Marvell Teases with $100 Tablet for Students


Chip maker Marvell wants to get into the tablet business and it is showing a prototype that will offer web access and high-definition content at a price that would beat the competition by a wide margin.

The prototoype tablet, called Moby, is targeted mainly at students who may be looking for a digital device that could give them access to books and the internet, and could also act as a music player.

The Moby tablet will be powered by Marvell’s ARMADA 600 series of application processors. These chips can offer gigahertz-class speed, says the company. The device will also bring 1080p full-HD capability, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS connectivity and FM radio. Marvell hasn’t disclosed detailed technical specifications for the device.

Marvell is no stranger to offering visions of fantastic gadgets at low, low prices. Last year, it showed a $100 computer inside a wall plug and has tried to popularize the idea of plug computers that would draw just about 5W of power, come with a 1.2-GHz CPU, a USB port and internet connectivity.

Meanwhile, tablets have become all the rage this year. Apple’s iPad will be the first to hit the market on April 3. Other PC makers including HP, Dell and Samsung have also said they plan to release tablets for consumers.

The $100 Moby will support full Adobe Flash and could run either Android or the Windows Phone 7 operating system.

As intriguing as it is, Moby is just a reference design at this point. Marvell hasn’t said if it will manufacture the tablet itself or partner with companies who want to take the design and produce it. Either way, the Moby will be available by the end of the year, says Marvell.

Marvell says it plans to announce a pilot program with the District of Columbia Public School system so students in the system can try out the Moby.

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Photo: Moby reference design (Harry McCracken/Technologizer)

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