If you want a faster desktop computer, you can swap out the CPU or even motherboard for a newer, faster model. But if you want a faster tablet, you pretty much have to go buy a new tablet.
But what if you could just open your tablet, pop out a module holding the processor, graphics, memory, and storage, and slap in a newer, faster board?
Navarre Bartz wants to develop an upgradeable tablet that would let you do just that.
His entry in the Instructables/Jack Daniel’s Independence Project contest shows how the system would work.
Basically, his tablet motherboard would consist of two parts. There’s a main board which features input and output ports, and which could include WiFi, Bluetooth and other components. And there’s a slot for a secondary board that holds the CPU, memory, and storage.
In his prototype, that secondary board is a Toadex Colibri computer on a module, a tiny PC system that looks like a stick of RAM, but which features an NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual core processor.
I’m not sure we’ll ever see this device make it to market, but if Bartz wins the contest he could get $25,000 to move his upgradeable tablet concept a little closer to reality.
But he’ll have to contend with other projects such as an automated micro brewery, a robotic strawberry picker, and other projects.
This would all be well and good but the reason things are disposable now is the pace of change and innovation. A year can be forever in this business.
Typically, manufacturers change more than just the CPU when going to a new model. In the PC business, I think a company called Nextar tried to do this by having a replaceable CPU model, (this was in the early days of the Pentium chip) but fell by the wayside as Intel speeded up CPU introductions in the wake of competition from AMD.
Also, the first version of the model comes out to validate proof of concept. The second iteration is there to correct the bugs in the first, or to reduce the price. If a third version comes out (not guaranteed due to the increasingly short product life cycles), it may be so different from the first that it’s not the same thing anymore.
I don’t like filling landfills any more than the next person, but I’d practice green living in other ways.
if he doesnt win there’s always kick starter….
Now if only wi-fi and bluetooth was also upgradeable, but that could be done by making them tiny USB modules with a antenna connector.
Whether or not this gets to market, you have to give the developer credit for making something like this in a world of ever increasing numbers of disposable, non-upgradeable electronic devices. The amount of electronic waste that would be reduced by something like this is not insignificant.
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