KDE's "Spark" Tablet Promises a Truly Open Future

If the near domination of Linux at CES 2012 wasn't good enough news for you, this little tablet from KDE is definitely going to make you happy. Out of the blue, lead KDE hacker Aaron Seigo announced to the world the imminent launch of Spark tablet running KDE's brand new Plasma Active desktop environment. Its name is "Spark", in recognition of it being the start to an even bigger flame, adds Aaron Seigo in his blog post

KDE Spark tablet

KDE's 7" Spark Tablet Running Plasma Active
This is a bold new initiative by KDE community. Spark tablet will sport a seven-inch display (capacitive multi-touch) and will be powered by 1GHz AMLogic ARM processor, Mali-400 GPU and 512MB of RAM. Spark tablet will also have a modest but practical 4GB of internal storage space and an expandable SD card slot. Specs are modest at best, but what makes this tablet a true stand-out from the rest is its Plasma Active user interface.

KDE's Plasma desktop environment debuted for the first time when KDE 4.0 was officially launched nearly 4 years ago. Plasma Active is a variant of the original Plasma desktop environment, designed with touchscreen devices in mind. Plasma Active Two is the latest iteration of Plasma Active desktop environment and as you can see, it already looks quite interesting. Even if it looks somewhat complicated and over-functional at the moment, one can't deny the fact that this is a truly promising start.

But that is not all. What makes Spark tablet even more interesting is the fact that, it might just be the truly open tablet device we all have been waiting for. Yes, Android is Open Source, no question about that. But unlike Android, Plasma Active is the result of a passionate group of developers at KDE who constantly look for feedback from the community to improve. Plasma Active is primarily a collaborative venture and it will remain so in the foreseeable future.

"This is more than just another piece of hardware on the market, though. 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. We are not waiting for some big company to give us what we desire, we're going out there and making it happen together." That pretty much sums it up for you. Retail price of Spark tablet will be €200 which is about US$262.