Pine64 is a technology company behind many Linux and ARM projects, such as the Linux-powered PinePhone. Today the group revealed a new tablet with desktop Linux: the PineTab2.
This isn’t Pine64’s first foray into the tablet market. The original PineTab was released in early 2020 at an affordable $99+ price point, and received mixed reviews from buyers, mostly related to software issues with the various Linux distributions available. Unfortunately, the company struggled to keep it in stock among the various COVID-induced supply chain problems. Pine64 said in a blog post, “by the time production of the PineTab became viable again we felt that the original design could and indeed should be improved on.”
Pine64 went back to the drawing board, and created an updated model, dubbed the PineTab2. It’s still an ARM-powered laptop with a detachable keyboard, built with easy repairs and open software in mind, but nearly everything has been upgraded. It will use a newer Rockchip RK3566 SoC, with a quad-core Cortex-A55 processor, a Mali-G52 M2 CPU, and support for up to 8 GB RAM. Pine64 says the Linux kernel now supports “nearly all core functionality of the chipset.”
The PineTab2 will have a metal chassis, designed to be opened easily for repairs and modifications. Pine64 said, “most parts are easy to reach and replace in a matter of minutes — the camera modules, the daughter-board, the battery and USB keyboard connector can all be replaced in under 5 minutes.” The screen will be a 10.1-inch IPS display, and along the side will be two USB Type-C ports (one USB 3.0, the other for charging with USB 2.0), a headphone jack, microSD card slot, and micro HDMI. There’s also a 2 MP camera on the front and 5 MP lens on the back, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth will be available. The keyboard case will be included with all models.
Pine64 noted that the final specs may change, and there’s no firm release date for pricing yet. The company said, “we’re currently hoping to bring the PineTab2 to the market sometime after the Chinese New Year, but it is too early to offer a firm date yet. A price point for either of the variants hasn’t been settled on yet either but I can promise that it will be affordable regardless of which version you’ll settle on.”
The original PineTab started at $99, so if Pine64 can reach a similar price with the upgraded hardware and design, it could be a promising tablet for anyone interested in a more open software experience or tinkering with hardware. The PinePhone and PinePhone Pro have slowly turned into some of the best mobile devices running standard Linux, thanks to a large community of software developers, so the PineTab2 has a solid chance at success.