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Freescale Unveils Design For $199 Tablet

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the replacement-for-crayons dept.

Portables 173

theodp writes "Freescale Semiconductor has designs on new smartbook tablet computers, and to prove it, it's rolling out a second-generation reference design at the Consumer Electronics Show. For under $200, Freescale envisions an instant-on device with persistent connectivity and all-day battery life with the following additional features: 7" (1024 x 600) touch screen, Freescale i.MX515 processor (based on ARM Cortex-A8 core), 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, 3G modem (optional), 512 MB DDR2 memory, 4GB to 64GB internal storage, removable micro SD, 3 Mpixel camera (video up to VGA 30fps), 3-axis accelerometer, ambient light sensor, Adobe Flash support, Android or Linux OS."

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all-day battery life (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643470)

How freaking big will the battery be? If I leave the radio and wifi on on my Nook it needs a recharge at the end of the day, and that's with little use of the color screen.

Re: all-day battery life (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30643596)

I refill my girlfriends nook on a nightly basis. Unless she's on the rag (aka anal sex week)

Failed troll (0, Troll)

killmenow (184444) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643716)

You forgot the simplest rule and outed yourself as a troll the moment you wrote "my girlfriend".

Re:Failed troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30644490)

I don't think he's a troll. In fact, it's pretty funny.

Re: all-day battery life (0, Offtopic)

andrewa (18630) | more than 4 years ago | (#30645326)

I refill my girlfriends nook on a nightly basis. Unless she's on the rag (aka anal sex week)

So, is her arse known as the "cranny"?

Re: all-day battery life (1)

msclrhd (1211086) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644876)

You do know that an ARM processor consumes less power than an Intel Atom processor, and thus increases battery life. In addition to that, the Pixel Qi LCD technology with an ARM processor can give 15-20 hours or more worth of battery life [1] (Pixel Qi uses 1/2 to 1/4 of the power that standard LCD screens use [2]).

[1] http://www.pcworld.com/article/154541/jepsen_works_to_raise_laptop_battery_life_to_2040_hours.html [pcworld.com]
[2] http://www.pixelqi.com/ [pixelqi.com]

Re: all-day battery life (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30645546)

Not to mention the fact that "All Day" may not mean 24 hrs, but the 8-10 hours or so of a typical work day.

Re: all-day battery life (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#30645210)

Probably about double or triple the size of an iPhone's battery. I fully expect this to be a glorified 10" ipod touch/iphone running the same/a variant of the iPhone OS. They don't use a whole lot of power in standby mode.

That kills the google welfarebook (1, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643476)

And that's a good thing. Google's "netbook" was going to be too locked-down. Not able to install any software locally, not able to run anything not approved by and signed by google, and any attempt to change it resulting in the welfarebook re-imaging itself.

Re:That kills the google welfarebook (3, Insightful)

Jenming (37265) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643976)

Google's netbook is not going to require applications to be approved or signed by Google. The apps just need to run through your browser and come in from a remote server. This hardly the same thing. Furthermore its open source and if you really want to run local software you can make that happen.

Re:That kills the google welfarebook (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644138)

[Chrome OS] apps just need to run through your browser and come in from a remote server.

Chrome OS will also support installing JavaScript apps to local storage through HTML 5's offline features. But does it run WebGL? And does it allow changing playback rate and volume of audio?

Re:That kills the google welfarebook (2, Interesting)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644312)

There's a good chance it will run full-fledged Java apps running on the Dalvik virtual machines. There's no reason to worry about its flexibility before you can even buy a machine that runs it.

Re:That kills the google welfarebook (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644944)

And that's a good thing.

I'll say.

Where do I go to order one of these beauties right now? I wish Freescale the best with this product. It looks exactly like what I've been waiting for.

Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643544)

How do you do data entry, even touch screen, if you need both hands to hold it? If I want to put a computer on my lap, I'll buy a laptop. If I want a PDA, I'll use a PDA. A 2-handed PDA sucks.

