The First Android/Linux 4.0 Tablet is … A Small Cheap Tablet

The beauty of FLOSS for entrepreneurs is that you can come to market with a product rapidly and cheaply. This Christmas, it’s a small cheap tablet that’s first out of the gate with Android/Linux 4.0 / Ice Cream Sandwich. It’s a beautiful 7 inch tablet using a low-powered (250mW) MIPS chip that can do 7 hours of browsing on a charge.

see AINOVO

They will sell for ~$100.

Eat your heart out, M$. The world is moving on without you.

See the MIPS/Ingenic announcement. It’s available in China now and will be available elsewhere within a few months. I think I could persuade my wife to get one of these. She’s small and moves around a lot.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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34 Responses to The First Android/Linux 4.0 Tablet is … A Small Cheap Tablet

  1. Clarence Moon says:

    The Fire will let you play Angry Birds, too! Between that, Maj Jong, and Scrabble, I am going to have to buy a second unit since my wife won’t let go of it.

    We have a Nook (eInk, black and white) too, and it is the best way to take bunch of books along on a trip or cruise since you can use it outdoors. With just a short term using these things, I have come to the conclusion that the 3G element is pretty worthless for most people. Neither of my devices have 3G, so call it sour grapes, but I have not yet had any need for it.

    If you are using the Fire, you are indoors and almost everyone I know has wi-fi in their house, including myself. If you are outdoors, you have to be using the eInk device and that is only good for reading books and maybe email. For books, you can load up when you are in a hotspot, such as at home, and you are not going to need a 3G connection to get another book unless you are a very poor planner or else in the Army in Afghanistan or something worse.

    Email on the Nook would be a plus although nothing I get in my email, alas, is all that urgent that it cannot wait.

    Many people text like crazy, but that still is best done with a phone and not a tablet.

    My conclusion is that next to no one really gets any use out of 3G on a tablet and so lack of 3G is not going to be a detriment to sales of these new Android devices. I do agree that they are not going to replace computers, though. Everyone who needs a computer now will continue to need a computer, but they will want to have a phone and a tablet to go along with it.

  2. oldman says:

    “The android 2.x phones still displaced people from using computers for lot of different things.”

    My experience was that it enabled those who wanted to surf the web but who found owning any computer to be more than they needed. These people were never going to own a classic computer, so they were not a market anyway.

    “Just think how many phones in the next year will be in the 4.x+ camp that will be able to be used by people to limp along.”

    You know full well that your average smart phone user is not going to geek out on their phone or tablet the way my friend did. These devices will get used for what makes them convenient. Tablets like the nook or the fire will allow people to continue to patronize the bookstore the way they always did, except electronically. Phones will be used as phones.

    Thats it.

  3. oiaohm says:

    Yes you are right and wrong on the ISV change oldman.

    Look at the worlds biggest android tablet on youtube oldman. You see the guy there editing power-point file. Yes that is a ISV demo. Some ISV have already changed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X1NyZRX_Tk Idea that the android tablet has to remain small for the content production stage is false. Plug into TV and it goes large. Connect bluetooth keyboard and mouse and you are now looking at something closer to the PC format you know an love. Except this works in the lounge room and you can take it with you in a smaller carry size.

    The point is people can limp along now. Remember android 3.x was the first android reworked for large screen operation. Android 4.x allows hybrid applications that work perfectly well on small as they do on large.

    Older Android phones are normally 2.x or worse. So people not trying to use them for everything would be correct not to attempt to use them for large content production because the simply did not have the means todo the applications..

    Basically its the Android 4.x devices that are the game changer oldman. Those are only starting to roll out.

    The android 2.x phones still displaced people from using computers for lot of different things.

    Yes your acquaintance is right to attempt it on a Tablet since its Android 3.x+. Just think how many phones in the next year will be in the 4.x+ camp that will be able to be used by people to limp along.

