NEC shows LifeTouch Android-based tablet

Japan’s NEC has developed an Android-based tablet computer and will begin shipping it in Japan this month.

The LifeTouch — unveiled this week NEC’s iExpo event in Tokyo — has a 7-inch touchscreen and is intended to be used as an access device for cloud-based services.

It comes with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and optional 3G networking, a GPS (global positioning system) sensor, a micro USB connector and standard USB connector with host-mode support, SD card reader and 3-megapixel camera. It runs on an ARM Cortex processor. (See video of the LifeTouch in use on YouTube.)

NEC won’t be offering the LifeTouch directly to end users. It intends to sell it to corporate clients, some of which might rebrand it and offer it to end users.

The company said it sees potential users for the LifeTouch as a terminal for electronic book, online shopping and health-care services. A publisher might, for example, offer it bundled with an e-book service to users. NEC said it also anticipates it could be used inside companies as an input device for sales or logistics work.

It runs Android version 2.1 and be customized by the client to allow free installation of applications, or run only software dedicated for a particular set of applications.

NEC said it’s considering launching the tablet outside of Japan, but it has yet to make a firm decision.

The price of the LifeTouch was not disclosed.

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