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (1)

dcmoebius (1527443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643640)

If you read the article, one of the images shows a keyboard dock. While the caption indicates that this is an "alternative" design, it still shows that convenient input is being considered

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (4, Informative)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644140)

$200 for the unit with the least amount of storage.
$45 for the keyboard dock.
$35 for their keyboard (the only one that will fit)
$15 for a pack of 3 styluses (doesn't come with one because it's "designed for finger use" even though finger use is shit on it and nastifies the screen).
$35 for the carrying bag which doesn't hold the keyboard dock or keyboard.
$30 for a little travel mouse

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (3, Funny)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644370)


Uh, it's not made by Apple, you know.

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30644694)

Uh, it's not made by Apple, you know.

I LOL'ed!

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (2, Funny)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30645590)

That's why he said $35 for the keyboard instead of $99

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (1)

msclrhd (1211086) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644950)

Additional storage: $30
Manufacturer supporting Linux by design: Priceless

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (1)

c (8461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30645584)

> $200 for the unit with the least amount of storage.
> ...
> $30 for a little travel mouse

Where's the "Priceless" punchline?

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (4, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643642)

So hows that job going?

You know, the one where you are the perfect proxy for the entire consumer market.

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (3, Informative)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643652)

How do you do data entry, even touch screen, if you need both hands to hold it? If I want to put a computer on my lap, I'll buy a laptop. If I want a PDA, I'll use a PDA. A 2-handed PDA sucks.

You've never written on a clipboard? You hold it with one hand and write with the other.

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644960)

Clipboards are a -lot- lighter than tablets. I know, because I own both and have tried writing with a tablet held in 1 arm and writing with the other. It isn't as easy as one would hope, and precision is about impossible.

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30643660)

It's not a PDA, it's a portable media device. I guess everyone will have to go without a device type because *you* cannot see a use for it?

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (2, Informative)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643664)

They have a dockable Keyboard to turn it into a netbook, practically.

As for touch screen, all you need is a spot to mount it on your dashboard to use it like a GPS.

It's not the worlds most amazing product, especially since its a mere $200, but the applications are there, you just aren't looking hard enough.

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643920)

What, other than a larger screen, does this bring that isn't already covered by a premium smartphone? Granted, a smartphone without a contract will cost quite a bit more, but with a contract the Motorola droid is $199 and can do pretty much everything I imagine this device doing with very similar specs, all while being small enough to fit in your pocket.

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644184)

A premium smart phone is a highly flawed implementation of this idea at best.

The whole phone form factor thing doesn't work out so well with the "premium"
bits yielding a larger and more awkward phone while the "phone" form factor
greatly limits things like storage and screen real estate.

The only thing that a "premium smartphone" has going for it is the fact that it
happens to be there in your pocket.

Beyond that, pretty much anything it does can be done better by a more specialized device.

It kinda sucks that my phone based web browser is trapped inside of my phone.

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30645186)

What, other than a larger screen, does this bring that isn't already covered by a premium smartphone? Granted, a smartphone without a contract will cost quite a bit more

Those are exactly the reasons this will have a niche market. Larger screen, no contract, same as a smartphone.

Velcro (2, Funny)

JoshDD (1713044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643834)

Put velcro straps on it strap it to your left forearm and type with your right hand. And it would even give big dumb jock yet another excuse to beat up nerds.

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (2, Insightful)

mmell (832646) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643858)

So lemme get this straight - you've never used, say, a clipboard, right? Or are you generally just not a fan of the tablet PC form-factor? Incidentally, tablet PC's aren't generally a first choice for data-entry tasks - typing on an on-screen keyboard is generally a painful exercise at best and considerably slower than typing on a decent keyboard in any event. Tablets are designed as a highly portable data presentation device - using handwriting recognition software, they make a decent data capture device (e.g., handwritten notes) - but for data entry, get yourself a clerk and a desktop PC with a good keyboard. The right tool for the right job.

This thing looks exactly like what I've been looking for, except for the "auto-on" bit (which I take to mean OS in firmware). If there's a mechanism for me to flash my own OS, I'm a happy man (see: SheevaPlug). If it's in EEPROM, fine. If OTOH it's in ROM, well - I don't care if they DO let me add software to a local hard drive, I'll wait for the next guy's offering. The hardware is a really good match to what I want, and I'll handle my own software.

