By all accounts cheap electronics are thin on the ground in the UK, and the XOOM or Transformer that costs $500 here could cost the equivalent of around $750 across the pond. That being the case, UK residents might be interested in the latest offering from budget manufacturer ZTE. The V9A–Light Tab 2, in addition to having a catchy name, has a price tag of just £234.99 including VAT according to retailer Clove. That’s about $365 in USD. The tablet should be available in late February.
Don’t get too excited – the V9A–Light Tab 2 is the latest in a long line of Gingerbread tablets aimed at the bottom end of the market. The 7-inch capacitive touchscreen uses a standard 1024×600 screen resolution, running on top of a 1.4Ghz single-core Snapdragon processor. Combine that with 512MB of RAM and you’ve got a decent browsing/ereader machine. On-board storage is limited to 4GB, but you get an open MicroSD card slot to expand at your leisure. WiFi, Bluetooth are standard, with an included 3G SIM card slot for those who want to drop in a pre-paid data connection. There’s no sign of Google Apps or the Android Market.
The low-price tablet market hasn’t caught on in Europe, or at least not to the degree that it has in the US. The absence of Barnes & Noble’s Nook family of reader/tablets and the Kindle Fire. The latter should sail past the white cliffs of Dover at some point (and it’s rumored to have a £100 price tag) but until then, lesser-known manufacturers like ZTE can grab a significant chunk of market share away from bigger and more expensive models.