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Entegra Crossfire tablet is like the Project Ara of the business world

Entegra has now revealed its upcoming Crossfire Pro tablet, which offers modular customization at a level that's not quite as deep as Ara, but pretty close.
May 13, 2014

These days the tablet market is largely dominated by Samsung and Apple, though they are far from the only manufacturers fighting for a piece of the pie, with other players including Google (Nexus), LG, Sony, Asus and the list goes on.

Bottom-line, the tablet market is a crowded place and not an easy market to break into if you’re a newcomer to the space. That’s not stopping Entegra Technologies from giving it a try, however, with their upcoming Entegra Crossfire Pro tablet.

The difference between Entegra and most of the brands mentioned above is that this Plano, Texas-based company is putting all of its immediate efforts into attracting government, military and enterprise customers as opposed to traditional consumers. That said, Entegra says that about a year down the road they might also begin targeting everyday consumers.

Entegra’s Crossfire takes a similar approach to Project Ara and brings it to the world of tablets.

Okay, but what makes Entegra so special? Projects like Google’s Ara aim to give us a customizable smartphone platform thanks to the power of interchangeable modules, and Entegra’s Crossfire takes a similar approach and brings it to the world of tablets. While the Crossfire doesn’t seem to offer exactly the same level of customization as Ara, it comes pretty close.

Not only does the Crossfire Pro offer a module expansion port, there’s also I/O modules on the side for changing up the ports. Integra says you’ll be able to add-on joysticks, sensors, extra storage space, bar-code scanners and just about anything you can imagine. At the heart of the tablet, you’ll even find a COM interface (Computer on Module), that can be changed out without buying a new tablet, though by default the tablet will offer a quad-core Intel M-Series N2930 COM. Entegra says its tablets will eventually support AMD and ARM-based processors as well.

Although Entegra is building many of the modules themselves, they also welcome other companies (or even government organizations) to develop their own 3rd party modules.

As for the rest of the tablet’s specs? The Crossfire offers a 9.7-inch daylight-readable display with a 1024×768 resolution that will support touch, glove or stylus input. Other specs include 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, 2MP front cam, 5MP rear cam with flash and autofocus, an ambient light sensor, accelerometer, magnetometer, gyroscope, and compass. There’s also 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi with MiMo, Bluetooth 4.0, LTE, USB 2.0/3.0, mini-HDMI, an SD card and a hot-swappable 33.5Whr Li-ion battery that should get around 6 hours life according to the company.

The Entegra is even ruggedized for use in harsh environments. Of course, the addition of module support and its ruggedized body means it is no lightweight at 2.5 pounds. It is one heck of a beast, though.

Android, Linux and Windows — oh my

If its specs and module expansion weren’t interesting enough, the device will also reportedly be able to dual-boot operating systems with your choice between Windows, Android and Linux.

As you might have guessed, such a tablet doesn’t come cheap. While exact pricing doesn’t seem to be listed, the base tablet is expected to arrive somewhere between $1000 – $2000. That’s a lot for a tablet, though this could be the perfect machine for the enterprise world.

Potential in the consumer market

Entegra might have its eyes on the military, government and business world, but they understand that modular technology and upgradability could appeal to everyday consumers as well and hints that they are weighing there options here. More than likely a consumer model would probably have slightly less beefy specs and would ditch the ruggedization to keep costs down, though that’s really just speculation on our part.

What do you think, like the idea of a tablet that can have its processor package, battery and even ports/accessories swapped out as you see fit? Would you be willing to pay a premium for such a device? If so, how much? Let us know what you think in the comments below.