Ever since the Amazon Kindle Fire raised the bar for (comparatively) low-priced tablets in late 2011, many people have been waiting for more and better options in the sub-$300 range. Now comes the IdolPAd from Idolian, a $99 Android 2.3 tablet that seems nearly too good to be true.
While not as functional as say, the HP TouchPad, the IdolPAd has the advantage of being available (TouchPads were sold for $99 recently because HP gave up on them). The IdolPAd includes a 1GHz processor, 512 megabytes of memory, a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, mini-HDMI port, microSD card reader and four gigabytes of on-board storage.
Strangely, the Idolian Web site openly admits the camera produces grainy images, and even mentions how the company doesn't really like resistive touchscreens in general. The IdolPad uses the resistive touchscreen anyway, so you have to use a fingernail or stylus instead of a finger (although it might work if you push hard). It also has a middling screen resolution of 800x480p (compared with the iPad 2's 1024x768). Perhaps consumers will feel the company's honesty about some of the decidedly price-conscious features on the IdolPad means it's a solid device anyway.
For a simple media tablet, the IdolPad seems perfectly suited for watching movies. Just hook it up to an HDTV with the mini-HDMI cable, and stream your Netflix and Hulu content all day. It does run the Gingerbread flavor of Android, and that system was designed for smartphones, so it could be a sign the device won't be getting the Android 4.0 update. It's also quite thick for a seven-inch device. It's about 14 mm thick compared with the Kindle Fire, which is a little more than 11 mm.
It's a price-to-feature trade-off the company is betting many people will make. Tell us in the comments if you're one of them.