There’s a new tablet coming soon called “Spark”. Announced at the end of January this new device uses an open Linux stack on unlocked hardware and comes with an open content and services market, and uses KDE Plasma Active UI.
The tablet will be available for pre-order starting next week, and will start shipping worldwide in May. Approximate price will be about $265 USD.
The hardware is based on the Zenithink C71, using a 7-inch (800×480) multi-touch screen, a 1GHz AMLogic ARM processor and Mali-400 GPU. It will have 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage (with a microSD slot for expandability), 802/11b/g WiFi, USB ports, a front-facing 1.3MP webcam, and an audio jack. There are plans to add GPS and 3G functionality in future versions, but for now you will have to manage without.
This is more than just another tablet based on Android or iOS. This is a great opportunity to use free software, and partnerships are being forged to provide things as diverse as OwnCloud hosting services, Kolab and Kontact Touch deployment support and exciting Qt/QML add-on apps for download. According to KDE developer Aaron J. Seigo, the man behind the project, the content store will offer great Free Culture artifacts such as digital books from Project Gutenberg as well as contents and apps for purchase. It will provide a conduit to users for those who love writing great software, Free and otherwise, using the typical Linux tools.
“It’s also more meaningful than “just” Free software: The people who get to use these tablets will have in their hands a device that is more than an application bucket that sees them as a consumer. They will have a device that places value on who they are and what they are doing. This lies at the heart of Activities in Plasma Active and the open software stack will drive that trend further. Perhaps best of all: there’s no walled garden to get locked into or which can be taken away” said Aaron.