Tag Archive | "low cost tablets"

HP Stream to join the confusing low-cost Windows Tablet party.

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The HP Stream 7 and HP Stream 8 have been launched and the cheapest version will cost just $99.Both models come with just 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage . That’s all I’m going to tell you right now.

Above: HP Stream 7 advertising

What can I say? Having had a bad experience with 1GB RAM on the Toshiba Encore 2 WT8 I just can’t get excited. I’m also confused about why manufacturers think this is a good idea? The platforms are likely to have been developed, tested and approved by Intel leaving HP and others to build the casing but there are major issues that will affect user perception of Windows tablets. Windows Desktop will slow down to a crawl after you’ve opened a number of browser tabs and a few apps as the Pagefile works overtime to switch data to and from memory. 16GB of SSD becomes a major issue after a short time unless you know all the tricks that can help keep it in order.  Without a microSD slot though some of the tricks won’t even be possible.

Thank goodness there’s a 1280×800 screen with wide viewing angles on both of these tablets but that’s not enough for me to recommend them.  Yet…

Will Windows 9 bring cheap Windows tablets to life?

Windows does need a cheap tablet option but it won’t happen with Windows 8.1. Late today Microsoft will be talking about Windows 9 and we hope to see better support for small form factor devices and low-end platforms. The ability to turn off the desktop and have an RT-style default might be a help too and if we could just have support for Windows Phone 8 apps, that could solve the problem.  The Cortana assistant and a notification center will help too. Windows 9 should be a free upgrade on small-form-factor devices (it’s already free) so here’s hoping.

Until then, unless you have a specific need, a specific single task or RT-based need, be careful with these low-end Windows 8.1 tablets.

More information:

Mike Cane often highlights low-cost Windows tablet news on his blog.

HP Stream 7 site at HP.com

Hands-on with the Stream 8 and Stream 7 by Liliputing.

Toshiba Encore 2 WT8. This $192 Tablet PC arrives for review tomorrow.

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Looking for a sub $200 Tablet PC option? The Toshiba WT8 is $193 at Amazon.com today but the newer, lighter Toshiba Encore 2 WT8 is $192. This Windows with Bing PC arrives for testing tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it. What features have been stripped out of this Bing version of Windows? Is the new platform better? Is there significantly more available storage space or is this 1GB RAM limit going to negate any of the potential improvements? With the original Windows 8.1 8-inch tablets also at the $200-$220 mark, why bother with the Encore 2?

Toshiba Encore 2 8 _3_

Two important things to note about Windows with Bing are that 1) You don’t get an Office Home and Student license and 2) There’s only single language support. The latter may not affect many people (except myself – someone that relies on this for purchasing tablets in Germany and switching them to the English language) and the former is offset by a one Year Office 365 Personal license. You get Ooutlook included in that and you also get, in theory,  1TB of free online storage for the year. There may be other changes too.

There’s a 5.0MP auto-focus rear camera which could be useful if it’s as good as the one on the original WT8, microSD support up to 128GB and stereo speakers. As with the WT8 there’s no HDMI so you’ll need Miracast or DLNA support to stream movies to a bigger screen.

 

Toshiba Encore 2 8

If the Toshiba Encore 2 wants to be a competitor in the western market for tablet PCs it needs to beat the class-leading Dell Venue 8 Pro in features or undercut it by a big margin. This launch price isn’t enough to convince me but if the device checks out in my review for Notebookcheck and the price drops to $175 or less then it could be worth a closer look.

MSI S100 is a 10-inch Windows tablet with keyboard, for 349 Euros!

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MSI aren’t known for having big distribution channels in Europe or North America so the new MSI S100 10-inch Baytrail-T tablet may not reach your local store shelves but it will be interesting to watch the price on it. We’ve spotted it, pre-sale,  for 349 Euros ($384 pre-tax equiv.)  MSI have chosen a 1280×800 screen resolution and have issued a strange press release. This “WinOS” tablet has “soul-shaking 3D surround sound. “ A 2MP camera “provides incredibly [sic] image quality.”

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One retailer in Europe has the MSI S100-012NL up for pre-sale at 349 Euros which includes 64GB storage and the keyboard cover. Perhaps for that price we can excuse the poorly written PR?

