All this time we thought the way to one-up Apple
was to build a Windows
- or Android
-based tablet with all the features the iPad neglects. Boy were we off, or so hopes a company called Axon Logic. Never heard of them? If history is any indication, you soon will. That's because Axon has gone and put together a tablet -- the Axon Haptic -- that's primed for end users to slap a Darwin OS
onto its slate, such as Apple's Mac OS X Snow Leopard. Should this thing catch on, and perhaps even if it doesn't, you can bet Apple's legal team will be ready to go the distance. But more on the OS in a minute.
From strictly a hardware standpoint, here's what you get:
- Intel Atom N270 processor (1.6GHz)
- 10.1-inch LED-backlit resistive touchscreen (1024x600) with stylus
- 2GB RAM
- 320GB hard drive
- 1.3MP webcam
- 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
- 3G CDMA-VErizon SIM slot
- Built-in speaker
- Three USB ports
- Mic, Ethernet, VGA ports
- Memory card reader
- Removable battery
In other words, it's essentially a netbook in tablet form. We expect to see a ton of slates in the coming months equipped with similar specs, but unlike all the rest, this will probably be the only one that you can Hackintosh.
"We give you the choice of easily choosing which OS you want to boot up to," Axon explains. "Whether you want Linux one day, or Windows the next, Of course, we suspect that you'll be using Darwin the most. We've installed Darwin (kernel and system specific kexts) on a hidden EFI partition. That means you can effortlessly install your favorite Darwin OS, such as Pure Darwin. Just plug in the DVD drive (or flash drive), install, then reboot. You are now working with one of the most secure and stable operating systems in the world. That EFI partition also means painless updates. Apple Inc.'s Snow Leopard is a Darwin OS, however the EULA specifically prohibits installation on a 'non-Apple-branded' computers."
The question here is, what makes Axon Logic think they can get away with this after the legal beat down Psystar received at the hands of Apple? Unlike Psystar, which essentially flipped a finger at Apple, blatantly ignored the company's EULA, and sold Hackintoshes pre-configured with Mac OS X, Axon Logic is leaving it up to the end user to decide what OS to put on the Haptic. The company even pretend-warns against installing Snow Leopard in wink-wink fashion, knowing full well who this tablet is designed for, but being careful to word things in such a way that Apple's legal team might have a hard time convincing a judge that the company encouraged breaking Apple's EULA for Mac OS X.
We don't want to draw too many parallels to Psystar, who after a long legal battle ended up being found liable for $2.7 million in damages for copyright infringement, breach of contract, violating the DMCA, and other activities, and also received a permanent injunction from having anything to do with a device "that is primarily designed or produced for the purpose of circumventing a technological measure," including all current and future versions of Mac OS X. But it's at least fair to say that Axon is treading a gray area here. Even the company's website looks like a cut/paste of Apple.com.
As it stands, you can pre-order
an Axon Haptic for $750 direct from Axon ($1,400 for two of them, and $2,050 if you order three), with several optional upgrades available.