Tablets have become hot commodities these days and the cheaper they’re becoming, the more and more units people are buying. Of course, the idea behind cheap tablets is a strange one, they offer customers an easy way to get online, consume movies and catch-up TV and more without the need for a bulky laptop. However, that’s about where the fun ends with cheap tablets, as they’re not built to last very long and their dim, low-resolution screens are almost insulting. Of course, when you pay £99 for it, how much can you really complain?
Any of our UK readers shopping at Argos last Christmas will have heard of the MyTablet that Argos was selling exclusively for just £99. At under £100, the MyTablet was about as, shall we say, uninspiring as you’d imagine. The cheap MyTablet – as well as the CnM Touchpad line Argos used to sell – came from Welsh from KMS Components, which has had to call in the administrators and is unlikely to ever come back to life, after a row with Argos. It’s said that Argos had withheld as much as £3.2 Million in payments to the company, which has now forced KMS Components to close its doors, resulting in the loss of 70 jobs. The reason Argos was withholding said payments is because KMS Components didn’t have a license to distribute their hardware with Google’s services, such as GMail and the Play Store. As many of you will know, Android itself is free and open source for anyone to use however, the GMS (Google Mobile Services) suite of apps and services aren’t, as such companies need to attain a license to distribute hardware with apps such as Google Maps.
Shortly after the MyTablet went on sale, Google contacted Argos to inform them of their lack of a GMS license and as a result, the MyTablet disappeared from shelves. It seems that Argos is largely at fault here, The Guardian has obtained documents and comments from KMS that show Argos to be acting less than helpfully towards KMS. According to the Welsh firm, they tried to obtain the appropriate GMS license and/or remove the illicit software from the tablets, but it seems Argos wasn’t interested in the slightest. An £850,000 check for the first 5,000 tablets was sent by Argos, but was then withheld and a further order for 30,000 MyTablets was cancelled. It’s said that this could go to court and while KMS should have sought out the license in the first place, Argos should have paid KMS for the tablets it had received and sold. It’s a shame to see this sort of thing happen, but we suppose it just goes to show that when it comes to Android, not all that glitters is gold.