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Chinese handset giant spins Android tablet

Oct 12, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Chinese handset manufacturer ZTE announced a seven-inch Android 2.1 tablet called the ZTE Light. Meanwhile, Cherrypal has begun selling a seven-inch Android tablet called the CherryPad America for only $188, running on a multimedia-enriched Telechips ARM11 SoC.

Along with a few other companies like Huawei, Zhongxing Telecommunication Equipment (ZTE) is one of China's largest handset and communications infrastructure vendors. ZTE has previously used Linux in its handsets, and earlier this year, the company released five Android phones, mostly low-cost models such as the Racer.

ZTE Light

Like most of the Android tablets coming on the market this year, the ZTE Light features a seven-inch, 800 x 480 touchscreen. There were no details provided about the screen technology used, nor did ZTE mention the processor or memory allotment.

The tablet offers a SIM slot compatible with WCDMA 3G networks, and also supplies Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS connectivity, says ZTE. The Light is further equipped with a three-megapixel camera, G-sensor, compass, and an FM radio, says the company.

Running Android 2.1, the ZTE Light offers Gmail, Google Talk, Google Maps, and Android Market, says ZTE. Other apps are said to include contacts, SMS, email, clocks, music, and an ebook reader.

The ZTE Light is touted for its low, 14.2-ounce (403-gram) weight compared to the Apple iPad. True, the iPad weighs in at about 1.5 pounds, but it also has a larger 9.7-inch display. By comparison, other seven-inch Android tablets such as Archos' Archos 70 and NEC's LifeTouch each weigh about 14 ounces (400 grams), and the Samsung Galaxy Tab is only 13.4 ounces (380 grams).

The ZTE Light, however, is likely to be more affordable than the Galaxy Tab. The latest rumor has T-Mobile offering the the Galaxy Tab for a hefty $399 with a two-year contract, or $649 without.

CherryPal spins "America" Android tablet

It was only a matter of time before Cherrypal, an established manufacturer of low-cost, Linux-ready netbooks and net-tops, entered the tablet market. After trying on Android with its CherryPad Asia netbooks in May, the company has now launched an Android 2.1 "CherryPad America" tablet selling for only $188.

CherryPad America

To hit that price-point, there have been trade-offs, to be sure. The seven-inch, 800×480 touchscreen uses resistive instead of the more touch-sensitive capacitive technology. And instead of a Cortex-A8 system-on-chip (SoC), it runs a Telechips SoC based on an ARM11 CPU clocked to 800MHz, says Cherrypal.

Still, the processor may offer reasonably good multimedia performance, as it is also said to include a GPU (graphics processing unit), a DSP (digital signal processor) for video acceleration, and an OpenGL 2.0 3D graphics accelerator. This would appear to be the Telechips TTC8902 processor found in Smartbook AG's Smartbook Surfer Android tablet, as well as a number of Windows CE-based tablets, such as the PandaWill X10 and Airis iTab7. (See TTC890x block diagram below.)

Telechips TTC890x block diagram

(Click to enlarge)

The CherryPad America is equipped with 256MB of DDR2 RAM, as well as 2GB NAND flash, says Cherrypal. A microSD slot is also said to be available.

The tablet offers 802.11 b/g, as well as an optional external 3G modem. Standard features are said to include a USB 2.0 port with external adapter, accelerometers, speakers, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a microphone port.

CherryPad America, landscape style
(Click to enlarge)

The CherryPad America consumes less than five Watts, and its 3200mAh battery can run six to eight hours, claims Cherrypal. Housed in a "sturdy aluminum case," the tablet weighs 1.1 pounds, says the company.

The tablet runs Android 2.1, but an upgrade option to 2.2 is said to be planned for the fourth quarter. The only other software mentioned is a pretty big one for a tablet: the availability of Android Market.


No details were offered on pricing or availability of the ZTE Light tablet. The ZTE Light announcement may be found here, or in an English-translated version here.

The CherryPad America is now available for ordering on Zecozi for $188, here. It is unclear whether the device is actually shipping now, however. More information on the CherryPad America may be found at Cherrypal, here.

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