When I first saw the news out of CES about a $150 7-inch, Jelly Bean-powered tablet from Acer called the Iconia B1-A71, I was intrigued to say the least. I’m always on the lookout for a way to save money, and since my 32GB Nexus 7 is still in transit at the post office, I was tempted to cancel the order and return the box unopened if the Acer proved to be a worthy replacement. But upon finding out that the availability date is still completely up in the air, I decided to go ahead and enjoy my Nexus 7 for a while. The B1-A71 is still an interesting device, if only because of the combination of price point, design, and current Android version.
The tablet itself is just about average, with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1024 x 600 resolution, 8GB of storage, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS connectivity, and a front facing camera. Clearly, the tablet won’t be taking home any prizes for busting benchmarks, but it should work quite well. However, what was really interesting to me is the fact that the tablet will be shipped running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and that the hardware design doesn’t look like a product that costs $150
Unfortunately, after reading into the details of the device, it just doesn’t seem to have the hardware to make it a worthwhile purchase. I’m quite intrigued by the idea of Android devices becoming cheaper and cheaper, and getting the latest version of Android to consumers at a low price. While the Acer does have a few features such as an SD card slot that may make it worthwhile for some users, it isn’t as big of a deal as I originally thought because nearly the same specifications can be replicated for the same price with an older Nook or Kindle. Eventually, solid Android tablets with the latest software will drop to $150 and below, but for now the Nexus 7 is still quite close to the best Android experience for your money.
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