Singapore - Huawei stepped up its tablet portfolio by unveiling what it claims is the world's first tablet incorporating the Android Honeycomb 3.2 operating system, which is optimized for 7-inch touchscreens.
The MediaPad is its flagship tablet that will complement the lower-priced Ideos S7 Slim, which also features 7-inch touchscreen. The S7 Slim has been available at Best Buy at $299 in a Wi-Fi-only version.
Despite its flagship status, the MediaPad will be the most affordable tablet in its class, vowed Huawei Device chief marketing officer Victor Xu at a press conference, here. "The 7-inch tablet remains the preferred size for portability, and Honeycomb Android 3.2 is dedicated to enhance the full potential of 7-inch tablets," he added. Other versions of the Honeycomb OS are optimized for larger-screen tablets.
The device, which features Qualcomm dual-core 1.2GHz processor, will be available in the third quarter around the world, including the Americas, Asia Pacific and select European markets, said Xu. It will be sold through carriers and retailers at pricing will be announced in "the near future," he said.
The MediaPad incorporates 14.4 Mbps 3G HSPA+ cellular-data technology and Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n. Xu didn't say whether a Wi-Fi-only version would be available, though the company has done so in the past.
Compared with Huawei's other current and past tablets, the MediaPad is the slimmest, lightest and fastest yet, the company said. It measures 0.4 inches deep compared with the Ideos S7 Slim's 0.49 inches, weighs 0.86 pounds compared with the Slim's 13.8 ounces, features 14.4Mbps HSPA cellular technology compared with the Slim's 7.2Mbps, and has a dual-core 1.2GHz processor speed vs. the Slim's single-core 1GHz processor. The S7 features Android 2.2.
Other key features include uni-body aluminum-alloy chassis, 1080p video capture, 1080p HDMI video output, preinstalled Flash 10.3, HD-video capture, 5-megapixel camera/camcorder with autofocus, 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chats, 4,100mAh batter delivering up video playback, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, assisted GPS, and preinstalled social-network apps such as Twitter, Facebook, AIM and Google social networking.
The device delivers more pixels per inch (ppi) at 217 ppi compared with large-screen rivals such as the Apple iPad 2 at 132 ppi, the Samsung Tab 10.1 at 149 ppi, and the Motorola Xoom at 160 ppi, Xu said.
For use with the device, Huawei will offer its cloud-based services, including its own app store with more than 2,000 downloadable apps. Huawei will also offer Cloud-based apps for vertical markets, Xu said. The device will also access Google's app store.
The MediaPad will sport one of the fastest processors among tablets announced to date. The HTC-made 4G HSPA+ Flyer for T-Mobile and HTC-made Evo View 4G for Sprint are 7-inch tablets with 1.5GHz processor, and the LG G-Slate slated for T-Mobile's 4G network features dual-core 1GHz processor. And Hewlett-Packard's WebOS-based TouchPad features Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core 1.2GHz processor.
For consumers, Xu said he envisions tablets offering three key functions: connecting the home to the outside world, controlling home systems and providing entertainment.