Linux…on a tablet? It might just work

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Linux device manufacturer Pine64, the company behind the PineTab, a tablet running a custom Linux distribution as alternatives to Apple or Android devices, has announced a new “complete” revision for 2023.

Aimed at hardware prosumers, the next-generation PineTab will be powered by the RK3566 system-on-a-chip (SoC), which the company claims will benefit a tablet due to low power consumption and heat output. It will sport two USB-C ports, a micro HDMI port, a microSD slot, a headphone jack, and two cameras.

The announcement led Pine64’s “December Update” video (opens in new tab) and accompanying blog post (opens in new tab), in which it stated that the original PineTab fell victim to pandemic component shortages, and “other project priorities”, such as its Linux-based smartphone, the PinePhone. 

New PineTab revision

As reported by Ars Technica (opens in new tab), Pine64’s Community Director Lukasz Ereciinski said the RK3566 SoC has a great price/performance ratio and “is genuinely future proof”, as it already powers the company’s QuartzPro64 (opens in new tab) single-board computer. 

He has also claimed that development for the SoC is “booming”, and that it may be a prime candidate for mobile operating systems in the future.

A key draw for those who find that their existing tablets are too much of a closed ecosystem will be the metal enclosure that it comes in, providing easy disassembly via a set of snap tabs for upgrades and repairs.

Like the original device, the PineTab 2 will come with a detachable keyboard, a boon to those looking to save money without buying additional accessories.

Pine64 is yet to announce a price for the device, which will reportedly be available in two configurations offering 8GB RAM / 128GB flash storage or 4GB RAM / 64GB flash.

However, the original PineTab was available (opens in new tab) for around $120 USD, which should provide an idea, and Pine64 expects to announce a price before Chinese New Year, presumably between January and February 2023.

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