NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Just a few months after Apple's ( AAPL) iPad burst onto the scene, Kmart is touting a $150 tablet powered by Google's ( GOOG) Android operating system. Built by Florida-based technology manufacturer Augen, the 7-inch tablet made its debut in a Kmart circular. If initial feedback is anything to go by, the device is already flying out of stores.
Kmart's store in East Brunswick, N.J. had just one of the Augen-branded tablets left when contacted by TheStreet on Tuesday. The retailer's stores in New York City, which were not included in the circular, told TheStreet that they may try and get hold of the tablets, explaining that at least 16 people had called about the device. Kmart is hardly renowned as an electronics retailer, although the Sears ( SHLD) subsidiary is clearly looking to lure new customers with Augen's GENTOUCH78 product. A brief note on the Kmart Web site touts the device for reading e-books, watching videos and listening to music. Priced at $149.99, the tablet is available through July 31, according to Kmart. Augen's own Web site describes the device as a "sleek" Tablet offering "a full Web browsing experience." Other features include 2-Gbytes of memory and a color touchscreen, while wireless connectivity is provided via Wi-Fi.
While affordable, tablets like the one being sold at Kmart aren't expected to significantly shake up the nascent U.S. tablet market. "I don't have any concerns about the Kmart offer," said Jeff Orr, an analyst at ABI Research. Although Orr acknowledges the device's price as a "great draw," he thinks that many consumers are more inclined to choose a recognized brand like Apple. It is, however, early days for the tablet market. Apple's iPad has obviously made the biggest wave so far, but a slew of companies, including Cisco ( CSCO) and Nokia ( NOK) are lining up to enter the market. Apple, though, has a first-mover advantage, and recently confirmed that it has sold more than 3 million iPads since the tablet was introduced in early April. ABI Research predicts that the iPad will help push tablet sales up to the 11 million mark by the end of this year, almost triple the research firm's original estimate. -- Reported by James Rogers in New York Follow James Rogers on Twitter.