Blaze tablet coming to developers

Following hot on the heels of other manufacturers unveiling their entries into the tablet market comes Texas Instruments. TI’s tablet is called the Blaze, and it’s one intended for developers and people with more money than sense, rather than mainstream consumers….

Back in February when Texas Instruments announced its ARM-based OMAP 4 system-on-chip ‘Blaze’dev platform, we sort of figured it might be tablet-bound. And, here it is — Blaze is going to be a tablet! Not a shocker, but we’re glad to hear it, of course, since the tablet wars are hotter than ever and we love a good fight. So, what do we know about TI’s entry in the game? Hardware wise it’s going to be a 10.4-inch XVGA touchscreen LCD with two USB ports. Internally, we hear it’ll boast a 1GHz OMAP4430 cpu, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, WLAN, Bluetooth, GPS, and FM, plus external camera and pico projector modules. The tablet is not set for retail release, but for developers, but we’re still pretty excited to see this one come out to play.

The Texas Instruments Blaze tablet is based on the company’s proprietary Open Multimedia Application Platform. OMAP4 will be at the heart of the Blaze tablet, with the Blaze development platform providing the framework.

What is Texas Instruments asking for that piece of hardware goodness? A whopping $2,259, unfortunately. Which is why the Blaze tablet isn’t being positioned or marketed as a mainstream consumer product intended to go head to head with the Apple iPad. Which currently has the mainstream tablet market pretty much sewn up.

Actually, it’s hard to fathom how the designers managed to fit so much stuff into such a pint-sized device. All that’s left is for developers to make use of it all. As the Blaze isn’t aimed at the swooning click-wheel generation, the tablet doesn’t even ship with what most would recognise as an operating system.

I find the Blaze tablet interesting because it shows that tablets aren’t all going to be the same, look the same, do the same things, and be priced similarly. Pair Texas Instruments’ device with the limited-release Toshiba Libretto W100, complete with dual-screens and Windows 7, and we see that there are alternatives to the iPad’s market-leading form factor in development.


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