Just as the rumors of a pricey Apple tablet computer have reached a high-water mark, Freescale Semiconductor on Monday showcased reference designs of an affordable, lightweight tablet computer, which is set to hit the market later this year.
Freescale is grabbing the bull by the horns and has come up with its own tablet design that not only shows what Freescale’s technology is capable of, also serve as a reference design for computer makers around the world, like Inventec.
“Freescale’s new tablet opens the door to an exciting new world of compelling form factors specifically designed and optimized to support common online activities including social media, high-quality audio/video playback and light gaming,” said Henri Richard, senior vice president of Sales and Marketing for Freescale.
This tablet is powered by a system on a chip (SoC) based on a 1Ghz ARM Cortex A8 design and six other co-processors inside (FPU, DSP, img processing, 2D graphics, 3G graphics, HD video decode). The 7″ touch display can be resistive or capacitive ($30 more at manufacturing time for the capacitive) and has a 1024×600 resolution. It connects via WIFI-N or 3G (optional) and also packs a GPS.
It is estimated that the bill of material (components cost) for such a tablet would be between $130 and $200, which means that it could find its way to retail stores for $199 to $249 depending on the configuration. Freescale says that in their own tests, it can run for 12hrs with WiFi and the display on (80% brightness). Some variants will even run with Android, although at the moment, only smartphone will get Google’s support and blessing (Android logo, Android Market etc…).
Full specs of the Freescale Smartbook:
– Size: 200mm by 128mm by 14.9cm and weighing 376 grams; no need for fan or heat sink
– Processor: Freescale i.MX515 applications processor provides high performance and low power
– ARM Cortex-A8 1GHz
– OpenVG & OpenGL/ES graphics cores
– HD video decoder hardware
– Memory: 512 MB DDR2
– Display: 7-inch (1024 by 600) touch screen
– Storage: 4-64 GB internal storage; removable micro SD
– Connectivity: 3G modem (option) 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, RF4CE (option)
– Ports: USB 2.0 and USB mini (also for charging), audio in/audio out, SIM card
– Audio: speaker, microphone
– Camera: 3 Megapixel (video recording up to VGA @ 30fps)
– Battery: 1900mAh, USB charging
– Sensors: the MMA8450Q three-axis accelerometer and an ambient light sensor
– Power management IC
For those who also want an efficient input method, Freescale has a Keyboard that also serves as a docking station. It looks superb, and it seems that with a price of just $199, this cool tablet smartbook won’t cost you a fortune… what do you think? 🙂