SAN JOSE, Calif. – Texas Instruments slashed the cost of tablets for a broad range of embedded markets with a reference design that has a bill of materials of just $70. TI’s Electronic Tablet (eTab) could cost halve the price of an Apple iPad Mini or Kindle Fire and is aimed at a laundry list of vertical markets from hospitals to retailers.
The eTab is based on TI’s Sitara AM335x SoC, a single core ARM Cortex-A8 running at up to 720 MHz that costs as little as $5 in volume. The seven-inch tablet also includes a number of TI analog chips and a TI Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo device, in total about $13 in TI parts.
“It’s a non-traditional tablet that could be used as anything from a home automation solution to a replacement for a printed menu in a restaurant,” said Troy Coleman, a marketing director at TI.
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The Sitara SoC includes a touch screen controller, graphics engine, Ethernet MAC and industrial comms subsystem with support for standards such as Profibus. The system runs Android 4.0 and Linux.
TI commissioned AllGo Embedded Systems, a design services company based in India, to build the reference design (below). “Its 80 percent of the way there” for OEMs who want to add their own custom features and software, said Coleman.
The eTab “allows developers in industrial markets to quickly customize and differentiate their tablets with minimal risk,” said K. Srinivasan, chief executive of AllGo Systems in a press statement.
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