For months, analysts have said that this would be the year of the tablet computer and just one week into 2010, it looks like their predictions may be coming true.
On Monday, while Apple fans continued to trade rumors about when the company's long-awaited tablet would debut, Freescale Semiconductor got down to business.
In advance of the Consumer Electronics Show this week, the Austin, Texas, company announced its own touchscreen tablet that it calls the "future of the smartbook category."
At 7 inches, Freescale's tablet is smaller than the 10- or 11-inch model expected from Apple and others, but the smaller size comes with a big payoff: A $199 price tag, instead of the thousand-dollar (or more) price tag that will likely accompany Apple's. | The company said its lightweight device provides four times the viewing area of a typical smartphone, but is about one-third the size and volume of the average netbook.
The tablet is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled and can be fitted with a modem to run on 3G networks. And it's ready to serve a wide range of on-the-go needs, from Web browsing and office applications to social media widgets, picture taking and more.
Though Freescale will demo the device, which runs on both Android and Linux operating systems, this week at CES, it won't be ready for mass consumption until the summer.