
Richard Pallardy, Freelance Writer
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Pam Baker, Contributing Writer