  4. oldman says:

    “More home users are finding android doing the jobs they need. There is double sided pressure.”

    Really? I’ve been watching early adopters of both smart phones and tablets, people who are predisposed to want android based smart phones and tablets to work. NONE of them would even consider trying to get along with just a smart phone, and only one very determined acquaintance is limping along subsisting on using a tablet as his only computer.

    Now it is still possible that your statement could become true, but it would require a sea change in how mobile devices are viewed not only by their potential users, but by the ISV’s who sell them.

    Supporting content consumption is one thing, supporting content creation in a small form factor device for the average non geek user is IMHO quite another.

  5. Clarence Moon says:

    Those web sites offering Linux computers are hardly the “shelves” that I was speaking about, Mr. Pogson.

  6. oiaohm says:

    Phenom
    “And other people need AutoCAD, ArchiCAD, ArcGIS, Photoshop, Illustrator, Finale, Cubase, Cakewalk, Premiere, 3DMax, and a myriad of nameless specialised software applications (accounting, finance, whatever) to do their job.”
    This specialist stuff is under 20 percent of PC users.

    Clarence Moon
    “Linux has been around in a usable form for close to 10 years now”
    This is not really true. Remember I have used the Linux desktop for the past 10 years. Issue have reduced now someone sends you a word document you can open it. !0 years ago that was fairly much loto. 10 years lot of websites would be IE only.

    Items in last 5 have changed making the Linux desktop now possible. Of course Linux world was not expecting to have the changes happen so fast. So resources were focused on servers and other areas. Last 5 years I have been watching developers attempt to catch up with what the market did to them by surprise.

    oldman
    “The OEM’s will sell what the market wants, and the Core desktop market doesn’t want your cheap crappy computers running bare bones applications suitable only for casual use.”
    Home and business markets are dividing. More business are liking the idea of central processing to track who accesses information.

    More home users are finding android doing the jobs they need. There is double sided pressure.

  7. Kozmcrae says:

    “Your fear of Microsoft has gone beyond reason…”

    Hey Clarence, you forgot one… I’m jealous of Bill Gates… SNORT!

  8. oldman says:

    “In 2012 I expect x86 will be on a downward slide. It’s just too inefficient.”

    While one can not truly predict the future I would think it reasonable to expect that x86-64 and its successors will be around for quite some time Pog. Markets don’t disappear overnight, nor will Wintel or MacTel for that matter just sit still for that matter.

  9. Dell has lots of business customers who don’t mind a higher price often. With consumers, Dell has a much lower margin because they have to compete with China.

  10. More small cheap computers sold in 2011 than x86 machines and few of them ran that other OS and its bloated software. Billions of “apps” have been downloaded for small cheap computers. I have spent a lot of time with my son this year since I have been retired from teaching and he does magic with it far beyond what one would expect of a smart phone. Tablets are another matter. They are just getting started and should run most of the phone apps and so much more. In 2012 I expect x86 will be on a downward slide. It’s just too inefficient.

  11. Clarence Moon wrote, “it is still not on the shelves in North America or Western Europe and there isn’t any evidence that it is making any significant inroads anywhere else.”

    North America does have a few stores selling GNU/Linux, just not the majors. Western Europe has many more:

    I know enough French to be dangerous so I searched for “magasin vend linux” and found this. So, there is no problem finding GNU/Linux in retail shelves in France.

    Check one out: http://www.pcfreenux.fr/pclowcost_056.htm 199 Euro…

    Check out another: http://linuxpreinstalle.com/

    Check out another: http://www.linutop.com/news/

    So, because USA is a wasteland does not mean the rest of the world is not thirsting for GNU/Linux and finding it.

  12. Clarence Moon says:

    There is no evidence of that happening anywhere yet. It could still happen, but Linux has been around in a usable form for close to 10 years now and it is still not on the shelves in North America or Western Europe and there isn’t any evidence that it is making any significant inroads anywhere else.

