You haven't taken the plunge for an iPad yet, have you? Too pricey? Or is it that the iPad 2 will likely come out next June, and you don't want to be stuck with a first-generation model?

You haven't taken the plunge for an iPad yet, have you? Too pricey? Or is it that the iPad 2 will likely come out next June, and you don't want to be stuck with a first-generation model?

Fear not. Meet the iPed.

This gadget hails from Shenzhen, China - home to some 400 companies that specialize in making low-grade Apple gadget counterfeits. Recently they released their iPad knockoff. It's only available in China, but you can purchase one on ebay.com by searching for "iPed" or "aPed."

You've got a good deal if you can land one for about $105. The price for a real iPad starts at $500.

So what do you get in a Chinese clone costing one-fifth the price? It comes in a box nearly identical to the iPad's. It's manufactured to look like, and operate similarly to, its Apple sibling.

The iPed weighs in heavier than the original and has a smaller, 7-inch touchscreen. It runs on Android version 1.5 and has weaker hardware features (such as an Intel chip with 128MB of RAM and a 2GB hard drive).

However, unlike an iPad, the iPed will support a plug-in for a USB drive, 3G data service dongle or memory cards. Plus, it'll play Flash videos.

Let robots do the dirty work

While we're focused on products from the east, let's check out a couple of pretty nifty robots.

Potechinote (available from takaratomy.co.jp for $10) solves the problem of greasy post-potato-chip fingers or gunky orange post-Cheetos paws. This handy gadget operates as an extension of your hand and can grab snacks with a deft two-finger squeeze.

For general clean-up, WowWee (wowwee.com for $70) offers Roboscooper - a six-wheeled robot that can pick up after you. It operates via a remote or can detect objects on its own, then scoop up the lightweight ones. Like most WowWee gadgets, it's packed with all sorts of fun sound effects.

Got a gadget question or high-tech toy to recommend? E-mail gspot@columbusalive.com