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Android tablet to take on iPad in Japan

Jun 16, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

NEC is preparing an Android 2.1 tablet for the Japanese market based on an ARM Cortex-A8 processor. The LifeTouch offers a seven-inch, WVGA touchscreen, a SDHC slot, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, sensors, and a three-megapixel camera, says NEC.

The LifeTouch will compete with the fairly similar Apple iPad in the Japanese tablet market, and according to a CrunchGear story, will go on sale in October. The iPad has been selling well in the country, the story adds.

In its marketing push, NEC will likely emphasize the tablet's Japanese language fonts, menus, and virtual keyboard. However, as an Android 2.1 tablet, the LifeTouch would appear to share the iPad's lack of Flash 10.1 support, at least until it upgrades to Android 2.2. No promises were made along those lines, however.

NEC LifeTouch

The LifeTouch is based on an unnamed ARM Cortex-A8-based processor, which these days could mean any number of system-on-chips (SoCs) from vendors including Samsung, Texas Instruments, or Freescale. The LifeTouch closely resembles Freescale's 7-inch Smartbook tablet reference design, which incorporates the Freescale i.MX51 SoC. However, the LifeTouch offers lower 800 x 480 resolution on its resistive, seven-inch touchscreen, and supplies half the RAM (256MB), among other minor differences.

LifeTouch front and side views

NEC's semiconductor division has introduced an EMMA Mobile/EV SoC said to be aimed at tablets. However, the company leapfrogged Cortex-A8, jumping from an ARM11 SoC for its previous Emma Mobile to one or two Cortex-A9 cores for the EV version.

The LifeTouch is equipped with an SDHC slot, says NEC, although there is no mention of a standard SD card provided for the device. Wireless communications include 802.11b/g, Bluetooth 2.1, and GPS, and USB 2.0 host and device ports provide physical connectivity, says the company.

LifeTouch rocking in its charging cradle

(Click to enlarge)

Equipped with a three-megapixel camera, the LifeTouch further supplies accelerometers and sensors, as well as a microphone, headphone jack, and stereo speakers. The 8.62 x 4.69 x 0.55-inch (219 x 119 x 13.9mm) device weighs 14.1 ounces (400 grams), and is said to run eight hours on a battery charge. Accessories include a charging cradle (pictured above) and a stand (below).

LifeTouch front and back views, with attached stand
(Click to enlarge)

Specifications listed for the LifeTouch include:

  • Processor — ARM Cortex-A8-based processor
  • Memory — 256MB DDR RAM
  • Flash expansion — SDHC card slot
  • Display — 7-inch, 800 x 480 (WVGA) resistive touchscreen
  • Wireless communications:
    • 802.11b/g
    • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (Class B)
    • GPS
  • USB — 2 x USB ( 1 x Host; 1 x Device Micro B)
  • Camera — 3-megapixel camera with autofocus
  • Audio — Mic; 3.5mm headphone jack; stereo speakers
  • Sensors — accelerometers; magnetic sensors; light sensors
  • Other features — 4-way cursor button; home, menu, back buttons; volume control
  • Accessories — Charging cradle; mobile covers; folding stand
  • Media formats — H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, MP3, Ogg WAV, JPEG, GIF, PNG
  • Software:
    • Android browser, email, calendar, contacts
    • Android alarm, gallery, music, calculator, etc.
    • Japanese language font, menus, and virtual keyboard
    • NEC wireless configuration and wireless switching apps
    • NEC voice-activated browser
  • Battery — 8 hour battery life
  • Dimensions — 8.62 x 4.69 x 0.55 inches (219 x 119 x 13.9mm)
  • Weight — 14.1 oz (400 g)
  • Operating system — Android 2.1


According to CrunchGear, the LifeTouch will go on sale in Japan in October. More information may be found at NEC's LifeTouch page, shown in a translated version, here.

The CrunchGear story may be found here.

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