I’m posting about this Android-based tablet for a few reasons. One, I want it, and as it’s crowd-funded, my chances of getting one are helped if you want it, too.
Second, I figure that if you love your iPad as much as I love mine, then you might miss it when you get all outdoorsy and go camping/hiking/biking.
And third? It’s just awesome: the Backcountry Tablet is an e-ink, solar-powered iPad. With GPS. What’s not to like? It’s even cheap, at $250.
This isn’t some shitty Galaxy Tab with an e-ink screen slapped on the front. The folks at Earl have really thought about what you’ll need on a trip, and what the limits are on your hardware.In fact, Android only seems to be in there as a quick way to make a portable computer. It’s actually more like a map-specific e-reader with a built-in weather station.
The e-ink screen is six inches with a resolution of 1024×768, and has a light for using at night. The battery lasts 20 hours, and can charge in as little as five hours thanks to the built-in solar panel on the back.
Radio-wise, it has everything. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, along with actual radios for both listening and talking. It’s also waterproof and dustproof, contains atmospheric sensors (barometer, thermometer), GPS and GLONASS radios and a bunch of topographical maps loaded via microSD card.
And that’s far from all – the full specs are listed below.
• Flexible 6″ E-ink screen (1024×768)
• Sunlight viewable with lunar lantern mode
• Glove friendly IR touchscreen
• Waterproof shell
• Solar charging
• i.MX 6 DualLight 1GHz Cortex A9
• 1GB ram
• 16GB memory + microSD
• Wifi b/g/n, BT 4.0, ANT+,NFC, FRS/GMRS/MURS, GPS + GLONASS
• Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer, Temperature, Barometer, Humidity, Anemometer
• IR blaster
• 20+ hour battery
• 20″ usb lanyard
• 303 grams (10.8 oz) • 183mm x 121mm x 15mm (7.2″ x 4.75″ x 0.6″)
I have actually been hankering after something similar for a while. The iPad mini is a great travel companion, as long as you’re indoors. Using it for navigation on bike/hike trips is impractical, and I’m always worried about cracking the screen.
The Backcountry tablet, on the other hand, seems amazing if true. I’m going to try to get hold of one to review. If not, I guess I’ll have to just buy one…