Marvell Shows a New Android Tablet Design

By  |  Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at 8:02 am

I’m spending the day at the Future of Publishing Summit in New York City, a conference on the digital transformation of books, magazines, and newspapers. The room is packed with execs from the New York publishing industry, plus a few Silicon Valley types. Among the latter are the folks from chipmaker Marvell, who are showing off some prototype devices based on the company’s low-cost, power-efficient Armada processors.

The newest of these is a reference design for a 10.1″ Android-based color tablet that Marvell just finished putting together. Here it is:

As a reference design, this (rather chunky) tablet is mostly about technological guts rather than industrial design: I’d expect the companies who build devices based on it to make them sleeker and sexier.

Marvell says that it expects tablets based on this design to go on sale by the end of this year. It’s not talking about pricetags yet, but with the iPad starting at $499, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the starting price for tablets from other companies will be substantially lower. Manufacturers should certainly be able to sell an Armada-based tablet running the free Android OS for less than a “Slate PC” running full-blown Windows 7.

Marvell’s version runs Android in a form that looks pretty much like the Android on phones such as the Nexus One and Droid, only on a bigger, higher-resolution display. Assuming that tablets are here to stay, I hope that Google–or someone–builds an Android interface that was designed with big touchscreens in mind. Despite the theory that the iPad is merely a big iPhone, the most interesting thing about it is that Apple went to the trouble of designing a new interface tailored to its needs. I don’t think tablets running a stock copy of Windows 7 or Android are going to be anywhere near as interesting as ones that rethink the experience for a new class of gizmo.

 
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28 Comments For This Post

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    This market is going to heat up very quickly. Year of the tablet.

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    happy to see that Marvell has the funds to develop a new OLPC and I hope to do the same thing with :MY:Low:Cost:PC: design: http://www.olpcdesign.com/

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    I can’t wait to see this compared to ipad prices, will it be cheaper ?

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    Those Android tablets are going to be very hyping during the end of 2010 – beginning 2011. The sad thing about Android tablets is that OHA/Google are not really supporting them. Google for instance doesn't allow manufacturers of tablets to use their proprietary apps like "Google Mail", "Google Voice" and "Android Market".

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    I agree with you, the beauty of the iPad's iOS, surprisingly enough, is that it's not just OSX running on a touch screen. Though supposedly we'll be seeing that soon enough on the iMacs if the rumors are to be believed. The operating system of the iPad is designed totally around the experience of gestures.

    This Marvell tablet with it's windows 7 operating system and it's under designed exterior really lacks any of the appeal that Apple puts into their products. It may be faster and more powerful and more versatile… but most consumers buy these kinds of products to identify not for the power.

    Apple's products are more than just products, owning one makes people feel like they are part of a community, part of the "cool crowd." Everybody wants to identify with the cool crowd. If companies like Marvell want to succeed they are going to need to find some way to build a real community around their devices.

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    It is going to heat up quickly, but I seriously doubt with tablets like the one above if there is going to be any real competition to the design/marketing powerhouse that Apple has put together…

    Either way, it's awesome to see some new blood and more competition out there, and it can only make for a better product in the long run!

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    I'm still not convinced about how usefull such a leisure time tablet actually is…

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