MSI S100 10-inch Windows tablet specifications:

  • Windows 8.1
  • Intel Bay Trail-T Z3740D 1.33GHz
  • 2GB RAM
  • 64GB storage
  • Screen” 10.1″ IPS HD 1280×800
  • Camera: Front 2.0MP FF / Rear 2.0MP FF
  • Speaker: 1W speaker (We suspect that should be ‘speakers.’)
    WIFI 802.11b/g/n + BT 4.0
  • Micro SD, Micro USB 2.0
    USB 2.0
  • Headphone port [possibly not headset]
  • HDMI connector (Mini)
  • 27Wh battery
  • Size: 262.2 x 173.6 x 9.8 mm
  • Weight:595 grams (890 grams with keyboard cover.)

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If you’re happy with 1280×800 resolution, which I suspect many people might not be, and want a super-cheap, lightweight 2-in-1 then take a closer look. We’re hoping the quality is better than that of MSI’s English proof-reading.

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Similar devices: Acer Switch 10, ASUS Transformer Book T100

Source: MSI. Via ZDnet. Pricing via Geizhals.

Toshiba Encore 7 Windows Tablet is good and bad at the same time.

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My predictions about the 7-inch Windows tablet space are coming true. The smaller Baytrail-T (refresh) platform simply allows a smaller motherboard which means a smaller screen which means lower backlight power/cost and finally a smaller battery. The mathematics continue into plastic costs, shipping costs and storage costs and then you end up with something like the Toshiba Encore 7. Good for markets that need it but bad for markets that want higher quality and better features.

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Emdoor EM-i8080 low-cost Windows 8-inch tablet in hands-on

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Our good friends at Mobilegeeks have just had hands-on with the Emdoor EM-i8080 ‘Windows 8 with Bing’ tablet. 1GB of RAM, 16GB SSD and a Z3735G processor.

emdoor EM-i8080The Z3735G is a 4-core CPU running at 1.33Ghz to 1.8Ghz which isn’t bad. There’s little in terms of disk space though – 2GB available to the user on the system shown in the video below although we’re sure the device will ship with a few more than that.

Emdoor i8080 specifications.

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Toshiba Encore 2 Tablets start with 8-inches for $199.

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Toshiba Encore 2 8 (3)Toshiba Encore 2 10 3

 

The new Toshiba Encore 2 tablets have launched. An 8-inch model, the Encore 2 8, will start at $199. The 10-inch Toshiba Encore 2 10 will be $269

The two tablets were announced by Toshiba today and they have a whole new set of specifications. Down goes the launch price but so do the specs in some areas.

The 8-inch tablet has been reported to start with just 1GB of RAM on a quad-core CPU (likely the Z3735F or Z3735D) with a screen resolution of 1280×800. 1GB will be fine for working within the Modern UI but will certainly cause problems for people wanting to do extensive desktop or browser-based application activity.

Full specifications haven’t been revealed yet but here’s what we’ve got so far.

  • 1280×800 resolution touchscreen on both models.
  • Quad Core Atom CPU (likely Z3735 series.)
  • 1GB RAM (at least on the 8-inch model. Information isn’t clear at this stage.)
  • 2GB RAM (on entry level Windows 10 model. There may options for 64GB and 2GB on the 8-inch model.)
  • 32 or 64GB storage options.
  • Micro SD card on both models.
  • Audio jack
  • Wireless display
  • Micro HDMI on the 10-inch model only.
  • Office 365 one year license provided. (Note that a Modern UI version of Office would require a 365 license so this could have more value in the near future.)
  • ‘10 hour’ battery.
  • 5MP rear cam, 1.2MP front.
  • Dolby Digital Plus audio processing.
  • Windows 8.1 with Bing (without Office)
  • Size of 10-inch: 258,8 x 175 x 8,98 mm. Weight of 10-inch model: 555 grams / 1.2 pounds (This would make it one of the lightest 10-inch Windows tablets.)
  • Size of 8-inch: 210,62 x 132 x 9,48 mm. Weight of 8-inch model: 385 grams

Unknown specifications

  • Battery size?
  • TPM?
  • Connected Standby?

As the first official Windows 8 tablets with the refreshed Baytrail-T platform and the new licensing deal with Windows 8.1 + Bing they don’t have any direct peers to compare against yet. An early launch before Computex could well be a good move because we’ve got a hunch that there’ll be products using the same platform launching there for less than this.

Both products will be available in early July.

