Dell, Acer, and Asus bring new Atom chips to the Android tablet market

Back in September of last year, Intel announced the first SoCs based on its next-gen Silvermont architecture under the Bay Trail umbrella. Intended to compete with SoCs based on designs from competitor ARM, Bay Trail parts are targeted at tablets and convertibles that have to deliver good performance in tandem with frugal power consumption. We spent some time with Windows-based Bay Trail systems last year, and we found Intel's new silicon to be a major step up over the previous generation, known as Clover Trail.

Today, Acer and Asus have announced new 7" and 8" Android tablets that feature Bay Trail. Dell has also unveiled similar systems based on Bay Trail's smaller sibling, Merrifield, which features a PowerVR Series 6 IGP rather than Intel's own HD Graphics. Here are the highlights.

Dell's Venue 7 and 8 are both based on dual-core Merrifield parts (the Atom Z3460 and Z3480, respectively). The company claims that the HD displays on these tablets are bright enough for outdoor use. The company's press release doesn't mention screen resolutions, but PC World says the Venue 7 and 8 have 1280x800 and 1920x1200 resolutions, respectively. Both systems will ship with the latest Android release, version 4.4 KitKat. Dell has also released a range of complementary accessories, including a wireless keyboard case and a charging cradle. You'll be able to buy the Venue 7 and 8 on from Dell's website on July 1, with the Venue 7 starting at $159.99 and the Venue 8 ringing in at $199.99.

Acer's Iconia Tab 8 brings a quad-core Atom Z3745 to the party along with an 8", 1920x1200 IPS display. The tablet features a "Zero Air Gap" manufacturing method that reduces or eliminates the distance between the LCD and its protective glass. The Iconia Tab 8 will ship with Android 4.4 and is scheduled to hit stores in the third quarter of 2014.

Finally, Asus has announced no fewer than six Bay Trail-powered Android tablets. First up is the MeMO Pad series, which is coming out with 7", 1280x800 and 8", 1920x1200 displays. Both 7" and 8" variants have quad-core Bay Trail processors, Miracast support, and a variety of color options. If you need mobile voice and data, the FonePad 7 and 8 feature dual SIM slots for 3G cellular connectivity. Finally, the new Asus Transformer Pad lineup continues in the tradition of the company's convertible systems. All of these tablets will ship with Asus' own spin on Android 4.4, ZenUI.

We've got a MeMO Pad 7 sitting in our labs as we speak. Keep your eyes peeled for Cyril's thoughts on it.

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