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23 Dec 12 Budget-friendly Acer Iconia B1-A71 to compete with $99 Nexus tablet

New Delhi: It appears that Acer too wants a share of the budget-friendly tablet market; a leak on GLBenchmark has revealed some of the specifications of a tablet known as Acer Iconia B1-A71. This tablet will compete directly with the rumoured budget offering from Asus, which is codenamed ME172V and tipped to be a Nexus tablet.

The Acer Iconia B1-A71 has recently been cleared by the Federal Communications Commission and this tablet is believed to make its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show slated to take place in January 2013.

From the GLBenchmark, a few details of the device have been revealed such as it will run on Android 4.1.2 and will feature a screen size of 1024 x 552 pixels which would translate it to an actual display size of 1024 x 600 pixels with a pixel density of 169 ppi. The processor noted here is 1.2GHz dual-core and the GPU is PowerVR SGX 531.

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The Acer Iconia B1-A71 is believed to make its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show slated to take place in January 2013.

Budget-friendly Acer Iconia B1-A71 to compete with $99 Nexus tablet

According to a post on, this 7-inch offering from Acer will also come equipped with 512MB of RAM, 8GB of storage, a microSD card slot for storage expansion, GPS and Bluetooth 4.0. The thread also features some press shots of the tablet giving us a preview of what it will look like once it gets officially unveiled.

It appears that the budget Nexus from Asus, the ME172V, will face some serious competition from the likes of the Acer Iconia B1-A71.

For those of you who do not know what the Asus Me172V is about, it is a tablet that is believed to be a Nexus branded device with a 7-inch form factor. The tablet will come in black and white colour variants and will be priced between $129 to $149.

This is a bit more expensive than the previously perceived price tag of $99. This low end tablet from Asus will feature a 7-inch screen with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels with a TN panel rather than an IPS panel, which means viewing angles will not be as great.

The device now is believed to sport a VIA WM8950 chipset featuring a single Cortex-A9 core and Mali-400 GPU along with 1GB of RAM. The internal memory found here is said to be 16GB and as far as camera optics are concerned, the device will feature a 1.3MP camera.

The last leak surrounding the $99 Nexus tablet came via a photograph on Picasa where a device from Asus, which goes by the codename ME172V, had made an appearance in the EXIF data. The EXIF data revealed that the resolution of the device is 1280 x 720 pixels. Apart from the features mentioned above, nothing else was revealed.

In the benchmark that had appeared earlier this month, the Asus ME172V featured a 1GHz processor and a display with a resolution of 1025 x 600 pixels. The benchmark also revealed that it featured a Mali 400 GPU and runs on Android 4.1.1.

There was no word on the number of cores found on the tablet, but if this device is to be categorised in the sub-$100 price range, we suspect it will be powered by a single-core processor.

It now appears that a trend is slowly building where devices get revealed in benchmarks to create some hype before manufacturers actually take to the stage to announce its wares. However, at next year’s CES, we may see two potential competitors go head to head in the battle of the budget-friendly tablets.

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04 May 12 Samsung Galaxy S III vs. HTC One X: Quad-core faceoff

Samsung Galaxy S III.
(Credit: CNET)

Now that Samsung has announced its Galaxy S III muscle phone, one big question is how its core technology stacks up against that of its main Android rival, the HTC One X. So let’s take a look under the hood and see.

The S III packs a 1.4GHz quad-core chip, as the company indicated last week. Samsung obviously believes that kind of horsepower is necessary to drive a 4.8-inch HD Super AMOLED display with 1,280 x 720 resolution, among other things.

The One X, with a 4.7-inch screen and an identical 1,280 x 720 resolution, also sports a quad-core chip in its European variant–but opts for dual-core in the US More on that in a moment.

Samsung has gone into some detail to explain why it has gone quad-core for the first time in the Galaxy S series.

Samsung Galaxy S III (European variant) with Exynos 4 Quad highlights:

  • Full-speed video: Uses HD 30 frame per second video hardware codec engine for 1080p video recording and play-back. Also includes an embedded image signal processor interface for a high-quality camera and an HDMI 1.4 interface.
  • Speed jump: Owing to its 32-nanometer tech, the Exynos 4 Quad has “two times the processing capability over the 45-[nanometer] process based Exynos dual-core while consuming 20-percent less power,” Samsung said.
  • Ready to plug into new phones: Exynos 4 Quad is “pin-to-pin compatible” with the Exynos 4 Dual, allowing smartphone and tablet suppliers to adopt the new solution without additional engineering or design efforts.
  • Based on ARM Cortex A9 design: Based on the current Cortex A9 tech from ARM. The latest and greatest ARM tech is called Cortex A15 but those chips won’t emerge as commercial products for a while yet.

Because the Galaxy S III is so new, more in-depth reviews about performance are on the way. (See Galaxy S III performance preview here.) But the HTC One X is a known quantity. Let’s look at performance and the processor internals of the European/International variant.

