Should you buy and give the $99 MIPS-Ingenic Ainol NOVO Basic 7 tablet to your mother, NO! Could you give it to a teenage gamer, yes, if they could live with the lack of applications. Would you give it to an employee at say a restaurant to use with a POS (point of sale) application like Viewtouch
? Gene Mosher, Viewtouch’s president, said a $99 tablet will pay for itself in just over a month with less work for the wait staff.
Jay Lemmons from Technology at Work
said: "Don’t get buried in some manufacturers proprietary technology be that hardware, software, networking, or broadband and wireless transport. Keep focused on your goals of providing quality services to your clients. Always work towards shifting your projects over to commodity priced products or open source products. That way you can remain competitive with the big guys."
The $99 tablet is a commodity item. No longer must a tablet be a capital expenditure item on a yearly budget. This is the beginning of a sea-change in the vertical market world. Those proprietary tablets have been in the $700 to $1,500 range. Often they come with a specialty OS (operating system) which is only supported by a very few developers.
Nielsen’s chart (shown above) on social networks shows the age groups for high use. If you are hiring an entry level person, they will more than likely fit into the 18 to 24 age bracket. Which makes up over 25 percent of the target market for entry level employees. That means most of those people know a lot about computers, much more than the previous generation of 25 years ago. Thus, handing them an inexpensive tablet as a tool is probably a good decision.
Amit Rohatgi, MIPS chief mobile engineer, at MWC 2012 gave EETimes an overview of their future offerings.
The $99 tablet has been with BSN and other users for a full month. Nothing broke. Yes, it is not comparable to a $300 tablet. However, add the BOM (bill of materials) cost for items like a Pixel Qi outdoor screen, a more rugged case, and 3G/4G capabilities. The latter should be no problem based on the MWC 2012 announcements from the MIPS partners.
Yes, this author thinks MIPS could be a disruptive third IP option in the small form factor platforms. Also MIPS is less expensive for an OEM/ODM to get started with. An ARM IP license is rumored to cost more than $10 million. Plus there are royalties that licensees pay for each device. MIPS won't say precisely what it charges for its licenses, but it is rumored that MIPS' average deal size is between $800,000 and $900,000. "Price may be no object, but it's always a consideration," says Will Strauss, president of chip tracker Forward Concepts.
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