Sub-$100 Android Tablet Coming To Sprint This Weekend

Brad Chacos

Our very own Gordon Ung summed success in the tech world pretty succinctly in this month's issue: if you want to make your product a hit, it helps to make it cheap. Looks like Chinese manufacturer ZTE was paying attention. This Super Bowl Sunday, the company is releasing a new 7-inch Android Honeycomb tablet -- the ZTE Optik -- with pretty decent specs and a $100 price tag that undercuts the Kindle Fire by half.

There's a catch, of course. To get that dirt-cheap price, you'll need to sign up for a 2-year data plan with Sprint, whose tablet data options start at $20 for 1GB/mo . (Wha...?!) Otherwise, you'll need to plunk down $350 in upfront cash to go plan-free.

So what's that $100-plus-data-fee get you?  Here's the specs ZTE owned up to in its press release:

  • Android Honeycomb 3.2
  • 7-inch, 1280x800 resolution screen
  • 5MP rear/2MP front facing cameras
  • 16GB hard drive
  • 1.2GHz Snapdragon CPU
  • 1GB Ram
  • Wi-Fi® (802.11 b/g)
  • Swype keyboard
  • Full Android Market access
  • 4000 mAh Lithium-ion battery
  • Expandable memory slot, supporting up to a 32GB microSD card
  • Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR
  • Stereo speakers
  • 3.5mm headset

Notably missing: 4G support. Yep, despite the fact that ZTE sounds curiously close to LTE, this bad-boy's 3G CDMA only. Could its low contract price woo you into buying a ZTE Optik, or would you rather stick to Wi-Fi only or contract-free tablets that cost more money in the short term, but less cash (and more freedom) in the long term?


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