The PineTab2 is a tablet with a Rockchip RK3566 quad-core ARM Cortex-A55 processor, a 10.1 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel touchscreen display, and a detachable keyboard. Unlike most tablets with those kind of specs though, it’s not designed to run Android. Instead it will ship with a custom build of Arch Linux, and users are welcome to flash their own operating systems.

First unveiled late last year, the PineTab2 is also just one of two new tablets from Pine64. The company’s new PineTab-V looks virtually identical on the outside. But under the hood it has a RISC-V processor rather than an ARM-based chip. Unfortunately there’s not much you can actually do with the RISC-V model yet, so the company is positioning it as a device for developers (and maybe for optimistic early adopters). Both tablets are now available for pre-order for $159 and up.

PineTab2

The starting price gets you a tablet with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a detachable keyboard. But you can also pay $50 more to get twice as much memory and storage.

PineTab 2PineTab-V
4GB/64GB$159$159
8GB/128GB$209$209

The tablets are also hacker-friendly, with a modular, user-serviceable design that makes it easy to replace components like the 5MP are and 2MP front-facing cameras, the battery, display, and the USB keyboard connector. Even the eMMC storage is can be replaced since it’s on a removable daughter board.

Other features include USB 3.0 Type-C and USB 2.0 Type-C ports, a micro HDMI port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and microSD card reader.

The PineTab2 will ship with DanctNix Arch Linux featuring the KDE Plasma desktop environment, but Pine64 notes that the operating system is still pretty rough around the edges when it comes to support for the tablet’s hardware. Like most Pine64 devices, the Pine64 is enthusiast-level hardware that could get more useful over time, but only if a community of developers works together on software for the PineTab2.

Still, it’s not exactly going to be a paperweight if you decide to buy one despite lacking any coding skills.

The PineTab V has a black back, while the PineTab2 has a silver-gray back. Otherwise the two tablets look identical.

The PineTab-V, meanwhile, offers an entirely different value proposition at this point, and it’s probably a good idea for non-developers to hold off on buying one for a while.

RISC-V has generated a lot of buzz over the past few years thanks to its open ISA (Instruction Set Architecture) and royalty-free licensing. And those features make it an attractive alternative to most chips from Intel, AMD, or ARM licensees. But RISC-V is still in its infancy and the PineTab-V will ship without an operating system, because there isn’t really any OS that works well with its 1.5 GHz StarFive JH7110 64-bit quad-core RISC-V processor and the tablet’s other hardware yet.

That could (and probably will) change over time, but right now this is a tablet only a developer could love.

via Pine64 blog

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15 replies on “PineTab2 and PineTab-V tablets available for pre-order for $159 and up with a choice of ARM or RISC-V chips”

    1. And what evidence do you have to back up that claim exactly? Considering this hasn’t even shipped out yet, I’d wager none.

  1. I’m excited about the PineTab-V because with some work you could sub in the TI CC1101 as a module and make this a capable pen-testing device as Kali or Parrot come online for RISC-V.

  2. Is that screen attempting to show a white page? Wow, I know it’s cheap but that looks like a really poor display

  3. Can someone explain the board design?

    /____/
    Is its geometry a ram-related thing? If there are no explanations is it an inefficient use of space?

  4. I’ll be interested to see how quickly Google gets ChromeOS running on the PineTabV. They can see which way the wind’s blowing.

    1. Never? Google wouldn’t do that to a third party computer meant to offer the user choice in operating systems. If Google makes ChromeOS image for a RISC-V computer, it’ll be a device sold only with ChromeOS with a locked bootloader.

      1. Well… perhaps not for retail use, but this is a fancy developer device nevertheless.

        It’s also the first RISC-V Chromebook competitor, so every one sold – and later booted upwith a Linux image – puts a small dent in Google’s market share.

        Last December, Google publically recognized that RISC-V was about to enter the consumer electronics market… They know they’ve got to have a response.

    2. Maybe not ChromeOS but RISC-V Android is for sure:
      https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2023/01/google-announces-official-android-support-for-risc-v/

      So it should be possible for the open source community themselves to port to the PineTab-V and other RISC-V boards, either from AOSP or derivatives like LineageOS.
      That would be one reason to get the PineTab-V now is to attempt that task. And who knows, if Google sees demand for Android takes off then ChromeOS may follow.

  5. Already noticed this morning that this was up. I’m giving very serious consideration into the Pinetab-V, however, can anyone with experience chime in on the general build quality of pinetab products? I’ve heard some not-so-good things about them.

    1. The PineTab2 is supposed to be their device with the best, most refined build quality out of all their devices so far, if that helps at all?

  6. I kinda think they should have named the Pinetab-V the Pinetab 2R, or Pinetab 2R5. When spoken aloud, Pinetab-V is presumably pronounced “pinetab five” and that just gets confusing (What happened to pinetabs 3 and 4?).

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