eviGroup enters touchscreen tablet market with 'the Pad'

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eviGroup's new tablet PC, the Pad - shown with the company's Wallet MID

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It's only been a short while since eviGroup's Wallet MID was released and the French tech company has already unleashed its bigger sister - the Pad. With an Atom processor at its heart, a 160GB hard drive, WiFi, 3G and Windows 7 Home Premium, is this touchscreen tablet PC an Archos killer?

Rumors of an Apple tablet have kept the world waiting for an absolute age and now Microsoft is also said to be creating its own take on the portable touchscreen all-in-one computer. Meanwhile the French have dispensed with rumor and released actual product. Archos brought us the Archos 9 PC Tablet and now eviGroup has released the Pad.

The Pad is powered by a 1.6 GHz Atom processor, has 1Gb of 667 MHz SO-DIMM RAM (max 2Gb), a 160Gb SATA hard drive and a 10.6 inch resistive touchscreen interface powered by Intel's GMA 950 graphics card.

eviGroup gives the user the option of purchase without operating system or with Windows 7 Home Premium and Seline 10. Seline is a virtual office assistant (which can be turned off if not required), designed to help you find and access all the applications and files you need via one interface.

Seline can perform system maintenance tasks, open documents or applications and receive instructions via the virtual keyboard, voice recognition, handwriting or from a mobile phone. The first version was released way back in 1999 and the 10th anniversary edition is being used exclusively on the Pad (although it will be made available for stand-alone purchase soon).

The 260 x 160 x 22 mm (10.24 x 6.3 x 0.87 in) Pad has 802.11b/g WiFi capabilities and 3G (WCDMA/TD-SCDMA/CDMA2000), there's Ethernet too of course and a VGA port, three USB ports, SD/SDHC/MMC/MS slot and 3.5mm headphone and microphone ports. Web chat is made possible with the included webcam and the removable Lithium-Ion battery should be good for about three hours between charges.

By way of comparison, the Archos 9 PC Tablet has an 8.9 in resistive touchscreen interface, a 1.1 GHz Atom processor and a 60Gb hard drive. You get 802.11b/g WiFi only and Windows 7 Home Starter edition.

As the product website is not yet ready, eviGroup's Pad is currently available only via the blog of Manager Nicolas Ruiz for €599 (about US$885) or €539 (about US$796) without OS/software. International shipping can be arranged for a further €65 (about US$96) and if you want the operating system in English, you need to mention it at the time of order.

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