Just because the Apple iPad has a starting price of $499 doesn’t mean all tablets need to cost that much. Chip maker Marvell is introducing a platform for a $99 tablet for the education market. The company’s “Moby” prototype features an ARM-based processor and it can handle 1080p HD video, Adobe Flash, and 3D graphics. The low power Marvell ARMADA 600 chipset also supports always-on, internet-connected performance.

As an educational tool, the Moby is likely to be used more as an eBook reader/textbook replcement device than a HD video player. Marvell points out that you can regularly update textbooks on an electronic device instead of spending $60 or more to buy new editions of text books.

That said, the Armada 600 chipset supports WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and FM radio. While I doubt you’ll be able to pick up a Moby Tablet for $99 at retail, if enough educational institutions place large orders, perhaps it won’t be too long before we start seeing similar tablets with more of a consumer focus for $100 to $200.

via ARM Devices

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10 replies on “Marvell announces $99 Moby tablet for students”

  1. Marvell’s plug computing reference design stayed near its target price of $100. Hopefully this will do the same.

  2. I think the $99 price would probably be a per-unit type deal to a school that is buying at least a couple hundred at once. Is it like that??

  3. I think the cost of text books would be greatly reduced if they did not have to be reprinted every year. It would also save alot of trees. It would help students since they could carry one light weight ebook reader instead of having to haul all those heavy text books. I think the tablet could be sold for $99 if it came with an ebook subscription (similar to netbooks being subsidized by offering a 1 or 2 year contract for high speed 3g access).

    I think it could help OLPC group with a more affordable more capable device.

  4. Wow, what a fantastic idea.

    Actually removing textbook writers from the equation offers quite a few advantages. Namely you don’t have to constantly lay out money on books if you’re a school. Content can be updated and revised without additional purchase, and conceivably a standard could be set for the books instead of just letting each district select their books subject only to the whim of the local school board, which is the current process… One that I might point out, that lets the state of Texas, as the greatest purchasers of school textbooks, functionally set the curriculum of the entire nation, as it currently stands.

    Hopefully it takes off. Now we just need to have some organization provide some sort of free electronic textbooks in a variety of languages, accessible over the net, so that they can be accessed by countries too poor to constantly buy books, but able to buy a few computing devices which can be used to teach from. Even assuming the worst intentions, if they made politically neutral texts on things like grammar, mathematics and science available, and left the rest to the bias of the local consumers, it would be a worthy endeavor that even the most paranoid could get behind.

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