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Exclusive: Intel Enters The Discount Tablet Market

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 17 comments

Our sources in Taiwan provided us with some juicy details about two new tablets that should provide Intel with a more successful path into the mass market for tablets.

ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems) and EA (Eternal Asia) have finalized their work on two whitebox tablets that are now offered to vendors across the world. Expect these devices to become available in the U.S. in July or August.

The first tablet is the ECS Sunny Hill TM105A model, a 10-inch Android tablet based on the Z2460 Medfield processor running at 1.6 GHz. The device comes with Android 4.0.4 and a screen resolution of 1280 x 800 (5-point multi touch). The tablet aims at the mass market with 1 GB memory, 16 GB flash storage, a 2 MP rear camera and a 0.3 MP front camera. According to ECS, the 6600 mAh battery lasts up to seven hours of continuous video playback.

Those specs aren't overly impressive, but ECS is selling this tablet for $186 to Channel Partners, which should result in a $299 or $329 retail price, given that the typical retailer asks for a 25 percent cut of the retail price.

EA is offering an 11.6-inch Windows 8 tablet based on Intel's Celeron 1007u/NM70 processor with an Ivy Bridge core. While we do not know how heavy the ECS tablet is, the EA tablet weighs a hefty 950 g, which compares to 652 g for the iPad. The device delivers a somewhat underwhelming feature set with 1366 x 768 pixels screen resolution (10-point multi touch), as well as a 2 MP rear camera and a 1 MP front camera. However, it appears that the industry is now targeting at least 4 GB of system memory and 64 GB of flash storage for mass market Windows 8 tablets, which this device includes.

The channel price for the EA tablet is $353, which has a retail price of at least $599, since the $353 channel price does not even include the licensing fee for Windows 8. This may look like a good deal for a 64 GB tablet, but it is a lot of money for a mass market tablet with a screen resolution that we could describe as average at best.

Even if Windows 8 is a much better OS for tablets than it is for PCs, it will be tough for Microsoft to make a huge dent into the market if the company does not find a way to bring the Windows 8 tablet pricing down.

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  • -1 Hide
    ksham , May 6, 2013 12:51 PM
    I'd personally love to see Intel kick Windows 8 tablets. It'll be one more loss for Microsoft. MS just needs to understand the madness in their recent business strategies.
  • 5 Hide
    stevejnb , May 6, 2013 1:23 PM
    I don't understand the hostility towards Windows tablets that Ksham and others foster. They're getting smashed from a sales perspective - rightfully so - since they're trying to price them like iPads and people don't have nearly the same brand obsession with Windows that they have with Apple, and Android tablets are so much cheaper, but... Have you people actually used a Windows 8 pro tablet before?
    I'm actually typing this from an Acer Iconia W700 (Windows 8 tablet similar to a Surface Pro). I've owned a few Android tablets (an older Asus Transformer and a Le Pan II) and while Android is the obvious choice if you're looking for something on a budget, but for a premium tablet, Windows 8 machines seem worlds ahead of Android or Apple to me. This Iconia W700 is one of my personal favourite machines that I've ever dumped money on. Full PC functionality, a micro HDMI port, USB port, full support for keyboards and mice, full power off to power on in under 7 seconds. If I go to a friend's place, I hook it into their HDTV and take over. I've spent dozens of hours playing Uncharted Waters Online, Everquest, and more recently NWN Online on it and it handles them well, though I have zero expectations I'd be able to handle high end games with it. About 9 hours battery life for low end tasks (word processing) to 3 hours for high end tasks (gaming). Simply put, this thing tops any tablet I've ever used for breadth of functionality and portability in one package. I was skeptical when I tried it, but I'm sold. I still quite like my Le Pan II, but, the Iconia W700 is a *far* better machine over all.
    I get that it's cool to hate Microsoft and Windows 8 right now, but do yourself a favour and try one of these higher end Windows 8 tablets. Costing the same as premium Android and Apple tablets they are *far* better machines in my eyes. If Windows 8 ever gets some sub $300 tablets pro out there that work half decently (longshot, I know), I could see them making a huge impact.
  • 0 Hide
    killerclick , May 6, 2013 1:36 PM
    Quote:
    I don't understand the hostility towards Windows tablets that Ksham and others foster.


