Details Emerge About the Spark Linux-Based Tablet

There’s a new tablet in town (well, on its way to town, at least) called the Spark. The Linux-based tablet, based on the Zenithink C71, was announced several days ago, but the fellow behind the project, KDE developer Aaron Seigo, released more details on his blog in a convenient Q&A format.

He revealed that the tablet (about $265 USD) will be available for pre-order this week and will start shipping worldwide in May. In terms of specifications, the 7-inch (800x480) multi-touch tablet will run a 1GHz AMLogic ARM processor and Mali-400 GPU and sport 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage (with a microSD slot for expandability), 802/11b/g WiFi, a pair of USB ports, a front-facing 1.3MP webcam, and an audio jack.

There are plans to add 3G and GPS functionality in later versions of the tablet, as well as beefed-up hardware specs. The UI of choice is Plasma Active, and there will apparently be a content store where developers can peddle their wares and users can snag software.

The Spark project isn’t just some cheap tablet being churned out half-heartedly by a company looking to cash in on the latest tech craze. This looks to be a labor of love for Seigo and others behind Spark, and it’s rooted in their ideology.

“The people who get to use these tablets will have in their hands a device that is more than an application bucket that sees them as a consumer,” said Seigo in the original blog post announcing Spark. “They will have a device that places value on who they are and what they are doing. This lies at the heart of Activities in Plasma Active and the open software stack will drive that trend further. Perhaps best of all: there's no walled garden to get locked into or which can be taken away.”

Sample of the Plasma Active UI

Spark isn’t likely to suddenly glom tablet market share away from Apple and Google, but competition of any kind is good for consumers, and this particular project presents an attractive tablet alternative to those who chafe at what industry behemoths offer.

Seigo also noted that the tablet will indeed blend, although that would void the warranty.