It’s been more than a year since KDE developer Aaron Seigo announced plans to build a tablet designed to run open Mer Linux and the KDE Plasma Active environment. The Vivaldi tablet project’s hit a few speed bumps since then, but this week the team has a mostly working prototype.
The latest model is based on the EOMA-68 computer module from Rhombus Tech. That means that if and when the tablet ships, you’ll be able to remove a single card with the processor, memory and storage and swap in a new card to upgrade the tablet without replacing the screen, display, or other components.
Right now the Rhombus Tech team is working on a card featuring an Allwinner A10 ARM Cortex-A8 single core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 4GB of storage. But Aaron Seigo says the goal is to use a more powerful dual-core version in the upcoming tablet, which is currently code-named “Flying Squirrel.”
It’ll probably be an ARM Cortex-A7 chip like the Allwinner A20.
While there’s no official launch date or price for the tablet yet, the founder of the Rhombus Tech initiative has posted a video showing Debian 7.0 running on an EOMA-68 card with an Allwinner A10 chip. It’s not a super-speedy device, but it’s capable of driving basic desktop Linux software including the Midori web browser.
He also hinted that the Flying Squirrel currently sports a 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel IPS display (the same screen used in the original Amazon Kindle Fire), although the specs could change by the time the tablet is ready to ship.
Other devices that could eventually feature Rhombus Tech’s EOMA-68 cards including a handheld gaming console and modular notebook.
Unfortunately they are ignoring experiences by others in the open hardware community. There is e.g. a working protoype of the Letux 7004 tablet using a GTA04 board as a (potentially swappable) module that was shown at LinuxTag. Almost the same specs. Also running Debian. With a more powerful but still quite old CPU (DM3730). And too expensive in production to be competitive to anything else in the world. Higher production cost is the achilles heel of all open-hardware projects I have ever seen. Swapping the full device (from China) is cheaper than swapping an EOMA board and keeping the display. And usually gives a more balanced system. So the approach of swappable modules is IMHO already flawed. Nice for academia and doing something non-mainstream. Nice to learn something (others already know). But will not influence the world.
This guy is a smart cookie. From one tech nerd to another – awesomeness!
I think that it’s projects like these that lead to technological innovation even if they don’t always result in commercial success.
It’s just another ‘textbook’ implementation of the Allwinner A10. Similar boards were released a year ago(cubieboard et al).
IMO, they should be innovating by using more powerful chips whose dev boards are not available yet.
the a20 is pin compatible, so they should be able to upgrade without much fuss…
yeppp project ara
They need to use a higher res screen or they’ll scupper themselves: who’ll want to upgrade a 1024×600 device in a year’s time?
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