    The problem with Windows tablets is that Metro and everything infected with it has to die so Microsoft rolls back the insanely stupid design decisions they made in Windows 8. All they need to do is to commit to supporting desktop on Windows indefinitely by:
    - allowing Metro apps to run windowed,
    - providing some non-fullscreen start menu functionality
    - allowing the ability to boot directly to desktop.
    Ballmer's head on a pike would be nice as well, but I guess the shareholders are happy with him at the moment, so he'll probably survive.
  • Display all 17 comments.
  • -1 Hide
    ksham , May 6, 2013 1:46 PM
    stevejnb: Yes; I've tested a Windows 8 tablet and on laptop. I kicked myself many times trying to teach my mom to use it. I finally decided to trash it and just get her Windows 7. I blew $400 on it. I'm still mad about it.
  • 0 Hide
    athulajp , May 6, 2013 1:54 PM
    Please make an ubuntu/ubuntu flavour tablet, imagine a proper desktop distro on a tablet.
  • 2 Hide
    stevejnb , May 6, 2013 2:11 PM
    Killerclick, I actually agree with the second two points - but, they are ultimately pretty small issues once you've actually got used to the new system. Yes, it's irritating that you HAVE to get used to a new system but simply, you do not have to use it much at all. IF you really, really despise it, you're a click away from avoiding it almost entirely for your desktop experience. People make a mountain out of this mole hill. I entirely agree boot to desktop SHOULD be in there, but really, the desktop button is there large as life when you load up. Click it and be happy. Non fullscreen start menu functionality - yes, would be nice as well. The switching screens is an irritant which should be dealt with, but again, it's still very fast to just switch over and switch back. You don't live in the start menu, and pretending like you do and therefore it's some HUGE imposition to switch to another screen the odd time when you want to use the start menu is just a joke.
    And getting rid of Metro... The problem is, classic windows just doesn't work overly well when using a device like a tablet. It simply doesn't. But when you have a tablet that can essentially either operate as a tablet or as a PC, having two distinct ways of interacting with the machine - one for tablets, one for PC style use - isn't such a bad idea. "Metro and everything infected with it should die" - no. Simply no. It's a pretty slick UI for a tablet, simple as that. I don't want to use it on my desktop - and luckily, I don't have to, even on a Windows 8 machine - but it's still great for tablets. Needs more apps, but metro should not die precisely because it IS good for tablets. On desktops, switch off it.
    I'd avoid the "Ballmer's head on a pike" routine. Those types of histrionics are just so overblown it makes it seem
    Are there perfectly legitimate reasons to dislike Windows 8 and stick with 7/prefer Android/whatever? Sure. Acting like you want to march to Microsoft HQ with torches and pitch forks because you don't like it? You sound like a spoiled child making a mountain out of a mole hill. It's an OS trying something new which - whether you pretend it does so or not - does some things very well, and does very little to stop you from using your computer like you are used to with a slight learning curve. It ain't perfect, but heck, it's pretty good if you go at it without the spoiled internet child mentality. You may well go back to Windows 7/stick with Android, and so be it.
  • 2 Hide
    stevejnb , May 6, 2013 2:16 PM
    Ksham. Sorry to hear that, but, odd. I recently got my previously Windows XP marginally fluent using grandmother set up on a Windows 8 non touchscreen laptop. Quite painless and, oddly enough, while she does go to the desktop for some things, she actually prefers Metro for a vast majority of the things she does now. What's more, she was tickled pink when we punched in her Hotmail account into the initial sign up and it immediately copied over her IE favourites, hooked her e-mail into the default mail client, and it even got her using the calendar.
    Unfortunately for us both, anecdotal evidence is like arseholes... They both start with A.
  • -2 Hide
    killerclick , May 6, 2013 2:52 PM
    Quote:
    Killerclick, I actually agree with the second two points - but, they are ultimately pretty small issues once you've actually got used to the new system.


