Hands-on with the Taztag Tazpad NFC tablet at WIMA NFC USA
Posted by Seth PlanckDecember 06th, 2011 at 11:55 AM Filed Under Latest News
Hands-on with the Taztag Tazpad NFC tablet at WIMA NFC USA
We have been following the development of the Taztag Tazpad, which took the title as the first NFC tablet to be announced, since earlier this year. From its inception, the Tazpad NFC tablet had its work cut out for it in standing up to colossal electronics giants who would undoubtedly release competitive products.
The Tazpad has prospered, moved beyond vaporware and is now in the market for integrators and larger organizations. As NFC tablets go, the Tazpad is the only one we know of that is available today and has features that make it an attractive prospect for business based implementations. In fact, it has features not available in a single slate anywhere else. We met up with Taztag Co-Founder and International General Manager, Michel Delaux, over at WIMA, where our first question was “Do you have one with you?” Luckily enough, he did!
First thing’s first though. If you compare the Tazpad NFC tablet against the latest and greatest consumer slates, you may feel the specifications are a little lower. The Tazpad more than makes up for not being bleeding edge on raw processor speed in so many areas. The Tazpad is also a business machine and isn’t meant for gaming. That said, the first thing Michel showed us was Angry Birds Magic running smoothly on the device.
We haven’t heard of another NFC tablet that features biometric fingerprint scanning, front and rear cameras, Zigbee, NFC, and this is where it gets interesting full GSM SIM capabilities so that the little NFC tablet can even be used for calls. That GSM capability separates it out from the crowd straight away, but with Zigbee’s flavor of RFID, full NFC capabilities and the AuthenTec fingerprint scanner that can perform different actions with different fingers the Taztag Tazpad is unique in its features and capabilities.
Oh, and did we mention this little NFC tablet can read NFC tags from both sides of its body? A lot features, no doubt helps the Tazpad NFC tablet with its value proposition, but they alone don’t make a great tablet. So, we dove in and played with the slate to see how it performed.
Taztag Tazpad NFC tablet first impressions
We’ll admit it, we have been waiting to get our grubby little mitts on the Tazpad for months now. It would have been easy for the Tazpad to leave us feeling let down, but it didn’t. The construction is solid and it feels appropriately weighted in your hands. Because the screen is longer and the controls sit either side of the Tazpad, it feels as if you are holding a hardback book. That width also makes it a little more difficult to use the NFC tablet with your thumbs while holding both sides.
When we first heard about the Tazpad it was running on Froyo, but we were pleased to learn that Gingerbread has now replaced that older OS. It used to be that a tablet rocking on Gingerbread was a big no-no because it would have had any access to the Android market. That problem has since become moot as Amazon launched its own app market for Android devices. So, now you know it feels solid and that it has lots of features – but how did it handle?
In a word – well. Apps were responsive with no lag and the AuthenTec unit performed as you would expect. It took a few seconds between placing a finger on the scanner to an app launching but it worked every time. Michel also showed us how easy it is to setup different actions for different fingers, and put quite basically, it’s child’s play. The NFC reader performed better than any NFC smartphone we have come across so far. It read all tags that were placed close to its NFC antenna quickly and we didn’t even see a tag not recognized statement, which if you have a Nexus S or a BlackBerry, you will be accustomed to seeing.
What was very apparent from playing with the device was how many applications businesses could use the device for presentations, payments, phone calls and video conferencing. Because the Tazpad is an Android based tablet, customizing the apps for a business is simple. This leads us on to the next thing we asked Michel Delaux – how is the Taztag Tazpad doing in the market?
How is the Taztag Tazpad NFC tablet doing in the market?
You can have a great product, a great business model and your product can still flop in the market. From our conversation with Michel Delaux, however, that doesn’t appear to be the fate of the Tazpad. The integrator version of the NFC tablet has been out for around four weeks now. Integrators are buying the device in the thousands and from what we were told the response has been phenomenal. Michel shared with NFC Rumors that they were talking with many different companies about deployments that range from 1,000 units to a staggering 45,000 units and everything in-between.
Michel explained because Taztag designed every component of the Tazpad NFC tablet they can customize it for customers. Don’t want the AuthenTec unit, no problem. Want a faster processor? It can happen. That ability to customize units for deployment is unheard of, and the fact that Taztag controls every element of its hardware gives the French firm a distinct advantage over larger electronics firms who rely on retail channels to get their products to market. Price is, of course, an issue with any NFC tablet success and the Tazpad is coming in at around $500, which is very competitive compared with any other business tablet and the Tazpad has way more capabilities. Make no mistake, the Taztag Tazpad NFC tablet is aimed at commercial and business use cases. Michel let us know that consumer NFC tablets were in development and there would be announcements in the new year and we can’t wait to see how the firm approached the consumer tablet market.
Our real litmus test to the Tazpad NFC tablet, however, happened as we left WIMA. We discussed among ourselves whether we could see ourselves living with a Tazpad NFC tablet on a daily basis, and whether we actually wanted one. All three of the NFC Rumors team that attended WIMA agreed we wanted a Tazpad NFC tablet and its features and handling appealed, so maybe it’s time to dump the iPads.