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Innovation

Freescale announces 7-inch smartbook tablet design

CES 2010: Before we can even get some official information on the heavily/overly-rumored Apple Tablet, Freescale Semiconductor has gotten there first, with their announcement of a potentially $200 tablet computer.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor on

Before we can even get some official information on the heavily/overly-rumored Apple Tablet, Freescale Semiconductor has gotten there first, with their announcement of a potentially $200 tablet computer.

Although its still just in design-mode, Freescale is intending to be a forerunner in the "smartbook" category, which is basically somewhere in between netbooks and smartphones. (Everyone is saying that the Apple Tablet is just an over-sized iPhone anyway.)

Running on a 1GHz i.MX515 processor, the 0.8-lb gadget plans to host a lot of goodies within its 7-inch frame. Internal specs include 512 MB of DDR2 RAM, between 4 GB to 64 GB of internal storage with the option of more via the micro SD card slot, and HD video decoder hardware. It's ultra-thin frame (7.87" x 5.04" x 0.59") means that there's also no need for an internal fan.

There's also Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, USB 2.0 and mini ports, microphone, speaker, 3-megapixel camera (that also records VGA at 30fps), an ambient light sensor and a sim card slot.

It's also planned to come with a lot of software pre-installed, including a web browser with Adobe Flash, PDF and image viewers, an RSS reader, and an office suite.

All of those programs and more are accessible on the 1024 x 600 touchscreen display. Freescale is predicting that they can deliver all this for $200 or less, but until we start seeing real production and selling dates, we can't know for sure.

I'm yet to be convinced on the tablet concept. While Freescale has included an optional keyboard in some of its promo images, I don't see how I could use this for work in the same way I would use a netbook. I'd rather use it as an e-book reader with more applications should the device support software like Kindle for PC/Mac, etc.

How inclined are you by the developing trend of smartbooks and tablets? Will it be the gadget of 2010?

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