The Sipeed Lichee Pad 4A is a tablet with a 10.1 inch, 1920 x 1200 pixel LCD display, 16GB of LPDDR4X RAM, and 128GB of eMMC storage.
It’s also one of a very few tablets announced so far that’s powered by a RISC-V processor. Sipeed hasn’t announced pricing yet, but the company is taking reservations now from folks willing to put down a $10 (or ￥50) deposit for a $20 (￥100) discount when the tablet goes on sale.
The tablet is part of Sipeed’s growing ecosystem of products that can be powered by a LM4A compute module. That’s a little card that looks like a stick of RAM, but which has its own processor, memory, storage, and other components.
The compute module features an Alibaba TH1520 chip with:
- 4 x Xuantie C910 CPU cores @ 2.5 GHz
- Imagination BXM-4-64 GPU
- NPU with up to 4 TOPS AI performance
Sipeed says the Lichee Pad 4A will support Android 13 and Debian Linux, but keep in mind that it’s still early days when it comes to Android and Linux development for RISC-V architecture, so some apps or features may not work perfectly at launch, and it’s unclear what kind of performance you should expect, but Sipeed has released a short video showing that it can already run some simple Android apps and games.
Like most of Sipeed’s RISC-V products at this point, the Lichee Pad 4A is probably best thought of as a device for developers, hackers, and enthusiasts. If you want something that “just works,” you’re probably going to be better served by a tablet with an ARM or x86_64 processor. But getting devices like the Lichee Pad 4A and PineTab-V into the hands of developers could be an important step in making RISC-V tablets viable alternatives in the future.
And the fact that the Lichee Pad 4A is basically a shell for the LM4A compute module means that it’s at least theoretically possible that if Sipeed offers higher-performance compute modules in the future, you may be able to upgrade the tablet’s processor, memory, and storage without buying a new display, case, and other components.
While the LM4A module and its TH1520 processor are probably the most interesting thing about this tablet, other specs include:
- 1 x USB Type-C port
- 2 x USB 3.0 Type-A ports
- 1 x microSD card raeder
- 1 x mini HDMI port
- 1 x 3.5mm audio jack
- 1 x M.2 slot for solid state storage
- 1 x SIM card slot (optional support for a 4G LTE module)
- 8,000 mAh battery
- 5MP front and rear cameras
- WiFi 6 and Bluetooth support
- Aluminum alloy case
The Lichee Pad 4A measures 240 x 150 x 10mm (9.4″ x 5.9″ x 0.4″).