Want a touchscreen tablet computer, but don’t feel like purchasing any of the pre-configured options already on the market? No problem, you can pick up a $400 kit that will let you build your own tablet.

Liquidware is selling a kit to build a “Beagle Tablet,” which is based on a BeagleBoard with a 1GHz processor and a 4.3 inch OLED touchscreen display. You also get a 4G SD card and Angstrom Linux, but you can install your own operating system including Google Android or many other Linux-based operating systems.

The Beagle tablet is primarily aimed at DIY enthusiasts and developers looking to write their own software. It’s clearly not for everyone. But a kit that you can snap together yourself and configure rather easily sure seems a lot more attractive than other DIY tablet options I’ve seen, which generally require disassembling a netbook and putting it back together with a touchscreen display and without the keyboard.

The biggest down side is that the Beagle Tablet is just 4.3 inches, which makes it hardly any large than a smartphone. The display has a resolution of 480 x 272 pixels. On the bright side, it weighs just about half a pound.The kit comes with a 2600mAh battery pack.

Liquidware is selling the kit for $393.61 and up.

via Wired

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9 replies on “Buy a (tiny) DIY tablet kit for under $400”

  1. Keep in mind, this is really a development board for people interested in building custom systems and applications–heck you don’t even get a case: this is an OLED module, a mainboard module, and a battery module which snap together. The I/O connections on board are more like a laptop than your typical Android handheld device.

    While Angstrom Linux comes with this particular kit, other OSes are also available (most of them open source) including Symbian, QNX Neutrino, Android, Ubuntu, and Windows CE.

    1. That’s what USB ports on a $100 Android device are for. You can interface USB to pin-level I/O for under $10 (that’s what a USB to parallel cable is):

      http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=103&cp_id=10311&cs_id=1031104&p_id=6265&seq=1&format=2

      You get at least 8 I/O pins that can be controlled:

      http://www.lammertbies.nl/comm/cable/parallel.html

      So, for $110 you get a much more powerful and generally useful base, fully assembled, with direct I/O pins accessible via a standards-based interface.

      If your needs are simpler, you can go with Arduino which starts around $15. The BeagleBoard is priced for a decade ago; it no longer makes economic sense, even for prototyping.

      1. Much more powerful? The Beagle Board is using a TI OMAP3530, a chip combining a Cortex A8 core, a PowerVR SGX graphics processor, a C64x+ DSP and a bunch of peripherals. What $100 Android device is comparable in power (or I/O flexibility)?

        Clearly, a Beagle Board (or comparable like Gumstix) is intended for people looking for something a lot more powerful than an 8051, Atmel AVR, etc, and more flexible than some consumer off-the-shelf device.

  2. It would be neat if one could install non-Linux based os’s.

    I agree, it does seem on the high side for such a small device. It is appealing since one can customize it.

  3. It would be much more interesting if it cost half as much.
    $400 is very expensive considering you can buy an ipod touch for $200.

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