 

Toshiba Encore 2 8 (2)Toshiba Encore 2 8

Toshiba Encore 2 10Toshiba Encore 2 10 2

 

The 10-inch Encore 2 tablet will be available for purchase in early July at select retailers and on toshiba.com/us , starting at $269.99. 544 grams (1.2 pounds) MicroHDMI, MicroUSB 2.0

The 8-inch Encore 2 tablet will be available for purchase in early July at select retailers and on toshiba.com/us, starting at $199.99. MicroUSB 2.0

8-inch Windows tablets get cheaper but ‘value’ models still not available.

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$214 for an Acer Iconia W4. $229 for a Dell Venue 8 Pro. $193 for a Toshiba Encore WT8. $220 for a Lenovo Miix 2 8. And that’s just the Amazon.com prices. The bargain though is the Acer Iconia W4 64GB at $259.

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We’ve seen some offers on 8–inch Windows tablets before but they were short-lived and mainly for hype-generation but it looks like prices have been pushed down permanently now as all the 8-inch tablets compete against each other. Prices at the Microsoft Store are also discounted but not as much as through some resellers at Amazon. The best deal I could find was the Acer Iconia W4 with 64GB sold by Amazon.com for $259.99. The Acer W4 has an HDMI port, good battery life, great screen and comes with a USB OTG adaptor cable so you can get going with USB accessories right out of the box. There’s a range of accessories too. Yeah, it’s not the thinnest or lightest but it’s very capable. For a thin and light solution either the Dell Venue 8 Pro or the Lenovo Miix 2 8. Given the slightly better screen and WiFi on the Dell, the $229 price for a 32GB version is still very good.

Windows 8 Tablets at Amazon.com

While prices for the current generation of tablets are good, where are the promised $99 tablets? The Onda V819i Android tablet running on a Z7935D at about $130 (local price conversion) is said to be getting a free Windows 8 ‘sidegrade’ but as yet I’ve seen nothing about availability although there is this demo video available. (Via)

Apart from this, clearly local information, there’s nothing to be seen in the US and European markets yet.

We’ll keep an eye on pricing and evidence of Z3795-based Windows 8 tablets. Right now it seems that the only action is with Android. The latest Tesco Hudle 2 could be one of them so keep an eye on pricing because the bill of materials for the Android and Windows versions are the same. The Hudle 2 is said to be coming in late Q3.

Windows Tablets at $99, Realsense for high-end later this year

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As we followed IDF yesterday we heard about a $99 tablet price target. We assumed it was for Android tablets but no, Intel are targeting their low-end Baytrail solution for Windows tablets at that price point. Intel are also increasing marketing and promising some new and improved features that could include Realsense 3D sensors for high-end Windows tablets.

Hermann Eul, corporate VP and GM of the Mobile and Communications Group at Intel explained in his keynote yesterday that by lining up low-cost SKUs (processor models) up with the removal of Windows licensing costs (announced at BUILD yesterday) they could enable Windows tablets “even down to $99 or $129. “As we speak we have more than 90 tablet designs coming to the market” spanning from below $100 to $500.

Full keynote video below.

The announcement was made during a segment in which Hermann highlighted the ‘4X’ campaign which aims to increase tablet sales to 40 million this year across the Android and Windows range.

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Clearly Intel don’t expect the $100 segment to include too many $99 Windows tablets in 2014 but if the Windows Store takes-off as it may do after  Universal Apps become possible, why not more? It’s likely to be down to differentiation. Low-performance ARM-based platforms will be cheaper so there’s an opportunity to drop $20-$50 for higher performance and perhaps the extra USB functionality.

We can’t read too much into the perceived split in the mainstream and premium segment but 50:50 seems about right. 20 million Windows tablet sales in total for 2014? Yes, we can see that happening as the products are already selling very well.

The low-cost products are likely to come from partners in China. Intel were happy to show who they’re working with as local country partners.

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In the slide are listed: Livefan, Telcast, iWork, ramos, Aigo, Vido, onsa (sp?), Neso and two brands we can’t translate. In 2014 Intel are going to set a target of getting 20 ODM partners to produce 60 global designs via the Intel Turnkey Program which includes references designs, tailored software and other support packages.

Intel also announced they will provide marketing campaigns for this segment and will market to both consumers and IT decision makers. Intel will also help by using their existing distribution channels. Screenshot (57)_edited

Realsense for Tablets?

