The Little Woman had a PSU fail on her Android/Linux tablet. She went shopping for a new tablet by visiting a big box store locally. Eventually, she bought a new PSU for a few dollars.
The thought occurred to me that it’s getting really hard to buy an Android/Linux tablet these days because of the sheer volume of choice. I looked at a popular Chinese site and found 7″ displays were most numerous (124 choices). Prices ranged from $38 to $380. The $38 model actually is a serious product from a serious company complete with flashy rollouts and booth-babes. They are competing hard even for this low-end market. CPUs were of several kinds with clocks from 1gHz to about 1.6gHz and single to quad core. RAM ranged from 512MB to 1gB. That would be a killer for me. Beast has 4gB and I use it all day long, either actively or as a file-cache. The one thing I got from the exercise is a respect for the difficulty facing the consumer. I suspect that most consumers would look at the final product, the display in use, the general appearance and the price rather than specs. I rather care more about performance.
I looked at the higher-end chip, sibling to the $38 model, ATM7039, and found it in a 9″ model with 1920 x 1200px and HDMI socket at $183. There’s no Ethernet but 802.11n is decent. With USB and HDMI I can add size to the user-interface and storage. Except for the 2MP camera, this is a great device. Now we’re talking. Quad core 1.5gHz and 2gB RAM, competing with Intel… Whats-his-name was proud to say he could not make a tablet for less than $500. Chuckle. Watch our dust. These small cheap computers come in flavours suitable for any taste.
I can even get an Exynos 5 CPU in an 8″ tablet for $254. Close. Really close…
In all of the prices mentioned above, one can get a small but increasing discount if one orders more units.
The bottom line is that no matter what factor concerns a consumer most, he/she will find it with */Linux on ARM, be it affordable computing, great computing, or something in between. There’s something for everyone and Wintel need not apply. There are a million reasons why Android/Linux on ARM is kicking Wintel’s butt. Every consumer has a few.
UPDATE I noticed in a related story that M$ is now offering to give away its OS to makers of small and <$250 tablets. Good luck with that. Android/Linux is already giving ~1billion people “full PC functionality”. I can even root these things and install Debian GNU/Linux. It doesn’t get any better than that. Even for $0, M$’s stuff has negative value. M$ will have to start paying people to use its stuff.