We discovered this little gem hidden deep within the recesses of the show floor at IDF 2011. It’s none other than Opera Mobile running on a Honeycomb tablet — not just any tablet, mind you, but Intel’s Oak Trail-powered (Atom Z670) Green Ridge device. That’s right, you’re looking at Opera’s web browser, compiled using the latest Android NDK and running natively on top of Android x86. First impressions? It’s fast, even without hardware acceleration — scrolling and zooming are smooth as butter, with no signs of checkerboarding anywhere. According to Phillip Grønvold of Opera software, this is just the beginning. Hardware acceleration is already in the works, along with Flash support.
We’ve already fiddled with ViewSonic’s two new tablets at Computex’s pre-show event, but we decided to hit the booth earlier today to get a closer look at the ViewPad 10Pro’s BlueStacks Android virtualization on Windows 7, as well as the ViewPad 7x’s funky UI. Starting off with the bigger slate, you’ll see in the above video that the Android implementation isn’t as good as it sounds — ViewSonic says it wants to offer an Android experience “similar” to that of actual Android devices, but alas, we beg to differ with the virtual Android’s laggy performance plus its odd bugs. The reps assured us that the final product will be much smoother, but then we were further let down by the fact that Android Market is absent. The reason? It’s simply because from ViewSonic’s point of view the 10Pro’s focus is on Windows 7, so the company decided that it wasn’t worth all the hassle to obtain a Google Mobile Services license. To sum it up, this whole Android “feature” is very much just a gimmick, and it doesn’t look like running native Android on Oak Trail soon will do much good, either.
On a brighter note, the dual-core ViewPad 7x fared way better than its bloated brother. This world’s first 7-inch Honeycomb tablet ran surprisingly smooth, and we were glad to see SPB’s contribution here with its Shell 3D Android launcher (which we reviewed with much praise a little while back). We managed to get ViewSonic director Max Liu to give us a brief demo of the 7x after the break, and to be frank, the more we look at it, the more we want it. Here’s hoping that this tablet will be priced right.
Oh, and did we mention that ViewSonic had a few real Gouldian finches on the show floor? Check out them birds after the break.
At a time when ARM and Android are dominating the mobile computing world, Intel’s only just starting to catch up with some green robot-friendly prototypes, like these Oak Trail-based 10-inch tablets at Computex 2011. Starting from the left we have the Intel Green Ridge, Foxconn F150, Quanta QXZI, an unnamed Compal device, Intel Marco Polo 2, and Intel Carrot. Sadly, Intel wouldn’t give the names of the ODMs behind its reference tablets, so your guess is just as good as ours.
With the exception of the Gingerbread-powered Foxconn slate, these were all running on Honeycomb 3.0.1 OS — well, we say running, but just barely. As you’ll see in our hands-on video after the break, most of the devices were struggling to keep up with the launcher animation, and needless to say, Intel wasn’t keen on letting us test video playback on them. We also noticed that Android Market was missing on the prototypes, but Intel assured us that it’ll be available on the final products, and that current Android apps are already supported by Oak Trail. In terms of build quality it left much to be desired, though this is forgivable at a trade show; it’s the software that we’re concerned with. From what we’ve seen here at Computex, Android on Oak Trail is far from ready, so it’ll be interesting to see if Acer can actually pull off a July launch for its rumored Oak Trail Honeycomb tablet.
Intel took the opportunity at Computex to update the tech-loving world on its processor plans, and it looks like those whispers we heard about low power and an accelerated Atom roadmap were spot on. Executive VP Sean Maloney didn’t divulge specific TDPs but did confirm that we could look forward to reduced power consumption and sleek designs in 2012. The Intel exec declared that new class of PC, dubbed “Ultrabooks,” will make up 40-percent of the market by the end of 2012. These machines, powered by the 22nm Ivy Bridge, will be less than 0.8-inches thick and start at under $1,000 — which sounds just like the lines we were fed about CULV chips back in 2009.
Maloney also confirmed that, going forward, the Atom line would be getting a die shrink every year, as opposed to every two. The upcoming, 32nm Cedar Trail will usher in the new Moore’s Law-smashing era with promises of a 10 hour battery life and weeks of standby, and will be succeeded by 22nm and 14nm models. Intel even talked up Medfield, it’s Atom variant designed specifically for smartphones and tablets, and showed off more than 10 tablets based on the Oak Trail-flavored Z670. With AMD merely a fading blip in the company’s rearview mirror it looks like Chipzilla is gunning for all those ARM-touting manufacturers.
The ViewPad 10 era is over, here comes the epoch of the ViewPad 10Pro. Beyond the introduction of Intel’s Oak Trail Z670 1.5GHz processor, the new Windows 7 Pro / Android 2.2 dual-boot tablet throws in a 3G radio, 32GB of onboard storage (expandable via MicroSD or USB), and a 3500mAh battery that’s rated to last for 4.5 hours of 1080p video playback. It’s one of Intel’s promised 10+ Android tablets coming at this year’s Computex, though it has the appreciable advantage of being able to switch over to Windows 7 pretty much instantaneously. Check it out in the gallery below and you can expect a more in-depth look from us later on during the currently ongoing Computex 2011 trade show.
Samsung has yet to announce a revised release date for its Sliding PC 7 Series tablet / laptop hybrid, but the 2.2-pound netvertible slider is already available for pre-order on Amazon. According to Amazon’s listing, the 7 Series should ship with many of the same specs we noticed at this year’s CES: a 10-inch touchscreen with 1366 x 768-resolution, dual front and rear cameras (1.3 and 3.0 megapixels, respectively), a 32GB SSD, 2GB of RAM and, of course, Intel’s 1.5GHz Atom Oak Trail Z670 processor, which was originally scheduled to launch in March, before being pushed back to May. The slider will also run on Windows 7 Home Premium, and come equipped with 802.11b/g/n WiFi. When it debuted earlier this year, the Series 7 boasted optional 3G and WiMax features, as well as a six-cell battery that claimed to last up to nine hours on a single charge. Amazon doesn’t mention either of these specs in its listing, but everything else checks out with what we’ve already heard. And, at $649, it’s even a little cheaper than we expected.