Lenovo brings 64-bit Android to $129 tablet

Lenovo's 8-inch Tab 2 A8 will start at $129, and come with Android 5.0 and 64-bit MediaTek processor

Lenovo Tab 2 A8 Android tablet (1)

Lenovo Tab 2 A8 Android tablet (1)

Tablets running 64-bit Android haven't been out for long but prices are already set to fall fast.

Lenovo's 8-inch Tab 2 A8 will ship in June starting at $129, with a 64-bit version of Android 5.0 and a 64-bit quad-core processor from MediaTek. It was one of three tablets Lenovo announced ahead of the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona.

Sixty-four-bit tablets have a few advantages. They can support more memory and therefore make light work of multimedia-intensive apps such as games, as well as apps that use encryption for security. More 64-bit Android apps are in development, so a 64-bit tablet also provides some future-proofing.

Only a handful of 64-bit Android tablets are on sale today. One of the best known is Google's Nexus 9, which sells for $399.99 in the Google Play store. Many more are expected as vendors deploy Android 5.0 more broadly and as more 64-bit processors become available. Lenovo's Tab 2 A8 could prompt other vendors to drive down prices for their own 64-bit Android tablets.

The Tab 2 A8 is 9 millimeters thick, weighs 360 grams and will offer eight hours of battery life, according to Lenovo. The $129 model has Wi-Fi only, while a $179 model will have integrated LTE. It doesn't look like the LTE model will be offered in the U.S., however.

The tablet has a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera and 1GB of RAM. It has a maximum of 16GB of storage that can be expanded to 32GB with a Micro-SD card.

With a 720p screen, Lenovo has compromised on the display to keep the price low.

Tablet shipments flattened last year after years of strong growth, and the 64-bit Android tablets could spur people to upgrade from older models.

Apple had an early start in 64-bit tablets with the iPad Air, but the low-priced tablets could shift the market in Android's favor.

Lenovo also announced the 10-inch Tab 2 A10, which has a 64-bit processor but will initially ship with a 32-bit version of Android, version 4.4. The tablet will start shipping in April and users will be able to upgrade their devices to Android 5.0 in June, Lenovo said.

The Tab 2 A10 will be priced at $199 with Wi-Fi and $279 with LTE -- though again, the LTE option does not appear to be available in the U.S. The prices are still pretty good considering the features. The A10 will have a full HD screen, 16GB of storage, an 8-megapixel rear camera, a 5-megapixel front camera and built-in Dolby Atmos speakers. It weighs 509 grams and offers 10 hours of battery life.

For Windows fans, Lenovo announced the IdeaPad Miix 300 tablet with Windows 8.1. Priced from $149, it's an entry-level tablet and will start shipping in July. It has an 8-inch screen and is intended mainly for web surfing and basic productivity applications. It weighs 360 grams and will provide around seven hours of battery life. Key features include up to 64GB of storage, 2GB of RAM, two cameras and Wi-Fi.

The Miix 300 will compete with other low-cost Windows tablets, like HP's Stream 8, which sells for $179.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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Agam Shah

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