Tablets are nifty, but for the most part, they're built to be walled gardens; Apple is notorious for its heavy-handed curation, Microsoft plans on keeping Windows 8's Metro-style apps close to the chest, and the hot-selling Kindle Fire is a deeply tweaked and thoroughly managed variant of Android. One Linux developer hopes to make things more customizable with Spark, a Mer/KDE Plasma Active-powered tablet that's fully unlocked and open for tinkering.
Ars Technica pointed us towards the blog of Aaron Seigo, the brains behind the Spark. Seigo claims the €200 tablet (that's around $260 USD) packs " 1GHz AMLogic ARM processor, Mali-400 GPU, 512 MB RAM, 4GB internal storage plus SD card slot, a 7" capacitive multi-touch screen and wifi connectivity." The touchscreen-friendly Plasma Active UI is built on top of Mer, a community-created fork of the MeeGo Linux platform.
Siego hopes the Spark will, well, spark adoption of more open practices on the mobile front. Even the content store will be free, open, and available for tweaking.
"On release, the client will be Free software and the APIs openly documented so others can write front-ends," Seigo writes in another blog post. "Most interestingly, however, is the server side. It has been designed in such a way that other people with other devices or concepts can use that same back end to make their own stores. It supports the idea of a single, large set of content which can then be curated into any number of different stores with different focuses and delivery targets."
Interested? Keep an eye on Seigo's blog. He promises to nail down answers about launch dates, purchasing/delivery methods, and details about hardware, software and other specific questions in the days to come. Hopefully this project bears fruit. Delicious, open, mobile fruit.