Intel is developing a web tablet that will allow users to browse the internet from anywhere around the home. But there's a catch: it will need a host PC to run it.
Consequently, Intel is marketing the device as a wireless solution for internet access around the home, rather than a truly portable web-surfing device.
"The wireless tablets use a PC as a base station to enable users to get on the internet. It's part of Intel's extended PC strategy," said Michael Reed, marketing director of Intel's internet tablet operation.
"They allow consumers to take the web from the spare bedroom into the kitchen, family room or backyard."
The appliance is supported by a PC that is attached to the web. The tablet communicates with the PC using the HomeRF 1.6Mbps radio communications standard and is able to share the PC's internet connection, said Reed.
Reed claimed the device is aimed at technology enthusiasts for use around the home, unlike competing appliances, such as Microsoft's Tablet PC, which are aimed at business users.
The devices are based on the StrongArm SA-1110 processors Intel inherited when it acquired Digital's chip manufacturing arm.
The tablet will also store information using the company's StrataFlash memory instead of a dedicated hard drive. Intel claims this will improve performance, extend battery life, and enhance security.
The device will also include VxWorks's real-time operating system, Espial's Escape browser and Espresso graphical user interface, and BeComm's Strings audio software.
Intel plans to launch the web tablet in North America at the end of the year and is currently evaluating other markets.
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