    Furthermore, the 2% figure that you cite is rather bogus, I think. For example, the gross profit margin, which is what the graph represents, at Dell is about 18% if you look at their income statement at

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/is?s=DELL+Income+Statement&annual

  13. oldman says:

    “Nope. That’s ending. OEMs are tired of 2% margins. They want to make a living selling hardware and the emergence of Android and GNU/Linux is a welcome change for them because they don’t have to ship money to M$.”

    The OEM’s will sell what the market wants, and the Core desktop market doesn’t want your cheap crappy computers running bare bones applications suitable only for casual use.

  14. Clarence Moon wrote, “my claim is that whatever business there is in conventional PCs, and it is still increasing year to year if only by smaller amount than in the past, will be sold the way that they are today, namely with the current Windows version pre-installed by most OEMs and with the Apple maintained OS X for Macintosh.”

    Nope. That’s ending. OEMs are tired of 2% margins. They want to make a living selling hardware and the emergence of Android and GNU/Linux is a welcome change for them because they don’t have to ship money to M$.

  15. Clarence Moon says:

    The mental image of going into a company office area and seeing bunch of employees hunched over their cell phones conducting the company’s business seems bizarre on the surface. I don’t see that happening soon. On the other hand, a lot of people in the field, for example our window washer, use cell phones and internet access to run their businesses on the fly. The big difference is that they didn’t use anything previously outside of a notepad or a call home.

    By the way, you seem to have misinterpreted my remark where I said “the way that PCs are produced and intertwine with commercial software is pretty well established and not likely to change.” You responded with a statement to the effect that phones and tablets are eroding the conventional PC market. That may very well be the case, but my claim is that whatever business there is in conventional PCs, and it is still increasing year to year if only by smaller amount than in the past, will be sold the way that they are today, namely with the current Windows version pre-installed by most OEMs and with the Apple maintained OS X for Macintosh.

  16. Phenom wrote, “And other people need AutoCAD, ArchiCAD, ArcGIS, Photoshop, Illustrator, Finale, Cubase, Cakewalk, Premiere, 3DMax, and a myriad of nameless specialised software applications (accounting, finance, whatever) to do their job”

    That might have some bearing if every user needed one of those but most users need none of them. Just look at sales of licences. Perhaps a tenth of PCs run apps like those. Most people need browsers and media players and they are good. Consumers for instance, are unlikely to use any of those and consumers make up 2/3 of users of PCs.

    Dell reported that for Large Enterprise, “revenue from storage products and desktop PCs declined 29% and 3%, respectively.”, “Public experienced a 2% decrease in revenue that was primarily driven by year-over-year decreases in revenue from storage and desktop products of 17% and 4%, respectively.”, , for Small and Medium Business, “Revenue from mobility and desktop products both declined 6%” and for Consumer, “Revenue from desktop PCs decreased by 16% due to a 12% decline in the average selling price of desktop PCs and a 5% decline in the sale of desktop PC units. Revenue from Consumer mobility products decreased 1% due to a 4% decline in average selling prices, which was partially offset by a 3% increase in notebook units sold.”

    So, fewer are buying the old stuff. In the meantime, small cheap computers have 50%+ growth rates of shipment…

  17. Phenom says:

    And other people need AutoCAD, ArchiCAD, ArcGIS, Photoshop, Illustrator, Finale, Cubase, Cakewalk, Premiere, 3DMax, and a myriad of nameless specialised software applications (accounting, finance, whatever) to do their job.

    None of these would work on a phone, not in the next 30 years at least.

    Deny what you wish, Pogs, it is your primordial right, at least where you live now. Reality check is for you, to stop projecting your own needs to everybody else.

  18. I need a monitor, keyboard and pointer. I don’t need a big box except for the server/RAID and it does not need to be near me. Unlike that other OS, GNU/Linux is fine on a network.

  19. oldman says:

    “Small cheap computers are PCs.”

    Lets see you get you work done using only a cell phone Pog.

