Feeds

Analyst offers cut-price fondleslab recipe

Suggests PC-makers may undercut Apple and Amazon with $US150 'slab

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

SSA Digital is a little-known Chinese company that is very good at two things.

One is getting spam through the filters here at Vulture South, which is the only reason we know about the second thing at which it excels: making seven inch tablet computers so cheaply it is prepared to sell them for just $US40 apiece in lots of 10,000.

We've smiled nicely and asked SSA to send us one, but it has declined to do so.

PC makers do understand such niceties. They also understand that tablets are eating their lunch, at least at the low end (go visit an electronics store and ask where all the Netbooks have gone).

Which is why Taiwanese analyst outfit TrendForce has cooked up a recipe for a $150 tablet, as it feels that with Android seven-inchers now at $199 the only way PC companies can get into the game is by undercutting the likes of Amazon and Google on price.

To do so, they'll need to cut the following corners:

  • Use a cheap display TrendForce says prices for fringe field switching (FFS) displays have plateaued, making twisted nematic displays a cheaper alternative. That technology, however, produces a rubbish viewing angle. Enter 'view angle compensation film' a sheet of polymer that can return a display to respectable visibility at low cost.
  • G/F/F touch Premium touch screens us transparent conductors layered onto glass, and use two layers of glass in an arrangement known as “G/G”. A cheaper way to deliver a touch screen is with a G/F/F panel that has a top layer of glass, then two layers of film. G/F/F isn't as responsive as G/G, but costs 70 per cent less to make.
  • Cheap memory TrendForce points out that mobile DRAM costs $10 per gigabyte, while conventional DRAM is $3.50. Flash memory is a buck a gig in four-gig lots, or six dollars for an eight-gig module.
  • Cheap CPUs A decent CPU sets a tablet-maker back $24, TrendForce says. But comparable silicon can be had for $12.

The analyst's musings conclude that its recipe would allow allow PC-makers to come up with a bill of materials of $99 or less, but also says “Whether the potential low cost tablets will indeed become a major hit remains to be seen, as much of their quality and specs will likely be affected by the costs of the materials used.”

One piece of good news is that TrendForce feels cheap tablets from established brands will “intensify the pricing competition within the 2013 tablet market,” which could be helpful for those wishing the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire were just a little more affordable.

But there's also bad news for SSA Digital and its ilk, as the analyst says that if PC-makers got into the tablet caper it “will certainly put a lot pressure on China's white-box tablet makers.” Which may not be a bad thing: a $150 tablet with an inferior screen, slow CPU and little memory that drains the battery at high speed sounds dire.

SSA's lack of interest in a sending a review unit to Vulture South may therefore have been entirely sensible. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.