Bargain Tablet PCs due from Nextar, Aluratek

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Pandigital will get some company in the “poor man’s iPad” category from Nextar and Aluratek.

Nextar is planning an Android-based tablet with a 10-inch screen at a target price of $399 called the Next 3. Expected to ship in 75 days, Next 3’s chief distribution will be through warehouse clubs. The device should offer much of the functionality of the iPad, Nextar told us.

Aluratek will offer an Android-based tablet PC in the next couple of months. Further details aren’t available although we can assume the device will fall in the low or mid-end of the pricing spectrum.

Both of the above companies are also preparing new eReaders. Auratek told us it will offer in about two months, two new Libre models: one with WiFi and one non-connected device with a color LCD touch screen. The eReaders were each targeted at $149 (although we can only wonder if that will change now that a Nook Wi-Fi has been announced at that price).

Nextar is also planning its first eReaders for later this year. Called the Next 1 and Next 2 the devices will include a model with a 7-inch color LCD that could be priced at $99 for Black Friday (or $129 everyday).

Further details on Aluratek’s new Libre models are as follows: the WiFi Libre Air will have a 5-inch screen optimized for eReading (but not E Ink) and a 24-hour battery life. A second model offers a 7-inch color LCD touch screen with a 15-hour battery life. The Libre Air basically just adds WiFi to the current Aluratek Libre Pro, which has the distinction of going on sale at Borders July 20 at one of the lowest prices in the industry–$120. The Pro has 256 MB of built-in memory with 32 GB of expandable memory, an MP3 player and it supports adjustable type sizes.

For its part, Pandigital, a maker of photo frames, is shipping “in the next couple of weeks” a quasi-tablet/eReader called the Novel. The company informed us the product should be at Kohl’s, Bed, Bath & Beyond and other stores. It’s a 7-inch “multimedia” eReader at $199 that will support Android apps. You can watch movies on it, view photos and listen to music with it. It has a color, touch screen LCD and WiFi and it links to the Barnes & Noble eBookstore.

Other rumored tablets are also expected from Samsung and Research in Motion in addition to the announced Dell Streak due in July at $500 and the long awaited HP Slate. According to the Wall Street Journal, RIM’s version of a tablet would tether to a BlackBerry and may be available by the end of the year.

Sources: CEoutlook with additional references to Wired and Techlicous.

Photo: Nook Wi-Fi

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