    The problem is not finding workarounds, all three issues are solved by cheap or free 3rd party software. But why did Microsoft not provide that as options in the first place, what was their motivation? What they tried to do is pull off a coup, rush as many users as possible from the desktop to the walled garden app-store model, and throw everybody else under the bus. They need to be punished for that so they don't try it again, and in the future adapt to their customers instead of expecting their customers to adapt to them.
    Nice that you basically call me a spoiled child for not simply accepting whatever Microsoft wants to get me to use. Is that from the new PR guidelines, now that the "oh, you're afraid of change and you'll be left behind" has failed so spectacularly?
    I'm a customer, I want things done my way, and that's the only proper attitude to have. Microsoft and their little helpers can ignore us at their peril.
  • -3 Hide
    killerclick , May 6, 2013 3:17 PM
    Quote:
    Unfortunately for us both, anecdotal evidence is like arseholes... They both start with A.


    Here's something that's not anecdotal evidence: Windows 8 has a 25% slower adoption rate than Vista had, and Vista was released in January, so unlike Windows 8, Vista didn't have the entire Xmas shopping season to give it a boost. For comparison, Windows 7 had a 12% (three times more than Windows 8) after 6 months, and that was during the worst of the recession.
    So it's not really a push - Windows 8 fans are the extreme minority and maybe some of them should be more cognizant of that fact and tone down the patronizing a bit.
  • 2 Hide
    sykozis , May 6, 2013 3:41 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Killerclick, I actually agree with the second two points - but, they are ultimately pretty small issues once you've actually got used to the new system.


    The problem is not finding workarounds, all three issues are solved by cheap or free 3rd party software. But why did Microsoft not provide that as options in the first place, what was their motivation? What they tried to do is pull off a coup, rush as many users as possible from the desktop to the walled garden app-store model, and throw everybody else under the bus. They need to be punished for that so they don't try it again, and in the future adapt to their customers instead of expecting their customers to adapt to them.
    Nice that you basically call me a spoiled child for not simply accepting whatever Microsoft wants to get me to use. Is that from the new PR guidelines, now that the "oh, you're afraid of change and you'll be left behind" has failed so spectacularly?
    I'm a customer, I want things done my way, and that's the only proper attitude to have. Microsoft and their little helpers can ignore us at their peril.


    What "walled garden app store model" are you referring to? Wall garden would imply that MS doesn't allow software purchased from 3rd party sites, which isn't true. The Windows Marketplace actually links to 3rd party sites for some software.

    Quote:
    Quote:
    Unfortunately for us both, anecdotal evidence is like arseholes... They both start with A.


    Here's something that's not anecdotal evidence: Windows 8 has a 25% slower adoption rate than Vista had, and Vista was released in January, so unlike Windows 8, Vista didn't have the entire Xmas shopping season to give it a boost. For comparison, Windows 7 had a 12% (three times more than Windows 8) after 6 months, and that was during the worst of the recession.
    So it's not really a push - Windows 8 fans are the extreme minority and maybe some of them should be more cognizant of that fact and tone down the patronizing a bit.


