It doesn't use the same SoC as the Pinebook Pro, but it seems some good work has been put in mainlining the RK3566
Pine64's last update of 2022 brings word of a new version of its PineTab FOSS-driven tablet after chip shortages effectively killed the first generation. As per the December update from the Hong Kong kit vendor, the PineTab is officially dead. As we mentioned a year ago, the original PineTab was the larger sibling of Pine64's …
It's a pity, as it may have been marginally useful with a pair of A72s onboard. As it is, this is out-specced by a Fire 10 that you can regularly pick up for under £100 (or the Pi4 if you prefer to tinker and don't need the tablet part). Never mind who in their right minds would pair 8GB of RAM with a quad A55. I understand that it's the *ethos* of the machine that's the main selling point, but producing actually useful hardware would go a long way.
I absolutely share your frustrations about OSs making hardware obsolete... I very much like the idea of these new e-inks that are starting to come out (including from Pine64)... but they're not going to be a goer, as far as I'm concerned, until they're running a long term support Linux OS.
I did get a little excited by this device, as they (like others) seem to be getting on the bandwagon of being able to replace / upgrade certain aspects of the hardware over time... Not much good though if the software renders it e-waste. :/
The corps will fake-comply*, just as they're doing in the US in response to various Right-to-Repair proposed laws.
*fake-comply: to give the appearance of complying, to non-techies writing the laws and enforcing them, yet throwing in monkeywrenches which make their apparent compliance effectively non-compliance. (Complying with the letter of the law, vs the spirit of it.)
"they're not going to be a goer, as far as I'm concerned, until they're running a long term support Linux OS."
That's sort of the point, in that they're designed to be integrated into the mainline kernel. That means that you can install any version of that (until thirty years from now when the architecture is removed for obsolescence). If good software is made for the device, patching it and keeping it maintained should be significantly easier than any Android device has been.
The real problem is in getting the support in the first place. We don't really have any polished mobile Linuxes. Right now, you can probably get any buggy missing-lots-of-features distro and keep it maintained with kernel patches for a long time, but it doesn't have the smoothness that Linux on the desktop has. I'm not sure whether this will ever be fixed, but if it is, it will require hardware to run the beta versions on so that developers aren't limited to Android phones with custom kernels. I want that to happen, so as many reservations as I have with Pine64, I still have to support them as they've done a lot more than the only other player has and I don't see any other companies stepping up to improve on it.
I was trying to make the point that Android devices seem to have a life expectancy of about 3 years... I applaud Pine64 for attempting to provide better solutions.
And I'd say that Ubuntu Touch has a pretty polished UI - certainly better than iOS was in 2007 when I got an early iPhone 3. And infinitely better than the mess that is Android! Still... UT has a way to go under the hood, and needs to keep up with Ubuntu itself (or do something different altogether underneath).
If you'd like a very information-filled source of everything wrong with Pine64, you won't do any better than reading this, from a very-long-time supporter of Pine64 and its efforts.
Make absolutely certain that you follow all the links provided, in order to get a complete picture. The author has worked very hard at objectively providing a lot of supporting material and has done an outstanding job of concisely, but very thoroughly, stating what the problem is and what has been leading up to the current condition of the Pine64 organization.
Slightly OT but Pine64 is a fine example of how competing teams can fail to deliver. Thinking especially of the PinePhone - virtually unusable despite apparently having multiple distros available. And, going forward, there seems to be no future for anything powered by an A64. All but obsolete. A look at the specification gap is instructive as well. 2 and 5 MP cameras in 2022? And these barely capable of capturing images with any colour fidelity. Very sad but just not enough guidance and support from the hardware team. Not sure how they stay afloat. And I write as an owner of the original A64 pine sbc, so familiar with the history.