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Prototype of Intel “Medfield” tablet surfaces running Android Honeycomb

by David Needle

December 29 2011

This prototype Android tablet is said to be powered by Intel's latest Medfield System on a Chip processor.
This prototype Android tablet is said to be powered by Intel's latest Medfield System on a Chip processor.

Chip giant Intel hopes to finally make some headway in the tablet space with its new System on a Chip (SoC) “Medfield” processor actively being pitched to mobile vendors.

A prototype 10.1-inch Android tablet running Intel’s latest mobile processor has apparently been acquired by the website Android Community. The site reports buying the developer prototype tablet from a tipster who “either didn’t know what they had or didn’t care” because the person only charged $50. 

Intel has been actively promoting the chip, codenamed Medfield, to mobile device makers who have generally favored processors licensed from ARM. But other than an appearance at the Intel Developers Forum and a recent demo for MIT’s Technology Review, neither Intel or its hardware partners are believed to have yet made Medfield devices available for review. 

An unsigned writeup at Android Community’s site had this to say about the prototype unit: 

“The build of the tablet is actually really great! It doesn’t feel cheap at all – it’s thin but it has a nice weight to it which doesn’t make it feel cheap. It has the power button on the left top of the tablet, with the volume rockers to the right of the power button, and the headphone jack is on the left side of the tablet. To the right of the table is the slot for microSD card and at the bottom of the tablet are three connections – one for the weird [presumably a typo meant to say wired] power, Micro-USB and a Mini-HDMI connection. The screen retains all the fingerprints so I’m guessing the glass doesn’t have its final finish, thats why it gets dirty so easily.”

Android Community also notes the tablet is running the 3.x Honeycomb version of Android, not the newer Ice Cream Sandwich release. Other reports suggest the Medfield dual-core processor runs at 1.6 GHz and features graphics performance better than the NVIDIA Tegra 2, and Qualcomm’s S3 1.5 GHz dual-core processors used in many current smartphones, but Medfield's performance will be better understood once review units are made available. 

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