|The Hisense Sero 7 Lite – is the sky falling?Hisense has recently released a new $99 tablet to the US in an exclusive deal with Walmart. Is this device a game changer? On its own, probably not. But when coupled with the Hisense Sero Pro (at $149), it certainly may herald maturity in the tablet market as we know it.Frankly, based on specifications and some (limited) user testing, we can’t honestly find a compelling reason to recommend buying any other 7″ Android tablet at list price that is currently sitting on a store shelf. The Sero 7 Lite is a darn sight better than the other sub-$100 tablets we have tested, and the Sero 7 Pro seems to be on par with all the more premium devices.With the next generation Snapdragon 800 and Tegra 4 tablets soon to come, and Intel and AMD-based hybrids starting to hit the streets, the higher end is certainly not dead. But the tablet as we have known it over the last 18 months seems to have a new price point that the market will expect. We expect that retailers will need to start having fire sales to help clear the shelves.|
|CompromisesWe’re tearing down the $99 version here, and to avoid the flame war from the owners of a Google Nexus 7 or an Asus MeMO, let’s be up front when we look at this device. Most of it falls into the “good enough” category for most people:
But enough about specifications. Let’s see what is inside one of the best sub-$100 tablets on the market today.
|The PCBThe device has a simple one-sided board with the applications processor located separately from the memory (i.e., not a package-on-package configuration). Major silicon courtesy of:
|Other devicesHere is where we see a departure from the more mainstream tablets. Some of the design wins don’t fall into the “usual suspects” category:
High resolution versions of these images are available in the Chipworks Report Store, just click the links above.
|Image sensorThe Chinese company Galaxycore, with die markings GC0308, wins here.|
|The bottom lineAt $99, this tablet has to have an electronics margin built into it. Based on the silicon cataloged, we estimate the build cost to be under $50. So perhaps there is a profitable bottom end that provides a good user experience after all. And according to Gartner, with tablet shipments expected to grow by almost 70% in 2013, that is 197 million units worldwide to profit from.|