Mystery T-swivel device is really Compal Tabasco MID

Compal_tabasco_midRemember that unknown T-swivel device I showed you last week? The one that all the smartphone sites swooped in on and cautiously identified as the Palm Roteo? Well, it’s not unknown anymore and contrary to what its Treo keyboard has led many to believe, it’s probably not the Roteo either.

I tracked down the fellow (hi, David!) who actually snapped the picture that has appeared on countless sites and asked for more details. He came through not only with as much information as he had, but also with a set of new pictures.

With that, let me introduce you to the Compal Tabasco (yes, tabasco) MID prototype. As the original image properties suggested, the swiveling handheld with the 4.5- to 5-inch touchscreen was on display at Computex 2008 in June.


The non-working unit had a 3.2-megapixel rear camera with 2x optical zoom and flash, front-facing webcam, and laptop-style touchpad flanked by mouse buttons. It was estimated to measure about 6.3 x 3.3 x 1.3-1.4 inches, which certainly nudges it closer to the MID side of the fence. There’s still a chance that this could become the Roteo (remember the rumor about Palm placing a huge order with Compal?), of course, but I don’t think Palm is looking to battle the HTC Advantage for the Monstrous Smartphone title.


See more pictures at BlogTimes.

Though the Tabasco’s identity and some preliminary specs have been revealed, there are still a lot of unknowns to figure out. In addition to determining whether the MID is even on track for release (it may just be a prototype to show off at conventions, after all), the device’s CPU, operating system, and internal storage are all still questions that need answers.


One thing worth mentioning here is something I came across last month called the Compal KAX12 Mobile Internet Device. The Compal JAX10, you may remember, is the hardware now being sold as the Aigo P8860, Gigabyte M528, SFR M! PC Pocket, and Itelco IDOL, so it’s safe to assume that the KAX12 is either its successor or at least part of the same family of devices.

In any case, the KAX12 page I found indicates that the MID will be shown at CES next month by a Chinese company named Marasst. I contacted Marasst several weeks ago to request more information and received this message in return:

We will not carry COMPAL MID project any more. If you have any request about it, please contact COMPAL related departments directly.

Whether the Compal Tabasco is actually the KAX12 is anyone’s guess, but I have serious doubts that there are two new MIDs kicking around the Compal office that no one on the internet has found.

Thanks, David!

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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