Many believe that the motivation behind Microsoft’s Surface line of tablet PCs is to inspire OEMs to make similar, competitive products. This was especially a relevant point in the early days of Windows 8 when manufacturers were still focused on laptops with the slate form-factor primarily embraced by RT products. While inspiration may be the main ingredient, it’s questionable just how enamored Redmond will be at the sight of Jide’s Ultra Remix tablet. The bigger cause of concern? Hard to guess: the design itself or the fact it’s running Android.
This curious creation is the brainchild of a trio of former senior engineers at Google: Jeremy Zhou, David Ko, and Ben Luk. They, along with a team comprised of former staff at Sony, Baidu, Amazon, and even Microsoft itself (among others). The Remix appears to be little more than a geek’s fantasy of running Android on a Surface, but the hardware doesn’t disappoint either. In addition to the kickstand (which can be positioned at either 40 or 80 degrees), it also has an 11.6 inch, 1920X1080 screen and a 1.8 GHz Nvidia Tegra 4 on-board. Add to this 2GB of RAM, 16GB or 64GB of on-board storage, a pair of 5 megapixel front/rear cameras and dual-band Wi-Fi (a/b/g/n). It is only 860 grams and sports an nice 8100 mAh power cell. And let’s not forget the pre-requsite magnetic keyboard (replete with touch pad) and magnetic charging port.
Running on this familiar-looking piece of kit is a variant of Android 4.4.2 called Remix OS. The mobile software platform makes use of a taskbar to facilitate multi-tasking (just like Windows), which interestingly seems to have chosen Lollipop’s system navigation buttons. The OS also allows for apps to be ran in a phone-sized state thus avoiding the stretched out form factor that typically occurs when running them on an optimized screen resolution/size. And, just like Windows, you can have multiple… windows open. Given the similarities, it actually would be most-fitting should Jide work in a licensing agreement with Microsoft to have Office for Android pre-installed.
When the Jide Ultra Remix tablet hits China it should retail for around $349 (16 GB) and $449 (64GB) and be offered in a variety of color options. A US/UK release is expected in Q2 or Q3. Suffice to say, it does look nice and provided it has decent build quality, could actually present a challenge not only to Chromebooks, but to larger Android tablets that offer bigger screens yet the same basic Android interface present on all non-forked devices.