BOSTON (CAP) - Fresh on the heels of Google's Nexus 7 tablet computer, another tablet getting ready to enter the crowded market promises to offer some of the convenience of competitors' products at a fraction of the price.
"Fred's Tablet" will be available online and at select retail outlets - primarily Richdale convenience stores - for $29.99, a full $170 less than the Nexus 7 or Amazon's Kindle Fire, according to the tablet's designer, Fred Prywatki.
"We're trying to show that families can get a fun, useful tablet at an affordable price if they're just willing to forgo a few of the bells and whistles," said Prywatki, whose tablet is being distributed by Prywatki Electrics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Prywatki's primary business, Prywatki Kia of Pittsfield.
Fred's Tablet will boast a 4-inch, 3-color screen - "red, blue and one other, I think it was yellow," said Prywatki - and weighs in at a "manageable" 4 1/2 pounds. It runs on four "D" batteries and boasts a five-hour battery life "as long as you don't do anything too fancy," Prywatki said.
Though it only features 1GB of storage - enough for about 150 songs or 300 photos, but not both - it's expandable by hooking it up to an external hard drive via a USB cable (sold separately). It does not feature WiFi technology, but does come with a "wicked long cord" to plug into your modem, said Prywatki, and it eschews a touch screen in favor of a plastic knob, not unlike an Etch-A-Sketch.
As for apps, Fred's Tablet will run any of the standard applications available for the Dandroid operating system. "It's just like Android, but with a D," noted Prywatki. Popular games available include Pimple Run, Where's My Wafer? and Angry Turds.
"That last one is NSFW," he warned.
News of Fred's Tablet has been met with skepticism on several fronts, especially given the outcome of Prywatki's most high-profile previous endeavor, Fred's Museum of Science in Woburn, Mass., which closed after three months in 2008. It took Prywatki several years to settle lawsuits with victims of bee stings and falling apples, and one family that was trapped for over three hours under a Barney the Purple Dinosaur costume that fell off its pedestal in the paleontology cubicle.
As far as consumers go, it seems the jury is still out on Fred's Tablet. Product tester Josh Elkind, 22, said he found the Fred's Tablet experience somewhat disappointing, given that the first time he used Apple's iPad he had a spontaneous orgasm.
"With this I did feel a little tingle in my arms, but I think that was just from trying to hold it up," he said. "On the plus side, it never caught fire, so there's that."
Meanwhile, Fred's Tablet has yet to garner much in the way of national press - Wired and Gizmodo both passed on opportunities to test the product, citing reduced resources and the fact that they have most of their people following Apple employees around in the hopes that they drop something.
But the Woburn Daily Times Chronicle called Fred's Tablet "the best thing to come out of Woburn since Fred's Museum of Science, which tells you a lot about Fred, and Woburn."
- CAP News Staff