Huawei ‘MediaPad’ Claims the Secret to 7-Inch Android Tablet Glory

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Overwhelmed by the dinner plate proportions of 10-inch tablets like the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1? Huawei thinks it has the answer with the MediaPad, a 7-inch Android tablet.

Huawei isn’t the first tablet maker to shoot for a 7-inch figure, but the MediaPad will supposedly be the first tablet to run Android 3.2, a version of Google’s Honeycomb tablet software that’s designed for smaller screens.

(MORE: Google’s New Android Plan: World Domination)

Indeed, other tablet makers have wrestled with putting earlier versions of Android onto a 7-inch frame with mixed results.

Samsung pulled it off with the original Galaxy Tab, but only by Super Sizing a version of Android that was meant for smartphones. Acer’s 7-inch Honeycomb tablet was reportedly delayed due to app incompatibilities. ViewSonic is making its ViewPad 7x work by creating a custom user interface, but hasn’t said when this device will be available.

So Huawei could be on to something with the MediaPad, which is slated for a third quarter launch in the United States. For hardware, the MediaPad will have a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm processor, 8 GB of built-in storage, a microSD slot, front and rear cameras and about six hours of battery life. It’ll run a bit thinner and lighter than Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, and will boast a unibody aluminum design in a loving nod to Apple.

Just one major, glaring, obnoxious downside: Huawei has no plans to launch a Wi-Fi-only version of the MediaPad, according to Engadget, so buyers will be at the whim of wireless carriers — and all the activation fees, monthly data bills and long-term contracts you can dream of.

If you like your gadgets commitment-free, keep dreaming. Eventually someone will get the 7-inch tablet right. Right?

MORE: An Upgraded 7-inch ‘Galaxy Tab’ Android Tablet? Let’s Hope So