Cheap Android tablets slated by everyone

A flood cheap and cheerful Android-based tablet devices is hitting the stores but it looks like you'll get what you pay for.

Costing as little as £99, the tablets mainly come with poor-quality resistive touch screens, puny processors and dreadful battery life, some managing as little as an hour of use before giving up the ghost.

Any canny parent thinking of bunging one of these in the kids' stockings at Christmas and trying to pass it off as a special iPad had better think again.

They're almost exclusively sourced in China, shipped to the UK by the container-load, and rebadged by the likes of underpants outlet Next.

PC Pro calls the clothing retailer's 7-inch offering, "The worst tablet PC we’ve yet seen, it's frustrating to use and symptomatic of the droves of Android hardware being produced on the cheap."

Now we don't expect a lot for a hundred quid, but the 300MHz processor is further crippled by just 128MB of RAM and PC Pro reports that even a simple web page takes close to a minute to render.

If you want to see exactly how bad that resistive touch screen is, take a look at poor Rory Cellan Jones from the BBC stabbing away at it in utter frustration. He suggest that, if it were a pair of jeans, you'd take it back the next day.

Ars Technica goes one step further and asks whether the Maylong M-150 is the worst gadget ever, suggesting that the real tablet might have been switched in transit for a joke Chinese knock-off that's not supposed to work.

We all know that even the current official version of Android isn't optimised for tablet devices, having cut its teeth on smart phones of all persuasions, but many of the hundreds of cheap wannabes flooding the country use poorly-customised distributions of version 1.6 of the open source OS, further adding to their failings.

There's a very good chance that if too many of these things get into the wrongs hands, negative publicity will poison the Android operating system's chance of making the jump from smart phones to tablet PCs.

With Apple already holding a 95 per cent slice of the tablet pie, world domination awaits unless the Cupertino company gets some serious competition, sharpish.