Freescale unveils 7-inch "smartbook" tablet

The "smartbook" concept is due to be turned into a real world, next-gen product with the news that Freescale Semiconductor has unveiled a "tablet reference design".

Featuring a 7-inch touchscreen (said to be four times the viewing area of a typical smartphone) and one-third the size and volume of a typical netbook, Freescale suggests the smartbook will be on sale for less than $200.

Using advanced ARM processor technology, the smartbook is designed to "provide instant-on functionality, persistent connectivity and all-day battery life". The smartbook tablet will include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth wireless, a touchscreen and QWERTY keyboard support with the option to include a SIM and a 3G modem.

The prototype design measures 200 x 128 x 14.9mm, weighs 376 grams, offers USB charging, a 7-inch (1024 x 600 resolution) LED backlit touchscreen display, 512MB RAM, 4 to 64GB internal storage, a speaker, microphone, 3-megapixel camera, light sensor and a 3-axis accelerometer.

Freescale says end products based on the design could hit retail shelves as soon as the summer of 2010.

"Freescale's new tablet opens the door to an exciting new world of compelling form factors specifically designed and optimized to support common online activities including social media, high-quality audio/video playback and light gaming", says Henri Richard, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Freescale in the press release.

"We believe the tablet will emerge as a popular form factor for the next generation of smartbooks. By introducing this prototype reference design, Freescale intends to play a vital role in propelling the mainstream adoption of smartbooks".

The smartbook tablet will be shown off at 2010's CES show running both Android and Linux operating systems, so we'll aim to bring you more from the show floor.