Are you Vanna White? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644226)

Tablets are designed as a highly portable data presentation device - using handwriting recognition software, they make a decent data capture device (e.g., handwritten notes) - but for data entry, get yourself a clerk and a desktop PC with a good keyboard.

And now you see why tablets have remained a very niche market - because there are only a handful of people who need a tool that excels at "data presentation" over input. The only group of people for whom such a tablet is optimized for input are artists, more specifically people that draw.

That's why I think any successful "tablet" will also come with some kind of keyboard option or attachment. In small devices virtual keyboards are useful because they reduce space, but in something the size of a sheet of paper versatility and ease of data entry is much more important. So you really need a combination of stylus, finger-based multitouch, and real physical keyboard are all important. Basically more an evolution of the laptop to handle more forms of input by default, than a pure touch-only input form.

Re:Are you Vanna White? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30645092)

...The only group of people for whom such a tablet is optimized for input are artists, more specifically people that draw....

Don't forget students. Using a tablet PC is excellent. I take all my notes on my tablet. My notes are much better when I have 'paper' that expands in all directions, can move segments of notes around, and easily switch between any color. I don't use hand writing recognition software as I can read my own handwriting.

I store all my notes from each class in its own file. These are easier to manage compared to binders of physical pages.

With all my notes in the tablet PC, I download and store all the text books too. Carrying a tablet PC around instead of a bunch of folders and books is great. No risk of forgetting a book or assignment at home and the total weight and size is much, much less.

To all those who will be entering college this year and take hand written notes, I strongly recommend getting some type of table PC for school.

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (1)

xpuppykickerx (1290760) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644022)

Sounds like you've never used anything too big for one hand.

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644254)

If you need two hands to hold it, you shouldn't be here on Slashdot. Most guys here seem to be perfectly capable of using just one hand to hold it. Many probably dream of a 2-handed PDA that sucks too.

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (1)

jimbobborg (128330) | more than 4 years ago | (#30645068)

Funny way to describe a girlfriend.

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30645428)

It would be a funny way to describe a girlfriend. Most guys here don't have girlfriends and are holding something else with one hand. Sorry for not clarifying that.

Re:Too big for 1 hand, so how do you type (1)

eav (701231) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644968)

How do you do data entry, even touch screen, if you need both hands to hold it? If I want to put a computer on my lap, I'll buy a laptop. If I want a PDA, I'll use a PDA. A 2-handed PDA sucks.

Does not seem to be made for data entry. I otherwise don't see holding it with one hand as a problem. I mean, just to test it out I picked up my 13" laptop and closed its easily holdable with one hand. Input with one hand should be easy. Whats bad is how ugly the samples they show are.

"Envisions" (4, Insightful)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643566)

I envision all of that, too. But I think I'm about as close to releasing that product as Freescale is.

But my vision also includes tomato bacon pizza, so maybe my local pizzeria is actually the closest.

Re:"Envisions" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30644264)

But my vision also includes tomato bacon pizza, so maybe my local pizzeria is actually the closest.

They only count if they deliver.

Re:"Envisions" (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644640)

They are the purveyors of joy and have thus far been more reliable in delivering their hot juicy goodness than the USPS. Thank God for Inferno Pizzeria.

Re:"Envisions" (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644980)

You expect USPS to deliver 'hot juicy goodness'? This isn't 1950! (And I doubt you're a lonely housewife!)

Always Innovating Touchbook (2, Interesting)

compass46 (259596) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643582)

I remember reading about this about a year ago. Does anyone actually have one? Similar idea with a bigger screen but a little more expensive.

http://www.alwaysinnovating.com/touchbook/ [alwaysinnovating.com]

Re:Always Innovating Touchbook (1)

Neil Hodges (960909) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643622)

I have one. I have fat fingers, so the physical keyboard is still a better choice for general typing. For non-typing GUI work, the touch screen works quite well.

Re:Always Innovating Touchbook (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643806)

I've been looking into this as well as the Pandora http://www.open-pandora.org/. Do you know if the touch book has regular orders shipping yet? Or is it still: pay and wait for the next batch of parts to be ordered, assembled and shipped? If I can can order one and have it en route before the end of the week, I would buy one in a heartbeat.

