TouchBook Netbook/UMPC/Tablet runs on OMAP 3

Posted on 30 May 2009, Last updated on 30 May 2009 by

I had an update from TI’s ‘Mobile Mover’ Seshu Madhavapeddy on Thursday evening and came away with a very strong impression that Ti want to conquer the whole ‘Ring of FIE’ with their OMAP 3 platform. PMPs were mentioned (Archos.) Smartphones were mentioned (Samsung Omnia HD, Palm Pre) and so were tablets and netbooks.  Seshu also outlined how ARM-based netbooks would differ from the netbooks we know today buy talking about targeted markets and highlighting the Always Innovating TouchBook. He asked me if I’d heard of it. Bells rang in my head and as I scrambled to Google search and saw the first image, I remembered that I really should have brought this to the top of my to-do list sooner. It was announced at the same time as I was in Texas for SXSW and I never got round to checking it out in detail. I’m glad Seshu highlighted it because it looks and sounds great. We’ve put a UMPCPortal order in for one because, like the SmartDevices Q7, there’s going to be a lot of questions about it.

You’ll remember the device from the photos.

tablet_standalone_w separated_w reversed_wback_w

More photo’s in the gallery.

The specs are interesting too. It’s based on an OMAP 3 platform which is the same as is being used in the Open Pandora project and the next Nokia Tablet  along with the aforementioned Pre and Omnia. It will run a Linux distribution (The Ã…ngström Distribution) with a Fennec browser and the hardware includes a two-part chassis. The screen contains the components and can operate standalone. The keyboard is a simple add-on which means you can carry the two together as a netbook and then separate them for ebook reading and browsing. The keyboard also contains an extended battery. You can buy the tablet for $299 or the complete unit for $399 putting it right in the netbook space.

It’s an interesting concept with a smooth design that fits well in the ultra mobile PC segment and we look forward to receiving our order and getting down to testing it out. No release data is available yet but according to their website, Always Innovating are ‘targeting to ship the first units early this summer.’ According to an email from the founder, Grégoire Gentil, Always Innovating should be releasing more information in June.

We’re tracking information in the portal under a new Touchbook product page.

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