The upcoming Chinese tablet and device invasion lead by the Allwinner SoCs

Or a $99 Android 4.0.3 IPS 7” tablet with an Allwinner A10 SoC capable of 2160p Quad HD and built-in HDMI – another inflection point, from China again

It is first time that we can see globally that China is on a different, significantly more effective price/performance/functionality trajectory of its own than anybody else. It is a clear strategic inflection point not only for the tablet market, not even for the client device market alone, but for the ICT industry as a whole. Even the latest challengers to the already fading Wintel empire will be affected by this.

Here is the Sept 10 evidence of HAIPAD I7 IPS 1024*600 Multitouch Screen with Android 4.0 Dual Camera 1080P HDMI ever since available [Dec 4] on Merimobiles.com for that price:

List Price: $269.99 Your Price: $99.99 [with free shipping worldwide]
[when it became available in April’12 it was briefly $137.99 already]
[more tablets of this kind coming to the market too, e.g. the $99 Dragon]

Haipad i7 Android ICS 7” capacitive IPS Thin Tablet Review – Allwinner A10 Merimobiles ColonelZap [SchlumpfiHB YouTube channel, April 15, 2012]

[The only cons are that the cameras are “really, really bad”.]

We should therefore understand:

  1. The new challenge
  2. The learnings from similar fundamental shifts in the history of ICT
  3. The current market for this new industry trajectory
  4. The initial advantage that made possible this trajectory
  5. The most significant new customer value which will assure its global victory in the end
  6. The current way of thinking of the established client device players.
  7. Possible further hardware advances sustaining this new trajectory.

Inside PRC the situation is even more dramatic. Below you could see 3 market leading products on the mainland China market as was indicated on Sept 25 by vast and quite sophisticated marketplace information of PConline, the largest portal in the PRC specialising in IT product-related content, in terms of advertising revenue. The type of SoC used in those products is shown in blue ink. A13 and A10 are from Allwinner Technology, while RK3066 is from Fuzhou Rockchip Electronics. Both are quite successful SoC companies founded in China. Information about these tablets will be given in section 3. The Teclast & Window tablets shown below are also available globally for $120 and $215 respectively.

image_thumb30

All three tablets essentially have kept their position up to now (Dec 3). The price of Teclast P75D even went down to ¥499 i.e. $80 at one of the dealers, three of the dealers have price between ¥594 and ¥599, i.e. between $95 and $96, while 5 others still selling it for ¥699 i.e. $112 by today’s exchange rate. This is showing clearly that the $99 pricing for the HAIPAD i7 is realistic even in terms of the hottest tablet of such kind on the mainland China market which has ¥646 i.e. $104 across all of its dealers on PConline.

At the same time the unchanged ¥259 i.e. $41.5 price of Andorra A713 clearly shows the fact that for a non-IPS 7” tablet with the Allwinner A13 SoC, essentially a constrained to 512M RAM version of A10 with no HDMI output, there is a well established entry-level market in China. Note that the A713 tablet has a capacitive multi-touch (5-point touch) screen, so it is not a kind of cheap resistive screen variety of tablets.

In fact the entry level should be emphasized as much as the $99 mid-range level of the low-cost tablets coming from China. In some respects those tablets could have an even bigger impact for the future as described in my companion post here: $40 entry-level Allwinner tablets – now for the 220 million students Aakash project in India.

It is also the case that the whole Allwinner story will culminate soon in the even more dramatic development (related to the last, #7 issue we must understand) of a PCMCIA card (or as was renamed PC Card) format package called EOMA-68 (see: Embedded Open Modular Architecture/EOMA-68 for general information, and the EOMA-68 page on this blog for the news and preorder information about this particular card), which contains a whole computer with an Allwinner A10 SoC, 1GB of RAM, 1 to 16 GB of NAND Flash etc. All this for a target mass-volume (100k units) cost of $15 (note: this cost excludes a case, power supply, packaging, shipping, tax, customs and import duty, and profit). The more commitments will be received, the closer the price for the product, being setup by the Rhombus-Tech company (I am not affiliated with them to make it clear), will get to that. More on the EOMA-68 page here.