Re:Always Innovating Touchbook (1)

Neil Hodges (960909) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644306)

I honestly have no idea. It took something like three or four months for me to get mine.

Re:Always Innovating Touchbook (2, Interesting)

compass46 (259596) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644758)

Sweet, I've been mostly looking for a glorified PDF reader and toy to hack around with. The Touchbook looks pretty versatile as something to hack around with.

Re:Always Innovating Touchbook (1)

haruchai (17472) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644262)

Thanks. I stumbled onto this last year and forgot to bookmark it. It's certainly attractive but the SD card only option is
a downer - why not an SSD? Also, they're being quite coy about the amount of installed RAM - which isn't upgradeable.

Re:Always Innovating Touchbook (1)

Neil Hodges (960909) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644740)

Considering the amount of space in the case (I've opened it up), an SSD wouldn't really fit so easily, and would increase the price. I popped a 32 GB SDHC card in it for something like $70.

Re:Always Innovating Touchbook (1)

mtemmerm (1604279) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644974)

Ordered mine in September and it should be on it's way any day now!

What about the A9? (4, Interesting)

roe-roe (930889) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643680)

I have been waiting, as patiently as I can, for ARM based netbooks with the A9 chip. The ARM integrators have a window of opportunity to effect the netbook/smartbook market significantly. The current Intel Atom offerings are, IMHO, not very good. The licenced Cortex-A9 chip can compete with the Atom processor on a purely performance basis, and blow the pants off of the atom processor on a performance/power ratio. By delaying, Intel is slowly closing the power and performance gaps with new generation Atom processors. Once Intel gets close enough, the ability for ARM based machines to impact the market will be gone.

I fully understand that it takes time to bring the A9 to market, and a chip that can't run windows (I'm not including WinCE) has little appeal in the broader market. On the other hand, if integrators are going to put time and money behind new ARM products why use the A8? I long for when I can get my 2ghz dual-core ARM netbook with a 10" screen and all the connectivity I can think of.

stealing Apple's thunder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30643698)

Sounds good and will surely be 5x cheaper than the supposed iSlate.

Re:stealing Apple's thunder (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30645066)

iSlate is probably well under $1k and also a real shipping product (or it will be soon).

Re:stealing Apple's thunder (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30645712)

Don't know what you're referring to, but he means the device made by Apple. They charge by the ounce, you know...

Wow (5, Insightful)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643770)

The 'netbooks' are shrinking on the low end to compete with smartphones and growing on the high end to compete with laptops. This is real competition at work : there's going to be a computing device ranging from pocket sized all the way up to a desktop with 30" screens.

The interesting bit is that all of these computing devices tend to be all-in one type machines that can take pictures and video, make calls, browse the web, play music, play games, GPS navigate, etc. More specialized devices that only play music (ipod) or GPS navigate (tom tom) or display email (blackberry) or let you write down notes (newton) or take pictures (compact digital camera) are rapidly becoming obsolete.

Every one of these devices, from the smart phone up to the monster desktop, is able to do it all.

On the bad side, the cell phone companies have a stranglehold on the wireless data these devices all need to function. Not only is there clear collusion and oligopoly pricing, but the companies tend to price things based upon arbitrary metrics rather than actual cost. If there was actual free market competition in the wireless industry, text messages would be almost free and downloading video data would cost a fortune. Yet you can get an unlimited data plan for $40-$70 while texting costs at least $20 for unlimited.

Re:Wow (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643878)

I blame the huge numbers of people that pay for mere convenience (even though it the prices aren't very attractive) rather than spiting the companies and limiting themselves to the service that they truly need (such spite would likely translate into more attractive pricing).

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30644036)

I blame the huge numbers of people that pay for mere convenience (even though it the prices aren't very attractive) rather than spiting the companies and limiting themselves to the service that they truly need (such spite would likely translate into more attractive pricing).

Blame? The fact that you're not willing to pay for convenience simply indicates that you value your time more cheaply than many others. My own view is that money comes and goes but time is irreplaceable.

Re:Wow (2, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644046)

Every one of these devices, from the smart phone up to the monster desktop, is able to do it all....

... very poorly. In fact, just barely well enough to not get class action lawsuits, usually, which is not exactly glowing praise.

