PengPod raises more than $50,000, plans to ship Linux powered tablets soon

PengPod plans to start shipping 7 and 10 inch tablets with support for Linux as well as Google Android in January. The company, founded by Neal Peacock, has been raising money to help support software development for the tablets — and Peacock just wrote in to let us know the project has surpassed its initial $49,000 fundraising goal.

PengPod

In other words, the campaign will be fully funded and backers that pledged $120 or more should get their tablets starting in January if all goes according to plan.

The PengPod 700 and PengPod 1000 tablets are both powered by Allwinner A10 ARM Cortex-A8 processors. That’s the same chip found in the MK802 Android mini PC, and we already know how simple it is to get Ubuntu, Fedora, or other Linux-based operating systems up and running on that hardware.

Peacock has been raising money to help develop software that fully supports the hardware though, with working cameras, motion sensors, and other features.

Theoretically the tablets can boot Linux either from internal storage or from a removable microSD card, but the initial plan is to ship the tablets loaded with Android and make a custom Linux operating system available for use from a storage card for those that want to dual boot.

While the Allwinner A10 is an interesting choice because of its proven track record playing well with GNU/Linux software, these tablets are kind of underwhelming from a hardware perspective. ARM Cortex-A8 chips were state of the art maybe 2-3 years ago, but they’re kind of sluggish compared to the latest smartphone and tablet processors.

The tablets also feature low resolution displays, with the 7 inch model featuring an 800 x 480 pixel screen and the 10 inch model sporting 1024 x 600 pixels.

Clearly, these aren’t tablets aimed at hardware fetishists. Instead, they’re designed for folks that would rather run a fully functional (and customizable) Linux-based operating system on a tablet, with support for desktop and tablet apps than run a mobile OS like Android or iOS.

Peacock has also made some progress getting the XBMC and VLC media players, as well as a range of desktop environments including Plasma Active, Lxde, and Xfce up and running on the tablet. You can check out some of his videos below and find the rest at YouTube.

  • ojdon

    That looks incredibly frustrating using a desktop interface on a tablet. When I had my x86 tablet, Gnome-Shell was the best interface but the lack of a decent Virtual Keyboard made the experience unbearable. The built in one was far too small to type fast on and you couldn’t hold down keys to repeat it’s action, for example, when pressing backspace.

    Onboard was better however, but didn’t “pop-up” the majority of the time especially when trying to enter inside text fields on Google Chrome, etc.

  • Marty

    I love it! One of the reasons I haven’t gotten excited about Tablets is because of how closed off they are. I love to tinker, this is for me. IDK if it can’t play the latest 3D games or doesn’t have dual high def cameras. Specs be damned, when I buy a device I expect to own it not lease it!

    If this venture proves successful like the Raspberry Pi I’m sure we’ll see higher spec’d models in the future.

  • Carlos Vargas

    I like the AllWinner A10 processors despite being outdated in comparison to what’s out there now, personally having the kernel as open as it is now it’s great, and I can’t wait for the Lima Project to get up to speed so we’ll finally see an accelerated 3D & 2D platform.

  • nex

    I hope they have one based on the quad-core Freescale i.MX6 on the backburner

  • http://metin2wiki.ru CSRedRat

    Nice tablets!

  • Rocker

    Allwinner have now announced the more powerful A20 featuring a Dual-Core Cortex-A7 ARM CPU architecture and Mali400 MP2 GPU, and most interestingly the A20 is pin-compatible with its predecessor single-core A10, that means it could greatly simplify the product development process and allows faster time to market. Besides, when compared with A10, the A20 is also superior in its ultra-low power consumption, which is great for tablets such as these.

  • jamesthequack