Intel held a press conference in China today announcing its new 64-bit Bay Trail-T CPU and one of the partners who will use it: Teclast [Google Translate].
The new Teclast X98 is a 9.7-inch Retina-class screen with an unknown 64-bit Intel CPU at 1.83Ghz, 2GBs of RAM, and 32GBs of storage [Google Translate]. It also offers built-in 3G.
Teclast hasn’t put the official specs up on their page yet, so I turn to Edward Weinert, who has some more specs, including the news that it’s likely an Intel Z3740D [Google Translate].
The biggest news, however, is one that might make some people re-consider buying the Retina-class iFive Mini 3.
Teclast will be doing its own Retina-class iPad Mini clone, likely to be called the X79, with a 64-bit Bay Trail-T CPU:
However, before getting all excited over the prospects of fast and inexpensive Chinese tablets running 64-bit Android, this is what’s not being said:
1) There’s no 64-bit Android from Google yet
2) These tablets might be using 64-bit Android supplied by Intel
3) There will probably never be Google Services for these
4) The ability to root them will depend on their popularity
5) Even after rooting, there’s zero guarantee you could then put official 64-bit Android on them or even Google Services
We’ve been seeing a bifurcation of the Android market in a way no one is mentioning. With the introduction of Intel-inside tablets, Chinese tablets with Google Services are going away.
We’ve seen Onda touting its Onda ROM. Ramos has also taken to giving its tablets a custom UI (like Onda, also doing away with the App Drawer for a more iOS-like appearance). And Teclast has its own tUI:
And it looks to follow the leads of Onda and Ramos by also doing away with the App Drawer.
As well, all of them lack Google Services.
These moves are probably fine for the domestic Chinese market that requires inexpensive tablets — but I see them as alienating international buyers for whom the concept of “Android” means full Google Services on board.
We’ve seen something like this before, with cheap tablets in the American market that lacked Google Services. The next-to-bottom brands (such as Coby) wound up getting Google Certification and all Google Services pre-installed.
Perhaps the same thing will happen with these Chinese tablets. Maybe using Intel’s 64-bit AOSP adaptation is simply a first step towards using official 64-bit Android from Google.
But that’s one big bet to place.
Teclast claims its new X98 tablet will be available next month. The tech sites are skeptical and believe it will be May (April might be the typical pre-sale).
Aside from Teclast, Onda intends to join the 64-bit club with an announcement on April 3rd [Google Translate].
Given the way Onda operates, they are likely to have a Retina-class iPad Mini clone with the Bay Trail-T CPU as well.
It’s going to be very interesting to see if tablets with the octa-core Allwinner A80 CPU and quad-core Rockchip 3288 CPU will have Google Services on board (a move that rests with the platform suppliers, Allwinner and Rockchip, not generally the tablet makers). Even with them still being “only” 32-bit CPUs, either CPU could deliver enough horsepower to put them on par with these new Intel Bay Trail-T 64-bit CPUs.
Overall, one thing is certain. This year we’re going to see some very interesting tablets out of China that are really going to start to fulfill the initial horsepower daydreams we had about the prior-generation of tablets. All of those slower tablets will become just a fading memory.