Pandigital Android Tablet, e-Reader Includes Contract-Free ATandT Coverage

Pandigital Novel 9-inch Android tablet and color e-reader is the company's first e-reader with WiFi and integrated connectivity through AT&T.

You can count Pandigital among the companies showing off a new tablet at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Pandital introduced the Multimedia Novel 9-inch Android tablet and color e-Reader Jan. 4, the company's first e-reader with integrated wireless connectivity through the AT&T network-in addition to WiFi-for accessing the Barnes & Noble eBookstore.

The newest Novel features a 9-inch matte, color touch screen with a resolution of 480 by 800. Aiming to be more than just an e-reader-capable of checking out periodicals as well as illustrated children's books-users can browse the Web, watch movies, play games and view photos. Without a service contract, users can also hop on the AT&T network to browse and download purchases from the eBookstore, as well as download Android applications.

To keep everything proceeding speedily, Pandigital has paired the novel's Android operating system with an ARM 11 processor.

Also tucked inside are 2GB of integrated memory, integrated SD, SDHC and MMC card readers for adding up to 32GB of memory, and a mini-USB for transferring eBooks and other files to the Novel. There's a built-in calendar, address book and alarm clock, and Readers can highlight as they go, adjust font sizes and create bookmarks, look up words in the built-in dictionary and read in portrait or landscape modes.

"By introducing wireless capabilities to the Pandigital Multimedia Novel, AT&T is thrilled to connect consumers with easy access to their favorite books and periodicals while on the go," David Haight, AT&T Mobility's vice president of business development for emerging devices, said in a statement.

With CES kicking off Jan. 5, PC maker Toshiba is also expected to introduce a tablet, tentatively named the Toshiba Tablet and running Android 2.4. Known as "Honeycomb," this version of the OS is said to have been designed with tablets in mind.

PC competitor Asus has teased with a video of several new CES-bound tablets - some running Honeycomb and at least one running Windows 7. Even television-maker Vizio will join the fray, with the introduction of the Android-running Via Tablet and a smartphone called the Via Phone. Planning to apply to the mobile device market the same super-low-pricing strategy that has put it at the top of the television industry, Analyst Charles King has said that Vizio "absolutely" has a shot at shaking up the industry.

Motorola Mobility Holdings-which on Jan. 4 officially split from the more enterprise-focused Motorola Solutions-is also expected to introduce a Honeycomb-running tablet.

In a Jan. 4 research note from financial services firm Jefferies, analysts Peter Misek and Jason North wrote that Google "intends to release tablet-optimizing Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) this spring, but [Motorola Mobility, trading as MMI] should launch its Honeycomb tablet 1 to 2 months before competitors. (MMI's tablet will likely be previewed at CES this week, which could boost the stock.)"

While the Android OS-via devices such as the Motorola Droid and Droid 2 smartphones-has enabled Motorola's turnaround, states the report, Motorola is expected to have a "difficult" time differentiating its handsets and tablets from competitors' offerings, many of which will also be running Honeycomb.

Misek and North added that Wall Street has "vastly underestimated" the tablet market-which research firm iSuppli has estimated will reach 44 million units in 2011, before climbing to 63 million-plus units in 2012.