Called the GENTOUCH78, Augen’s Android tablet may have been lost in a sea of cheap tablets. After all, the name of the device is in all-caps, the company has little track record, and the device is going to be exclusively sold at Kmart at launch.
The good news is how this tablet is different. Unlike Archos’s first wave of Android tablets, it’s priced competitively at $169.99, and it also is shipping with Android 2.1. That’s a first for any Android tablet.
Google has yet to provide formal approval of tablets, refusing to offer the so-called Google Experience (Market, Gmail, Maps, YouTube, etc) on tablets. That hasn’t stopped tablet manufacturers from jumping the gun and shipping these devices. This is a critical time for tablet manufacturers, building name recognition and challenging iPad with a device less than a third of its $499 entry price tag.
Early reports do indicate that Augen has managed to gain some of the Google Experience, with the Android Market appearing on the device. Other apps however are still absent.
Augen boasts good specifications, with an 800 MHz processor, 256 MB of RAM, and SDHC card slot. Hackers will undoubtedly deliver Google’s full set of apps. The device’s main downsides are a lack of video output and 800×480 pixel display. Augen claims the device can handle 720p video, despite not having a true 720p display.
Here’s the problem. Kmart doesn’t have any yet. The device was featured on their weekly ad, complete with a $149 price tag (a $20 launch discount). Kmart explained on their company blog that Augen’s shipment had been delayed, but that Kmart would honor the price for people who request rainchecks.
So, we went to Kmart to get our raincheck. Others report that some stores have taken stock of Augen’s Android 1.6 netbook, which is a much less sophisticated ODM affair. At $99, it delivers a 400 MHz CPU and is far less interesting. Unlike Augen’s tablet, this device goes beyond the Google performance requirements internally (a 528 MHz CPU being their internal baseline, as shown in the recently-discontinued T-Mobile G1). Also, it smacks of generic-y, we saw about 10 of these at different Chinese booths at CES.
The raincheck process did not go well. It took four employees and two trips to locate the SKU number for the tablet. This, despite the company’s own blog telling customers to go in-store and simply request a raincheck. Others at stores nationwide report to PhoneNews.com similar difficulties.
So, to help you out, here’s the SKU: 811470015254. Take that to the electronics counter and ask for a raincheck.