As Cheap as Chips!

One of the main hardware specifications most of us look at when buying a new tablet or comparing the latest and greatest is the speed of the CPU.

Last year most Android tablets and even the Apple iPad used a single core CPU with the only real differences being who made them and at what speed they run at.

This year however has seen the introduction of Android 3.0 which requires the use of a Dual-core chip. Even if Google hadn’t added this hardware limitation to its new OS we would likely have seen tablet makers adopt dual-core units if only to keep up with Apple’s iPad.

What we wondered though is how much of a price difference do these dual-core CPU’s make when manufacteres spec them? And do they really make that much of a difference to the pricing of tablets once they hit the shelves?

The answer, unfortunately, is not good news!

To give you an idea on price an 800mhz CPU based on a single core AM Logic chip costs as little as $6, this is one of the chips you would likely see in cheap Chinese branded tablets.

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If you wanted something made buy a bigger company that can deliver better video and graphics performance you might look at Rockships RK218 single core unit with between 800mhz-1Ghz clock speed. For one of those in your Android tablet you can expect to pay around $10 for a CPU.

Ok what if we wanted to make an iPad eating tablet with a 1.2Ghz dual-core CPU? A Nvidia Tegra 2 chip for example? Well that would cost closer to $40! And that’s a chip that has been around for months!

If we start looking at the CPU’s we’re seeing in the Xoom, or LG’s tablets we might be looking at closer to $60!

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We were hoping that we might see some sub $300 Android 3.0 tablets hit the shelves within the next few months, but now we know what the factories are faced with, building a competitively priced tablet with the latest Android hardware, we’ll have to settle for cheap Honeycomb units if or when they finally arrive!

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