Turning the Insignia Infocast net appliance into a tablet

ChumbyWithKeyboard Here’s a bit of an unusual tablet hack: someone’s figured out how to turn the Insignia Infocast Internet appliance into an 8” media tablet. The device, originally intended as a Chumby app viewer, has a number of apps already (such as Pandora or the NY Times podcast) but some users have ported a Webkit-based user-interface framework to it.

The $170 device already had an 800 MHz processor, 2 GB onboard memory, and a touchscreen, plus wifi connectivity and two USB 2.0 ports, and runs Chumby Linux 2.6.

“While it’s marketed as a device for viewing Chumby apps and sharing photos, as far as the DIY crowd is concerned, the Infocast is a $170, 800-MHz Linux machine,” says Chumby co-founder Bunnie Huang on his blog.

Of course, it does still have to be plugged into the wall socket—at least until some enterprising DIYer comes up with a tape-on battery pack.

I’m not sure how good this would be for reading e-books—the resolution isn’t mentioned, it’s LCD, and it has to stay plugged in—and I’m not sure how adding Webkit necessarily makes it any more of a “tablet” than it was already. Still, it’s interesting to see how people can do things with these devices that the creators didn’t necessarily intend.

About Chris Meadows (4158 Articles)
TeleRead Editor Chris Meadows has been writing for us--except for a brief interruption--since 2006. Son of two librarians, he has worked on a third-party help line for Best Buy and holds degrees in computer science and communications. He clearly personifies TeleRead's motto: "For geeks who love books--and book-lovers who love gadgets." Chris lives in Indianapolis and is active in the gamer community.

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