Hidden in plain sight on the Computex 2012 floor was a uninteresting Acer tablet that many people walked by. After all, there are tablets everywhere you look these days and the latest craze is all about Windows 8 and the new Transformer tablets. But this one is a little different. It may look cheap (it is) and it runs Ice Cream Sandwich but it does have something no-one else has – a Nvidia Tegra 3 chipset.
The cheap tablet is part of Nvidia’s Kai program which aims to get Tegra 3 into tablets as cheap as $199 with subsidies and a bit of help in the marketing department from the graphics giant. So far there haven’t been any units that have been borne out of the initiative, save for the Iconia Tab you see before you. The Verge has a little hands-on time and has some more info for you below.
First off, Kai-based tablets are built from the ground up to be cheap and compete with the current $200 tablet king – Amazon’s hugely successful Kindle Fire. Amazon’s main attracting quality is that it has a range of services it can use on the tablet to gain leverage over its larger competitors with movie rentals, books, music and lots of apps from both the Amazon and Android markets. The Iconia Tab A110 features a 7-inch 1024 x 600 TN glossy screen, Nvidia’s Tegra 3 chip,1GB of RAM with 8GB of onboard storage with the option of increasing that with SD expansion, HDMI-out and a front-facing 2MP camera.
The larger version of the new Iconia, the A210, picks things up with a 10.1″ TN 1280 x 800 panel and probably a higher-clocked Tegra 3 chipset. Like the A110 it also has 1GB RAM and 8GB of storage, although it differs with a USB port and 3G HSDPA built-in. Recently Nvidia’s Tegra was tested with a new quad-band 3G modem built into the SOC and it ran quite well, all things considered. Nvidia is on the warpath with cheap Android soldiers and it doesn’t look like its giving up any market share without a fight.
Of course, this isn’t the only cheap tablet family going on sale this year. Amazon will probably have a Kindle 10″ model to show off before Christmas and there are competing offers in the works from Google with a ASUS-made Nexus device and the ASUS Eee Pad Memo ME370T, both gunning for $249. With mobile handsets approaching the 5″ form factor far too quickly, it might be worth your while to pick up one of the 7-inch units when they become available, if only for the excellent Tegra-optimised titles available in the Android market right now.
Also, take note. That’s stock ICS right there – no crappy, laggy launchers.