WePad Video Invites Comparison with iPad, JooJoo
The announcement that Neofonie was designing a tablet called the WePad just two months after the Apple iPad announcement elicited chuckles from consumers and tablet makers alike. Now Neofonie has released a video of the WePad in action to show that it's no joke.
The most obvious difference in the video is that the WePad demo unit does not have touchscreen navigation like the iPad, and instead relies on a USB mouse. This is not the final design though; Neofonie promises the WePad will have a capacitive touchscreen interface when it launches.
The WePad has a similar design to the iPad, namely a screen that takes up most of the tablet with a black bezel surrounding it, although the screen is almost two inches larger diagonally with more of a widescreen ratio and the bezel is thinner.
The WePad also has more impressive hardware than the iPad. The latest Intel Atom N450 processor, commonly used in netbooks, outperforms the iPad's proprietary chip. The WePad will also have a camera and USB ports for connecting other devices, two things the iPad lacks.
But the real differences begin to show when looking at the user interfaces of the two devices. The iPad runs on a slightly modified version of the iPhone operating system (OS) and the WePad runs on a different smartphone OS made by Google, called Android.
There is even a difference in how users access information on the two tablets. The iPad has a home screen with app icons; users must open apps to get information from them. The WePad, on the other hand, operates with a focus on widgets, little programs that are already running on the home page so that the user can see results without opening an app.
The WePad home screen is divided into a square grid to organize the various widgets and the user scrolls up and down the home page to see things like weather, definitions, news, RSS feeds and more. Of course, there are still icons to open larger applications, such as the Web browser (which supports Flash-based Web applications, another gap in the iPad features ).
Because of the widget-based interface, it's tempting to compare the WePad to one of the only other tablets on the market, the Fusion Garage JooJoo, but that's not an accurate match either. The JooJoo doesn't run an OS so much as a specialized browser. It's designed to exclusively use Web applications to accomplish tasks instead of housing applications in the device.
The WePad can have icons to represent links to useful sites or Web applications, too, but it includes the ability to have widget info displayed directly on the home page.
The WePad hardware is fairly similar to the JooJoo. Their screen sizes are nearly identical, although the JooJoo has more of a widescreen ratio, and they both run Atom processors. The JooJoo can also run Flash video. But the similarities start to disappear after that.
Of course, the hardware and interface won't be the most critical selling points for the WePad if it wants to compete with other tablets. The iPad and JooJoo have both managed to stay in the $500 range, but early reports of WePad pricing put it at more than $600.
While the WePad's interface may be a nice blend of iPad and JooJoo with some nice hardware behind it, the price will be the most important comparison for many shoppers.