There are already plenty of Android tablets that you can buy for around $170, but very few have 10-inch displays. A new IndieGoGo project called Root 101 is looking to change that. Tronity, the company behind the tablet, wants to deliver “the most open source and affordable tablet available today.”
The Root 101, and it’s a 10.1-inch slate with vanilla Android 4.2 installed. Sacrifices have to be made when you’re trying to put together a 10-inch tablet for $170, and in this case that means going with an underwhelming AmLogic AML8726-MX Dual Core 1.5GHz CPU. It scores slightly better than the Rockchip RK3066 on the AnTuTu benchmark, but it lags well behind the nearly two-year-old Tegra 3.
The Root 101 tablet actually bears a striking resemblance to the Ainol Novo 10 Hero. In fact, the images that the project page refers to as “prototype units” look exactly like the full-res images of the Hero.
And, interestingly enough, the Novo 10 Hero can be purchased on Pandawill for about $170. In quantity, the price drops down to around $135. And there’s already quite a bit of development going on for the Hero — Cyanogenmod has been ported, and there are also the tweaked Venom and Cranked_Hero ROMs.
$35 profit might not seem like much when you’re trying to fund the development of an inexpensive, open Android tablet — but it should be enough when the groundwork has already been laid.
That said, $185,000 is a lofty goal when potential supporters tend to be eagle-eyed and will no doubt notice the similarity to an existing tablet. Those folks will also know about custom ROMs, and when they can already find some decent ones they’ll likely think “why not just buy the Hero?”
Still, there’s a case to be made for solid firmware support from the company that actually sells the tablet. Maybe that alone is worth a pledge. Tronity is certainly hoping so.