back to article Ubuntu tablet rumored for early 2011 launch

What with Apple's iOS leading the tablet pack and a herd of Android-based fondleslabs poised to enter the market, it's enticing to read of an Ubuntu-based tablet that's rumored to hit the market in early 2011. "A new Linux powered tablet is on it's way!" writes Andrew Sykes, publisher of the China-based gadget site Gizchina, …


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  1. Sampler

    Make that a dual-core

    and it'll be everything I'm looking for in a tablet, especially if I can dual boot win7 on it - though the dual-core may nobble the battery somewhat.

    My TX2050 is a bit big to hug around with me for light duties on a train - a [i]proper[/i] tablet in that regards would be fab.

  2. Jeremy 2

    I smell a rat...

    ...If you brighten up this photo:

    or this one:

    You'll notice something that looks very much like a Windows logo on the right-hand edge as shown.

    I don't know enough about the tablet market to identify what it is, but I'd wager it's just some Windows-based tablet PC that somebody has whacked Ubuntu on or some Chinese knock-off thereof. Or perhaps some screenshots of Ubuntu displayed in fullscreen.

    Either that, or it is real and the manufacturer of the thing has made a really stupid choice of logo.

    1. Speeder

      That logo is the ubuntu logo

      In case you're wondering from who that logo is...

      It is the ubuntu logo, check their website before you say something stupid.

      1. Jeremy 2

        Erm, not quite!

        Before you call somebody stupid, be very careful about putting your foot in your mouth and chewing upon it.

        For reference, the current (and previous) Ubuntu logo is available here:

        Here's the photo, brightened up and with the very-Windows-like logo labelled just for you:

        If you look down this thread, eben80 has done the legwork and found said Chinese Windows 7 tablet on eBay:

        So there we go then, it's an existing tablet that somebody has just shoved Ubuntu on with a view to selling it. Interesting, perhaps, but hardly exciting.

        1. david bates

          Yes, but...

          Seeing as the most popular version of Ubuntu runs on the same hardware as Windows thats hardly suprising.

          Its kind of like complaining about coverage and review of PCs based on Intels new revolutionary chip family on the grounds that the chip was pre-existing and someone just shoved them into a PC to sell them.

          What remains to be seen is how well Ubuntu handles being tabletised compared to Win7, and whether said tablets are sold without the Windows tax.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like...

    The kind of specs that you need in a netbook, you know, something with a little more space so it can accommodate a larger battery and last more than 2 hours.

  4. Spanners Silver badge

    Someone Somewhere will be doing this.

    Whether this tale is true or not is another matter. I would really like it to be true though.

    There is the problem of where exactly it will be available. Will it follow the old fashioned rule of available in the USA and then, once Version2 comes out, the rest of the planet gets to try out V1.

    Or perhaps it will follow the newer way which is to come out in Taiwan, Korea and China and ignore everyone else for a while?

    Trouble is, will I get one? I didn't get a netbook when they were new and now that you can only get Windows ones I am not sure I want one. Maybe I will just get a touch screen netbook and install Ubuntu on that. Once my bank balance has recovered from Christmas anyway...

  5. Sean Baggaley 1


    If true, an Ubuntu tablet could be a more credible rival to the iPad than anything based on Android would be.

    I don't think Apple will be quaking in their boots though; Android and Ubuntu will be competing against each other too.

    1. Bill B

      Don't understand

      Sorry .. don't understand this comment. Why could an Ubuntu based tablet be "a more credible rival to the iPad than Android"?

      Android for tablet has some big development muscle behind it, in the OS, in the UI and in the marketplace.

      The iPad demonstrated that success is a lot about the user experience, both in the way the thing 'feels' and in what is available to it. Goggle's picked up on that, developing a version of Android that is more suited towards tablets.

      Ubuntu may be attempting this, but what makes it a 'more credible rival'??

  6. Carl W

    will also offer a cover with built in keyboard

    I'm pretty sure I've been using tablets with a cover with a built-in keyboard for at least 10 years now. What's clever is that the folding mechanism is designed so that the keys and the screen are on the 'inside' and hence protected from damage.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't see them selling.

    Call me a pessimist,

    1. some vaguely opinionated bloke

      You're a pessimist.

      Yes, that's the one.

  8. Goat Jam

    I Smell Fake

    Even if it is true then it is an idiotic idea. Debian/Ubuntu already has an ARM build available so why saddle your tablet with Wintel hardware? All that would achieve is an over priced and over sized tablet with poor battery performance that all the Windows Fanboys would buy to put dodgy copies of XP on and then complain about it not running Photoshop Extreme Edition as well as their quad core desktop does.

    1. Elmer Phud

      took a while

      More than five posts before the inevitable moan

      Xmas booze slowed everyone down?

      Not even a 'Ubuntu isn't real LINUX'!

