Hands-On With the T-Mobile Springboard Budget Tablet

T-Mobile Springboard 7-inch tablet
Huawei has teamed up with T-Mobile to offer the T-Mobile Springboard tablet. Pricing was not announced. The budget tablet was shown at the CTIA phone and tablet show, which opened Tuesday in San Diego.

I managed a few minutes with the Springboard, and came away reasonably impressed with the tiny tablet. Its screen measures only 7 inches, which makes it fit nicely in a pocket or purse. The tablet has a mostly aluminum body.

The Springboard was extremely responsive thanks to its Snapdragon processor. While T-Mobile's 4G network may not be the fastest, webpages loaded smoothly for me, and I was able to stream some video over Netflix without a hitch. Though small, the screen looked very sharp. Text was very easy to read, and the tablet is comfortable to hold in one hand.

I've used 7-inch Android tablets before, but all, so far, have run Android 2.3 or lower. What makes the Springboard standout is that it runs Google Android 3.2 (Honeycomb). Note: Acer has already started shipping its Aconia Tab A100 7-inch tablet, which also runs Honeycomb. It is priced at $329.

Here's some more information on the Springboard:

The back of the T-Mobile Springboard tablet
The back of the T-Mobile Springboard tablet
The Springboard's specs include the 1.2 GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and support for T-Mobile's 4G network. There is even a micro HDMI out port, in case you want to view your tablet content on a larger screen.

I was disappointed to find out that the promised battery time is only 6 hours. Still, this is the first 7-inch tablet where I've honestly been impressed by its overall performance.

Pricing Not Announced

Another view of the Sprinboard's screen
Another view of the Sprinboard's screen
While no pricing details have been announced yet, T-Mobile and Huawei bill the Springboard as the most affordable Android tablet. With other Android tablets (such as the Amazon Kindle Fire) coming in at $200, hopefully Huawei and T-Mobile follow suit on pricing. A $200 Android tablet running Honeycomb would be a major boon to the Android tablet ecosystem.

When asked exactly how affordable the tablet would be, a Huawei spokesperson simply replied: "You will be surprised." Here's hoping that the surprise will happen in a good way.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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