  20. Deny. Deny. Deny. Small cheap computers are PCs.

  21. Phenom says:

    Quote: “When personal computers of all kinds are selling like hot cakes with lots of growth, sales of x86 PCs are stagnating.”

    Stagnating sales mean that sales of PCs are not growing. In other words, PCs are still being sold. The reduced growth is perfectly normal, Pogs. At the same time, the sales boom of smartphones, tablets and gadgets is normal, too. Households normally need one desktop. Tablets and phones especially are highly personal, and a household needs a handful of these. Tablets and phones are to fool around, and actual, productive work, gets done on a PC.

    PCs are here to stay, at least in the forseeable future.

  22. Clarence Moon wrote, “the way that PCs are produced and intertwine with commercial software is pretty well established and not likely to change.”

    But the reality is different:
    “The popularity of non-PC devices, including media tablets, such as the iPad and smartphones, took consumers’ spending away from PC”, Mikako Kitagawa, Principal Gartner analyst, says. “The PC industry has been performing below normal seasonality. As expected, back-to-school PC sales were disappointing in mature markets, confirming that the consumer PC market continues to be weak”.

    Reality Check, Clarence. The world is changing. When personal computers of all kinds are selling like hot cakes with lots of growth, sales of x86 PCs are stagnating. Wake up!

  23. Clarence Moon says:

    Your fear of Microsoft has gone beyond reason, Koz. You should talk to a good friend and ask for advice.

    Mr. Oiaohm, I don’t recall any such OS products from the computer OEM companies that currently buy Windows from Microsoft for that purpose, although there was IBM itself with OS/2. Even then, it was originated by Microsoft.

    I believe that, after almost 3 decades of operations, the way that PCs are produced and intertwine with commercial software is pretty well established and not likely to change.

    If you want to insist that smart phones and tablets are PCs, then your claim has some merit, but that relies on mere definition, not on any actual change.

  24. oiaohm says:

    “selling ice cubes to Eskimos” is a correct statement about Microsoft the companies that MS is selling a OS to have been making there own OS’s for years.

    So at some point hardware makers who make OS’s would have to decide stuff this we will make our own ICE thank you.

  25. Kozmcrae says:

    I’m not buying your crap Clarence. You cover some detail about GNU/Linux or just Linux and hold it up against the whole of Microsoft or some other proprietary interest. That is what you do. There is no other plainer way of saying it. If you have to ask again or wonder what it is I am trying to tell you, refer back to this post.

    I trust this settles the matter.

  26. Shifter says:

    Gods, Pogs, but one would think that Ballmer himself broke into your house and sodomized your dog in front of you, so vitriolic is your ABM rhetoric.

    Your reply to Phenom conveniently misses his entire point, just so you can have another tirade. Take your meds, man.

    As he said: Apple maintains tight control of their hardware, and Microsoft has their own specifications.

    You honestly think that this is because the evil corporate entities wish to bend the consumers over for no other reason than to bully them? Seriously? Does it not even occur to you that such practices, in light of Phenoms exposition of the crappy tablet he got, are there to both protect their own brand image and at the same time to protect the consumer?

    Apple controls their hardware because Apple is a premium brand that is expected to deliver a product with high standards of quality. Likewise I’m certain that Microsoft (just say the name – it won’t make you spontaneously combust), doesn’t want their brand sullied by some gumball machine product of dubious quality.

    Not everything is a 100% conspiracy to bend you over.

    I’m beginning to think that you’re like most freetards in that your biggest beef with Microsoft is that they are Very good at making money from software IN SPITE of “free” alternatives. The way you toss dollar signs around like a child demonstrates this.

    Gods… I’m a gun owner too, and nutters like you make me question whether we really SHOULD scrap the registry.

  27. Clarence Moon says:

    You continue to babble, Koz. Perhaps you could explain where anything that I posted had anything to do with GNU/Linux or FLOSS or was in any way a defense of Microsoft.

