Since its debut at the Mobile World Congress, the impressive but curiously named SmaKit S7 Android tablet MID from Huawei seemed to go into hiding. Luckily for us, the team over at zol.com.cn managed to find it and get some hands-on time with the latest version of the device. Back in February, the S7 was running a highly customized version of Android 1.6 with company representatives stating it would ship with Android 2.1 around the middle of the year. It looks like Huawei has delivered on its promises, as the latest example does indeed run Eclair with many of the same UI customizations seen previously.
Full specifications still don't appear to be available, but some other new information that has come to light is that the tablet features a very sleek metal casing that is only 0.6 of an inch thick and tips the scales at around 17.6 ounces. The 7-inch WVGA touch screen is resistive, but there will be also an option for a capacitive screen in the production version. The tablet also includes a vertical orientation view, though it's not clear if an accelerometer is included or if the mode has to be activated manually. Other specs include support for microSD cards, a port on the bottom for a docking station, a small USIM slot for the previously known voice call/phone functionality, and a high capacity 2200mAh li-on battery (no mention of what kind of battery life we can expect).
Huawei has previously talked up the S7's comprehensive media capabilities and these were again in evidence not to mention the tablet's flawless playback of 720p HD video content. Other early impressions were also very positive, with the Zol team being very impressed with the MID's build quality, excellent interface design, web browsing, media handling, and overall excellent performance.
I was impressed by what I saw of the SmaKit S7 previously and it's great to now see this device coming along in its development. The upgrade to Android 2.1 is very welcome and the mix of web and media features, impressive performance, phone functionality, and the promise of a competitive price makes this one to watch out for.
However, I would really like to know the final specifications and specifically, the identity of the processor. The fact that it's capable of HD video and possesses what appears to be excellent performance are good initial indications. We also haven't yet seen demonstrations of the interesting media sharing capabilities that Huawei mentioned at MWC, such as sharing video to be viewed on multiple screens/devices. Hopefully all, including a final release date and price, will be revealed sooner rather than later.
Check out a video of the SmaKit S7 in action below and let us know what you think. The commentary is in Mandarin, but the demonstration is straightforward and easy to follow.