Free phones, even free smartphones, are nothing new in contract-laden world of wireless providers. But a free tablet? Now that’s downright novel. Canadian cellular carrier Rogers just slashed the price down to nuthin, nil and nada for the LG Optimus Pad, the Honeycomb tablet first made available on Rogers in May of last year. If you buy the tablet ouutright it’ll still cost you $549.99 CAD, or $499.99/$449.99 for a month-to-month or one-year contract, respectively.

We’re no fans of locked-in wireless contracts, but I must admit, a free tablet with an always-on connection is tempting. While I wouldn’t dream of paying an extra $100 on top of a WiFi model and saddling myself with a two-year contract (not to mention¬†pricey¬†early termination fees) the Optimus Pad has some respectable specs even for a device of the previous generation. The 8.9-inch screen packs in a 720p display, and a Tegra 2 processor will handle HD video and all but the most demanding of modern games. 32GB of storage is double the standard (even for much, much more expensive competitors) though there’s no option for MicroSD cards. US readers: the Optimus Pad is almost identical to T-Mobile’s G-Slate.

Don’t get used to this kind of pricing – the freebie deal is almost certainly meant to clean out inventory before the arrival of the Optimus Pad LTE. The updated tablet is confirmed to come with an IPS screen, 8MP camera, a MicroSD card slot and a 1.5Ghz dual-core processor from Qualcomm. Of course it also supports LTE wireless networks. The Optimus Pad LTE will come equipped with Honeycomb 3.2 – the original’s still on 3.0 as far as we can tell – but since it’s a ways out from release, there’s no word on when or if it wil get Ice Cream Sandwich.

So, Canadian readers, does the low price on the LG Optimus Pad tempt you? If it does, don’t be a putz – go for the two-year contract, not the three-year one.

[via MobileSyrup]