Intel Inside: A look at Intel On Android

Intel Inside: A look at Intel On Android

Nov 5, 2014

Admit it: what comes to mind when you think of Intel?

Laptops? Desktops? Computer parts?

Well, whatever it is, it seems as though Intel itself doesn’t mind if its name invokes thoughts of Android. More and more Android devices are running with its vaunted chips on the inside.

We had an opportunity to check out two Intel-powered Android wi-fi tablets, one from ASUS, and one from Acer. The Acer Iconia Tab 8 is a serious looking mid-range tab that smaller at packs 2GB RAM (plus expandable memory), 7.9 inches of screen in an 8.5 x 5.1 x 0.3 inch frame. It also has 2 MP front-facing snapper. Software wise, it comes with Android 4.4, and also has a suite of Acer-specific applications.

The ASUS MEMO Pad 7 is physically smaller, at 7.5 x 4.5 x 0.4 inches (which encases a 7 inch screen). 1GB Memory, 2MP front-facing camera, 5MP in the back, expandable memory, Android 4.4.

Both are fantastic tablets, with plenty to love. Both were a joy to test, smooth and snappy. There are other things that are common to both, outside the affordability: Intel’s Atom Z3745 processor.


The Z3745 brings the best of Intel to newer Android devices in an ultra-affordable package. It consists of a quad-core CPU that maxes out at 1.86 MHz, and an Intel graphic GPU that hits 778 MHz.

In real life, the chip works well. In testing with these tabs, I couldn’t find noticeable lag. I did notice some warmth when taxed by hard-hitting games, but all in all, both tabs worked well.

And this is where it looks like Intel is hitting its groove with regards to Android. The affordability of the chip helps keep device prices down, and this allow device manufacturers to price their devices competitive… in theory at least. In the case of the Iconia Tab 8 (at $199) and the MEMO Pad 7 (at $129), the theory arguably holds true.

ASUS Announces Android Wear-Powered ZenWatch at IFA 2014

ASUS Announces Android Wear-Powered ZenWatch at IFA 2014

Sep 3, 2014

IFA 2014 is definitely the place to be for gadget lovers. For folks dialed in to Android Wear, smart wearables and ASUS offerins, it doesn’t get better.

ASUS has announced its new Android Wear-powered smartwatch dubbed the ZenWatch.

The ZenWatch is a rectangular-faced affair, with classic strap and stainless steel frame. It features ASUS’ ZenUI overlay, scores of watch face options, and a Gorilla Glass/AMOLED display. it also expectedly serves as a smartphone companion and a health wearable.

More from the ASUS informational:

Fine Watch Craftsmanship
Exquisitely-crafted using premium materials
Sophisticated design enhanced by rose gold color layering
Genuine stitched-leather watchband and quick-release clasp design
100+ combination watch face choices to fit your mood and personality
Vivid AMOLED display and Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3

Smart Companion
Seamless ASUS ZenUI integration and enhanced functionality
Automatically unlock your phone with ASUS ZenWatch
Tap Tap and Find My Phone helps you locate your phone instantly if misplaced
Simply cover ASUS ZenWatch with your hand to mute an incoming call
ASUS Remote Camera frees users to take photos from creative angles where the viewfinder would be difficult to see.
Presentation Control enables ZenWatch to be used as a remote control and time manager when giving a business presentation or lecture

Wellness manager
Monitor and track a range of health-related statistics with the ASUS Wellness app
Measures steps taken, calories burned, activity duration, heart rate, exercise intensity and relaxation level
View an easy-to-understand relaxation score based on relaxation-level measurements

According to MobileBurn, the device will be available in select markets in Q3, and will cost about $260.

[Source: MobileBurn and ASUS]

CES 2012: New Android Hardware Roundup

CES 2012: New Android Hardware Roundup

Jan 11, 2012

Ah yes, a big technology trade show rolls around and plenty of shiny new Android hardware is unveiled. While some on the Apple side of the aisle will sneer at more potential iPhone killers that likely won’t be as such, and WP7 & BlackBerry fans will lament their lack of attention being paid to them, there’s still a variety of interesting new phones and devices to report on.

Motorola Droid 4: The Droid 4 is the latest in the flagship line of Motorola & Verizon’s Droid phones. Like the other flagship Droids, it boasts a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, with only a .5 inch thickness. It has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, a gigabyte of RAM, 16 GB of storage, 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video recording, and a 4-inch 960×540 screen. Sadly, it will only ship with Gingerbread, but should get an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade later.

Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX: Android phones do not have great battery life; it’s kind of a fact of life at this point, sadly. Motorola’s solution? A new Droid Razr that boasts a 3300 mAh battery versus the original 1700 mAh. Most phones use a similar amount of battery capacity. Apparently the phone is about as thin as the original Droid Razr was, or at least any difference in thickness is negligible. It boats the same specifications as the regular Droid Razr otherwise.

