Intel is pushing its low-power Bay Trail processors as an alternative to ARM-based tablet processors. Several Chinese device makers have already announced upcoming Android tablets with Bay Trail chips. Now it looks like Taiwanese PC maker Asus may be getting ready to launch its own line of Android tablets with Bay Trail processors — and it looks like they’ll be competitively priced at around $149 and up.

bay trail logo

Several US retailers have posted listings for an unannounced Asus ME176 tablet with an Intel Atom Z3745 processor and Android 4.4 KitKat software.

These 7 inch tablets don’t exactly have bleeding edge specs. They’re expected to feature 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. But they will run Android 4.4 KitKat, feature IPS screens with wide viewing angles.

Intel’s Atom Z3745 processor is a 64-bit, 1.33 GHz quad-core chip. It features 311 MHz Ivy Bridge graphics (with max speeds of 778 MHz), and it’s an x86 processor with support for up to 4GB of RAM.

While Intel’s positioning this as a low-power, low-cost chip for cheap Android tablets, it should be able to support Windows and other operating systems as well — the Atom Z3745 is very similar to the Atom Z3740 CPU found in Windows devices such as the Asus Transformer Book T100 and Dell Venue 8 Pro.

While I’m not sure I’d want to dump Android and load Windows on a tablet with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, this upcoming $149 Asus tablet and other devices like it could make interesting platforms for testing Ubuntu and other operating systems even for folks that have little interest in an Android tablet.

It should also be interesting to see how Intel-powered $149 tablets compare with budget Android tablets with low-cost ARM chips from companies like Allwinner, Rockchip, and MediaTek.

via Mobile Geeks

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25 replies on “Asus ME176 Bay Trail Android tablet coming soon for $149?”

  1. “It should also be interesting to see how Intel-powered $149 tablets
    compare with budget Android tablets with low-cost ARM chips from
    companies like Allwinner, Rockchip, and MediaTek.”

    I am truly interested in this result. PIPO has the MediaTek has the octa-core with 1920 x 1200 for $225 which seems like a great bang for the buck.

  2. Based on the passmark scores for this chip (Z3745) the performance should be decent, but not amazing (compared to other things I’ve ran using androidx86). It would be nice if it had 2gb of ram though.

    1. Have you ever gotten an i3 or even the new Celeron’s to run using androidx86?

      1. I don’t currently have a modern Intel processor, so I can’t really say for sure, but I have run it on some AMD processors that are a known amount faster that the Z3745 (based on benchmarks you can find anywhere). If CyberGusa is correct, the official install of Android might be better optimized than the Androidx86 port.

        Like I said, this should perform ok, but I don’t see the advantage to running Android on this over a existing ARM tablet (or on any x86 processor).

        Installing another OS (Linux?) would be interesting, but I don’t about Windows as an option on 1GB – and you would for sure need to install to an SD card.

        1. Advantages is like the Tegra 4 low cost tablet, it provides higher level performance than you’d normally see in that price range… While this version of Intel’s SoC also is a much more open platform than most ARM SoCs… So, once the optimized Kernel is widely available we should see a much wider range of software offered for these devices and it’ll be easier for end users to opt for those choices.

          Mind, the ARM platform is very fragmented and companies like Imagination Tech, has over 80% of the GPU IPs… meaning most of the market has to deal with closed drivers, etc. and that means it’ll be much easier to extend the life of the device with prolonged support with Intel based devices…

          There are other advantages to ARM, it’s still cheaper but with Intel subsidizing the costs it’s not an advantage that matters at the moment… While Intel has recently fixed it’s major previous handicap and finally significantly reduced its board size and made it much easier for OEMs to source parts both from them and 3rd parties… Allowing a level of flexibility and cost cutting that previously only ARM offered but going forward means they’re now on much more equal footing… and thus the other advantages Intel offers start to the main considerations now…

          While, for Windows, the new Windows 8.1 update 1 significantly lowered the minimum requirements… Instead of requiring 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, it’s now 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage…

          The new WIMBoot feature even allows for even smaller drive capacities to be supported because it allows installing Windows as mostly a compressed image file and should be able to keep most installs down to around 3GB, even with Office included… Though, the free version of Windows 8 is unlikely to include Office… System may just be a tad slower and the requirements for WIMBoot partly indicate this by making it a requirement to have fast small read/writes that only solid state storage provides…

