Freescale ARM Cortex-A8 tablets! Some less than $200! The future! Now!


You know what’s so hot for Y2K10? Tablets. If you want to get just about anybody in the technology journalism industry all riled up, just talk about tablets. It’s also a good way to make small talk. Texas-based Freescale, purveyor of fine ARM Cortex chips for various mobile devices, is getting in on the tablet madness full force by promising to demonstrate strange and wonderful $200 smartbook tablets running Android and Linux at CES this week.

Consumers will be able to purchase the aforementioned tablets “as soon as the summer of 2010,” according to Freescale’s recent press release. Ah, summer. That’s such a hot time for tablet computing. Summer Y2K10 will always be remembered as the Summer of Tablet.

So what can we expect?

“The Freescale tablet includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and also features a 3D desktop framework with touch screen/QWERTY keyboard support. 3G modem and RF4CE protocol options are available. The tablet’s modular approach to 3G connectivity lets systems designers select carrier-specific air interfaces appropriate for different regions. Modules can be pre-certified by carriers and selected to match a range of features and performance targets. This method makes it easy to migrate quickly to new modem technologies as they are introduced.

Example smartbook platform applications intended to run on the tablet include a web browser with Adobe Flash Player and multimedia plug-ins, a media center, PDF and image viewers, a mail client, an RSS reader, an office suite, handwriting utilities and various widgets for Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Weather SMS and other applications.”

Sounds a bit like the common smartphone, except for the whole “web browser with Adobe Flash Player and multimedia plug-ins” part. They’ll be a bit larger, too. The reference design from Freescale features a 7-inch display with 1024×600 resolution and a weight of just over 13 ounces. Other specs include 512MB of RAM, between 4GB and 64GB of built-in storage, various connectivity options, USB ports, webcam, and an accelerometer.

And perhaps most importantly, Freescale is ballparking the price tag at around $200. While I’m still not personally sold on the idea that we need something to fill the imaginary gap between smartphone and laptop, there are plenty of others out there who are ready to buy a tablet.

Freescale Evolves Second-Generation Smartbook Form Factors with New Tablet Design [Press Release]