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Intel 'reference' based tablets promise Nexus-fast Android updates, but would you buy one?

Intel continues to slowly push forward its "Intel Reference Device for Android" program, promising super quick updates for devices based on Intel's reference specs. But would you be willing to ditch a more traditional ARM-based tablet in favor of faster updates?

Published onApril 9, 2015

Back in September, we first learned of the Intel Reference Design for Android program, which aimed to create a set of standardized components, centered around an Intel Atom processor, which OEMs could apply to their own tablets and smartphones. The idea was that having set, compatible specs would make it easier than ever to rollout Android updates, with Intel promising that IRDA devices would get new Android updates in as little as two weeks after Google released the code to developers.

Devices based on Intel's IRDA program will get new Android updates in as little as two weeks after Google released the code to developers.

Fast-forwarding to today, only two devices (that we’re aware of at least) are built on the IRDA platform. First, there’s the German-based TrekStor xintron i 7.0. And more recently, there’s a 7-inch tablet from a Philippine company called Cloudfone. While that’s certainly a modest start, Intel promises that many other OEMs are working on IRDA-based tablets such as smaller players like ECS, ChipHD, and Malata. Unfortunately, none of the bigger OEMs have signed up just yet. Of course, this could change.

Lenovo and Dell are just two well known brands that tend to favor Intel chips for their tablets. If either of these brands jump onboard the IRDA program, this could be a big win for Intel while also giving Lenovo or Dell the advantage of lightening quick updates. The big question though is whether consumers would be willing to embrace x86 processors from Intel, even if Intel is able to make good on its promise of super fast Android updates. After all, ARM processors have a more established rep in the Android world, and while Intel processors actually play relatively nice with Android these days, compatibility issues can still sometimes arise for certain apps.

So how about it, if Google and Intel could deliver 2 to 3 week update turn-arounds for Intel-based tablets — would you pick one up? Or would you rather stick to ARM, even if odds are you won’t get nearly as quick of updates unless you go the Nexus route?

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