CES: Freescale’s Tablet

Freescale, the superconductor manufacturer whose chips are inside many eReaders, including the Kindle, will be showing off its reference design for a $200 tablet computer with a 7″ touch screen that combines the attributes of a smartphone and a notebook at CES this week. eBookNewser had a conversation this morning with Freescale’s marketing director, Glen Burchers, about this tablet design and its impact on eReading.

Burchers told eBookNewser that, according to Freescale’s data, derived in part from the company’s role supplying chips for many eReaders, sales of eReaders exceeded reports: “actual sales were in excess of what people think they were. Speculation was about 3 million unit of sales.,”said Burchers, who said his company believes it was over 25% more than that.

The company’s data also showed that eReaders were being purchased by an older crowd with money and rabid reading habits. They found a younger audience, between 12 and 24 years old, was buying smartphones and was also responsible for much Internet consumption. Burchers imagines a tablet based on Freescale’s design, at a lower pricepoint, will appeal to that audience.

“I’m hoping the apple tablet comes out and sets the standard for this market. They’re going to do a top notch job, but it’s going tobe expensive. That’ll be the premium product for those who can afford it. Others will be able to afford a $199 or $249 device,” said Burchers.

As to how an OEM could keep the price so low–Engadget has already expressed skepticism on this pricepoint for this design–Burchers says a Wifi-only (non 3G) version of this tablet would cost about $140 to manufacture, leaving a wide enough margin for $199 pricepoint. He imagines a 3G version could cost about $249.