In the tablet game it seems that the biggest thing now is to make the things a whole lot cheaper in order to get them into the hands of everybody. This is no more true than with the Amazon Kindle Fire range and the Nexus 7 an the Nexus 10, both Google and Amazon now have strong eco-systems that feature a whole lot of paid content and the new 7-inch and above tablets are doors into this vast content. Having brilliant content is one thing but, unless you have a device to access it all brilliantly then nobody is going to take advantage of it all. When it comes down to other manufacturers however, they have no eco-system, to back things up, it’s Google’s Play Store after all, making the sale of cheap tablets quite difficult as they have to make money on each and every unit.
To that end, Texas Instruments and AllGo have come together to bring a reference design of a tablet that will cost as little as $70. Having said that though, there are always compromises when it comes to these budget priced piece of tech and this is no different. The reference design is to come packing the 7-inch display, TI’s Sitara AM335x chip with an 800MHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, battery, WiFi and Bluetooth. Reference designs like this are the sort of thing the original Kindle Fire was, simple and cost-effective designs that are easy to build, a chance for manufacturers to put their own stamp on the thing before making a true product out of it. The device is said to be called the Etab and manufacturers will be able to purchase a prototype for $999, which includes blueprints, drivers, hardware layouts and everything you would need to truly make your own Etab. If customers were wanting to take full advantage of the $70 price of the reference, they’re going to have to pony up for 100,000 units.
There are a great many uses such a cheap tablet could have, at this price point they’re almost disposable. Education and medicine in emerging countries is one place where these would be particularly useful, the more technology in these fields, the better. Thanks to the low price, manufacturers can buy them and then market them however they choose as well as putting their own bundled software in as well. This leaves the door open to take advantage for the Android 4.0 OS that’s pre-installed. It’s certainly not a good tablet but, it is an affordable one and is something that people can really take advantage of.