          The WIM file also doubles as the recovery image, and that eliminates the normal need for an extra 8GB partition… So you could literally have a W8.1 device run on a system that only has 1GB of RAM and only 8GB of storage… It’ll be limited but if sold very cheaply it could also be a nice secondary device…

          But that’s basically MS contribution to helping to make possible for OEMs to make Windows devices in Intel’s targeted $99 to $129 range, along with offering Windows 8 for free to devices 9″ or smaller… Despite lower performance they may still sell for the same reason other cheap devices sell well, as why not purchases as even a dual core Bay Trail will still be about 50% better than the old netbook ATOMs…

          While many GNU/Linux distros are known to work just fine with 1GB of RAM… it’s just a question of user base and how many will be interested for that extra reason alone or not…

          Btw, the reduced requirements of the latest version of Windows 8.1 could possibly also help AMD… The upcoming Beema and Mullins have a much better chance than the previous Temash and Kabini, and with reduced requirements for W8 it means OEMs will have a easier time making low cost devices with them… They just don’t have much time before the Intel Cherry Trail update comes out, maybe 3 months, to take advantage of coming out first with their update…

    2. Mind that Androidx86 is unofficial fork of Android… Performance and compatibility thus are limited and has no direct support from Google… But the version of Android being run on Intel’s mobile SoCs are the official Google Android version…

      So it has the Play Store, etc… While Google has supported Intel SoCs since Medfield was released nearly 2 years ago… Meaning the developers have long had the SDK support necessary to easily create apps for both ARM and Intel SoCs…

      Support was spotty at first and Intel needed to resort to a binary translation layer for Medfield and Clover Trail+ to help with the compatibility but support has greatly improved now and you can sure of well over 90% compatibility with all the apps available to Android…

      The support also means these Intel devices get the latest version and Intel already released a 64bit image of Kitkat for developers to work into these newer Bay Trail devices.

      Though, I otherwise agree it would have been better with more RAM but this is unlikely to be the only model they will be releasing…

      Besides, the choice of Z3745 means the ROM would probably be compatible with another device running the same Z3745 SoC and a Windows device is much more likely to be released with 2GB of RAM… making for potentially interesting dual boot or just replacing of the default OS options once more of these devices come to market…

  3. For all of the glowing “thumbs up” here I doubt it matters much. There is so much churn in Intel’s product line that ASUS may not even do a second production run of these things before going on to the next hula-hoop. Planned obsolescence has become a blur whooshing by.

  4. Great news. a Low Cost Multimedia DAW and/or DJ workstation. Goodbye ipad in the creative space.

  5. Please go back to the drawing boards and add 1 more GB of ram minimum.

    1. It’s meant as a low cost model, for even Android devices something in the $149 price range is bound to still be limited on specs… But Android can work with only 1GB of RAM, it mainly just means limits on multi-tasking and you have to be sure to turn off whatever you’re not using…

      Though, it does pretty much waste the performance of the Z3745 but they’re likely to offer higher end models with better specs with that SoC and not just this low end model…

      It would be interesting, if such low cost models helps bring back interest in modders… Mind, people have historically modded embedded devices… Even UMPC’s have had people willing to go through the tough process of desoldering the CPU and replacing it with a better chip…

      So, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone takes such a low cost model and do something like add more RAM to it… depends on how easy it is to take apart and how hard it is to replace the SMT components…

        1. Actually, when first released the Dell Venue 7 was for about $20 more than what you can get for it now… The Dell Venue 7 started at $149… Besides, the dual core Z2560 Clover Trail+ it came with was of much less value than the quad core Z3745 Bay Trail that this Asus model comes with…

          Basically, 2x the CPU performance and nearly 3x the GPU performance compared to that older model… So there’s always trade offs… Asus apparently just didn’t want to wait for the cheaper dual core Bay Trail’s to get released before coming out with this model…

          But give it a few months and this model will also go down by at least $20 as well… If not even lower…

          1. I don’t think it will sell well with 1gb, I decided against a tegra note due to this.

            I feel like they could throw in another gig or ram raise the price $25 and sell 2x the units.

            $150 price range is not enticing for a gimped device, 32gb Nexus 7 II was just up for $180 refurb.