Possibly the lowest res worst quality digital cameras ever made on cellphones, complete with greasy lenses dusty sensors and dim slow sensitivity. Viewing the web thru a screen the size of a postage stamp, even webtv was better. Non-apple music player user interfaces that make you wish for the good old days of the 1997 Diamond Rio, but thankfully the phone battery will die in an hour or two so you won't have to suffer long. GPS navigators that work great on any trip shorter than two hours (after which the device overheats and/or the battery dies). Games released for phones in 2009 that would make a Vic-20 user cringe at the poor graphics. Email reader with all the features of "elm" from 1991, albeit with a nice slow GUI.

Or you can get something like an iphone, which does most of that, sort of well, but costs about $3000 over about two years, some upfront, plus hefty monthly fees, soon bandwidth charges will make that even higher if you make the mistake of actually using it.

If over a hundred bucks a month won't do it, I guess a perfect machine would cost at least two or three hundred a month. I can get a nice car for that.

Re:Wow (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 4 years ago | (#30645114)

Most of the reason for this is that good software costs a LOT more to develop than hardware design. Hence the success of Apple (they put hundreds of millions into their software environment, and they started with a dev team of accomplished programmers who had worked on previous projects for Apple) and the growing success of Google Android. (while the Android isn't as good as the Apple product, it's a darn sight better than the chintzy products before it)

Re:Wow (1)

svtdragon (917476) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644348)

Somehow I think a GPS-enabled desktop misses the point of both GPS (mobility) and a desktop (stationary power).

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30644866)

That's funny, I'm sitting about 2 feet from a GPS enabled desktop (via mappoint running in a virtual machine on top of Ubuntu) mounted in the rear of my car that gets used all day every day on my long-distance travels. And before you think, "He's doing it wrong", I assure you, I've tried everything from garmin's to netbooks to laptops, to cellphones and everything in between. Believe me, I'm finally doing it right.

Two points (4, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643776)

1) Reference design != product
2) Cost of $199 is based on Freescale's projected cost of components, meaning actual cost to consumers would be higher (probably closer to the rumored $300 iSlate price)
However, if you add a tie-in to a decent eBook/mp3/video vendor, this device could have a decent niche market. In fact, it could adopt the cellphone business model and be given away for "free" with a commitment to a monthly subscription fee. Would you pay $20/month for two years for this if it included content?

Re:Two points (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644382)

You know, you mentioning that reminded me that in the 90s, some ISPs actually did try to copy the cell phone model and give away an entire computer 'free' along with the price of a monthly subscription. It must not have worked too well because they stopped doing it shortly thereafter. It would be interesting to look at that and see why the 'free'/subscription model worked with cell phones but not with computers.

Re:Two points (1)

rusl (1255318) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644574)

I'll venture to guess because cell-phones are easy to lock people into due to their proprietary locked down hardware vs. a full/portable computer is as free as the intelligence of the consumer so it's very easy to take the hardware and then dump the bad deal (overpriced bandwidth charge to account for the freebies)

Basically I think it is most honest and works best if you just pay for what you get directly instead of having "free."

Re:Two points (1)

spinkham (56603) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644756)

No real research here, bu my conjecture is that we're used to freedom on PCs, but when it comes to cellphones, we've never known differently, so we just take what we can get.

Re:Two points (1)

citizenr (871508) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644432)

1) Reference design != product 2) Cost of $199 is based on Freescale's projected cost of components, meaning actual cost to consumers would be higher (probably closer to the rumored $300 iSlate price)

chumby one $119.95
https://store.chumby.com/ [chumby.com] most of the specs are the same (minus screen of course)

Re:Two points (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30644596)

(probably closer to the rumored $300 iSlate price)

Errr, not sure what rumors you've been hearing, but everything I've heard lately (past 5 or 6 months) has pegged the iSlate in the $600-1000 range.

7 days (1)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643810)

By my prediction, that is how long it is going to take for OLPC to take credit for this.

Just a little Nit (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643818)

..."Adobe Flash support, Android or Linux OS."

Isn't Android just a mobile distribution of Linux?

