GameStop, Acer Android tablets get prepped for holiday shopping

by Kristen Nicole

It’s November, which means we’re mere weeks away from Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday shopping season at large. It’s looking to be a great opportunity for Android tablet makers, as consumer tablet envy and improved devices promise to make for a more competitive market this year. GameStop is buttering up buyers with a tablet-game bundle, while Acer is running its own special at Best Buy. Also expected this holiday season is the Motorola Xoom 2, teasing us with a leaked advertisement that’s making its way across the web.

GameStop-modded tablets

GameStop hasn’t created its own tablets for its bundled promo, choosing instead to sell “certified gaming tablets” in 200 select locations. Android’s the platform of choice, as GameStop lists four options for buyers: the $300 7-inch Viewsonic VPad 7, the $400 10.1-inch Asus Ee Pad Transformer, the $400 Acer Iconia Tab A500 and the $500 Motorola Xoom. The benefit of partnering with manufactures is that GameStop is able to offer a variety of tablets at various price points, instead of trying to compete directly with Amazon’s Kindle Fire for price and (watered down) features. And it seems GameStop has chosen its tablets carefully. The Acer A500, for instance, has a full-sized USB port so you can plug in your game controller or pair your Wii-mote for console games. This marketing campaign could also prove a useful way to distribute its own mobile games moving forward.

Acer Iconia Tab A500

While the Acer Iconia Tab A500 is one of the chosen for GameStop’s bundle, you’ll find the tablet even cheaper at Best Buy stores. As part of this week’s specials, the price on the A500 has been dropped to $349.99, a $50 reduction. The only 10.1-inch Android tablet in Acer’s lineup, the A500 features Android 3.0 Honeycomb, a 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core processor, a 1280x800 capacitive LCD touchscreen, 16GB of built-in storage and 1GB of RAM. As mentioned above, the tablet also comes with a full-sized USB port, but boasts support for mini-USB, mini-HDMI and a microSD card (up to 32GB expansion). The rear-facing camera is 5-megapixels with an LED flash, while the front webcam is 2-megapixels.

Motorola Xoom 2

Android fans may have been slightly disappointed when the Motorola Xoom 2 didn’t make its debut at the recent Droid RAZR launch event, but a surprise launch this week promises availability for the holidays. There’s two Xoom 2 tablets hitting stores in the UK and Ireland (U.S. launch to follow), one with a 10-inch screen for business users, while the other is entertainment-centric with an 8.2-inch screen, called the Media Edition. Both are powered by dual-core 1.2GHz processors, run Android 3.2 Honeycomb and support Wi-Fi. The display screens are protected with Gorilla Glass and even come with a special splash-guard coating to make them more durable and stain resistant. Each tablet also sports a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera with a 5-megapixel snapper in the back, featuring digital zoom, auto focus and LED flash. Both come with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.

HTC EVO Design 4G

With some pretty good features at a great price, the HTC EVO Design 4G is the fifth member of the EVO family. A slightly smaller and more budget-conscious version of the classic EVO 4G, the Design comes with support for Sprint’s WiMax 4G speeds. Also geared for travelers, it has a GSM-friendly SIM card for overseas calls. Running Android 2.3, the EVO Design comes with a 1.2GHz processor, a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. The new smartphone also offers an 8GB microSD card right out the box. Priced at just $99 with a two-year contract and a $50 mail-in rebate, the EVO Design is probably HTC’s best price for the value.

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