Linux hardware maker Purism is now taking orders for an 11.5 inch tablet with a 2560 x 1600 pixel AMOLED display, a 6-watt Intel Celeron N5100 quad-core processor, 8GB of LPDDR4 memory, and a 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD.

It’s called the Librem 11, and it’s available for purchase for $999 and the company says orders should ship within 10 days of purchase.

That would be a welcome change from one of the company’s other high-profile Linux devices. Purism began taking pre-orders for the Librem 5 smartphone in 2017, but some customers had to wait years to receive a phone, and many who asked for refunds complained that Purism wouldn’t issue them.

Last week the company finally announced that it’s reached shipping parity for the Librem 5, which means that customers who place an order today should have their phone shipped within two weeks.

When Purism first introduced the Librem 5, it was a $599 phone. Six years later it sells for $1,299, but most of the hardware means unchanged, which makes it a pretty tough sell. But it’s hard to deny that Purism has had a major impact on the Linux smartphone space due to the company’s efforts to flesh out the software ecosystem that makes it possible to run mainstream Linux software on smartphones. And I guess folks willing to pay way more for a phone than its hardware is worth are helping subsidize that software development.

The value proposition of the Librem 11 tablet is a little tougher to figure out. On paper the tablet has a decent display, plenty of storage, and a rich set of features. Every tablet comes with a detachable keyboard and a stylus with 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, tilt support, and magnets to hold the pen to the top of the tablet when you’re not using it.

The keyboard doesn’t require batteries, while the pen has a battery that can be charged with a USB-C cable.

Ports include two USB 3.1 Type-C ports for power, data, and video and a 3.5mm audio jack. And the tablet supports WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5 wireless connectivity. The Librem 11 also has a 5MP rear camera with auto-focus and a 2MP front-facing, fixed-focus camera.

And Purism’s decision to use an Intel processor rather than an ARM-based chip for the tablet means that the company probably had to do much less work to ensure software compatibility with the tablet.

But the Librem 11 will likely be hobbled a bit by the cheap, low-power Intel Celeron N5100 Jasper Lake processor from 2021, and the fact that the 8GB of RAM is soldered to the mainboard and therefore not user upgradeable.

While it makes sense for the company to pick a low-power processor, it would have been nice to see Purism opt for a newer processor based on Intel’s Alder Lake-N architecture.

So is this thing worth $999 when you could pick up a Microsoft Surface Go 3 with similar performance for $400? Maybe?

I mean, Purism’s price does include a pen and keyboard (you have to pay extra for each if you buy a Surface Go 3). And like all of Purism’s PCs and mobile devices, the Librem 11 comes with free and open source software including the PureOS operating system and PureBoot bootloader pre-installed.

But it’s still a kind of tough sell from a company that has a pretty shaky track record on delivering on its promises in a timely fashion at this point.

Oh, and by the way, in case any of this seems familiar, this isn’t Purism’s first attempt at making a tablet. The company launched a crowdfunding campaign for Librem 10 and Librem 11 tablets in 2016, but eventually scrapped those projects before they could ship, and instead shifted its focus to the Librem 5 smartphone.

Meanwhile, folks looking for an alternative to the Librem 5 have a growing number of options in the Linux tablet space, including

The Librem 11 is available for purchase  from the Purism Shop for $999.

via Purism blog

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  1. Yeah, this is a no go. Commodity hardware for a premium price. The Starlite MK V from a few weeks ago is a better value, even if it isn’t shipping yet.

    1. well if it isn’t shipping yet… it’s kind of like Purism

      I would like to see a comeback