Re:Just a little Nit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30643856)

No. It's a very specific platform built on top of Linux. You aren't, for example, going to be writing Gtk or Qt apps for Android any time soon.

Re:Just a little Nit (3, Informative)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643888)

Isn't Android just a mobile distribution of Linux?

No.

What is Android?
Android is a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications. The Android SDK provides the tools and APIs necessary to begin developing applications on the Android platform using the Java programming language.

http://developer.android.com/guide/basics/what-is-android.html

Re:Just a little Nit (2, Insightful)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644818)

So...it isn't a distribution of Linux like "Cloud Computing" isn't a fancy term for client/server or thin client computing...Gotcha!

Re:Just a little Nit (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643906)

It is based on a mobile distribution of linux, but it is also a java like language and a set of APIs.

It is probably better to say that it is implemented on top of a linux kernel.

Re:Just a little Nit (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644858)

Linux is just a Kernel, not an OS. Android is an OS with a Linux kernel.

Some Questions (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643894)

1024 by 600? Why not 1024 by 768?

can i install unbuntu/kubuntu on it?

64 gBit? where? how much?

Where can I buy one so I can get my trembling fingers on it?

Re:Some Questions (2, Informative)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644054)

1024 by 600? Why not 1024 by 768?

Form factor? Looking at the pictures on the page linked to increasing the screen depth would mean widening the unit (unless you mean you want a higher res but with oblong pixels). Also widescreen format displays are probably cheaper on account of being mass produced for the current netbook market.

can i install unbuntu/kubuntu on it?

The summary does say "Android or Linux" so almost certainly yes, hardware support permitting.

Re:Some Questions (2, Informative)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644068)

1024x600 is the standard "widescreen" resolution for 10" netbook displays.

Re:Some Questions (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644126)

This is a reference design, not a finished product. Similar to vaporware - think of it as "smokeware" :^)

4-64GB RAM (that's GigaBYTEs, not GigaBITs). Not a server, so I'm not sure I see why you'd want more than 4GB RAM - but I'll admit that 640K isn't enough for everyone, so I'm sure the price differential will be based on memory costs.

There's an Ubunto/ARM distro - IF (as I've commented elsewhere) they provide access to the firmware I'm sure a well-experienced UNIX engineer should be able to install that for you, otherwise I'd say stick with the pre-packaged OS. ARM/PROM-based OS's (embedded systems, in essence) are not quite what your average Linux users is used to.

1024x600 - yeah, that's kinda dorky, but I suppose they wanted a specific aspect ratio on their finished product.

Re:Some Questions (2, Informative)

StreetStealth (980200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644162)

1024 by 600? Why not 1024 by 768?

WSVGA. The width of XGA (minimum native for most web sites) in a smaller package.

Re:Some Questions (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644656)

Not a very standard resolution. I think a Tablet with Native 1080p or at least Native 720p resolution would be a great place to start.

Fuck Tablets (4, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30643992)

OMG GOOGLE TABLET OMG APPLE TABLET OMG THE OLPC OF TABLETS.
Shut the fuck up. If your company missed the "netbook" boat, then too bad. If you're not Amazon, you didn't make the Kindle - too bad.

This industry has gone from innovation to theft to bandwagon jumping to bandwagon hyping to hyping of planned bandwagon hyping.

History has proven time and time again that the market for tablets is very small. I don't give a shit how much hot air you blow into the media's ass, you're not going to make a bigger market for tablets because people don't like tablets.

As for this proposed tablet? It's sheer feature / price point marketing. The PHBs called a meeting with marketing and wrote some features on the board, then they came up with a price. And they're only doing it because of the incessant, unfounded rumors that tablets are going to be the next big market.

Re:Fuck Tablets (1)

ZERO1ZERO (948669) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644332)

This industry has gone from innovation to theft to bandwagon jumping to bandwagon hyping to hyping of planned bandwagon hyping.

I for one, welcome our bandwagon jumping hyping hyping overlords.

Re:Fuck Tablets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30644390)

I totally agree with everything you said, but I find Apple's impending foray into tablets very interesting. Granted Apple is a niche player in the PC market, but I can't believe that they would enter the very difficult market of tablets without being sure they could be successful. History has proven that even Apple is not immune from mistakes like that, so it will be very interesting to see how successful Apple is.