      WTF is happening to you people?

      1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

        What is happening...

        You apparently do not like ubuntu. Me either.

        But... in all fairness, it's done a lot for the linux cause, that's why I thought I wouldn't bitch about it too much.

        I know, it's full of kruft... but...

        In all fairness as well, it's still somewhat debian at heart, and I dunno about you but I do use debian quite a bit, and I would imagine the process of errr... debloating is still similar and thus quite possible if one was motivated enough.

        As an aside, I took a look at a windows phone 7 device the other day and I was quite impressed by the UI in all of the 5 mins I had with it.

        However, I don't know how win 7 proper would be like on a touch device - since a lot of relevant apps would have been written originally just for mouse/keyboard - I believe in the new win api there are new messages you can handle for touch 'events', just haven't looked into them yet, at least I remember some post from M$ reminding me to take a look at new w7 features. And if so far, I've cbf'ed... I am not sure a whole load of other people have. As let's face it, w7 touch devices at present are few and far between, and windows phone is just starting to debut.

        I can see why this company is hedging bets and going atom, to get w7 and linux.

        Don't like it, but I can see the rationale.

  9. rpics

    Tablets shmablets

    After toying with an Android one for a week I've yet to discover a compelling use for a tablet.

    Too big to be a phone, too crippled to be a laptop.

    What does one do with a tablet?

    1. Lottie


      you take two and report back to the doctor in the morning.

      Really they're for hanging from the wall and watching Youporn on in the bedroom.

    2. Elmer Phud


      Isn't a suppository a form of tablet?

    3. Michael C


      for one, anything done more easily in portrait mode vs landscape, most especially web browsing and e-reading.

      here's a bunch more reasons and uses

      - lighter and more portable by far

      - significantly longer battery life than even a netbook

      - still gets alerts and notices even when in sleep mode

      - hang from the seat in a car for on-the-go video entertainment

      - more comfortable to use laying on a couch

      - if you already also have a desktop PC, no second full PC OS to care for (patch, maintain, secure, update) and buy expensive app licenses for. Having both a desktop and a laptop/netbook is kind of dumb, and performance laptops are more expensive than a desktop and a tablet combined.

      - thousands of great apps under $5, not starting around $50.

      - easily used while standing

      - can handle levels of 3D gaming only notebooks costing 2+ times the price can meet.

      - easy to enable parental controls

      - 3G Data plans from $14.99 up to $30, not $60 for aircards or relying on MiFi's with 4 hour max battery life.

      - no contract data plans

      - remote wipe if lost

      - has GPS

      - UI is very easy to use, and apps customized to be used by fingers on appropriate screens (does not yet apply to Android)

      - great for kids you don't want to give a full performance laptop to.

      - easy backups without 3rd party software

      - counts as a personal mobile device for insurance purposes (laptops typically require rider policies to be covered by car insurance, but many other devices like phones and cameras do not require one, or come with lower premiums, depends on insurance company).

      - easier to gain HIPAA and SoX and DOD STIG compliance for companies

      - no spinning disks

      - you can find a charger almost anywhere in a pinch, worst case buy one for $10

      - easily powered by cigarette lighter sockets

      - easy to sync with another machine and/or the cloud

      - resale value still at higher than 50% after a year,as high as 75% common

      If you have a notebook you're happy with, and don't mind lugging around, and a smartphone that can already tether, there's certainly fewer compelling reasons to add a tablet to the mix. Personally, I'm planning on getting an iPad 2 (if Android 3 fails to impress, I'm not too happy about the descriptions of their "panes" model of their tablet OS screen use), and honestly, it probably will rarely leave the house except on vacations, I'll watch TV and read books on the couch while watching the kids while the wife watches boring crap or kids shows that make my ears hurt.

    4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      @Tablets shmablets

      >what does one do with a tablet

      Take two and call me in the morning?

    5. sola

      Browsing and reading

      I will buy a tablet machine for browsing the net from the couch and reading my ebooks with FBReader.

  10. Change can be good

    Nice, want ARM tablets too...

    Finally, the uPad!

    Wish it comes with more choice like ARM chips.

  11. eben80

    Same as this on Ebay?

    Seems you can get the hardware already with Windows 7?

  12. D. M
    IT Angle

    Here is my take

    It seems a good idea at first, but then who exactly its target user group will be? If it is true, then this thing is just a keyboardless netbook (would be more expensive too). Adding the cover with keyboard, you get a netbook. I mean, why would anyone buy one of those? I admit I dont see much use about iPad or any iPad copy, I see even less reason for this device.

  13. David 18


    I'm glad to see the the grammar jinx affects journalists as well as newsgroup and forum commentards!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What I don't get

    Is what the exact problem has been in the first place. There's been a debian port or ARM since before android even existed, I am guessing that it's the software for the touch screen keyboard that's held it up, because there's already the touch screen libraries to deal with it from about 2002. Moving to a intel atom based set up rather than using the hundreds of cheap chinese arm based knock offs, seems an odd move.

