Tablet wars: German WePad takes on Apple's iPad

A new tablet PC called the WePad is hoping to rival Apple's iPad with a bigger screen, a webcam and two USB ports.

The German company Neofonie GmbH said their new PC is a worthy contender for Apple's gadget.

The WePad has an 11.6in screen compared to the 9.7in iPad. It is powered by an Intel chip and relies on a Linux software basis which is compatible with Google's Android and all Flash applications.


Neofonie's founder, Helmut von Ankershoffen, said the WePad will also boast an open source office package when it launches this July.

He added that users will not need any particular software to put music on the device.

The company is hoping to appeal to publishers by allowing them to sell their content on its platform without monopolising the customer relationship as Apple's iTunes or Amazon's Kindle do.

The WePad's basic version, which comes with Wi-Fi and 16GB storage, is set to cost £390. A larger 32GB version with a fast 3G modem will be priced at £500.

The iPad went on sale in the U.S last month for £325 ($499) for the smallest version, coming with Wi-Fi and 16GB storage.


However, Mr Ankershoffen claimed the WePad was 'a bargain compared with the iPad' due to its technological superiority and greater openness.

The WePad is to be assembled by a manufacturer in Asia that can ramp up production capacity according to demand, Mr Ankershoffen said.

Neofonie casts the WePad as helping the media industry find a way to market paid content.

Gruner + Jahr, one of Europe's largest magazine publishers, already has a partnership with Neofonie, offering the company's flagship magazine, Stern, on the platform.


'It will be the first magazine, but others will certainly follow,' Stern's deputy chief Tobias Seikel said.

Neofonie seems determined to face its big California rival - the company distributed tasty red apples boasting the WePad's logo at a press conference.

However, both companies have to prove that the touchscreen device will not only amaze the tech-savvy early users, but will also appeal to mainstream consumers.

WePad v iPad: How they compare

1.66GHz Intel Atom
1.0GHZ Apple A4
Yes (1.3megapixel)
2xUSB, card reader,
audio out, SIM card slot, multi-pin connector
Adaptor for camera
and card reader
Flash / Java
WePad app store,
Google Android Market
iTunes App Store
Limited (only Apple apps)- until OS 4.0 comes in
Battery life
6 hours
10 hours
Yes (optional)
Yes (WiFi+3G)
242.8 x 189.7 x 13.4mm
£390 (basic)
£389 (estimated)

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