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Attack of the Intel-powered Androids!

Jun 3, 2013  |  Eric Brown
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Several Android tablets running on Intel Clover Trail+ Atom processors broke cover at Computex Taiwan. Intel’s dual-core, 1.6GHz Atom Z2560 is fueling a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 tablet, as well as Asus’s 6-inch Fonepad Note and 10-inch MemoPad FHD10 tablets, while Asus also unveiled a hybrid 11.6-inch Transformer Book Trio, combining an Android slate based on a 2GHz dual-core Atom Z2580 with a keyboard dock running Windows 8 on an Intel Haswell processor.

Earlier this year, we saw several Android smartphones running on Intel’s new Clover Trail+ (CT+) architecture instead of the usual ARM Cortex SoCs (system-on-chips), and now here come the tablets. Between Samsung and Asus, four Android-on CT+ tablets were demonstrated at the Computex show in Taiwan today.

As expected, Samsung unveiled its 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 3 tablet and, as several earlier reports had rumored, the device is Samsung’s first Android product to run on an Intel x86 processor. The Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 (pictured; click to enlarge) is built around Intel’s CT+ based Atom Z2560 SoC, according to several sources including The Verge.

The Galaxy Tab 3 10.1′s specs align with previous leaks, including the presence of a Z2560 with dual 1.6GHz cores, and a fairly modest, 1280 x 800-pixel (149ppi) WXGA resolution 10.1-inch display. There’s only 1GB of RAM, but customers can choose between 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. The rear-facing camera is only 3-megapixels, and there’s also a 1.3-megapixel camera and 6800mAh battery. In addition, Samsung notes the presence of “Smart Remote and MHL (TV Out)” capabilities.

Samsung also showed off an 8-inch version of the Galaxy Tab 3 (pictured; click to enlarge), which instead runs on a more typical 1.5GHz Samsung Exynos dual-core ARM SoC. Like the 10.1-inch model, it runs Android 4.2.2 and includes Samsung’s latest TouchWiz apps, says The Verge.

The Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 is just slightly larger than Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 3 7.0, featuring an 8-inch 1280 x 800 (189ppi) display. There’s also 1.5GB of RAM, both 5-megapixel and 1.3-megapixel cameras, a 4450mAh battery, and 16GB or 32GB of storage. Samsung will offer both devices globally in WiFi-only and 3G versions, at the beginning of June, but has yet to announce pricing, says The Verge.
 

Asus bets big on CT+

While Samsung is testing out the x86 architecture with a single product, Asus has gone all out with three Android-based devices running on Intel chips. The Asus FonePad Note FHD 6 (pictured; click to enlarge) is a 6-inch Android 4.2 phablet running on the 1.6GHz, dual-core Atom Z2560. It follows up on a recently announced 7-inch FonePad available with a lower-powered “Lexington” architecture Atom Z2420.

According to NDTV Gadgets, the FonePad Note FHD6 is equipped with a 6-inch, 1080p Super IPS+ display accompanied by a stylus. The phablet offers 2GB of RAM, and both 8- and 1.2-megapixel cameras. HSPA+ and 3G cellular voice services are available, but there’s no LTE. No pricing or shipment details were available, said the story.

Asus also demonstrated a 10.1-inch Android 4.2 tablet running on the Z2560 called the MeMo Pad 10 FHD (pictured; click to enlarge). According to BGR India, the tablet has better specs than the Galaxy Tab 3 10.1, with 1920×1200 resolution, 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of storage, and both 5- and 1.2-megapixel cameras.

Additional MeMo Pad 10 FHD specs on the 580-gram, 9.5mm tablet are said to include WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, and a “25WHr” battery with up to 10 hours of duration. The story notes the presence of the PowerVR SGX 544 MP2 — a 400MHz GPU that is built into the Z2560.

Asus has always been keen on Windows/Android hybrids — a lot more excited than consumers — and has struck again with a Transformer Book Trio (pictured; click to enlarge). As reported by Engadget, the Trio is equipped with a detachable, 11.6-inch Android 4.2 tablet with a 2GHz, dual-core, Intel Atom Z2580 — the CT+ big brother to the Z2560. The notebook dock, meanwhile, runs Windows 8 on a fourth-generation Core i7-4500U “Haswell” architecture processor.

Intel’s new Haswell CPU core, which will be formally unveiled on June 4, is the far more power-efficient heir to the 3rd-Gen “Ivy Bridge” family of Intel Core processors, and is available in mobile versions that will also support Android tablets.

Due to ship in the third quarter, the Transformer Book Trio is said to let users switch seamlessly between Android and Windows experiences. Users can “sync data or continue to surf the webpage they’re on even when moving from notebook to tablet mode,” says Asus. Yet, it’s really two computers in one, each with their own batteries, 19Wh and 33Wh respectively.

The device’s detachable IPS touchscreen offers 1920 x 1080 resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio, and offers up to 64GB of internal tablet storage. The keyboard dock is equipped with its own 750GB hard disk drive.

The Transformer Book Trio’s 2GHz Atom Z2580 has already appeared in Lenovo’s Android-based K900 smartphone, which began shipping in China last month. Later this year it will appear in a Europe-destined ZTE smartphone, the 4.5-inch Grand X2 In.

Finally, Asus showed off a 10.1-inch Transformer Pad Infinity tablet (pictured; click to enlarge), running on a 1.9GHz quad-core Cortex-A15 Nvidia Tegra 4 SoC (sorry, no Intel Inside here). The Transformer Pad Infinity’s IPS display boasts 2560 x 1600 resolution, 178-degree viewing angles, and 10-point multi-touch. The keyboard dock has been redesigned with a multi-touch touchpad. The dock also offers USB 3.0 and an SDXC card reader, and compared to earlier Transformers, is said to offer longer battery life when the tablet is docked.
 

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PLEASE COMMENT BELOW

3 Responses to “Attack of the Intel-powered Androids!”

  1. Luis Pons says:

    Nice: same CPU power, less battery time, higher price & incompatibilities. Let’s welcome the master monopolist to a sector where nobody needed them.

    • MPS says:

      It is understandable from Intel and the OEM’s point of view though. These guys are left with unsellable stock, unused components on order, tooling and R&D costs associated with Microsoft’s ill fated attempt to shoehorn its captive users into tablet/hybrid and touch laptop space. They are simply looking to replace the Windows 8 crud with a decent, saleable operating system like Android on those Intel based tablets, hybrids, and tough laptops. Add to that the shortage of Android SoCs because of the boom in demand for Android, and in that context, this move makes perfect sense.

  2. Vitara says:

    not good, nothing new. Guess they are pushing x86 arch where nobody wants it to be due to higher power usage. Smartphones and tabblets – ARM, laptop and desktop – only x86/x64. But as usually…marketing wins, people buy, people buy newer in one year…

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