Wandering around CES last week, we caught a glimpse of two tablets from a Chinese company, Apusone, that provide a hint of what 2013 is going to look like for the entry-level market.
The two tablets are powered by the same Allwinner system-on-chip, the Boxchip A15. What’s interesting is that it is actually a Cortex-A7 part, not an A15 as its name would lead us to believe. What’s more, the part contains four such cores clocked at 1.5GHz.
The MID497 and the MID410 share the same internal specifications: 1GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, a microSD card slot, Wi-Fi, a rear 2-megapixel camera, a front-facing one, a 7,000mAh battery and Bluetooth. Only the IPS Panel displays differ, with a 9.7in 1,024 x 768 pixel model in the MID497 and a 10.1in 1,280 x 800 pixel screen in the MID410.
It’s still early for quad-core parts but the increasing competition amongst fabless semiconductor companies, especially in the Far East, means that time-to-market has shrunk significantly.
It seems very likely that the Cortex-A7 will be favourite for mainstream and entry-level tablets, especially as it provides a similar performance to the Cortex-A9 while taking up less silicon space and consuming less power.
Qualitywise, the tablets were significantly better than the models we saw a couple of years ago. Build quality has improved tremendously and we were impressed by the finish of the two models we played with. There's still no word on the pricing or availability of the tablets, but we'll be sure to report back with more details as we get them.