Chinese company pre-emptively clones iPad

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The Independent Tech

The unveiling of Apple's iPad tablet computer was one of the most anticipated technology events in recent years, but a similar looking device has been on sale in China for nearly six months.

The touchscreen iPad look-alike marks a new milestone by Chinese manufacturers: cloning a product before it had even been announced, mused Shanghaiist.com, a Shanghai city blog, and Shanzhai.com, a tech blog dedicated to Chinese copies.

But Shenzhen Great Loong Brother Industrial Co. - makers of the Chinese device, which resembles an over-sized iPhone - said Apple appeared to be the copycats.

"We don't understand. Why did they make the same thing as us?" Huang Xiaofang, an executive at the company, told AFP.

The iPad-like "P88" was launched in August and was on show last year at the Internationale Funkausstellung consumer electronics fair in Berlin, she said.

"We launched it earlier," she said.

Although thicker and heavier than the iPad, the P88's specifications boasts a slightly larger screen, faster processor, larger memory and, unlike the iPad, has USB ports, according to the manufacturer.

But its battery life is only 1.5 hours compared to the iPad's 10 hours.

Apple's first iPads will ship worldwide at an entry-level price of 499 dollars in two months.

But for gadget fanatics who cannot wait, Huang said the P88 is available now on Great Loong Brother's web site.

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