BeBook enters the tablet market - we go hands-on

BeBook, the Dutch eBook specialist, has announced its first Android tablet - the Froyo packing BeBook Live.

"Froyo?" we hear you cry. "But it isn't 2010 anymore".

We know, we know - but if you've not got £500+ to splash on a Honeycomb tablet, and you want to get in the Android slate game without breaking the bank then you may want to pay attention - the BeBook Live comes in at less than £230.

And yes, we know that there were a load of Android tablets flying around at the end of last year / beginning of this year for around the same price. But the difference between those models (and you know the ones we're talking about) and this machine is that they were all truly awful and the BeBook isn't half bad.

That's the impression that Pocket-lint got anyway, as it spent some time with the device as it made its way to the UK for the first time, under close guard from BeBook CEO Johan Hagenbeuk.

The BeBook Live packs a fairly impressive spec sheet for the price tag. It's more on a par with the Samsung Galaxy Tab than the cheap tablet offerings that we've seen before.

Like the SamTab, it's got a 1GHz A8 processor with 512MB of RAM. The 7-inch display isn't quite as sharp, its capacitive TFT LCD being 800x600 - but it does have HDMI out and is capable of full 1080p output.

On board, there's 4GB of storage (expandable by 32GB with a microSD) and you've also got a 2-megapixel camera to take care of your video calling.

It's not Google certified so you'll not get the Google apps (or Android Market) as standard - but there are ways around this, which don't take very much effort after a spot of Googling. Hagenbeuk certainly had no problem getting the apps on his device.

We did question the BeBook CEO as to whether an Android update may be coming down the line, but he didn't sound too optimistic. Honeycomb was too buggy he said, and really needed a Tegra 2 chip - and there was not even a mention of Gingerbread.

However, Froyo seemed to fit the hardware well - performance was good, very nippy, with the accelerometer working without a stutter and the pinch to zoom feature on the browser responding well. There were also a couple of nice apps on board including RockPlayer Lite for all of your movies.

Build wise, the device felt nice in the hand (weighing 426g), with a nice soft plastic finish on the back and some reassuringly sturdy physical Android buttons. There was a noticeable whirr when apps were loading which could be felt, but we'd have to spend a lot more time with the device before deciding if this was an issue.

BeBook may be a little late to the Froyo tablet party - but we think that it may have just brought with it a device that could make an impact, especially for younger tech fans looking to get in on the tab fun.

The BeBook live hits the shops on 21 June, priced at £229. Pocket-lint will have a full review up ASAP, so be sure to check our reviews section.