          2. Probably, but it has been part of Asus market strategy to release multiple devices with multiple configurations and just see which one sells well or not…

            Though, there’s a chance the source that this news leaked from is not the final version but a reference/place holder… Asus has been known to change things from time of announcement to time of actual release… and some resellers have been known to have inaccurate listings…

          3. 16GB Nexus 7 II refurb for $140 right now, seriously considering buying. How can this device compete?

          4. What does the pricing of a refurb have to do with anything… That’s like saying how a new car can compete with a lower priced used car!

            Refurbs are previously used and may not be in mint condition… So of course they usually sell for less but you can’t compare that pricing to a new device pricing…

            Besides, Nexus lacks thing like a card reader and that means no storage expansion option!

          5. You seem to be against Asus delivering a good device at a low price.

            I won’t buy a new car, they lose to much value when you take them off the lot. If I had gone off money to burn then perhaps, but then I wouldn’t be considering a low cost device.

          6. No, I’m not against Asus delivering a good device at a low price but I’m realistic in my expectations…

            It’s simply not realistic to compare a new product to the price of a old or used product…

            You being not willing to buy a new car also means you have to accept the fact you won’t be getting the newest features and options either! There’s always a cost and compromise to consider with every option… Pretending they’re equivalent is simply ignoring the differences!

            A used care means there’s already wear and tear, mileage, etc. and that’s why it sells for less…

            Same thing applies to any other product, so don’t pretend getting something that’s not in mint condition is really a good deal when it’s really just a compromise and thus an invalid comparison because you’re not comparing something of equivalent value!

            A refurbished model means it was both used and returned and the reason for the return is likely because it needed repairs… You also get less warranty on refurbs, along with other compromises…

          7. Equivalent value is anything ~$150 IMO. If you have a $150 budget these are the things to consider.

          8. Then you’re not shopping smart, ignoring difference means you could wind up with something of much lesser value because you’re only considering the sticker price but not what you’re actually getting!

            Sure, you should consider what you can get for your budget range but it’s rarely ever so simple as just comparing prices…

            Again, a refurb means you lose out on other factors as the trade off… Besides, no company will ever accept a refurb as example of what to price their new products!

          9. Of course I’m shopping smart, I’m maximizing my performance per dollar.

            Anyhow 1gb more ram would make this way more competitive, 2gb is standard for mobile devices at this point so anything less is sub par.

            I would get that towards the later part of this year we will be seeing 3gb and 4gb be common.

          10. “Of course I’m shopping smart, I’m maximizing my performance per dollar.”

            Not if you’re ignoring what you’re trading off… That only means you think you’re getting a deal but there are plenty of lemons that look like good deals out there if you only go by the price…

            “Anyhow 1gb more ram would make this way more competitive, 2gb is
            standard for mobile devices at this point so anything less is sub par.”

            I don’t disagree, but I expect Asus will just release other models with higher specs as that’s what they normally do… They mainly just release the really low specs to help justify the pricing of the higher spec models… It’s the same thinking of how they marketed the Nexus 7, $50 more for $8 more in drive storage capacity, and is a pretty common practice in the mobile market in general…

            Specs like eMMC capacity is often used to justify higher pricing for higher capacity… Apple charges about the most just for storage capacity with their iPads with $100 extra for each doubling of capacity for example…

            It does suck but that’s how the mobile market is structured right now and there’s not much we can do about it…

            “I would get that towards the later part of this year we will be seeing 3gb and 4gb be common.”

            More common, yes, but not wide spread… 2GB will continue to be the standard for most well into next year… 4GB still has to become cheaper for system makers and there’s still the issue that increasing the RAM also increases power consumption…

            So don’t expect a switch over to 4GB becoming the new standard until they make the switch to LP-DDR4, which is more power efficient than LP-DDR3…

            Fortunately, they are planning on accelerating the transition and we’ll start seeing products use LP-DDR4 as early as towards the end of 2015…

            Intel’s Broxton update to the ATOM for example is scheduled for then and will support LP-DDR4 RAM…

  6. I would buy this same Android tablet with 4GB RAM ASAP. Mainly because of the open source drivers and the Intel GPU. Hopefully one of these chinese companies will release one with 4GB.

  7. it will be outright success.

    it will make low cost server and automation controller.

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