Shanzhaiben reported earlier this month on the price drop of the generic 8″ iPad clone tablet powered by the Freescale iMX515 Cortex A8 processor, to a mere 700RMB, which is just about $100USD. Despite its relatively good looking hardware specifications at first glance, it has been a disastrous product, plagued by a touchscreen design issue since its launch in November of last year. The touchscreen design renders long-press clicks on the device ineffective about 50% of the time, as it jitters from side to side too much when a user tries to perform such an action. This significantly lowers the usability of the touchscreen, which is the primary method of input for the device.
We are just starting to see production ramp ups for Telechips TCC8803 Cortex A8 and AMLogic AML8726-M Cortex A9 as new players into channels. Another recent Shanzhaiben article priced these SoC at $15USD and $18USD respectively. While Samsung S5PV210 based tablets have seen some production, it has not been as popular due to pricing and firmware issues. However, CobyUSA has been working on its Samsung S5PV210 tablets, which were rumored to launch mid-April. These components look to be the main players battle in the lower portion of the mid-end Android bracket below $150USD per unit for some time.
Although iMX515 has led the way being the first to market, inferior products in various channels has resulted in reduced consumer confidence amongst the most interested communities. It has a long way to go to redeem itself. Things are looking up for iMX515, however, with upcoming releases in a 7″ capacitive tablet, 8″ capacitive tablet, and 10″ resistive tablet. All three devices have seen working prototypes, and are posed for production. Newer devices have shipped with firmwares feature complete for Android 2.2, with full access to Android market out of the box as well as a working standby mode.
April will be a month of many product launches. However, having tracked variants of this particular product even before its launch with one of the major manufacturers of the original iMX515 Android tablet, the price trend is one that is here to stay. Cortex A8 tablets have performance equivalent to the Nexus One generation of Android smartphones, making them ideal for achieving good performance and compatibility in Android 2.x devices. At the end of the day, this will only work to benefit consumers.