Pine64 launched a single-board computer called the Pine A64 last year. It features an Allwinner A64 ARM Cortex-A53 processor and sells for $15 and up.

Now the company has introduced a laptop that uses the same processor and supports just about any Android or Linux-based software that can run on the Pine A64,.

The laptop is called the Pinebook, and there are two options available: an $89 version with an 11.6 inch display or a $99 model with a 14 inch screen.

pinebook

Both models have the same specs, including Allwinner’s quad-core, 64-bit processor, 2GB of RAM. 16GB of eMMC 5.0 storage, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, and Bluetooth.

There are two USB 2.0 ports, a microSD card slot, a mini HDMI port, and a headphone jack.

Both sizes feature 1280 x 720 pixel IPS displays.

Since the Pinebook laptops have the same processor as the Pine A64, you should be able to run any version of Ubuntu, Debian, Adroid or other operating systems tat users have managed to run on the single board computer. A Chromium OS build is also in the works if you want to use the laptop as a sort of DIY Chromebook.

The laptop is said to measure about half an inch thick and weigh about 2.7 pounds, but I’d take those figures with a grain of salt, since there are two sizes for the laptop, but only one set of measurements.

Pine isn’t selling the laptop yet, but you can register to be notified when it goes on sale. While the specs aren’t stellar, the price seems pretty good for a portable, low-power Linux laptop.

via CNX Software

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34 replies on “Pinebook is a Linux laptop with an ARM CPU for $89 and up”

  1. Amazing product! But like other said, it would be good to have a more powerful version. Something like Snapdragon 835, 6 Gb of ram, lots of storage (64 Gb?), and maybe a full-hd screen. This would really be a great laptop for everyday use which can last a few years. The two versions could life together, one for people looking for something cheap the other for people looking at performance (the fact performance are so low halts me from buying one because I know it would be a very limited device).

    Open drivers would be awesome, but I would even be fine with some closed source blob if it works and it’s easy to install on linux.

  2. Two things (from my own wealth of biased opinions):
    * This sounds totally awesome and I’m signed up for the 14″
    * I hate-hate-hate that nobody in ARM-land seems to want to give more than 4 GB. Nowadays, I pretty much consider 4 GB the *minimum* for a system. I’d happily pay extra even for a system with 2 GB, but in a socket that supported up to 16. The extra $2/machine (or whatever) would be totally worth it to me. Hell: charge me *double* — $200 — for a decent 14″ ARM-based Linux laptop with the ability for 16 GB, and I’d strongly, strongly consider it. Get it to $150, and it’s a no-brainer.
    Just sayin’.

  3. Well, this is interesting. It has an Allwinner ARM CPU, and Allwinner is a company that does not give access to source code and violating GPL, and having multiple backdoors. While the laptop is good, the SOC is very bad in this sense.

  4. if they would just have used the Mediatek processor then I could get behind this

    1. Yep, imagine a Helio X30 laptop. That would be an actual powerful laptop.

  5. They should make a stronger model with a dual-A72 + quad-A53 SOC and 4GB of RAM and a 64GB UFS drive. The price could still be kept well below $200 but it would actually be a decent Linux laptop.

    The sub-$100 price is nice and the IPS panel is welcome but I wouldn’t expect very good performance from those weak A53 cores.

      1. They did not do a 1920×1080 version because of the cost.

    1. This is great for emerging markets, but Pine64, or any other manufacturers if you read this. Like Sola, what I really want is a 14″, 4/8GB, Snapdragon 835 or equivalent (and pay the Freedreno guy for an opensource driver if he’ll do it), 32/64GB UFS, 1080p IPS and USB-C device.
      Charge double, triple, quadruple, call it the Pinebook Pro.

  6. Does GPU hardware acceleration even work on that thing? Afaik the VPU and the Mali-400 still require non-free software/blobs and don’t work that well with recent kernels.

    1. The pine64 other than being an utter shipping and logistics nightmare (their kickstarter sold far more product than they could handle and they didnt scale their operation properly) the gpu does have the limitation you are thinking of. Last I checked that is.

  7. I’m into developmental projects in West Africa, and they don’t need pi’s. They have no monitors or consistent power.
    This thing is what I’ve always wanted. A sub 100 euro laptop that just will work. Period.

