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Freescale Set To Unveil Touch-screen Tablet At CES

Freescale is using the CES conference to unveil a reference architecture it hopes will help OEMs move quickly to build and sell touch-screen tablet devices for less than $200 by this summer.

Freescale, Austin, Texas, is hoping to interest OEM vendors to adopt its smartbook tablet reference architecture to build touch-screen smartbooks, and expects such products to be available for sale as early as this summer.

The planned solution is based on Freescale's i.MX515 application processor, which integrates the ARM Cortex-A8 processor with Freescale's power management IC, audio codec and 3-axis accelerometer, as well as OpenVG & OpenGL/ES graphics cores and high-definition video decoder hardware.

The Freescale tablet also includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, a 3-D desktop framework with touch-screen and/or QWERTY keyboard support and options for 3G modem and RF4CE (Radio Frequency for Consumer Electronics) protocol support.

The demo unit, to be shown at CES, weighs about 0.8 pounds and includes a 7-inch touch-screen, 512 MB of DDR2 memory, a micro SD slot for up to 64 GBs of internal storage, USB 2.0 and USB mini ports, and a 3 megapixel camera, which also records VGA video at up to 30 frames per second.

Freescale sees the product as competing with both smartphone devices and netbooks. A company spokesperson said Freescale sees tablet PCs as the second generation of smartbook devices.

Freescale already has customers using its i.MX515 application processor as the base of smartbook devices. Only one, the Sharp Netwalker, which was released this year in Japan, has been publicly announced so far.

Freescale expects its smartbook tablet to include such applications as 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 social networking "widgets."

Freescale is working with partners to develop the reference architecture for OEM customers, including Inventec Appliances Corp. for design and manufacturing services, and ThunderSoft for software integration customization and optimization.

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