Almost all interfaces available of the Allwinner A10 SoC have been made available on the 55x85mm credit-card-sized card, including both Transport Streams, SIM Card, PATA, the 24-pin Camera Interface, both 24-pin LCD Interfaces, VGA, Composite Video (CVBS), SPDIF, AC97, I2S, GPS, CAN-Bus, Infrared, and many more. This is in addition to the standard EOMA-68 Interfaces of Ethernet, I2C, SATA, LCD 24-pin RGB/TTL, USB2 and 16 GPIO pins.

While this is a FLOSS-related initiative rooted in UK, the hardware part is fully based on mainland China companies, including Allwinner Technology. The benefit for the FLOSS-people could mean much more for the Chinese industry network already moving along a much faster and more effective trajectory than the outside world. To me it can go as far as a SoC vendor like Allwinner Technology will be able to produce these type of cards as well which will significantly enhance the possibilities and worldwide competitiveness of the hundreds of independent manufacturers is Shenzhen, Zhuhai and elsewhere in PRC. As a consequence the consumer equipment prices could go down even more and/or functionality, as well as quality, could be risen even more.

Meanwhile it should already be emphasized that the phenomenon we indend to follow in this blog is not limited to Allwinner SoCs as the SoC and subsequent Android tablet competition is intensifying very-very fast inside PRC as evidenced by this Overview of the latest/best 7″ Tablets out of Shenzhen China [Charbax YouTube channel, Oct 28, 2012]:

[From Charbax:] Here’s my overview video showing some of the latest best value 7″ Android tablets that I have found in Shenzhen on this trip. At least the samples that I was able to buy. [IN BULK PRICES, i.e. in 1K orders at least:] $40 A13 800×480, $65 RK3066 1024×600, $80 Nufront NS115 1024×600 IPS, and there’s also the sub-$50 VIA 8850 (which can run a Windows RT clone UI on top of Android), and I compare these with the $199 Kindle Fire HD

I should note as well that there is an even stronger newcomer than all those already mentioned SoC vendor. A company called Nufront, coming to the Chinese SoC market in a big way just in the 2nd half of 2012, is posing the greatest challenge to Allwinner for the next year. We are talking about the Taishan platform with:

The NS115 mobile computing chip, a dual-core ARM Cortex™-A9 MPCore™ processor up to 1.5GHz and Mali™-400 MP GPU implementation, features 1080P HD encode/decode and support of Android 4.0

which represents a whole issue of its own to understand as:

8. The Nufront challenge coming from inside


All those findings are compiled into a very large composite post on my companion, trend-tracking blog:

$99 Android 4.0.3 7” IPS tablet with an Allwinner SoC capable of 2160p Quad HD and built-in HDMI – another inflection point, from China again [Experiencing the Cloud, Dec 3. 2012] which has the following sections with final names reflecting better the individual issues as:

  1. The new challenge
  2. A proper recollection of what happened to Intel’s memory business
  3. The market and industry situation reflecting this new inflection point
  4. The Allwinner advantage 全志
  5. The wireless display and 2160p (“Quad HD”/4K) outlook
  6. Are the established client device players recognizing this strategic inflection point or not?
  7. Possible further hardware advances sustaining this new trajectory
  8. The Nufront challenge coming from inside

Please go through those compiled sections at least by reading the emphasized texts which I’ve put everywhere to make fast reading possible.

Note as well that section 2. is also on this blog as an expanded version standing on its own, and made accessible from every post there via It’s a Strategic Inflection Point page.

Finally, on this blog you will find the USD 99 Allwinner page as well which, besides providing the rationale for the naming and the existence of this blog, will summarize my current (Dec. 1) opinion about the mobile device market for 2013, especially the threat which may force Microsoft and Intel to adjust their current strategies radically.

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3 thoughts on “The upcoming Chinese tablet and device invasion lead by the Allwinner SoCs

  1. Pingback: Linux client market share gains outside the Android? Instead of gains will it shrink to 5% in the next 3 years? | Experiencing the Cloud

  2. Pingback: A fogyasztói informatika újabb 3 éve szoftver szempontból–I. rész | Szoftver aktualitások

  3. Pingback: Allwinner interest in 2013 | USD 99 Allwinner

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