The Augen GenTouch78 Android tablet available at K-Mart made quite the little stir when it was released. Cheap at $150, it has become a popular option for those wanting an Android tablet now but wanting to save their big money purchase for a future device that can promise a more well-rounded Android experience. Augen has drawn some heat for their inclusion of the Android Market on their tablet, even though they are not counted among the members of the Open Handset Alliance and did not install an officially licensed version of Android. For this reason, the Market is read-only. No apps can be downloaded or installed.
Augen’s official comment on the matter is that they simply forgot to remove the Google Mobile apps from the tablet before manufacturing and shipping. Major oversight on their part, but it looks like they have resolved the issue with Google:
“The Google Mobile Service and Android Apps were pre installed during the development process on our tablets for testing purposes, and were not removed unintentionally before releasing the products in the market place. Google and Augen came to a mutual understanding that the Google Mobile Services Application Suite pre-installed on the GENTOUCH/ GENBOOK Series; could not be removed due to technological constraints for the products that were sold, shipped, or already produced. For future production runs and deliveries, Augen will block and remove the Google Mobile Services Application Suite from the current devices until further notice.”
Those were Augen CEO Gary Gofmanhad’s words. If you want to get the GenTouch78 with not only the Android Market (albeit non-functioning), but also with Google Maps and GMail and other Google services pre-installed you better run out and grab one now, because one the current stock is depleted new units will be shipping sans-Google. Is the OHA in Augen’s future with hopes of legitimately licensed versions of Android with proper Market support? We sure hope so, because it would sure sweeten the deal with this low-cost tablet.