Down but not out!

Firstly I’d like to apologize to all my customers, for the long period of inactivity here on the web store.

I broke my wrist, had to move regions, and had a variety of difficulties I won’t go into here, that caused me to have to focus on other issues. We are still small, and in the start up phase, but I am committed to providing New Zealand with a much needed niche – midrange tablets that are affordable and decent quality.

There is some good news on that front. I will very soon be getting in a few more models, including some Teclast or Chuwi hybrids, the solid Xiaomi Mi Pad 2 and a few others, including likely the Teclast x98 plus II. I’ve really enjoyed the plus II myself, it has nice speed to it, decent storage, works okay as a desktop too if you plug it in.

As well, we have manufacturers moving to the Apollo chipset, which is a lot faster, and the 8350 chipset which has less heat problems has been released, a tad faster, with quite a few models being upgraded there.

Lastly, and most exciting of all, we finally have a tablet chipset with thunderbolt coming, the next gen of Kaby Lake. This will be a game changer, mark my words, with external graphics, and hard drives making the 3 in 1 hybrid finally a very real possibility in the next year or so.

I hope to make a lot more people happy with decent, quality affordable tablets that undercut those pricey premium models, without the risks of the bargain basement.

I’ll let you know when the new models arrive. I’m prepared for a busy year. If you have any product suggestions or requests let me know – I have been looking at cheap laptops, and also mini-pcs.

New models New Prices

Okay so we are really being true to the concept of affordable computing now, these cheap windows and cheap android tablets are generally a class above those you’ll find at chain stores.

The highlight is the Teclast x98 Plus II – It features 4GB of RAM, Cherry Trail Chipset, 64GB Storage and Dual Boot Android 5.1/Windows 10. Long battery life. Pretty tidy IMO, I’d be happy as a kid with one of those.

And then we have some popular sellers, the x98 Air, and the Chuwi Vi10 – Both worth more for sure that their low prices. The x98 Air is a well proportioned 9.7 with solid 2 GB/32 GB and a lush screen. The Chuwi an almost premium quality build with the still competitive 3736F Chipset, 2/64GB, Dual Boot.

And if your in for a really underpriced Cherry Trail 8 inch Windows tablet – and I like these things, they are are a handy level of portable, we have you covered with the x80 Plus.

Next stock order – Xiaomi Mi Pad 2.

Next Blog I’ll talk about some tablet related technologies.

Exciting things coming for tablets in 2016

Cherry Trail 8500 Xiaomi

Okay, so I wanted to talk about the rest of this year in tablets. What the near future is like, particularly in regard to the mid range market I deal in. I think there are some really exciting things coming up.

Christmas and New Year are always exciting times in this market. You can bet on new chipsets, new RAM levels, different screen or battery technology – there is usually at least something new every time. But this year there is also a wider range of chip speeds, both in the SSD capable M-cores and in the cheaper and more common Cherry Trail chipsets. So the smaller devices and more mainstream devices may now be getting perhaps sometimes 4 GB of RAM, but still the lower clock speed cherry trail; the 8300. I think we can expect to see more 4 GB models with faster 8500s and 8700s very soon.

Graphics in Midrange Tablets

The other thing I wonder about is either usb 3.1 or thunderbolt. There are some core-m mini PCs with thunderbolt and that opens up the capacity to use your device as a mid range gaming rig when at home, a true hybrid device. USB 3.1 should also open this up when someone develops an external graphics card for the protocol.

It seems using high end iPad screens has become the norm. We rarely see many devices with low resolutions now, and sound quality and screen brightness have been improving, so at least in the mid market, with reputable brands I think at minimum screen quality is becoming more standard.

Which also means there is less area to compete here- 4k isn’t visible on such small screens, even retina is only technically visible at limited ranges. That leaves drive speed, battery, lightness, CPU, RAM, storage, ports and other features as more central to product differentiation- standing out of the pack and being competitive.

Budget Tablet Variety and Surprises

So while there are some things that I might expect, I also expect some pleasant surprises. The Xiaomi Mi Pad 2 features a nice 8500 processor. It lacks micro SD card and only has the conventional 2 GB of RAM, but still comes in both Android and Windows, the windows has more storage is a premium style device in terms of build. I shall be getting a few of these in with my next stock order.

I expect this signals a wide release we will see coming soon of devices with more RAM, bigger CPU, larger battery etc. But these could be quite varied. I could imagine for example a 8700 with 2 GB of RAM, versus a 8500 with 4 GB being presented as options. Perhaps even m-cores with 2gb of ram as budget variations. One might be tuned for long battery life, another for maximum processing power. With screens becoming standard, and battery levels being similar, we can already see more of this diversification emerging in the market; compare the Mi Pad 2 with the Teclast Plus 2 versus the Pro.

