Teclast P90 - Preview - Intel + China Tabs?
In the past, the equation went something like this:
China Tab + Intel Processor = Overpriced Trash Running Non-Optimized for Touch Windows 7 and Dual-Booting Unsupported Android
But times have changed and there a several contributing factors that have brought us here...
1. Intel has brought here-to-fore unforeseen levels of power-efficiency to the x86 architecture as part of an aggressive strategy to bust more strongly into an already crowded mobile chipset market.
2. Intel embraced PowerVR as a graphics supplier for their CPU. PowerVR already has an excellent footing in the Android ecosystem.
3. Android has better support across more platforms than it ever has had before, including the Intel / x86 space
4. Windows 8 - being the first Microsoft OS built with Tablets/Mobile in mind has brought the desire for power-efficient mobile x86 processors even more to the fore-front.
I am sure that is far from an exhaustive list but off the top of my head, I think those are probably the top three items. Intel is perhaps a bit behind when it comes to mobile, which means they are a bit behind the times. Desktop sales have been plummeting for years, and Laptop sales are now following suit. If Intel wants to stay front and center with an "average joe consumer" market, that now means embracing phones and tablets. They have been pursuing this for a few years now with little-to-no relative market penetration vs. mobile chip giants like Samsung and the now somewhat defunct Texas Instruments. I believe I was reading articles on "medfield" (platform code name for Intel's earliest attempts at a mobile phone chipset) back in late 2011/early 2012. Those early chip sets saw introduction into very few devices, none of which were highly popular with consumers however they did allow the chip maker to cut their teeth so-to-speak on using PowerVR GPU parts in combination with their Atom cores.
Fast-forward to today. We have have the much improved Cloverview+ platform, dual-core Atom cores, and vastly improved graphics in the form of the PowerVR SGX544 MP2 (high-clocked at around 500 Mhz) all featured in a slim and fairly power-efficient SoC. Due to its combination of excellent performance per-core, powerful graphics, decent power envelope, and somewhat affordable price, the Intel Z25XX series is making headway in the tablet market, including a growing number of China Tabs.
Ramos introduced the i9 a month or two ago and it was, I believe, the first China tab to use a Cloverview part from Intel. I speculated that it was a purple-zebra (rare and slightly odd) and no other tablet makers in China would follow. I speculated wrong. First, Ramos has since introduced I believe 3 more models in their iX family all using the Intel silicon. And today, we are briefly taking a look at the tablet pictured above, the Teclast P90.
The P90 features a wide 8.9" IPS display panel with an excellent resolution of 1920x1200. It is rumored to utilize eMMC chips for storage. That is a pretty big deal, if true. China Tabs, and other phones and tablets, in general have traditionally used much slower types of storage and the slow access times are a large source of lag and long load times on many devices. 16 Gb of storage is fairly standard and a healthy 2 Gb of RAM is reported to be present in the new unit. As some folks have noted, the speaker placement probably wasn't the best design decision and in a long and fairly unbroken tradition of poor quality optics in tablets (particularly in China tabs...)... only a 2.0 Mp front cam and 5.0 mp rear cam will be offered.
Teclast has been somewhat hit-or-miss when it comes to styling on their devices however the last year or so has thankfully been much more "hit". Based on all of the images I have seen I think the new P90 looks pretty slick. It is reported (who knows until there are actually hands-on reviews) that it will be quite slim at 8.2 mm. Teclast states that they have included a decently size 7,000 mAh battery. Teclast has a history of outright lying about battery sizes though so take that with a grain of salt... expect a 4500 - 5,000 mAh true capacity and you won't be disappointed.
So, the chipset is novel, the specs are overall quite good, the design looks nice. It really all comes down then to the price and quality of the final device. I am somewhat hoping that they will undercut the price of the Ramos i9 which imho is just too expensive.
Regarding the Intel processor, I need to do some more research but I am really skeptical on its power-efficiency. 32nm isn't the smallest die size, x86 historically is more power-hungry than ARM chips, and the cores run at 2.0 Ghz. All of those things would tend to mean a more power-hungry chip than say, the RK3188 but the only way to really know is via hands-on testing.
Anyhow, I am signing off. Just thought I would bring this rather interesting device, and in my opinion, rather interesting development in the world of China tabs, to everyone's collective attention. Cheers!