Ever since the HP TouchPad firesale put the idea of super-cheap tablets into people’s heads, technophiles the world over have been clamoring for deals on big-screen mobile hardware. The success of the relatively inexpensive Kindle Fire and Nook Color/Nook Tablet are testaments to this. If you’re looking for a tablet deal and don’t mind sticking with Gingerbread, Lenovo is selling the IdeaPad A1 for just $167.20 at its online store – a good 25% lower than any competing model from a large manufacturer.
The A1 is a study in compromises: its 7-inch screen is relatively low-res at 1026×600, the processor is a single-core TI 1Ghz model, and at 11.9 millimeters it can’t touch recent models from Samsung or Asus. And the basic model that’s on sale in the Lenovo store has a rather typical 16GB of on-board storage. All that said, the A1 is probably the lowest entry price that you can find for a Gingerbread tablet that also supports the Android Market without any rooting or hacks – a definite advantage over the Kindle Fire and Nook.
To get this discounted price, follow the link above, or just use the “EMPLOYEEPRICE0119” code at checkout. That code implies that this deal is good for today only, so if you’re tempted, get a move on. While the development community for the A1 isn’t as vibrant as the Kindle Fire or more mainstream tablets, root has already been achieved, and there’s also a version of CyanogenMod 7 (Gingerbread) built for the hardware. No reports of Ice Cream Sandwich ROMs have crossed our desks, but if enough modders get their hands on the cheap tablet, it’s only a matter of time.
UPDATE: Several commenters note that the price has changed back to the normal MSRP on the website, and Lenovo is refusing to lower the standard price when contacted over the phone. Better luck next time.