    Windows7 was launched at the worst part of the recession? You are aware that there are fewer jobs now, than there were when Windows7 launched, right?
  • 0 Hide
    zyky , May 6, 2013 11:21 PM
    the EA is underwhelming, but the author has no problems with the ECS specs which are worse in almost every category?
  • 0 Hide
    spentshells , May 7, 2013 4:33 AM
    I want The ECS model but I have the time to wait for them to come down in price. $329 isn't what I would call a discount device.
  • 0 Hide
    stevejnb , May 7, 2013 6:11 AM
    Killer, you've got to admit, people act like spoiled children over the whole Windows 8 thing. It's one thing to say "I don't like the OS," not buy it, explain why one doesn't like it, and inform other people of these issues. It's another thing entirely to pull the whole "tar and feather" routine with the constant hyperbole of, oh I don't know, things like "Ballmer's head on a pike" and "Metro and everything infected with it has to die"... That's what you say about people/events that lead to factories exploding and people dying - in things like this, it's ridiculous hyperbole. That's not what you say about a software release that you didn't like and you've decided to stay with an older one. Sorry, but it makes you - and literally thousands of people who react similarly - childish when they act like that.
    Also, I agree entirely. Windows 8 is an attempt to railroad people into a new way of doing things which Microsoft shouldn't have done. They are being "punished" for it by losing users. That being said entirely true, it doesn't change that Metro is actually a pretty good mobile OS - they just shouldn't have sold it to us so hard at the expense of Windows classic when they could have very easily at *least* kept the classic start menu to appease people.
  • 0 Hide
    stevejnb , May 7, 2013 6:26 AM
    Killer, concerning sales, Windows 8 is selling slowly. Everyone knows that, and I dont' have any intention of pretending like it's not the case, even though MS certainly did try and garnish those sales numbers to make it so. Two things are obviously true, and to pretend like either one isn't is just disingenuous.
    1) Windows 8 ruffled some feathers and is losing sales as a result of that. There will be people who never get on board, it may hurt MS badly in the long term, and they may very well give people everything they want - that they should have done - with the next release of Windows because of it.
    2) Times are different than when Vista or 7 released for a wide variety of reasons, and pretending like that's not the case is just silly. Now ahead of any other time in history people who are looking to buy a new PC have reasons to skip it and go for another product. PC hardware cycles are more forgiving than ever. When Vista was released, a five year old computer was a paperweight. Now, my main computer IS five years old and doing fine. Upgrade? You simply don't have to do it as often. What's more, other popular products are able to do many of the things people classically associate with PCs. Little Jimmy doesn't necessarily want a PC any more - he wants an IPad/IPhone. Tablets are viable PC alternatives for many functions for millions of people. When they are looking to spend their tech dollars, PCs, and therefore MS/Windows, are not the only show in town any more.
    Now look, we can all pretend to be market fortune tellers and world class economists (though, they're largely crooks), but even a simpleton can see the writing on the wall in light of the above - that the time Windows 8 was released is a very different time from when Windows 7 was released. Dislike for the OS plays a role, no doubt, but that PCs are the only show in town now *far* less than in years past is a huge factor. Pretending like Windows 8 is selling poorly just because it sucks is just that - pretending. The OS has a lot going for it and, frankly, whether you want to admit it or not, it does have some people who actually like it and there are a lot who are willing to jump on board.
    Anyways, think what you will. My original point - that those Windows 8 pro tablets are very good units - stands. Do yourself a favour and give one a go - it'll probably increase your appreciation for Metro when you're using it like a tablet, though I'm sorry you'll have to suffer the arduous fate of having to click the desktop button when you plug it into a monitor or TV and are using it like a PC.
  • 0 Hide
    cknobman , May 7, 2013 6:39 AM
    I love these "I tried to teach my mom to use Windows 8 and both myself and her could not figure it out so I am mad and Windows 8 sucks."
    I call bullspit. You (and your mom) are either retarded or you are talking out your butt.
    I helped my 58 year old mother get her first laptop EVER and it had Windows 8 on it. Outside of maybe 20 minutes of me showing her the basics I have not had to teach her a thing on it. She loves her laptop and Windows 8 was so easy to use she did not need me babysitting her to figure out how to use it.

    Now as for Windows 8 tablets? I wont be buying one until they get below $300 at retail and are competitive with Android tablets in screen resolution and memory options. I wont buy any tablet regardless of OS >= $300.
  • 0 Hide
    spentshells , May 7, 2013 8:47 AM
    Quote:
    I love these "I tried to teach my mom to use Windows 8 and both myself and her could not figure it out so I am mad and Windows 8 sucks."
    I call bullspit. You (and your mom) are either retarded or you are talking out your butt.
    I helped my 58 year old mother get her first laptop EVER and it had Windows 8 on it. Outside of maybe 20 minutes of me showing her the basics I have not had to teach her a thing on it. She loves her laptop and Windows 8 was so easy to use she did not need me babysitting her to figure out how to use it.

    Now as for Windows 8 tablets? I wont be buying one until they get below $300 at retail and are competitive with Android tablets in screen resolution and memory options. I wont buy any tablet regardless of OS >= $300.



    If you've never had wine then vinegar likely tastes just fine

  • 0 Hide
    alaa1985 , January 23, 2014 11:09 AM
    don't buy this tablet TM 105A, it's not worth the price at allthe major problem i encountered is that several times per day i get the screen freeze and the tablets reboots by it self, it happens 3 to 4 times per day ( very disturbing)second the screen quality is bad and the viewing angle is not good plus the screen shines in direct light which gives a very uncomfortable experience !and the speakers have terrible low sound