HTC One X (European variant) with quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3:

  • Needless to say, fast: “Blazingly fast — you won’t feel any Android “lag” when using this phone,” said CNET Reviews. “HTC also claims a fast camera startup of 0.7 second and 0.2 second autofocus,” CNET said.
  • “Five” cores: Nvidia calls it “Super 4-PLUS-1″ Quad Core. The fifth processor core is much more power efficient than the others and is used–when performance is not required–to boost battery life. “The single battery-saver core… handles low-power tasks like active standby, music,” says Nvidia.
  • DirectTouch tech: Nvidia DirectTouch is a patent-pending technology that improves touch responsiveness and reduces power consumption by offloading a portion of the touch processing onto the Tegra 3 chip.
  • Based on ARM Cortex A9 design: Like the Samsung quad-core, the Nvidia also uses a Cortex A9 design. But Nvidia is undoubtedly working on a next-gen Cortex A15 chip; Nvidia is very quick at getting next-gen chips out the door. The Tegra 3 is manufactured with a 40 nanometer fabrication process, a slightly older technology than the 32 nanometer process used to make the Exynos 4.
  • Battery life: “Top-shelf components and a massive 4.7-inch screen take a toll on this pricey superphone’s battery life,” said CNET Reviews.

In the US market, HTC chose to go with a dual-core Qualcomm S4 processor paired with LTE in the One X. It’s not clear yet what Samsung will opt to do in the US, although the specs of the HTC One X may be instructive.

LTE and dual-core seem to be a good fit because the Qualcomm S4 squeezes LTE and the processor onto one piece of silicon. (That’s just not possible with quad-core and LTE at the moment.) That’s quite a feat and something that Qualcomm has done first. That level of integration not only allows for more compact designs but it doesn’t compromise on performance, as many reviews attest to.

“I know many HTC fans are disappointed that the US version of the One X has a dual-core CPU instead of the much-hyped quad-core Nvidia Tegra 3,” said CNET’s Brian Bennett. “Well, I’m here to wash that bitter taste of sour grapes away. Equipped with a powerful 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor… this phone seriously hums,” he wrote.

Bennett continues. “It flies through Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and HTC’s Sense overlay with oomph and agility.”

And battery life? In anecdotal use both over LTE and Wi-Fi, the handset got through an 11-hour workday of running tests, opening apps, and playing music, CNET said.

The upshot is that US-based consumers that opt for Qualcomm’s LTE and dual-core in the HTC One X don’t have to sacrifice much. And may be able to expect better battery life than quad-core.

That said, quad-core is inevitable for more high-end smartphones. And Qualcomm will be going quad-core, too–when it’s ready

Via CNET News

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10 Apr 12 India’s $35 tablet getting new hardware, Android 4.0

IDG News Service - India’s highly touted $35 tablet, set to ship in two to three weeks, is getting a makeover with improved hardware and Google’s Android 4.0 OS, according to the company assembling the device for the Indian government.

The second-generation Aakash 2 will have a 7-inch capacitive multitouch screen and a faster single-core, 800MHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, said Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO of Datawind. The tablet will ship with Android 2.3, but will be upgradeable to Android 4.0 about six to eight weeks after delivery, Tuli said.

“The product development is complete and deliveries are expected to start for Aakash 2 in about two or three weeks,” Tuli said in an email.

The tablet’s total price is around $45, and the Indian government will subsidize that to $35, Tuli said. The Indian government has budgeted for the acquisition of about 5 million units for the country’s fiscal year, which started on April 1, and the tablet will be further upgraded as component prices come down, Tuli said.

The original $35 tablet was announced in July 2010 by the Indian government as a subsidized low-cost computing device for students in the country. Shipments started late last year but have been affected by disputes between Datawind and an Indian education institution responsible for providing specifications and testing the tablet.

The Aakash 2 is a significant upgrade over the original $35 tablet, Aakash, which means sky in Hindi. The original tablet had a 7-inch resistive touchscreen, Android 2.2 and a slower 366MHz processor based on an older ARM architecture. The Aakash 2 will have 256MB of RAM and 2GB flash storage, which are the same as the original $35 tablet.

The tablet will likely be upgraded to dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processors by the end of the year, Tuli said. Many tablets today use Cortex-A9 processors, including models from Samsung, Asus, Acer and Lenovo.

“We’re confident that by the fall, Cortex A9 dual-core processors will be in the same [price] range as what Cortex A8 is at today,” Tuli said.

The development and deployment of the original Aakash tablet has been marred by controversies. The Indian government was expected to buy 8 million to 10 million units of the original Aakash tablet by March 31, which was the end of the Indian fiscal year. But shipments have been much lower than expected mostly due to disagreements between Datawind and Indian Institute of Technology-Rajasthan, which was responsible for providing specifications and field testing for the device.

The differences between Datawind and IIT-Rajasthan related to testing criteria used to see if the tablet met certain requirements, Tuli said. The original Aakash device was tested on parameters such as shock, water resistance, temperature and dust and humidity, according to a document sent by Tuli describing test results.

IIT-Rajasthan has now been removed from the project, and the Aakash project has been transferred to the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, Tuli said. IIT-Bombay will also be the first buyer of Aakash 2 and purchase about 100,000 units. IIT-Bombay, in Mumbai, and IIT-Rajasthan, in Jodhpur, are among the top science and engineering educational institutions in India.

IIT-Rajasthan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam’s e-mail address is

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