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Stylish Patriotism & iPad Alternatives

April 2010

By Alexander von Mollard, Berlin

In the Spring, Berliners like to show off. The outdoor season is limited so you better plan your streetwear wisely and make sure your tech gadgets are handy!

German Garment is a shirt with a mission. Launched and presented at last year’s Bread and Butter, this start-up company’s aim is to prove that good quality in combination with sleek design on a budget doesn’t have to be imported but can be a result of domestic manufacturing.

From drawing to tailoring, this hands-on project is completely realized in its home country. "Made in Germany is still a valuable brand itself," designer Kilian Kerner says. Furthermore, all stages of production follow strict standards of ecological sustainability - and seem to generate jobs. What more can you ask for than politically correct - and stylish - patriotism?

Since the iPad hasn’t been delivered to Europe yet, there is still a market left open for other tablets, of which two caught my eye lately. Since my neighbor Matt is very keen not to lose touch with the latest online devices, the ASUS Eee PC T91MT is his latest toy.

Specs include a 10 inch multi-touch display which supports a high resolution, an Intel processor and WiFi connectivity. Matt praises its handy measurements that let him take it practically everywhere and likes how easily it transforms from a tablet to a netbook. He chose the white version because a black portable device appears too frumpy to him. From my point of view, it’s still very much a niche product, but one that can at least be recommended to the tablet-faithful.

Speaking of tablets, while Apple-lovers count the days until the iPad will be available in stores over here, Berlin-based Neofonie GmbH started a viral marketing campaign with a fansite on Facebook and climaxed in a press conference in early April. CEO Helmut von Ankershoffen unbagged the cat and presented an alternative...the WePad.

WePad is about to hit the market in August and presents itself as the Swiss Army Knife of state-of-the-art tablet technology. It supports Flash and Air applications, has several USB ports and an SD card reader.

Combined with digital newspapers and magazines that are intended to distribute their e-periodicals, the user will be able to enjoy an innovative and convenient reading experience. It remains to be seen whether this new product by an underdog company will work out. Aside from its design, which strikingly resembles the iPad, there isn't any public information on the retailing strategy or distribution so far. But it sure falls on sympathetic ears: some major German publishing houses like Gruner + Jahr already signaled interest in rolling out their e-papers exclusively at WePad.

Fashion & Style

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