Rhombus Tech 15.6″ Libre Laptop is User-Upgradeable with EOMA68 CPU Cards

When the first Raspberry Pi model launched, there was just not enough boards to fill the demand, and as people kept waiting they were also investigating alternatives, and a growing community worked on Allwinner based platforms. At the time (2012), the main hardware project  was EOMA68 CPU card using a PCMCIA connector, with ended up inside Improv development board, and aimed at providing user replaceable and upgradeable CPU cards. Sadly the initiative got some issues, and things did not quite work out as expected, but the person who launched the whole project, Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton (LKCL), did not give up on the idea, and has kept on working on EOMA68 standard with CPU cards from Allwinner and other SoC vendors. Recently, he’s been working on a Libre Laptop based on an Allwinner A20 EOMA68 CPU module, and will showcase the prototype at FOSDEM 2016 in Brussels this coming week-end.

Partially Assembled Libre Laptop
Partially Assembled Libre Laptop

Key (preliminary) hardware features of the laptop:

  • User-upgradeable EOMA68 CPU Card (currently based on Allwinner A20)
  • Storage – microSD card slot
  • Display
    • 15.6″ 1366×768 LCD
    • 4.3″ capacitive touch panel with backlit LCD used as a trackpad
  • Keyboard – Full-sized Chicony OEM keyboard with number pad
  • USB – 1x external full-sized USB Port, 2x internal full-sized USB Ports (for WiFi, 3G, Bluetooth, Storage…)
  • Battery – 10000mAh battery providing 6 to 8 hours of battery power (For some reasons, that’s an e-Bike battery)

The Libre laptop will run (mostly) open source software, hence the name, and the prototype has already been shown to boot Linux. If you want to learn more about the design, Luke go through some of the 25 3D printed pieces required, and explains some of the issues he had to solve in the video below. The laptop panels will be made of Bamboo apparently…

You can follow the progress of the project on Rhombus Tech Laptop 15″ news page, as well as on ARM Netbooks mailing list.

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