  28. Kozmcrae says:

    Phenom & Clarence, how do you expect us to follow your logic that what is now will always be. Or what was then will always be. You use the same logic every time when it comes to GNU/Linux or associated FLOSS. Yet when you defend Microsoft, you include their entire lifetime.

    You go around that circle without fail. You have proved nothing.

  29. Clarence Moon says:

    Mr. Pogson, you need to remember that Microsoft, like the proverbial star salesman, is skilled at “selling ice cubes to Eskimos”. Just as Apple has maintained a high price point and compatibility with their iPod, iPhone, and iPad in the face of intense low price producer competitors, it is certain that Microsoft will maintain its competitive position in PC OS software as long as PCs are produced.

    That said, I think that they will never come to much prominence in the phone or tablet world. What remains is to see how much market blockage will exist for PCs versus the mobile device market. So far, there has been no evidence that phones and tablets spell any sort of doom for laptops and desktops. They are just too different in terms of capability.

  30. Clarence Moon says:

    This little thing is a 7″ screen compared to the Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble Nook at 9.7″. The Kindle is $199 and readily available in local Target stores as well as overnight delivery from Amazon.

    Kindle Fire is an earlier version of Android, but it is not clear as to just what the 4.0 version buys you in terms of functionality and useability. I can find nothing wrong with the Kindle in that it streams Netflix, Hulu, and Prime video perfectly, plays MP3s, surfs the web at 1024 x 600 resolution (better than my Acer Aspire One at 800 x 600), and plays Angry Birds, (which is starting to take up as much time as posting here 🙂 ).

    It seems to me that the price of these devices is controlled by the size and quality of the hardware. The thing described here is Android 4.0, but the surplus market, such as Geeks.com, is rife with $89 models and often there are sales at $79 or even $69. There seems to be only a small market for these things, perhaps because of the quality issues you mentioned.

  31. oiaohm says:

    Phenom is MS Dos vs Apple and Unix and other closed source highly expensive OS’s.

    Not all the Chinese manufacturers are producing junk. There is a problem Dell, Asus, Hp and others outsourced to china. Problem is the companies they outsourced to are now moving into the direct supply to customers.

    http://www.streaksmart.com/2011/07/dell-streak-10-pro-gets-official-in-china.html Yes there is a 10 inch version.

    You can still buy the 5 and 7 inch Streak new from china straight from the company that was making them for Dell.

    Simple fact here you don’t own the factories you don’t control the supply lines you will end up competing with your factory and of course the factory will be able to under cut your mark up. This is what dell has found out the hard way.

    The Streaks are going no where other than losing the Dell branding.

  32. Phenom wrote, “MS have strict hardware requirements for WP7 devices, and for 8 tablets.”

    Good. That’s another nail in M$’s coffin. I think M$ is nailing its coffin closed from the inside.

    The world is not going to allow M$ to restrict hardware to any extent. The world is too diverse and has seen what a beautiful think openness is. Dell is not abandoning Android.

    see Dell

  33. Phenom says:

    Actually, it is Samsung, Dell, Asus, Acer and all the rest of the big manufacturers, who are to eat themselves. Until now, they were competing with Apple and among themselves. Now, they will have to compete with the myriad of nameless Chineese manufacturing cottages, which produce cheap devices with crappy hardware and make. I have tried such a no-name tablet with Android 2.2 and I can honestly tell you it is a piece of junk. Responsiveness is poor, screen quality is below anything out there, corpus is made of cheap plastics.

    Not only the competition gets tough for the big ones, but also the brand will suffer from the low quality devices on the loose.

    I think Dell is already getting the message and abandon Android (http://www.anandtech.com/show/5186/dell-kills-7inch-streak-tablet).

    No wonder Apple have a strong control on their hardware, and MS is doing the same for 8 tablets. MS have strict hardware requirements for WP7 devices, and for 8 tablets.

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