As Apple's iPad sales surpass the 2 million mark in less than two months, a $105 Chinese knockoff has — unsurprisingly — hit shelves in China. Known as the iPed, this still mysterious alternative looks nearly identical to the popular touchscreen computer, but does not run Apple's proprietory software. (See the iPed side-by-side with the iPad.) What is this imposter?
How does the iPed compare to the iPad, technically speaking?
While iPad runs on the iPhone 4.0 operating system powered by Apple's 1-GHz A4 processor, iPed is reportedly outfitted with a slower 600-MHz chip and runs Google's Android mobile phone operating system. The iPed's 7-inch screen is smaller than the iPad's 9.7-inch display, and can only support up to 16 gigabytes of storage space. The Guardian tech blogger Jack Schofield is not surprised by this development: "Apple's iPad is basically an iPod Touch XL, so I don't see any reason why Google's mobile phone software should not be similarly upscaled for the midsize tablet format. It might not have the polish of Apple's software, but polish isn't everything. There are other things in life, including diversity and freedom of choice, as well as price."
Can I buy an iPed?
Yes. While the iPed is reportedly only retailing at stores in Shenzhen, China (the location of the controversial Foxconn factory that produces Apple's iPhone), a number of websites have begun selling the device for around $150, roughly $350 less than the cheapest iPad.
Are there any other iPad knockoffs available?
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that at least 20 tablets based on the Android OS are in development. One of them, the iRobot touchscreen tablet is already available online for around $185. If you're open to an imitation, says Rick Myslewski in The Register, the iRobot "appears to be a somewhat slicker device" than the "charmingly and thoughly unimaginatively named" iPed.
Do tech aficionados recommend bootleg iPad devices?
Not exactly. Despite the similarities, says Jeffery McDowell in Gadgets DNA, no "iPad clone" can "be compared to the original Apple iPad." True, says Brian Ashcraft in Kotaku, but "China is getting better and better" at producing these devices. So, Apple, "you better watch out."