There are plenty of Linux-based laptops available. Also, several mini-PCs preloaded with Linux.
Not to forget, a few Linux-based smartphones are also present in the market.
How about tablets? Are there some good Linux-based tablets?
The answer is not straightforward.
Many Linux-only system manufacturers focus on creating desktop computers. This is primarily because the Linux experience on touch devices is nowhere close to what Android and iOS provide.
Does this mean you cannot use Linux on a tablet? Not really.
There are a few options available for the early adapters and DIY tinkerers. Let’s see what options we have in the name of Linux tablets.
Juno computers is one of the well-known manufacturers of Linux-only machines.
One of their offerings includes the Juno tablet (beta), which features an Intel quad-core Celeron processor with 10.1-inch FHD IPS touchscreen display, 8GB RAM, and 256 GB SSD.
The price for the tablet starts at $429.
This is not a gadget but an operating system.
But this does give you the option to install a touch-friendly version of Ubuntu on some old Android tablets.
Mind the word ‘some’. Officially, Ubuntu Touch supports limited devices but there are a lot of options if you check the list. You may even try to install Ubuntu Touch on some other tablet of yours. It may not work 100% but it could still be pretty much useable.
Ubuntu Touch was a project by the Ubuntu team, but they discontinued it in 2017. UBports is now responsible for the project, and they are doing an excellent job at it with their limited resources.
If you have an experimental temperament and want to give another life to your old Android tablet, Ubuntu Touch could be your weekend project.
Pine64 started with its single-board computer Pine A64 as a Raspberry Pi alternative. It launched several Pine-branded products over time. The list includes a low cost PineTime smartwatch, Pinebook laptop, PinePhone smartphone, and PineTab tablet.
These Pine devices are often inexpensive and allow the user full control on the gadget. This tinkering attitude has helped it gathered a huge fan following of open-source DIY enthusiasts.
The PineTab uses the same component as the Pine64 single-board computers with a touchscreen and keyboard. It’s not the prettiest looking gadget out there, but then, it does not intend to be one.
The specifications are basic, with an HD IPS capacitive touchscreen, Allwinner A64 chipset, Quad-core CPU, and 2 GB RAM.
It’s not something that can compete with an iPad or Galaxy Tab, but it allows you to install a distribution of your choice and configure it as you want. The availability (stock) for PineTab is limited. So, you might want to keep an eye on their developments to get one.
PineNote Developer Edition
Another Pine device but slightly differs from the PineTab.
The PineTab is a Linux tablet for browsing the internet, using applications, and playing games. The PineNote is for taking notes and reading books and documents.
It has an Eink display that you may have seen on e-book readers like Kindle. Apart from letting you experience an e-book reader, PineNote also allows you to take notes with a Wacom Pen.
PineNote has Quad-core Rockchip, multi-touch Eink panel, 4 GB RAm and 128 GB eMMC storage. It is also one of the rare few gadgets that has a higher-than-usual price tag of $399.
RasPad is a kit for Raspberry Pi devices to turn them into a functional touch-based device. Unlike the regular tabs, this is not a flat device but has a wedge-shaped body. This makes it easier to use at desks.
RasPad is created especially for Raspberry Pi devices, and you can use most of its ports easily. There is a dedicated RasPad OS, but you are free to use the regular Raspbian OS or Ubuntu, or any other Raspberry Pi operating system. Do consider touch friendliness while choosing the OS.
Please keep in mind that the Raspberry Pi device is NOT included in the kit. You’ll have to buy it separately.
A tablet based on Raspberry Pi 4 that features an 8-inch touch screen, 5000 mAh battery, and the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4.
It is powered by the CutiePi shell, turning Raspberry Pi OS into a functional tablet.
What’s your choice?
We are still far from a good alternative Linux tablet that could compete with at least the Android tablets in the market. But at least we have some options available, and that’s a silver lining.
💬Do you already own any of the above-listed devices? What is your experience with it? If you had to choose only one of them, which one would you go with?