With most of the tablets on the market still making use of the popular ARM Cortex A8 processor microarchitecture, it would seem like the A8 is safe from being rendered obsolete for at least another year. However, this does not mean that all OEMs are content with using the same technology as the competition: a Chinese OEM has just upped its game with a new tablet that sports the more recent ARM Cortex A9 processor.
If there is one thing that most tablet PCs on the market today have in common, it would have to be the humble ARM processor or System-on-a-Chip (SoC) which provides all the processing power needed for such a device to function. Despite how OEMs may claim to have their own SoC which works best on their tablet, it does not change the fact that most of these SoCs still feature processor cores based of ARM's Cortex A8 specifications.
However, it would seem that a humble Chinese OEM by the name of Heiner might have gained an early advantage in the battle to feature the most recent hardware in a mobile device. According to reports, Heiner is set to release a new tablet, the HaiPad M703, which will feature a CPU based off what ARM calls its current highest-performance processor series for the ARMv7 architecture: the ARM Cortex A9.
The seven-inch HaiPad M703's ARM Cortex A9 processing core is clocked at 800MHz and will be provided by AMLogic. In theory, this spec bump should see the M703 claiming top spot as the faster ever tablet produced by Heiner. Furthermore, various reports claim that the M703 will be available in two versions: one will feature resistive touchscreen technology, while the other will sport capacitive touchscreens instead.
Of course, a powerful processor is not the only thing consumers will look out for when it comes to selecting a tablet, and it would seem that Heiner understands this as well. Complementing the M703's AMLogic 8726-M processor are a dedicated Mali-400 GPU, 512MB of memory , 8GB of built-in Flash storage, at least one full-sized USB port and support for HDMI-out.
However, it would appear that Heiner decided to cut a few corners over the choice of OS to be bundled into the M703. Instead of hopping onto Honeycomb bandwagon like what many tablet OEMs are currently doing, the M703 will come bundled with Froyo instead. Not that it is a huge loss though, since Froyo does feature built-in support for Flash 10.1, along with various utilities such as USB tethering and WiFi hotspot.
Still, the real draw about the HaiPad M703 has to be its price. Apparently, Heiner is intending to sell the devices for the (very) low price of US$160, or US$180 if consumers prefer to go for the capacitive version. Unfortunately, it also appears that the M703 is not intended to be sold anywhere outside of China's domestic market. Well, China always gets the best toys, right?