      1. Doesn’t apply to Ghana. Also, the scope is different – OLPC is to give laptops to children in school, but we are more about giving laptops to programme officers and supervisors, so that we can communicate more effectively and get stuff done. We’d need, like, five or six. Not a couple hundred.

    1. why dont you buy second hand laptop? for about $50 to $75 you can get decent core 2 duo laptop

      1. Second hand pricing in Germany is awful. Anything below €100 is basically going to come with 1GB RAM or less, or have issues. Something decent Core 2 Duo stuff will be 150-300. Insane.
        Also, these have other advantages, like no fans (Ghana is dusty as heck) and these must have really long battery life. That’s usually where older, used laptops completely fail.

  8. The price is great but too many gotchas’ or unknowns right now: battery life? storage space, eMMC, app compatibility, general performance? Access to hardware (removable battery, RAM, etc)? Plug-n-Play distros where everything justWorks(tm)? Is there a default distro shipping with unit (looks like no)?

    I’ll wait for a review to see what I would be willing to compromise. Yes, there will be some (major) compromises on a unit like this, otherwise it might’ve made a decent stocking-stuffer or gift. Still surprises me how often I see either enemic Linux Laptops or overly expensive ones with very little in the middle.

  9. The whole laptop shell is the same supplier as the nexdock (IGG) and Vulcan Venture and many other cheap laptops.

  10. If it decodes H265, then it is a great option. If it doesn’t, then it’s just a good example of what is coming.

    PS I was expecting years ago Nvidia to start producing this kind of laptops with Tegras. Instead they only made shield tablets and totally missed the opportunity.

    1. Why would they ? These have very low margins. The tegras on those tablets are extremely expensive

      1. An Nvidia logo on them and they suddenly get much better profit margins through a higher price.

        Nvidia could take advantage of their GPU strength and create ARM based laptops, or 2in1 that could be at the same time good systems for internet browsing, multimedia playback, work and gaming. Eventually they will do it, if AMD recovers and APUs and integrated Intel GPUs eat more share of the GPU market.

        1. nobody wants arm based laptops there is no software for them. Besides these boards make sense, only because they are so cheap. There have been developer boards for years before the raspberry pi for example and retailed for 500-600$. These where just expensive developer’s tools. Now there are boards for as low as 25$ and everybody goes crazy for them. These things are only relevant as long as they are cheap.

          1. >nobody wants arm based laptops there is no software for them

            Have you heard word of our Lord and Savior, Linux?

            I (and many others) absolutely would love to see a well priced ARM netbook of this type running Linux, a full desktop and the many many ARM compiled applications available. There might be a few proprietary apps that won’t work (Skype, I’m looking at you) but since those are usually owned by asshats who don’t fundamentally understand the *NIX mindset they’ll be surpassed by other options sooner than later.

            Just add a bit more internal storage and make sure the GPU can handle full acceleration for video and codecs and stand back while they start flying off the shelves. Geeks will buy them for themselves, then family members and it will spread from there.

          2. In case you dont remember there have been arm netbooks in the past and they failed. Tbh Im suprised nobody has tried to fit a raspberry pi on a notebook but I think an arm notebook would only serve a niche of peole. Unless google desides to port android on chromebooks so we might see some competition in terms of hardware specs as people will want to run android games o them. Besides its not about the arm apps in general its also about the apps that will run on the particular distro. So seriously I dont understand how do you expect a lot of people to be interested about a machine with such limited capabilities

          3. You mean the EFIKA MX Smartbook?

            With only 512MB of RAM, an 800 mhz processor, and only 16GB of internal storage for $349 (USD) I simply can’t believe that it had a hard time selling. I’m shocked! Shocked I tell you!

            Never mind the missing hardware schematics and documentation …

            And if you’re referring to the Toshiba AC100, that also only had 512MB of RAM and no acceleration of video so what was the point?

          4. I’m talking about a few years ago when netbooks where the new cool thing and some run on arm terribly. Yes it’s better now but I’m not convinced.

  11. I would buy one just to be able to code on the go. Especially if the battery life is long.

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