In July last year Carrrypad was one of the few publications to have unrestricted access to a Moorestown phone. Made by Aava as a reference design it ran Meego. We were supposed to see Intel phones later that year but it turned out that the Moorestown platform wasn’t good enough and Intel promptly moved focus to the Medfield platform. In February this year Intel held an early prototype Medfield phone up on stage. This time it was running Android. Later in the year Meego was effectively dropped and since then Intel have been pushing Android (via an official tie-up with Google) and talking about 32nm Medfield-based phones in the first half of 2011.
Technology Review have had hands-on with an early prototype, possibly another Aava reference design or development kit that Intel are calling ‘production grade.’ They have also had hands-on with a Medfield Tablet running Ice Cream Sandwich too. Unfortunately there aren’t many details or thoughts but there’s a hint that Intel will reveal more at CES in just 3 weeks time. We’ll be in the keynote to cover this of course.
The only real feedback given by Technology Review on the Intel phone was this:
The phone was powerful and pleasing to use, on a par with the latest iPhone and Android handsets. It could play Blu-Ray-quality video and stream it to a TV if desired; Web browsing was smooth and fast. Smith says Intel has built circuits into the Medfield chip specifically to speed up Android apps and Web browsing.
That’s likely to indicate Wi-Di integration and other hardware acceleration. Remember there will be hardware video encoding in Medfield. It’s also likely that Medfield phones scale up a little bit higher than other leading smartphones in terms of performance. What you get in performance though, is likely to cost in terms of battery life.
At the end of the day, if Medfield is good enough, easy to design and integrate and, importantly, cheap enough, manufacturers are likely to be interested. If it offers unique features such as Wireless Display and other technologies, it might even raise an eyebrow with the customer but it’s still going to have to compete in a fierce smartphone market where it will have to differentiate itself against Android and other popular brands, operating systems and platforms.
Ritchie says that the Super IPS+ display looks great, and this will be an upgrade over the original Transformer’s regular IPS display, while retaining the durable Gorilla Glass. Asus added a display brightness boosting function to the Transformer Prime which is intended for better viewing during outside use.
Tegra 3’s performance is also in full force; it appears as though it can handle 720p and 1080p video with no problems. That could make the Transformer Prime a great portable home-theater (thanks to the micro-HDMI port), with the only problem being the relatively weak Android codec support. I’m curious to know how well the Transformer Prime can handle software video decoding that comes along with some third-party applications.
The unit itself is slimmer and lighter than the iPad 2, and attached with the keyboard, the Transformer Prime is rated to run for 18 hours which is pretty awesome.
Unless there are any unforseen issues leading up to it’s launch, the Transformer Prime is certainly setting the new bar for Android tablets, and I would go as far to say that Apple better pay attention as well. The Transformer Prime has nearly everything one could want in a tablet today except for a little Ice Cream Sandwich action.
Over at Ritchie’s Room, Ritchie has gotten his hands on a retail version of the much anticipated Asus Eee Pad Slider and has given us a great preview of the sliding Honeycomb tablet.
A few bits to take away from the reading:
Sliding mechanism works well (kudos to Asus for this)
Tilt of the screen cannot be adjusted (kudos revoked!)
On the topic of the lack of mouse/trackpad: “proximity of the screen in comparison to the edge of the keyboard actually lends itself to retaining the touch interaction”
The sliding function works well as a stand, even if you aren’t typing
If I were in the market for a tablet, the Slider would be a serious contender. Is it just me or does this thing seriously sleek looking? My only reservations are the lack of integrated trackpad or some other type of mouse, and the single USB port, though I could always add a USB hub if I wanted. The bezel is also a bit meaty, but I’m impressed with how thin they were able to keep it, despite the slide-out keyboard!
There’s more info to be found at the original post, including a brief rundown of some of the apps/services that the Slider will come with, and plenty of great photos. Be sure to check it out!
As for availability and pricing, at least one site claims that Asus Netherlands will be pricing the 32GB Eee Pad Slider at a rather hefty 499 euros ($711 USD) and that the device will be available in early 2012. The price may quickly come down however, and seeing how the Slider just made its way through the FCC, perhaps it’ll hit in the US a bit earlier than 2012? We’ll just have to wait and see!
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