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!