Exclusive: Intel Enters The Discount Tablet Market

ECS (Elitegroup Computer Systems) and EA (Eternal Asia) have finalized their work on two whitebox tablets that are now offered to vendors across the world. Expect these devices to become available in the U.S. in July or August.

The first tablet is the ECS Sunny Hill TM105A model, a 10-inch Android tablet based on the Z2460 Medfield processor running at 1.6 GHz. The device comes with Android 4.0.4 and a screen resolution of 1280 x 800 (5-point multi touch). The tablet aims at the mass market with 1 GB memory, 16 GB flash storage, a 2 MP rear camera and a 0.3 MP front camera. According to ECS, the 6600 mAh battery lasts up to seven hours of continuous video playback.

Those specs aren't overly impressive, but ECS is selling this tablet for $186 to Channel Partners, which should result in a $299 or $329 retail price, given that the typical retailer asks for a 25 percent cut of the retail price.

EA is offering an 11.6-inch Windows 8 tablet based on Intel's Celeron 1007u/NM70 processor with an Ivy Bridge core. While we do not know how heavy the ECS tablet is, the EA tablet weighs a hefty 950 g, which compares to 652 g for the iPad. The device delivers a somewhat underwhelming feature set with 1366 x 768 pixels screen resolution (10-point multi touch), as well as a 2 MP rear camera and a 1 MP front camera. However, it appears that the industry is now targeting at least 4 GB of system memory and 64 GB of flash storage for mass market Windows 8 tablets, which this device includes.

The channel price for the EA tablet is $353, which has a retail price of at least $599, since the $353 channel price does not even include the licensing fee for Windows 8. This may look like a good deal for a 64 GB tablet, but it is a lot of money for a mass market tablet with a screen resolution that we could describe as average at best.

Even if Windows 8 is a much better OS for tablets than it is for PCs, it will be tough for Microsoft to make a huge dent into the market if the company does not find a way to bring the Windows 8 tablet pricing down.

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