All more or less in the same market. The Plus is solid, fast enough, fluid but geared for battery life. The Pro is so performance driven its prone to overheat without DIY mods or software hacks when gaming. And the Mi Pad is high CPU like the Pro, but lower ram than the other two, giving it good gaming and speed capabilities but not as good for multi-tasking.

More and more I suspect it will become a situation when the users needs will need to well matched to the device.

Hybrid Devices and Hybrid OS

And with the popularity of larger hybrid laptop style devices, increased ports and such, as well as the release of Windows 10, as I predicted we are seeing a slow steady rise in Windows devices and dual boot devices. Full desktop apps start to shine on screens big enough to handle the smaller windows icons (probably about 8.9 inches and above, although in a pinch eight can work, especially in tablet mode, or with much enlarged icons). I can do things on my device such as write music. Write articles (like this one). I’ve got my system set up with both an applications/RAM cache, and a drive caches both running through the eMMC. The other day when I was writing to my usb 2.0 speed microSD card reader in this tablet, I was getting a 180 mb/s speed for the transfer. Which might not mean much to techy people, but its more like the speed of the cache drive the actual drive – you can’t do half the things you can in windows on Android.  And that’s particular significant when tablets are speed wise catching up with laptops – it creates a world where you really can have one device (or two devices) to rule them all, a world that is literally just around the corner.

That said, touch designed apps, games and social apps are still king within Android – if those things are your ‘jam’, then Android is a fine system that is very touch friendly, a big app market and it has evolved a lot in recent years in terms of finally getting gestures in there.

I only mention Windows 10 because the touch, tablet, hybrid, mini PC, ultrabook marketplace is where they still look to grow the most, given the benefits of the OS. So that is a part of our future, and I think with device overlap, a big one.

To me it all looks very exciting, and there are some models right now that looks exciting, like the Chuwi Hi10, the Cube i7, and the Xiaomi Mi Pad 2 – and I am going to get in some of these models soon, stock the store up again.

Let us know what exciting things you are looking forward to in the comments. Or anything you’d like to see me stock in my next order too. Have a good one!

News roundup & General updates


Apple have announced a new Surface pro like device, the iPad Pro. Critics have been quick to point out that it does seem like a direct copy of a Microsoft idea, but actually the hybrid design has been around longer, and has been done by many others.
Whilst this might be good news for Apple fans, and the new version of iOS will include multi-tasking, I note, that unlike Windows tablets, Apple users aren’t getting the full desktop OS here, a true hybrid OS – they are getting Apples standard mobile/touch platform a more limited environment. Not to mention the outrageous price tag!

There are a host of new announcements in the Chinese market. Onda have a 9.7 inch Core-M tablet, with 4GB of ram and an SSD – the new v919 Core-M. Which is pretty exciting, as those are almost (or actually pretty much) slimline laptop type specs. The Teclast X98 Pro (pictured above), another 9.7 inch next generation tablet, with Cherry Trail processor, and 4GB of RAM, has also been stirring up a lot of interest. With slightly lower specs than the Onda, this next generation tablet runs at a more affordable price.

Teclast are also releasing a very cheap 9.7 model with lower specs, Cube are only a few days away from a big announcement (I expect a new flagship, or M-core tablet), and Pipo have a new Windows hybrid tablet coming – the W1S – also Cherry Trail and coming in either 2GB/32GB or 4gb/64GB. Very nice 🙂

Everything points to that high speed shift the market has been waiting for – Core-M and Cherry trail devices, with more RAM, SSD, and slimline laptop like power! Which is auspicious timing for those getting used to the hybrid OS power of Windows 10, and no doubt there will be a lot more to come as far as tablets go (I expect some in the 8 inch size soon too). Not to forget, Core-M isn’t in any western brand tablets yet!

Good news also on the cheaper 2GB/32GB 9.7 inch from Teclast, if it reviews well, I will look into that, and perhaps one of the Cherry trail tablets.

On the store front, I am looking into where to expand my stock into next. I definitely want a broader range of tablets, especially a full hybrid, and perhaps something like the Cube T7 – which is a higher end 7 inch tablet. I’ll look at all the options, trying to give you a good choice in every category. But I would also like to expand accessories a bit more, have some other microSD card options, maybe PC stick, bluetooth keyboards, perhaps a docking station. I am open to ideas, if anyone has any suggestions, feel free to let me know 🙂