The 17.8-cm slate is now available for pre-order at makeplaylive.com.
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Saturday, February 18, 2012:
The Spark tablet was announced by KDE developer Aaron Seigo last month. The 17.8-cm (7-inch) device features a tablet-friendly user interface based on KDE's Plasma environment. The tablet has now gone up for pre-order at makeplaylive.com.
If you are interested in signing up for this slab, you just need to submit your name, e-mail address, what region you live in, and how many Spark tablets you want. Typically, a credit card is required while pre-ordering a device but this one does not require any payment details. The product is likely to start shipping in May for approx. €200 ($262).
When you first look at Spark, you tend to underestimate it as another Chinese tablet that is found in abundance. But for a Linux lover, Spark is a true delight. It does not run Android but a Linux operating system. That's not all. It is the first tablet to feature KDE Plasma Active interface on top.
Featuring a 800 x 480 multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, the tablet comes equipped with a 1GHz ARM Cortex A9 complete with Mali 400 GPU and 512MB RAM. It also has 4GB on-board storage and a microSD slot. You can look forward to plenty of connectivity with two USB 2.0 ports and a HDMI port. Wireless comes in the from of 802.11 b/g and 3G with a USB dongle.
"This is a unique opportunity for Free software. Finally we have a device coming to market on our terms. It has been designed by and is usable by us on our terms," Seigo earlier wrote. "We are not waiting for some big company to give us what we desire, we're going out there and making it happen together. Just as important: the proceeds will be helping fuel the efforts that make this all possible."
Though the hardware of this slate isn't fantastic, its software surely sets the Spark apart from the entire gamut of tablet devices currently available in the market. Unlike Google's Android OS, KDE Plasma Active is a community-driven free software platform and welcomes the participation of independent developers.
Talking about the product's openness, Seigo explained in a blog post, "Right now, we're still stuck with a few binary drivers which is not a perfect situation. With time I'm confident we'll get the binary drivers out of the picture, one by one, even if it takes time, effort and some pain. We've already managed to get source for some drivers that were not previously available so the trajectory is right."
It means everything is open source on this device except some hardware drivers. So you can change whatever you like (or don't like)!