Sunday, December 30, 2012

Capacity Focus, 70: According to a leak, top-drawer PC maker, Acer, may be releasing a US$ 99 or so 7" tablet in the new year (with a Google Nexus model also apparently in the game), in a context where the Chinese "whitebox" units have now gone as far as US$ 60 - 80

A Mockup of the Acer Iconia B
(PCM says, the photo -- taken from a forum
in Serbia --  seems to be legitimate)
(Two Sigma/Digital learning transformation
series  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 )

PC Magazine, as of December 24th, notes that "Acer is reportedly prepping a $99 [7" Android] tablet, dubbed the Iconia B1, but it remains to be seen whether it will actually show up stateside."

The source of this (via the Wall Street Journal blog) is ""a person with direct knowledge of the project."

The Tablet is said to be slated for release early in 2013, and is apparently intended for the so-called emerging markets, so even though it has been submitted to the FCC for testing as a compliant device, it is uncertain that the device will be released in the American Market.

PC Mag continues:
The gadget will sport a 7-inch, 1,024-by-600 display and a 1.2-GHz dual-core processor, the Journal said. Specs will be similar to the Kindle Fire $199.00 at Amazon or Nook Color.

Acer, however, is likely eyeing Chinese consumers rather than those in the U.S. The Journal said the Taiwan-based Acer needs to go up against the no-name Android tablets that are much more popular in China than they are in the states . . . 
The story does not stop there. PCM goes on to say: "a report out of Taiwan indicated that Google is planning to introduce a $99 version of its Android-based Nexus 7 tablet next year."

In short it looks like the US$ 100 or so (and below) Android tablet market is about to heat up, bigtime.

That is the context of Guy Wright of TG Daily's article that the really cheap Android Tablets are coming:
Tablets are about to take over the world - but you probably already knew that.

What you might not know is that there are truckloads of incredibly cheap, Chinese tablets already beginning to flood the markets. Tablets that you can order today for less than $70.

Everyone is talking about the tablet wars. Apple iPads versus Microsoft’s new Surface versus everyone else. The pundits talk about the pricing sweet spot – is it $300? $500? More? Less? Personally I think the pricing sweet spot is going to be closer to $80 or even lower.

I ran across a Chinese import site [An Amazon knockoff site . . . ] that sells all sorts of tablets you never heard of, and their prices are amazing. For example there is the JXD S18 for $46.49, the Q88 for $69.01, the P722 for $71.06, the Gpad A13 for $69.01, and on and on. There are 32 Android 4.0 or higher tablets on the site all for under $100! And they feature free shipping.

The reasons these tablets are so inexpensive is because they are based on ARM processors (not necessarily the latest or greatest versions either) and they’ll be running Android (again, not necessarily the latest flavors). And I would be surprised if any licensing fees will ever be paid to anyone.

They are also using multi-function components developed by other innovators over the past few years. WiFi, Bluetooth, and RF all on one tiny PCB for one tiny price, cameras, touch screens, etc - all off-the-shelf components these days.

Are people going to regret buying one of these cheap, Chinese tablets? Some people will. But I think the majority of buyers are going to look at a $500 Microsoft Surface or a $600 Apple iPad and then look at something like the $70.82 Chuwi V17 and guess what? They are going to buy the $70 model.
 Our capacity focus issue, of course is educational and with an eye to digital productivity as well.

A College textbook today easily runs you US$ 80 - 200, more if you pick the wrong field of study. High school textbooks are easily US$ 30 - 40 a pop, and you have to buy a lot of them. 

A nexus 7" tablet in a folio with a keyboard
(Credit: Slashgear)
What if we were instead looking at one of these tablets, with a folio and keyboard similar to the Nexus in the photo? Where such a folio and keyboard easily come in at US$ 10 - 15?

Could we not see such a tablet providing a rugged alternative to a 30 lb bag of heavy textbooks, plus exercise books etc? Not to mention a complement to a 14 - 15 inch screen notebook PC that is far heavier and more delicate? 

(Montserrat Ministry of Education (and other such ministries across the region), this is speaking to you on the behalf of a proverbial 90 lb weight, 5'2" youngster who is struggling to carry 20 - 30 lbs of books plus a 15" screen, delicate notebook to school day by day, with a battery that may last 3 - 4 hours if s/he is lucky. For which the state-subsidised price to the student's hard-pressed parents is EC$ 900.)

 But that -- though it is not to be overlooked -- is not the core issue.

The core issue is that we are looking at an opportunity to transform education suing digital technology, where web based access, electronic book technology based course manuals, light office productivity suites, access to richly equipped digital libraries and the like can be integrated into secondary and tertiary education, creating a new world of empowerment.

Hence the series here at KF on this, in the context of the AACCS proposal:

Capacity Development -- the AACCS

So, now, can we begin to seriously get ready for the future?

With the trend to sub-$100 7" Android tablet coming out from top drawer manufacturers, that future is just about here. END