  15. Michael C
    Paris Hilton

    they don't get it do they...

    Look, i don't need to babysit 3 completely different systems that don't like to talk/sync/backup to each other, each require separately licensed software, and have to be maintained. I want a single main PC and "companion" devices used to work with stuff I have on it, plus bring their own perks.

    iOS is nice. Apple gets it. A PC that has everything and can do everything, and a series of small portable devices that interact with it and contain portions of the data set, all linked by LAN or cloud. I don't want to have to worry about how many licenses of some app I have, whether I need AV or not, manage a dozen plug-ins and helper apps, and have to u[pdate 3 apps every time i turn on a device I've not used in a week, and all on my portable devices. i want life SIMPLE.

    The iPad or an android based tablet gives me moderate power and performance for 90% of my daily tasks. If I know I'm going to need more, I can break out the notebook and bring it along. I have a NAS for hosting data instead of a giant desktop PC left on 24x7, a $99 media streamer, a high performance notebook to handle decent game-play and basic video editing, a smart-phone for on the run needs and notifications, and I could see many uses for a simple media tablet. I do NOT want a full PC OS on any of my devices except the main computer. Software for desktops is expensive, maintenance is a pain, security is a concern, and it only brings me the 10% my other devices can't? Why would I want more than 1???

    If they can make an under 2lb tablet at 13" with desktop class resolution and CPU/GPU power, that has a 10 hour battery and a full keyboard, and a optical drive, then i don't need both a tablet and a PC, but so long as tablets ware low performance secondary systems, then I want them running secondary OS and relying on a main PC for it's ongoing services.

    If a have a business reason to have proprietary apps that benefit a tablet form factor, I'll go buy a $1500 true tablet PC, but all i want is a media companion device that does things a 4" screen can't, a smart-phone, set top boxes, and one single PC.

    Yes, I get that a full blown HTPC can do more than a set top. I get that a tablet OS that's Ubuntu can do more. I'm NOT however willing to deal with the performance limits lower end (lighter) hardware bring to that OS, or the higher price and equivalent weight to simply having a laptop to get it. I like buying one app and using it legally on 5 device, and paying $0-10 for the app instead of $50-300 per machine. I like not having to back up 5 different systems. I don;t want to pay the much higher TCO just to do a few things that either carrying 2 extra pounds with me, or taking 30 seconds to just plug the laptop into the TV already do.

    Apple gets it. Google understands. Microsoft, the Linux community, and the laptop manufacturers have no concept of this. They're flailing about trying to remain relevant in a world that's leaving them out.

    Tablets that make touch easy on an OS designed and streamlined for the 90% of tasks and simple time wasting things we like to do is good. Trying to use a mouse-oriented interface with a fat finger, and needing 2-3times the horsepower, half again the cost, less than half the battery life, and no standby usability (the iPad gets alerts while asleep, just like smart phones, Windows and Ubontu can't do that), not to mention $60/month for a data plan instead of 30 for a mobile OS? why would anyone do that?

    Tablets have been on the market since 1999. They went NOWHERE. Its not the price, it;s the function. it can't be your only PC due to the design, and nobody wants to babysit (or pay for) 2 machines that 90+% overlap in use.

    1. Gilbo
      Thumb Up

      Hear Hear

      Very well said, Michael C.

  16. Jelliphiish


    please google TenQ and tell me there's not stuff on there that can run Ubuntu and fly nicely?

    and no, not talking about the atom powered stuff..

  17. Alan Firminger

    A question

    A new sort of computer was the netbook. This originally appeared from several manufacturers with flavours of gnu/Linux , Quickly, Windows was offered as an alternative. Over a few years Windows has almost completely taken over. Was that market led or did MS get dominance by the same screw that they put on standard PCs .

    Please answer that and I will understand the future for this.

    1. Hans 1


      Microsoft pressured companies to offer just Windows. There are numerous reports where companies were "asked" to remove non-Windows netbooks from CES booths, for example ... I think Asus comes to mind.

  18. bnt


    Someone said "Ubuntu has cruft" - but what does that mean? If you don't like something, you remove it. You have a standard set of apps in the default installation, the ones that Canonical thinks everyone wants, but you're not stuck with them. This even applies to the graphical interface e.g. if I get one of these, I'll probably install the standard GNOME desktop and use that instead. Or I'll try GNUstep on it, the Linux version of the old NeXT window manager, which is heavily icon-based and can still work with an onscreen keyboard.

    The point is that it will be a full computer, far more customisable than one of those appliances with Android or iOS on board. If it's the same hardware as a Windows 7 tablet, why is that a problem?

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