Most ICS promising, sub-$300 7 inch tablet?

Over the past couple days I've been doing some research on relatively inexpensive 7" tablets which have the potential for a smooth and stable build of ICS courtesy of the many fine resident devs here. After all, not all of us have the spare change to afford a Galaxy Tab Plus 7. I'll share my findings along with any pros or cons about the device in this context. If anyone has anything to add about a certain device or ICS requirements please do so. I'm still trying to arrive at a decision for myself.

Kindle Fire ($200)
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ICS probability: High (dev only)

Pros - Cheap, sleek and minimalist design, no soft buttons, Nexus S grade hardware++

Cons - Lacks many nice tablety features like a front facing camera, very limited storage options (8gb)

Notes: The KF does not have a locked bootloader so it's currently a dev's playground. As such, an ICS build has already been started on the device. Its still very early in development but the lack of smoothness is concerning considering it has the same GPU and RAM as the Nexus S, a device on which ICS currently runs like a champ.


Nook Color ($200)
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ICS probability: High (dev only)

Pros: Cheap, large dev scene

Cons: Dated hardware may not be enough to run ICS smoothly, like the Fire it lacks many tablety features

Notes: ICS is already running on the Nook Color, albeit a bit laggy. I'm unsure if it'll ever be smooth due to the older GPU it sports. However the large dev scene around this device cannot be ignored as it has CM7 running well on it.


Dell Streak 7 (230$-260$ varies)
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ICS probability: Med-High (dev only)

Pros - More fully featured tablet with all the bells and whistles of a Tegra 2 device

Cons - Iffy battery life, low screen resolution, capacitive buttons, discontinued hardware

Notes: This device seems to have a modest dev following and already has official Honeycomb. Once the Tegra 2 ICS drivers are released by nvidia (I think?), devs can get ICS going.


Samsung Galaxy Tab ($240+)
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ICS probability: Med-High (dev only)

Pros - Fully featured tablet for a great price

Cons - Highly fragmented dev scene, a little old

Notes: For the price, the vanilla Galaxy Tab is a great choice. Sporting the same internals as the Nexus S its very likely that this device will soon have a stable and smooth version of ICS running for it. However, there are so many different versions of this tablet that it makes the entire scene fragmented and much more of a headache in terms of researching and treading carefully around flashables to avoid bricking your device. Because of this fragmentation, the cheapest version ($240, wifi only) isn't supported for the current ICS build due to having an older GPU. Doh!


Acer Iconia Tab A100 ($250)
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ICS probability: High (dev+manufacturer)

Pros - Cheapest premiere honeycomb 7" tablet

Cons - Abysmal battery life, LCD isn't all that great

Notes: Acer has stated that they're going to put ICS on their tablets, so that's nice of them. The battery they put in it is on par with smartphone batteries, so not quite sure what that's all about.


Nook Tablet ($250)
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ICS probability: Low-Med (dev only)

Pros - Kindle Fire with more storage options

Cons - But you pay $50 more for it and it's locked

Notes: Currently the Nook Tablet is locked down. Locked bootloaders scare me as there are many devices which have still never been truly unlocked, like the Wildfire S. It's currently a gamble to invest in the Nook Tab if you're banking on an ICS future.


HTC Flyer ($250-$300 varies)
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ICS probability: High (dev+manufacturer*)

Pros - Best overall hardware of the bunch (cameras GPS etc), good battery life, honeycomb manufacturer release imminent

Cons - HTC Sense is hit or miss with people, priciest of the bunch, aesthetic is a mixed bag, single core CPU

Notes: There are two versions of this tablet, the flyer and the evo view 4g. The evo view is usually sold cheaper at around $250 but the dev support for is it isn't nearly as robust as it is for the flyer. I don't believe HTC has made any announcements regarding ICS on the flyer but it isn't completely out of the question to see it in a year or so. Needless to say, a dev version such as CM9 will hit the device well before HTC has their version up.


Those are the few I have been eyeing. Currently I'm leaning towards the fire for the CPU/GPU combo or the HTC flyer if I can cough up an extra benjamin. I reserve the right to be misinformed, so any opinions or facts anyone has can only help. Thanks in advance and I hope this helps some people!

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