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Portables Hardware

Freescale Unveils Design For $199 Tablet 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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Freescale Unveils Design For $199 Tablet

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  • "Envisions" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jonnythan ( 79727 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @02:09PM (#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.

  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShooterNeo ( 555040 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @02:22PM (#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.

  • by mmell ( 832646 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @02:27PM (#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.

  • by Jenming ( 37265 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @02:37PM (#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.

  • Fuck Tablets (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @02:38PM (#30643992)

    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 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @03:33PM (#30644708) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @03:44PM (#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!

  • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @06:32PM (#30647430) Journal

    It was about a decade ago that I upgraded one of my lab machines to 640MB, because that "ought to be enough for anybody."

    But these days it's way way way too small, mostly for browsers and caching. Lenovo's already lost one sale from me by selling a cute little Atom-based slab machine for $199 which only had 512MB in it (or maybe it was 1GB) because the packaging didn't say anything about whether it could be upgraded or not. Yes, I know they need to have a low-config price to get some people to buy it, but it costs less than $50 for 2GB of notebook RAM and even less for desktop RAM, and there's no excuse for making a machine that can't be upgraded.

  • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eil ( 82413 ) on Monday January 04, 2010 @06:51PM (#30647690) Homepage Journal

    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.

    As they well should. All of the devices you mention are basically the same (architecture-wise) as general-purpose computers, just smaller.

    I just bought myself an iPod Touch for christmas (my first Apple purchase) and have experienced equal parts of both fascination and frustration while using the device. The fact that they've managed to give such a small device a very capable web browser is nothing short of amazing, nevermind the zillion other cool things the device does.

    It's a shame, however, that Apple has such a strong hold on what I'm able to do with the device after I've bought it. It's ludicrous that there's no access to the filesystem and absolutely no way to put data of any kind on the device without the approval of iTunes. I'd love to develop for it, but I'm not slapping down $99 plus whatever the lowest-end Mac costs just to tinker around. The most worrisome thing, however, is that Apple appears to be more anti-open-source than Microsoft at the same time that they directly benefit from a large number of open source frameworks and libraries in virtually all of their software.

    I know, I can always jailbreak the iPod and get most of the functionality I'm asking for (and I probably will eventually), but it would be nice for a change if a company could engineer a device without going through so much trouble to lock it down to one or two functions. And/or perceived their more technical customers to be assets rather than enemies.

Whenever people agree with me, I always think I must be wrong. - Oscar Wilde