Open Source DIY Tablet Kit Promises Versatility

The Beagle Embedded Starter Kit attempts to bring some open source sensibilities to the tablet PC industry—or at least promises an appealing option for consummate tinkerers and tweakers.

The kit is a three-piece number with a pre-formatted Linux-booting 4GB SD card included. Essentially the motherboard of this DIY tablet, the BeagleBoard C4 has an integrated 720 MHz OMAP3530 CPU from Texas Instruments. Directly mounted on the processor are 2 GB of SDRAM. The board has an SD/MMC slot to accommodate the bundled memory card, S-video and DVI-D video out, stereo in/out connections, and a single USB port.

Snapping onto the BeagleBoard is the BeagleTouch, a 4.3" 480 x 272 18-bit touchscreen OLED display. The screen is an all-in-one media output solution. Accompanying it is a 20 mm speaker for audio. Touch-screen enthusiasts may raise eyebrows at the BeagleTouch's relatively old resistive touch processing though.

Last but not least is the BeagleJuice. As the main source of power, it's fitting that the power switch is located on this 2600 mAh power pack. It outputs up to 1.5 amps, promising a max battery life of 6.5 hours for the BeagleBoard (no info on how the BeagleTouch's operation affects this). Charging is accomplished through one or both type-B USB ports.

The whole setup will set users back by $400. With more polished options available at around—or lower—than that price, LiquidWare's offering might be a hit with Linux enthusiasts, companies looking to develop their own tablet computing platform for internal use, and people who like tweaking gadgets ad nauseam.

Beagle Embedded Starter Kit ($393.61)