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Marvell's $99 Moby tablet to play 1080p for students

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)

by MacNN Staff



  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "The plans are a possible setback to tablet makers like Apple and HP"
    Really funny.

    All that's missing now is JoannaD and testudo chiming in 'how much better this tablet is than the lame iPad from crApple', and we have comedy gold.

  1. jfgilbert

    Joined: Dec 1969


    OLPC deja vu

    It is a nice initiative with good intentions. Too bad that they don't know what it takes to bring a consumer product to market, and their price estimate is just a combination of the costs of a few components and a lot of wishful thinking. If it ever gets to market, it will arrive in a couple of years, with less ambitious specs, for at least double the target price.
    I don't think Apple, Asus, HP, Sony, Amazon, and the other real companies are too worried right now. This will take as much market share from them as the OLPC did.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    $99 must really be a barebones figure...

    Can a company really give support for a device that's that cheap?

    Where the heck were all these miracle tablets before the iPad became big news. I thought that tablets were basically niche products and I'd never heard about them being considered to be used in place of textbooks. It's like all of a sudden these companies see the iPad's potential and then start mouthing off that the iPad is nothing special and then trying to undercut it's price. Most companies didn't even do this when the Kindle was selling for the past couple of years.

    This author saying that this cheap tablet is a setback for Apple and HP is rather ridiculous. The iPad has a set release date with plenty of pre-orders and the HP Slate is still a question mark at best. Why don't they say this cheap tablet is a setback for the Kindle if that's the case?

    Some analysts were saying that other tablet companies would have to rethink their prices when the iPad price was released at $499. Now all of a sudden one company says they can build a tablet for $199 and this company can build a tablet for $99. That's mighty puzzling.

    There will always be people that prefer cheap to quality and support. Any products that cost more are just an extravagance for suckers. I can't imagine how their lives must be when all they want is the cheapest products they can buy. They all must be accumulating a lot of money in the bank, supposedly, to buy more cheap products?

  1. Foe Hammer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Moby Tablet for $99

    For $99, prepare to be Moby Dicked.

    Cue the FAIL WHALE.

    Hey look everyone! It's the Moby-us stripped tablet!

    There's a million of these - jokes and iPad wannabes. Which are themselves jokes. So it is like a mobius strip ... Which means there's a million of these - jokes and iPad wannabes. Which are themselves ...

  1. chas_m



    OTPC (One Tablet Per Cheapskate)

    Anybody remember how great the OLPC design turned out?

    Yeah, I have to say that I already feel sorry for anyone ending up with one of these, because support will be non-existant -- since the company will be out of business either before any of these ship* or shortly after.

    *this entire "news" story was nothing but an obviously attempt to scare up funding.

    I'm all for iPad competition, but as the story *itself* points out (and contradicts itself on), this isn't competition to the iPad. It's competition to OLPC.

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