$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.

Comments

  1. tantris says:

    It would make a nice wall panel for home automation, media control, etc.

  2. zerth says:

    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.

  3. Brent says:

    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.

  4. Reggie says:

    @ 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?

  5. Drake says:

    @Brent

    If the transformers output is DC then there is no reason why you cant strap a battery to it, unless your worried about those damn aesthetics.

  6. Drake says:

    @Reggie you clicked submit before me!

    @zerth
    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

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

  7. yorak says:

    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.

  8. jay says:

    Also for automotive apps- this could be a nice display for info – digital gauge set?

  9. Matt says:
  10. zerth says:

    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.

  11. GZ says:

    This looks like a great candidate for Debian. Can anyone point to a starting point? Details of how it boots or anything like that?

  12. yosh says:

    Hmmm.. Now I need to find a source that will ship one of these to Sweden

  13. zerth says:

    @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.

  14. Miles says:

    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

  15. davo1111 says:

    so it has a cf card slot, and 2 usb’s, looks great for hacking. Interesting design though, limits it to a desk though :/

  16. st2000 says:

    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.

    -thanks

  17. GZ says:

    Found a tear down:

    P1000320

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

  18. zool says:

    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

  19. yosh says:

    @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? :/

  20. DrAltaica says:

    @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.

  21. PhilTools says:

    This is similar to the Joggler – http://www.joggler.info/forum/

    Except the joggler has 1ghz processor and I think just 1GB of RAM. They already have a regular ubuntu dist. running on the joggler.

  22. GrizzlyAdams says:

    I’m actually working on putting one in my car with a custom flash ui. Pics @ http://picasaweb.google.com/grizzlytwi/DropBox
    and a horrible excuse for a buildlog over at caliberforumz. and yes theres some didj/leapfrog stuff in my dropbox too.

  23. matt says:

    wayyyyy too much work. for less you can get an actual android tablet. why bother with what appears to be a digital picture frame?

  24. PhilTools says:

    @matt: Cos.. it’s not a digitel picture frame?

  25. yosh says:

    I want some touch device for my entrance @ home, for some basic home automation and stuff :/

  26. MORA says:

    So… where do we get a juggler outside UK ?

  27. Vince says:

    WANT!

  28. Drake says:

    Does anyone know where you can buy a joggler new though? Website just says no product available.

  29. Fallin says:

    @matt sounds great, got a link? :/

  30. D_ says:

    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.

  31. BenJ says:

    Damn, can’t find one on Ebay.ca

    The Chumby still isn’t sold in Canada, I doubt this device will.

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