Although many of us have been connected to the web in various forms for years, there are many people around the globe that have no internet access or the hardware to access it on, let alone the means to purchase a device as some of them can be pretty costly. Imagination Technologies is a company that sees the opportunity to provide people in emerging markets with mobile devices so they can connect up to the internet and enjoy everything it has to offer. Part of how they’re setting things in motion involves using low cost hardware like the MIPS CPU’s and PowerVR GPU’s used in this reference design tablet put together by Ingenic that is displayed running the Firefox OS.
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The video put up by Imagination shows off the tablet running Firefox OS to display how low-cost hardware can operate with newer software. Although the tablet in the video is running on Mozilla’s mobile operating system, Imagination states that the tablet is capable of running on Android as well and that it can run up to Android 4.4 Kit Kat. The demonstration shows things running rather jittery, as you can notice the lag in between response time and touch interaction, but as this is a reference design and the version of Firefox OS running on this tablet is experimental, there is likely some tweaking and fine tuning to be done here before things would run more smoothly.
The basic idea of a tablet like this isn’t to display raw power and the best of the best hardware, rather that it’s possible to create something of relatively low cost to a consumer (Imagination mentions tablets based on these reference designs could end up costing below $100) that is capable of using the web while also harboring the latest technologies. The MIPS-based tablet is sporting a 9.7-inch screen with a resolution of 1024 x 768, and it’s powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core MIPS32-based Ingenic JZ4780 processor, accompanied by a PowerVR SGX540 GPU to handle the graphics processing. Other features include Bluetooth 4.0, micro USB and mini HDMI ports, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, with front and rear cameras albeit without mention of quality, although it is mentioned that the camera is capable of 1080P HD video recording.