The Xiaomi Mi Pad 2: Proof That You Want Intel-based Mobile Devices
I love it when I get to talk hardware at the Dark Android Project, and with this new tablet I’m going to talk about, I’ve been given another opportunity.
This one is a bit of a weird animal since you can buy it with either Android or Windows 10 installed. Yep, it’s an Intel-based device, so it unquestionably proves the point I’ve been making on this blog for some time: You can run other operating systems on Intel-based devices, and that means you have greater control of your device, and you have options, which are the very essence of freedom. Really, as much as I appreciate NVIDIA’s Tegra line and some of the other powerful processors that are getting developed, the freedom to run other operating systems that (largely) only Intel-based devices readily provide is just too appealing to pass up.
Enter Xiaomi. Xiaomi (pronounced “Shh-oww!-me) is a giant in it’s native geographic area known as China, and has only recently made any headway in the Colonies..err…the United States of America. They are one of the many (really, hundreds of) companies that make a multitude of devices every year that are ridiculously inexpensive but with very respectable hardware specs that you just never hear of in most other parts of the world. At the Dark Android Project, I usually don’t even mention a lot of these devices from overseas–not because they couldn’t do very well as a Dark Android device, quite the contrary as many of them already come with AOSP and no Google Play Store, which is perfect–but because I’d be listing them off for eternity, and they can be difficult to come by, and with the cost/time of shipping and all of that, it’s not really worth it to look into them, solid of devices as they may be.
But Xiaomi’s newest announced tablet, the Mi Pad 2, might be worth trying to get your hands on through eBay or some other means. Take a loot at the specifications first:All that for only $155 USD if you want the 16GB Android version, or $200 if you want the 64GB Windows 10 version (see what I mean about Intel-based mobile devices being able to run different operating systems out of the gate?). Other than the Mi Pad 2 only having 2GB of RAM being a little weak these days, that’s a steal. No, really, this device is worth you getting your hands on outside of China if you can. Because it’s not a bad looking device on the outside, either…And you can just load Ubuntu or some other Linux distro on it if you like, no need to stick with Windows 10 (which I recommend getting for the 64GB of onboard storage alone). I’ve received emails from followers of this blog and listeners of my tech show, Sovryn Tech, for recommending what they see as inferior Intel processors when suggesting which mobile devices to buy. But, again, the ability to more easily put on alternative operating systems–and get access to even great encryption and anonymity tools–on to $200 devices that are so ridiculously portable and innocuous is just too good to pass up. But hey, if you’re more into ARM-powered devices, that’s fine, I’m not here to judge, just to recommend.
Right now is a bit of rare moment in mobile hardware, in my opinion, because I think Intel is so ravenous to get into the mobile space (and to their thinking, give them more longevity and profit) that they are really opening up their firmware on the chipsets, and they are likely selling those chipsets to companies like Xiaomi and ASUS and others for an insanely low price just to get the Intel brand out there…thus we the consumers win with powerful devices at excellent prices (you wouldn’t believe the price I got my ASUS Zenfone 2 for). I’m reminded of the mid-2000’s when AMD was pushing their new Athlon64 processors (Intel was the leader at the time, and was still only offering 32-bit processors compared to AMD’s 64-bit ones), and they were selling these insanely powerful processors for a song. People were building gaming machines for practically nothing, and everyone was having such a good time that AMD was–for a few years–the #1 processor manufacturer in the world. Again, everybody was winning because of the rare moment in hardware that AMD was able to capture. And ironically right now, as I said, Intel is in the same position as AMD was. And everybody can win.
Especially since you can create a DAPS-enabled device with the Xiaomi Mi Pad 2…that everyone else will just think is some random Android tablet.