Update: Video below

Finally, for the mainstream Windows tablet segment that closely matches the coverage we have here at UMPCPortal, we see that not only is Baytrail-T being updated for CR (cost reduced) versions now but there are also performance improvements coming later in the year too. An estimated 15% performance improvement along with ‘new experiences’ in the area of security and immersive gaming. We can’t help thinking that is related to Realsense when we look at the icon.

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A depth-enabled camera features in the early part of the presentation. This feature would require Realsense on board so again, it looks like Realsense is coming to tablets this year. Watch the video below It’s amazing.

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It looks like we’ll be busy here at UMPCPortal in 2014. We’ll continue to focus on the mainstream and high-end of the Tablet PC and mobile PC market and bring you more details about the technologies and capabilities as soon as we can.

Windows for free on PCs of 9-inch or less.

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Microsoft have announced that Windows devices with screens less than 9-inches will now have zero license cost.

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Intel’s Back-To-School Windows/Android Platform Leaked

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Following recent hints that new versions of the Baytrail-M processors would be launched Intel have confirmed by publishing details of the new student-focused platform ahead of IDF. It’s called BTS’14 and it’s aimed at lowering the cost of Android and Windows tablet and 2-in-1 products.

A number of Pentium N3000 CPUs will be launched which include improved CPU and GPU frequency over previous Baytrail-M parts and support for Intel Quick Sync, the hardware video encoder usable through the Intel Media SDK. A set of Celeron N2000-series CPUs will also feature Intel Quick Sync support, increased memory speed over previous models and in some cases a CPU clock boost.

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Offers on four low-cost 8-inch Windows 8 tablets.

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[USA-focused post]

The 8-inch Windows tablet segment is pretty hot right now which is no wonder considering that these usable tablets are also fully-capable PCs. Microsoft have price reductions on three of the 8-inch low-cost Windows 9 tablets today and Amazon have an offer on the Lenovo Miix 2 8. Here’s an overview for you.

Dell Venue 8 Pro Tablet – 32GB $229.00 (was $299.00) save $70.00

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You’ll find the Dell Venue 8 Pro 32GB for just $229. That’s probably the easiest Windows 8 tablet to recommend right now because of the price and the all-round quality of the device. There’s no HDMI which makes the free Office suite a little more difficult to take advantage of.

 

Lenovo Miix 2 8 Touchscreen Tablet – 32GB $249.00 (was $299.00) save $50.00

Lenovo Miix 2 8

 

How about the Lenovo Miix 2 8. It’s $20 more than the Dell Venue 8 Pro right now but comes with GPS on board which might be attractive to those looking for a location-focused device. The Lenovo Miix 2 8 is the lightest Windows 8 PC in the world right now and also has the ability to do concurrent data and charging over the MicroUSB port. Our full review just went up this week. Click here.

Update: While writing this post the price dropped further. Lowest price is $213 at time of writing but latest lowest price at Amazon always available here.

 


Toshiba Encore WT8-A32M Touchscreen Tablet $299.00 (was $329.00) save $30.00

Wt8

The Toshiba Encore WT8 is the big boy of the group. Large battery life, HDMI port and probably the best mics of all the Windows 8 tablets. With that HDMI port you’ll be able to take advantage of the free Office Home and Student license and, honestly, you’ll be surprised how fast it is at doing that. Our full review here.

Acer Iconia W4 Windows Tablet 32 GB $249.99 (was $299)

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The Acer Iconia W4 is, again, a larger tablet with a a bigger battery, GPS, good screen and that all-important HDMI port for those wanting a mini desktop. We’ve just had the W4 with us for a three day trip and are pleased to report that it was on active standby (InstantGo) for the whole time and used just 60% of the battery. Acer have a range of keyboard and cover accessories and a 3G option making this the all-round mobile PC winner.

You can find all the Microsoft offers on their store page here.

A side-by-side comparison of these four tablets is available here.

All 8-inch Windows tablets are listed here.

Modern: Helping to seed a unified Store through low-cost tablets.

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phone1From a mainstream perspective by a user-interface expert sitting at a desktop PC it’s easy to see why Windows 8 Modern got this poor feedback. It’s shockingly different for some people and doesn’t reach the ease-of-use levels of the IOS or Google Android OS. Unfortunately for Modern haters there’s a while to go before you’ll be able to turn that UI off because the Store needs a springboard. Store unification is coming but will only work with two healthy ecosystems.

Modern is helping to grow the big-screen Store through low-cost tablet sales.

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