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Gadgets -Neofonie Unveils the 'WePad,' a New 'Open' Competitor to Apple's iPad

April 12, 2010

Neofonie Unveils the 'WePad,' a New 'Open' Competitor to Apple's iPad

By Patrick Barnard
Senior Web Editor, TMCnet

Germany-based Neofonie GmbH has unveiled a new tablet PC which could potentially compete against Apple’s (News - Alert) iPad if it catches on with consumers.

The “WePad” has an 11.6-inch touch screen – much larger than the iPad’s 9.7-inch screen – but the more important differentiator is that it is built on open source, which means users will not be imprisoned in a “walled garden” of operating systems and applications such as iTunes, rather they will be free to use applications from a wide range of software makers and developers.

In addition the device sports two USB ports and allows users to connect all kinds of devices including external keyboards to data sticks.

Similar to the iPad, the WePad comes in WiFi (News - Alert)-only and WiFi/3G-versions, with 16-gigabyte or 32-gigabyte storage.

During a press conference in Berlin on Monday, Helmut Hoffer von Ankershoffen, Neofonie's founder and managing director, told reporters that given its technological superiority and greater openness, the WePad will be a "bargain compared with the iPad."

According to published reports the device is powered by an Intel chip and uses Linux, which is compatible with Google (News - Alert)'s Android and all Flash applications. (Analysts and consumers alike have criticized Apple for the iPad’s lack of support for Flash). It will also boast a complete open source office package.

The WePad will hit stores in Germany starting in late July. No word yet on which service providers will be supporting it.

Apple's iPad, meanwhile, goes on sale in Germany at the end of April, giving it a roughly three-month lead on its German competitor.

For more information, check out this report.

Patrick Barnard is a senior Web editor for TMCnet, covering call and contact center technologies. He also compiles and regularly contributes to TMCnet e-Newsletters in the areas of robotics, IT, M2M, OCS and customer interaction solutions. To read more of Patrick's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Patrick Barnard

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