$169 Linux tablet… sortof

The Insignia Infocast is a $169 simple media device being sold at Best Buy. Marketed as a way to share photos and run Chumby apps, hackers are starting to release packages to extend its features. [Bunnie] shows us one package in particular that allows it to be used as a web browser with an external keyboard. With an 800Mhz processor, an 800×600 touch screen, and 2 GB of memory, we can see that this is just scratching the surface of what is possible. [Bunnie] points out that some people are working on porting Android to the device, and if you really feel adventurous, you can dig into the hardware.

31 thoughts on “$169 Linux tablet… sortof

  1. I just recently bought one of these and it is pretty decent, especially compared to the Sony version(larger, cheaper, more hackable).

    It has serial, 3.3 power, i2c, and a few GPIOs, plus space for an accelerometer.

    Best feature: my wife actually asked me to buy it.

  2. It would have been nice if the post explained why this is not a tablet: it apparently doesn’t have a battery pack.

    So you COULD use it as a tablet, but you’d have to stay tethered to a wall socket.

  3. @ brent, you could also make up your own battery pack, shouldn’t be too difficult to make up a power board to supply the right voltages/amperes.

    The pita would come in makeing it look like it was part of the device.

    @Hackaday how about some tutorials/hacks where you discuss fitting extra stuff into units or extending the boxes they come in to allow you to add more stuff?

  4. @Reggie you clicked submit before me!

    With the i2c you can indeed add an i2c device like a cheep accelerometer and gyro set from our best sensor manufacturers nintendo!

    With the 3.3v supply I see an arduino hack coming soon

    Good idea as well, or it could even be the keypad from the Automated Entry Garden Gate entry

  5. Please somebody tear that baby down and take some pictures of its internals. It seems to be aching for somebody to do a tablet mod for it.

  6. One thing you can’t tell from that pic, or the board pictures, is that the motherboard is currently at a >70 degree angle from the LCD.

    If you are going to make a tablet mod, you’ll need to redo the whole case, unless you don’t mind that sticking out the back.

    When I get home, I’ll see if I can take a decent side view, but here are two to give you an idea of the current form factor.

  7. @GZ it’ll autoboot from the thumbdrive if you put the right script on it. See the wiki mentioned in the article.

    You can also flash it, but it doesn’t have much space onboard.

  8. Hmm, that seems quite expensive. You’d probably be better getting an o2 joggler from the UK. They were £50 quid not long ago. 1.3gig Atom, 512MB RAM, Wifi-N, Gbit lan, 800×480 cap touch screen etc

  9. Ok, I admit it, I am NEW to Chumby. So that makes me new around here as well, if I understand what an Insignia Infocast is. Regardless, my biggest question/concern:

    1) Is the video/audio hardware proprietary? That is – do we have the know-how to turn all the knobs?

    I ask as this is the problem with all the SigmaDesign based media players. And there are many of these out there (LIGHTON, DLINK, ect…). But because the hardware specifications are not available, most open source efforts have not proven fruitful.


  10. Found a tear down:


    This looks to be pretty easy to hack, and even the tear down looks pretty straight forward. Better still, looks like low-brick potential.

  11. hmm why don’t they blend this with something like the chumby hacker board

    better processor, space and a display while able to connect electronics/arduino sheilds or something like that

  12. @Miles

    The o2 joggler seems really nice, but I can’t even visit o2s webshop :( Yanks and Brits can’t hate us Swedes THAT much ey? :/

  13. @Brent
    > It would have been nice if the post explained
    > why this is not a tablet

    1. It’s not flat.
    2. It needs a keyboard.
    3. Needs to be plugged into the wall.

  14. Personally I’d put that money towards an ipad or a touchbook. Touchbook only if they get out of the preorder mode, and I see more reviews.

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