A new competitor has entered the increasingly crowded budget tablet derby (i.e. priced $300 or less), and it’s not the unannounced iPad mini. Instead, it’s the Lenovo IdeaPad A2109, a 9-inch tablet with an Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor that is still priced at only $300.
The IdeaPad A2109’s specs also include Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, 1 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage, 1280 x 800 resolution for the 9-inch screen and two cameras, a 3-megapixel rear camera and 1.3-megapixel camera in front. The $199 Google Nexus 7, as a point of comparison, has 8 GB internal memory (16 GB for the $249 version) and only comes with a video chat camera. The $199 Amazon Kindle Fire doesn’t have a camera, and runs on a special Amazon-friendly version of Android that is miles away from the pure “vanilla” Android OS. Lenovo did not mention whether the device will be upgradable to Android 4.1 or Jelly Bean.
As the IdeaPad is priced significantly higher than the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire but still more affordable than an iPad, it may be most comparable to the Acer Iconia Tab A200 and Motorola Xoom. Both these tablets come with a 10.1-inch screen, and are priced slightly higher at $330. However, neither competitor in this price range ships with Android Ice Cream Sandwich – both still come with the previous tablet-only platform Android Honeycomb.
As for the iPad mini, which is believed to be priced around $300, the 7.85-inch tablet may not be launched alongside the iPhone 5 after all. AllThingsD reported that the iPad mini may be unveiled at a separate event, leaving the iPhone 5 by itself in the rumored September 12 press event. The slate is also rumored to be actually called the iPad mini, which is the informal name tech journalists had given to the smaller device since it was first rumored earlier this year.