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Lies ‘R’ Us? Tough tablet to swallow?

These iPad things seem to be everywhere. Every time a major technology site runs with a rumor about the super-featured iPad 3 coming soon to a retailer near you, that your local store actually gets bombarded with cheap imports – promising an iPad like experience for pennies. KitGuru’s been sent some snaps and a question.

One loyal reader was in her local toy store when she spotted a new display with what appeared to be a complete bargain.

However, upon closer inspection, a question of misleading information was raised. Snapshots were taken and sent to us for perusal. We can see her point.

No obvious disclaimers about function - the only site clearly shown is the BBC

.Why is the choice of web site an issue?

Well, here’s what David Madden, Executive Product Manager for BBC iPlayer on Mobile platforms, had to say on the subject.

“Adobe Flash reaches an estimated 95% of PCs, which means the BBC can use Flash streaming technologies to reach audiences on the internet right across the UK with a consistent video playback experience.

As soon as Flash streaming came to mobile, through Adobe’s Flash 10.1 player on Android 2.2 devices, it made sense to make the most of our existing Flash infrastructure to bring that consistent playback experience to mobile as well”.

So far, so good. We know that the BBC’s site is Flash-rich and that the Toys ‘R’ Us 7 inch tablet device shown here, is being sold with the BBC site as part of the advert. So where’s the problem?  Here’s a zoom in to the detailed spec being offered.

The problem comes in the small print. This product is cheap - no doubt - but comes with Android 1.6

.When you say that a product “…welcomes a new era of personal computing…” because it will  “…play music, movies and apps…” and the operating system supplied will give you “…an intuitive and powerful experience…”, then you cannot be talking about Android 1.6.

Even Android 1.6’s mum wouldn’t be kind enough to describe its off-spring with these words.

You can argue whether Toys ‘R’ Us is actively engaged in misleading its customers with this offer. On the one hand, you could say that just because the offer says ‘plays movies’ and you show the Flash-movie-rich BBC web site, doesn’t mean that all of those things will work at once.  You could.

We stand to be corrected, but we don’t think Android 1.6 can be described as delivering a media-rich experience. Anything less than v2.2 has to be viewed with serious caution.

Time to clean up the descriptions? KitGuru believes that non-technical consumers need to be reliably informed.

KitGuru says: We don’t like it. The idea of a cheap tablet is great. It’s a definite option for lower income families, kids who are buying it with saved pocket money or parents who have a very young child and they don’t want to risk a full-blown iPad 2. However, it needs to be marketed as such. Consumers who buy this product and are not able to use the whole of the BBC web site, must surely have a great case for a full refund. Come on Toys ‘R’ Us – refine the language/pictures being used so they are clearer. Toys ‘R’ us is a big store, and we need to be able to trust the descriptions more.

Comment below or in the KitGuru forum.

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