Asus MeMO 370T Tablet: Asus announced this upcoming 7″ tablet in partnership with Nvidia, which hopes to combine two disparate tablet worlds: the low-priced entry model tablets with the high-performance Android tablets. The tablet boasts a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, Ice Cream Sandwich, and various other Nvidia features, such as a “fifth ninja core” that will be used for features like “Direct Touch” which supposedly will improve touch screen response. Apparently the device will be powerful enough to run PC games remotely, as Asus ran a demo with Skyrim running off a remote PC, being played on the tablet.

Asus Padfone: Enthusiastically revealed last year, Asus’ phone with tablet dock is still in the works, as they showed it off at CES. However, it’s being kept under glass at this point, and no release date has been revealed yet. We believe in you, Padfone!

FXI Cotton Candy: This USB/HDMI stick runs, rather impressively, a dual-boot solution of Ice Cream Sandwich and Ubuntu. It can either plug into a display, or be run on a computer. It’s still in prototype form, will require a microSD card to store the OS, and. However, it’s still an extremely intriguing piece of hardware, especially with the ability to just plug in to any display easily using HDMI.

Lenovo K800: This phone is notable particularly for being the first Android phone to use Intel chipsets to power it; it will initially be available in China, boasting a 4.5″ 720p display, and Ice Cream Sandwich. It will release in 2nd quarter this year.

GameStop Begins Selling Tablets Pre-Loaded With Games

GameStop Begins Selling Tablets Pre-Loaded With Games

Nov 1, 2011

The details of Gamestop’s tablet program have finally been unveiled, and they’re quite different from what was expected. GameStop is simply getting into the business of selling Android tablets, though they will come with several Android games preinstalled. The three tablets that they will be selling are the Acer A100 for $329, the Asus Transformer for $399, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab for $499. The last two tablets will be available with a Bluetooth controller for playing games on the tablets.

The games that will be available? They are Dead Space (making its Android debut after an excellent iOS version), Cordy, Riptide, Monster Madness, Re-Load, the Kongregate Arcade App, and a timed exclusive launch of Sonic CD for Android. The controller will work with Cordy, Sonic CD, Riptide, and Monster Madness. Some of these games are already available on the Android Market as well.

GameStop may be missing a real opportunity here to launch their own tablet. The Kindle Fire hype has shown that interest in a low-cost tablet does exist, and a gaming-focused product could be of potential interest. Instead, these tablets are competing with the iPad on cost and features, and a few pre-installed games might not be enough to push interest in favor of these devices. Still, the lack of physical controls is what often off-puts those unfamiliar with touchscreen gaming, and this could be a great introduction with a controller available. As well, unlike the Kindle Fire, there is actual access to the Android Market, so these aren’t limited devices at all. They’re just tablets that GameStop is trying to push gaming on.

Still, the Android Market does lag behind the App Store as a gaming platform, and Android tablets have had their sales issues. Can GameStop manage to help push Android gaming forward, along with tablet sales, through their sale of Android tablets? Time will tell. The pilot program has launched on GameStop’s website and in 200 GameStop stores.

Asus Enthusiastically Announces the Padfone

Asus Enthusiastically Announces the Padfone

Jun 1, 2011

Asus, and its enthusiastic chairman Jonney Shih took the stage at Computex 2011 in Taiwan this week to announce a new Android tablet with a twist – it’s actually a phone inside of a tablet dock. Or, as Mr. Shih puts it, in the newest video that’s sweeping the web, “Is it a pad? Is it a phone in a pad? It’s Padfone!” Watch the announcement at Computex below.

While the video is kind of silly, and the internet seems to be getting its chuckles out of it, the possibilities for the Padfone are actually kind of intriguing. Imagine carrying the phone around, checking emails, playing games on it while on the go, then returning home or to the office to use it to watch videos on the bigger screen, or type out emails on a larger keyboard. There’s something that seems silly about the concept at first, and the potential success of the Padfone may be based on if Asus can get it out to all the carriers, and if the ‘Pad’ part of the Padfone is affordable. Price, along with mediocre quality, is what killed the Motorola Atrix 4G’s laptop dock from being a success. Also, it’s likely that if Apple were to announce a similar tablet dock for the iPhone and iPod touch, it would likely be well-received by the same people who are getting their chuckles at the Padfone’s concept.

The price issue will be tricky, though – Apple’s advantage with the iPad pricewise is that they use many of the same internals for the iPad as they do in the iPod touch and iPhone, especially the processors; this allows them to lower prices where other manufacturers may struggle to do so, which has made it difficult for Android tablet makers to compete. Independent large-screen docks like the Padfone, and the TransPhone from CMIT which was also announced at Computex may suffer from a lack of widespread adoption; perhaps a standardized tablet dock protocol would be more successful and help push the Android tablet market along if people could transition their phones over to tablets. Or perhaps the Android tablet market will start to explode later on in the year, especially as Christmas nears. The Padfone is expected later this year, and will likely be running Android 3.1, aka Ice Cream Sandwich. More details as they emerge.