Back in June, SurfaceInk made a splash for themselves by demonstrating a 12.1-inch Ubuntu-powered tablet, clearly positioned as a possible competitor against the iPad. Seems like that might have been a mistake: as it turns out, Apple was a SurfaceInk client, and let’s just say Cupertino wasn’t too peachy on the idea of doing business with a company in bed with the enemy.
According to SurfaceInk CEO Eric Bauswell, the two companies decided to part waysbecause of “Apple’s growing awareness of our turnkey capabilities.” SurfaceInk won’t say just what they did for Apple, but given the company’s engineering work for companies like Palm and HP, it’s easy to guess that they had some sort of hand in the iPad.
What really irked Apple, though, was SurfaceInk’s 12.1-inch prototype that used a Freescale i.MX51 800MHz Cortex A8 chipset, ready to sell the reference design to any company that wanted their own would-be iPad killer and claiming they could ship such a device out by Q1 2011.
Of course, what might seem like a mistake on SurfaceInk’s part in alienating a lucrative client may very well end up proving extraordinarily lucrative: there are a lot of electronics makers out there who are scrambling to get their pants back up after the iPad proverbially dropped them, unawares. There’s a lot of lucre to be made selling as many of those guys tablets to rebrand as possible.