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Linux-based PineTab tablet launches at $100, adds M.2 slot

Jun 10, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 3215 views

Pine64 has opened $100 preorders for its open-spec, 10.1-inch PineTab tablet with optional $20 keyboard. The tablet runs Ubuntu Touch on an Allwinner A64 with 2GB RAM, 64GB eMMC, mini-HDMI, 2x USB, dual cams, and an M.2 slot.

The PineTab tablet that Pine64 announced in Feb. 2019 as part of an ambitious roadmap of open source Linux products, has finally reached preorder, with shipments due in at the end of July. As Pine64 had promised in a May 15 blog post, the tablet sells for $100 or $120 for the laptop-like version with the magnetically attached keyboard and trackpad. Shipping, however, costs $28 so the final price would be $128 or $148.



PineTab with keyboard option (left) and shopping page showing both keyboard and tablet models
(click images to enlarge)

The PineTab is being sold as a limited-quantity pilot-production product aimed at early adopters. There may be some flaws such as dead pixels, cautions Pine64.

The PineTab is essentially a slightly smaller, touchscreen-enabled version of the first-gen Pinebook, but with the keyboard optional instead of built-in. Like that model, which has been superseded by the Rockchip RK3399 based, $199 and up PineBook Pro laptop, the PineTab runs Linux on a quad-core, Cortex-A53 Allwinner A64 with a Mali 400 MP2 GPU. The Allwinner A64 also powers the PinePhone and Pine64’s flagship PineA64 SBC.



PineTab with keyboard closed (left) and internal view showing LTE module installed in M.2 adapter
(click images to enlarge)

Since the long-delayed PineTab was originally announced, Pine64 has added a mini-HDMI port and an M.2 slot that supports an optional SSD or LTE/GPS module. A user-accessible M.2 adapter board will allow you to mount both modules at once, but with only one available at a time. There are also plans to provide LoRa and RTL-SDR add-on options.


PineTab’s M.2 adapter board
(click image to enlarge)

The 10.1-inch IPS touchscreen is limited to 720p (1280 x 800) resolution. The PineTab is further equipped with 2GB LPDDR3, 64GB eMMC, a microSD slot, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0 host, micro-USB 2.0 OTG, and an audio I/O jack. You also get a speaker, mic, volume rocker, home button, and dual cameras: a 2-megapixel cam on the front and 5MP on the back.

The PineTab has a 5V/2A DC input jack that charges the 6000 mAh battery. The optional detachable keyboard, which folds up to act as a protective case, supplies a full function row, FN key functionality, and a meta key. There is also an integrated touchpad. The tablet-only version has a plastic case that measures 260 x 175 x 11mm and weighs 575 grams.

The PineTab ships with Ubuntu Touch, which the UBports project forked after Canonical abandoned its touchscreen OS along with its mobile/desktop convergence plans. Ubuntu Touch “works well for a traditional tablet use-case and, at the same time, converts into a more traditional desktop experience when the magnetic keyboard is attached,” says Pine64, which calls the transition “seamless” and “magical.”

Images are also available for postmarketOS and Arch Linux ARM. “Software-wise the PineTab is convergent with both PinePhone and Pinebook software releases,” says Pine64. Currently, however, there are still relatively few touchscreen-enabled apps available.


MNT Reform

As noted by the CNXSoft post that alerted us to the story, the PineTab is one of the slower tablets on the market, but it is also one of the few that runs Linux. With the keyboard option, it is one of the most affordable 10-inch or larger Linux laptops you can find. By comparison, the similarly Linux-based, open source hardware MNT Reform started at $999 in MNT Research’s successful Crowd Supply campaign. Due to ship in December, the MNT Reform is based on a Boundary Devices Nitrogen8M SOM with an NXP i.MX8M Quad. You also get a 12.5-inch HD display and NVMe support.

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The HardRock64 SBC and SoEdge AI module that Pine64 announced in February did not make their projected April and May ship dates, respectively. The roughly $35 and up HardRock64 SBC is a variant of its RK3399-based RockPro64 SBC that omits the PCIe and USB Type-C port. The approximately $30 SoEdge AI module will feature a dual-core, Cortex-A35 RK1808 equipped with a 3-TOPS NPU.




Ubuntu Touch on the PineTab

 
Further information

The early edition version of the PineTab is available now for $100 or $120 with the keyboard plus $28 in shipping. More information may be found on Pine64’s shopping page and wiki, which is still under development and so far lacks open source files such as schematics. AmeriDroid has a coming soon shopping page with a preliminary $109.95 price and a signup for a PineTab giveaway contest

 

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One response to “Linux-based PineTab tablet launches at $100, adds M.2 slot”

  1. pdxweb says:

    2GB RAM?

    No.

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