Year of the Tablet Update: The iPad Isn’t the Only Tablet Coming to AT&T

Just to prove that everyone and your mom will be coming out with a tablet this year, AT&T announced that they’ll be bringing the OpenTablet 7 to their network sometime this year.

OpenTablet 7


The OpenTablet 7, made by little-known company OpenPeak, is a 7-inch touchscreen tablet running on the Intel Atom processor about which not all that much is actually known. We know it’s fairly thin, at 0.59-inches (Apple‘s iPad is 0.5-inches), we know it has a 7-inch capacitive multitouch screen, we know it has Wi-Fi, 3G, and Bluetooth connectivity (and it can make calls), and we know it has HDMI-out, USB, and a microSD slot. So the hardware is pretty well-known–but with a giant slab of screen like a tablet, the hardware is often (as the iPad proves) the least important part of the equation.

The hardware is at least as good as the iPad–it has far more connectivity options (that microSD slot and HDMI-out are especially welcome) and a 7-inch tablet might be more convenient for some people. But the Intel Atom processor could be a killer–while it’s much more powerful than the iPad’s custom Apple A8 chip, it’s also far more demanding on battery life, so the OpenTablet’s lifespan might be significantly less. But what about the software?

In short, we have no idea. It’s not running on any OS I recognize–certainly not iPhone, Android, or any version of Windows I’ve seen before. I suspect it’s some kind of custom Linux OS; it looks a teeny bit like Moblin, filtered through the iPhone OS. But that’s inherently problematic: without an established OS, the OpenTablet might be taking on more than it can handle. It’s going to have to set up some way of distributing apps, some way to encourage development, and it may have to create from scratch all the essential software a tablet user needs. That’s a hell of a challenge.

And since the OpenTablet 7 will be on AT&T, it won’t enjoy the “Droid effect” of being the competitor of a buzzed-about Apple product on a network where its competition isn’t available. Instead, it’s going head to head with the iPad–a suicide mission, if you ask me. It’s a very curious little product, all in all; we see this kind of thing at electronics conventions all the time, and hardly any of them get picked up for wide distribution. The OpenTablet 7 has a chance to make a name for itself–but it’ll have to climb a mountain to do it.

The OpenTablet 7 will be available “later this year” for an undetermined price on AT&T.

About the author

Dan Nosowitz is a freelance writer and editor who has written for Popular Science, The Awl, Gizmodo, Fast Company, BuzzFeed, and elsewhere. He holds an undergraduate degree from McGill University and currently lives in Brooklyn, because he has a beard and glasses and that's the law.