Gadget Watch: Now 85% iPad Free!

Yes, yes, we know, the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) tablet has got the gadget industry frothing like a double latte in the unsteady hands of an over-excited device blogger.

Shockingly, however, there is actually other news coming out about devices this week. Go ahead, take a look:
  • Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications finally has its first Android smartphone ready. The "Xperia" sports a Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) Snapdragon 1GHz processor, 1GB internal memory, and an 8-megapixel camera. It will be launched by NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) in Japan in April with a U.S. launch later in 2010.

    DoCoMo is pitching the device as a rival to Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s iPhone, which is sold by SoftBank Corp. in Japan. "I'm confident that Xperia is superior to iPhone in terms of both hardware and software," NTT DoCoMo president Ryuji Yamada said at the launch event for the phone.

  • Unstrung has written extensively on the Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) N900 smartphone already: The beast of a phone is a first for Nokia because it runs the Linux-based operating system Maemo, rather than something using Symbian Ltd. code. Well, you can actually buy the thing through Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and possibly unlocked in the U.S. now.

  • Could Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s Nexus One smartphone soon be available at low, low Wal-Mart prices? The search giant's flagship has been spotted on the supermarket titan's Website. The move might help Google raise the profile of the phone, one of the first major smartphones launched in the U.S. that isn't locked to a particular carrier's network.

  • Google's other mobile operating system, Chrome, is also getting talked up by the makers of tiny laptops this week. Acer Inc. says that it should have a netbook out based on the OS by the middle of this year. MSI is expecting to launch its double-screen laptop/e-reader using the operating system.
  • Well, who would have thunk it? Apple is not the only computing giant working on a tablet device right now. HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) has a "pint-sized" Webpad-style touchscreen in its skunkworks, according to The New York Times. Like Apple, HP is said to be trying to cut deals with publishing houses like Conde Nast for content on this new class of gadget.

  • Meanwhile, our sister publication, Information Week, notes that McGraw-Hill CEO Terry McGraw appeared to confirm a key detail about the Apple tablet in a Wednesday morning interview with CNBC. "We have worked with Apple for quite a while -- the tablet is going to be based on the iPhone operating system," said McGraw.

    Here's some other gadget-related news you might have missed:

    — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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