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Five-inch Android 2.3 tablet pumps out 1080p via HDMI

Aug 3, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

Latte has begun shipping a five-inch, Android 2.3 portable media player (PMP) tablet for $190. The Latte Ice Smart uses a Telechips 8903 ARM11 processor to deliver 1080p video to an HDTV via a mini-HDMI port, and offers Wi-Fi and a USB On-the-Go (OTG) port, says the company.

Since the days of the mobile Internet device (MID) — essentially a fat mini-tablet — five-inch tablets have not fared well in the marketplace, especially since large-screen smartphones offer much the same capability plus voice. Dell figured it solved this problem by adding telephony to its five-inch Streak, but the mini-tablet still struggled, in part due to the easier pocketability of four-inch smartphones.

Now San Jose, Calif.-based device vendor and online retailer Latte appears to be gambling that the real reasons the Streak stumbled were its high price and out-of-date Android release. The Ice Smart not only offers the latest Android 2.3 release and a $190 sale price that's less than half that of the Streak, it boasts something the Streak couldn't: 1080p video output by way of a mini-HDMI port.

Latte Ice Smart

(Click to enlarge)

The Ice Smart is built around the Telechips 8903 system on chip (SoC), which would appear to be a close cousin to the Telechips 8902. Appearing on a variety of Linux, Windows CE, and Android tablets and PMPs over the last few years, the SoC's Android performance is no doubt somewhat limited by its 800MHz ARM11 core. However, the Telechips 890x processors also include a GPU (graphics processing unit), a DSP (digital signal processor) for video acceleration, and an OpenGL 2.0 3D graphics accelerator to help spice up the multimedia.

The Ice Smart is said to be capable of 1080p HD video, via a mini-HDMI connection to an attached HDTV or high-res monitor. The Ice Smart supports a variety of audio and video formats, including MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, WMV, MP4, RMVB, FLV, and MKV, says Latte.

The tablet ships with only 256MB RAM, but offers 8GB of internal flash storage, says Latte. There's also an external SD card slot that can hold an additional 32GB card.

Dual-touch capability demonstrated on the Ice Smart

The 5.19 x 3.3 x 0.5-inch, 0.7-pound device offers a five-inch, 800 x 480 touchscreen that uses resistive technology, according to Latte. However, its "dual-touch" capability would appear to indicate at least some multitouch functionality, as shown in the image above. An accelerometer enables portrait and landscape views, says the company.

Equipped with 802.11 b/g wireless communications, the Ice Smart supplies a mini-USB port, as well as a USB OTG port. The latter is useful for hooking up a keyboard and mouse, says Latte. The device also features a headphone jack, a mic, and a 2200mAh battery, says the company.

The Android 2.3 ("Gingerbread") stack appears to have all the usual features, but no extra pre-installed apps are listed. The note that apps are available from "application marketplaces" suggests that Android Market and other Google apps may not be available.


The Latte Ice Smart is available now for a sale price of $190 at the Lattezone retail site. Latte did not say when it will move to its regular price of $250. More information and direct sales, with shipment said to be typically available the next business day, may be found at Latte's Lattezone web-page for the Ice Smart.

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