updated 07:30 pm EDT, Thu March 18, 2010
Marvell Moby to add Flash, HD to e-textbooks
Marvell on Thursday promised one of the most aggressive plans for a tablet so far. As part of a new initiative, a tablet prototype known as the Moby would cost just $99 but would use Marvell's Armada 600 ARM processor to provide performance that would be unavailable from much more expensive devices. It should support hardware 1080p video playback, contemporary 3D graphics, and Flash-based content.
It's unclear if the prototype in question is the 10-inch Android device shown just earlier this week at a publishers' summit, although the Moby's proposed features are similar with Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi. It should officially recognize Windows Mobile in addition to Google's mobile OS.
The cost of the tablet would be low enough that Marvell sees it becoming a standard-issue replacement for textbooks in schools. A Moby would keep a student's textbooks recent, save weight in a backpack and theoretically lower the price of learning material, according to the chip designer.
Marvell hasn't said when the Moby would ship or if it would contract out manufacturing to someone else. It does plan to run a trial project in the Washington, DC area over the next few years that would give every student in an "at-risk" school a Moby. More details are promised sometime in the future.
The plans are a possible setback to tablet makers like Apple and HP. Their platforms have potentially stronger software but will cost multiple times more, possibly excluding them out of those schools where cost is a key worry. Distribution and format support are Marvell's key problems, as the company is relatively new to making complete products and doesn't have the sales experience that should help both the iPad and the future HP slate.
(image via Technologizer)