Most tablets on the market either run Android or Windows, and while some have tried to launch Linux tablets, none of the products have really caught on, although the upcoming PINETAB might change that.
Another option might be Ntablet 7″ tablet that runs either Android, Debian or WebOS Linux operating systems, but also offers some innovative features such as a replaceable Rockchip RK3288 CPU module, and an external GPIO board for makers.
Ntablet hardware specifications:
- SoC – Rockchip RK3288 quad-core Cortex-A17 processor @ 1.8 GHz with Mali-T760 quad-core GPU
- System Memory – 2GB LPDDR3
- Storage – 16GB eMMC flash, MicroSD card slot up to 32GB
- Display – 7″ touchscreen IPS display with 1920×1200 resolution
- Video Output – Micro HDMI port
- Audio – 3.5mm headphone jack
- Camera – 5MP front-facing camera (OV5648 sensor)
- Connectivity – 802.11b/g/n/ac WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.0 via Ampak AP6255 module
- USB – 1x USB 2.0 port, 1x micro USB OTG port
- Expansion – 20-pin GPIO board connected via flat cable with I2C, 2x UART, SPI, PWN, ADC, 5V, 3.3V and GND signals programmable using WiringNT library
- Debugging – Wireless serial port via the charging dock
- Battery – 4,800mAh/3.8V battery
- Power Supply – 5V/2A via micro USB port
The main use case the company sees for the replaceable module is to easily switch between operating systems by swapping modules. It’s unclear whether they plan to provide modules with different processors, memory and/or storage capacities in the future.
The charging dock can also provide wireless serial function to access the serial console in the tablet. The dock can be configured in station or access point mode, and I suspect it’s likely based on ESP8266 WiFi SoC.
You’ll find documentation, video tutorial, and download link for the tablet’s operating systems, and the dock’s firmware on Yeacreate website. You’ll find the source code for the tablet and more docs on Github. The dock firmware / Arduino sketch does not seem to have been released (TBC).
The project launched on Kickstarter last November and raised $17,194 CAD (~$13,000 US). The crowdfunding campaign is now over with Ntablet expected to ship in March. Rewards started at $299 CAD ($226 US) for a kit with the tablet, one GPIO board, the charging dock, and a user manual. They also sold bundles with up to two GPIO boards, an extra CPU module (aka Core board), and a sensor kit comprised of apparently off-the-shelf “Arduino” modules. The Kickstarter price is supposed to be 50% off the retail price, but ~$450 for such a product seems quite steep.
Via Open Electronics
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.
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