Freescale Intros Sub-$200 Tablet PC Reference Design

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Freescale Semiconductor, which supplied some of the processors for Macs during the PowerPC era, has revealed a tablet PC reference design that incorporates a seven-inch touchscreen in a form factor that it says is about one-third the size and volume of a typical netbook. The company also said that the design should allow OEMs to produce tablet PCs with price points below US$200.

Freescale will show off the tablet PC design during this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, where the device will run the Android and Linux operating systems. The design, which the company calls a “smartbook,” features Freescale’s i.MX515 ARM processor, an accelerometer, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, support for a 3G cellular modem, 512MB RAM, 4-64GB of internal flash storage, a micro SD card slot, USB 2.0 and USB mini ports, and a three-megapixel camera.

The company is also showing off an optional keyboard accessory that the tablet can fit into, turning it into a more traditional laptop/netbook configuration. It said that OEMs could use the reference design to get products into consumers' hands by this summer.


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It looks like sony’s my first tablet PC. Bad design.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Price point is the most important feature of this reference design. If Apple releases a $1000 tablet, it’s DOA, and double DOA if it doesn’t run full desktop Mac OS X and put users in control. Very capable notebooks have crept down to the $500-$600 range. Netbooks are getting beefier in the $300- $500 range. And the battle lines have been drawn over managed devices. Even Guy Kawasaki has called the whole concept of App Store as exclusive software channel “fascist”. You’re going to see the Apple iCostWayTooMuchAndOnlyRunApprovedApps vs. a whole slew of form factors and price points running Android and/or Windows 7 in this space. Apple’s offering won’t be better enough for anyone but a die-hard fan to justify.

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