WePad name change precedes iPad's Europe invasion

The WePad tablet is now WeTab

On the day Apple announced the availability of the iPad in some Western European countries, rival German company WeTab changed the name of its tablet computing product and company from WePad to WeTab.

In a statement, the German company said the name change was to "clearly differentiate our products within the international market for tablet computers." A WeTab representative declined to comment on whether Apple influenced the name change.

The earlier WePad product drew some attention for its close brand-name resemblance to iPad. Apple on Friday said the iPad will be available in nine countries, including Germany, on May 28.

There are differences in the hardware and software capabilities of the iPad and WeTab. WeTab has said its tablet computing device includes features the iPad lacks, including Flash support, a larger screen, a webcam and two USB ports. The WePad has an 11.6-inch display compared to iPad's 9.7-inch display. However, the device weighs 800 grams (1.76 pounds), which is heavier than the iPad, which weighs in at 680 grams.

The WePad runs on Intel's 1.66GHz Atom N450 processor, compared to Apple's A4 chip, which includes a 1GHz processor. The N450 processor goes mostly into netbooks, but Intel earlier this week released the Moorestown platform, which includes a low-power Atom processor designed for smartphones and tablets.

Apple's chip is capable of playing back 720p video, while critics have charged that Intel's N450 processor struggles with video at that resolution. However, the 3G version of the WeTab is capable of playing back 1080p video with a video accelerator, according to the company.

WeTab was officially announced in mid-April at a press event in Germany, where the device was shown. The device runs a version of the Linux OS and is designed for users to surf the Web, play games, read e-books and play video. The device is being made in a joint venture with technology company Neofonie.

A WeTab with 16GB of storage is priced at €449 (US$571), which includes Wi-Fi. A 32GB WeTab 3G with 1080p video is priced at €569.

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