Re:Fuck Tablets (1)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644602)

Er, I dunno.

I think tablets make for great remote controls and under $200 they start to get reasonable: one remote to control them all, with a web interface on each device.

I suppose a smart phone could do that as well, but sometimes the extra display real estate is handy: movie previews from the cable company's On Demand service should be streamable to the remote/tablet so as to not interfere with the program already displayed, if desired.

Accessing recipes in the kitchen, or an "in a pinch" browser would be handy as well. Think of them as intelligent display devices and not computing platforms. Shove in an SD card with a movie on it for the kids to watch in the car. That kind of stuff.

Re:Fuck Tablets (2, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644708)

Remember where mp3 players were geek-only gadgets? or touchscreens or cheap/small notebooks something without future?

Technology advances, and people preference does too. Maybe 5 years ago tablets had no big appeal, culture wasnt built on consumers, then most smartphones started to have a touchscreen, but maybe sometimes you fould feel that the screen is too small and you are start to build a potential market. Foldable keyboards or twistable screens to turn tablets back and forth to something more like notebooks/desktops could help a bit in that area too.

Sometimes this kind of things ends being just fads, but if that is the case with tablets, probably won't be evident this year.

"Smartphone", "netbook", "ebook", "smartbook"... (4, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644004)

Can the "phonebook" be far behind?

Re:"Smartphone", "netbook", "ebook", "smartbook".. (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644182)

One bookbook to contain them all...

Not cutesy enough (1)

Myrcutio (1006333) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644220)

It needs a lower cased letter placed ambiguously to inform the consumer that it's good enough for his ePeen. I suggest "Phone-y-book", or "eFingerBook"

Re:"Smartphone", "netbook", "ebook", "smartbook".. (1)

greenguy (162630) | more than 4 years ago | (#30645292)

And when small computers use e-paper for their display, we'll have paperbackbooks.

Freescale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30644190)

Rocks.

Resolution sucks (1)

mariushm (1022195) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644286)

Seriously... couldn't they at least have 1280x720 instead of that 1024x600... though I doubt the processor is fast enough to decode regular 720p h264 movies.

Looks familiar (1)

orgelspieler (865795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644296)

Judging from the bright red color [com.com] , I'm guessing you have to turn it upside-down and shake it to reboot. (Apologies to Scott Adams)

This has been done before! (2, Funny)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644318)

If only the Freescale device had 2 knobs.

http://www.etch-a-sketch.com/ [etch-a-sketch.com]

Cheers

Re:This has been done before! (1)

msclrhd (1211086) | more than 4 years ago | (#30645476)

It's a touch screen, so it'll be easy to do that in software. In addition to this, it has an accelerometer, so it should be possible to detect when you shake the device. Result: expect an etch-a-sketch application for it any day now.

Would it have been that much more for native 720p? (1)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644492)

1280x720 native resolution would have made far more sense, no?

Isn't this missing something? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644526)

Without a built-in, semi-accurate compass, you don't get "augmented reality" applications. Seems like a pretty big oversight.

They said all of this of netbooks too... (1)

MistrBlank (1183469) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644768)

And good luck finding a retail, non-refurbished netbook at the $200 pricepoint these days.

I paid $300 for mine and I still feel I overpaid by about $100 for its underpoweredness.

Re:They said all of this of netbooks too... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#30644946)

By this time next year, it might night be a problem. You can already get them for $250 new.

Then again, $200 starts getting into the range of too under powered to be a replacement for the more expensive bigger version.

You think that its a matter of not getting the price down, personally from your own statements about yours being underpowered, perhaps you don't actually want them to produce cheaper ones than they currently are.

512 MB of ram (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30645422)

Given the way browsers eat RAM, and given how cheap RAM is, bump that to 1 GB of RAM and I'm sold.

Honestly, I'd rather pay $300 for a nicer tablet with a higher-red OLED screen and more RAM than $200 for a cheap tablet with a low-res screen.

Don't want a cheap model (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30645610)

Am I in the minority here, but I'd rather pay $300 for a model with a nice higher res OLED screen and a full GB of RAM rather than a cheap $200 model.

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