PineNote Large-Format High-Performance ePaper Tablet Goes on Sale — Without an Operating System

Hardware specs match those promised last year, but anyone picking the $399 device up will need to roll their own software — for now.

Gareth Halfacree
4 months agoHW101

Pine64 has opened orders for its PineNote, an open source large-format ePaper tablet-cum-eReader — but warns would-be customers that the software side of things won't be ready for a while yet.

Pine64, also known as Pine, unveiled the PineNote late last year, promising an open-hardware 10.3" ePaper tablet built to the same ethos as its popular PinePhone product line. "The PineNote is one of, if not the, most powerful E Ink device available on the market," Lukasz Erecinski boasted at the time. "It shares in much of the Quartz64 [single-board computer]'s pedigree, sporting the same [Rockchip] RK3566 quad-core A55 SoC paired with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 128GB eMMC flash storage. The PineNote is also fitted with two microphones and two speakers, a USB-C port for fast charging and data, as well as 5Ghz AC Wi-Fi."

While Erecinski was keen to show off the prototype hardware, though, a launch date wasn't forthcoming - until now, when the company has opened the doors for anyone looking to pick one up. Providing, that is, they understand the state of play on the software front.

As promised, the PineNote Developer Edition packs a 10.3" 1,404×1,872 ePaper display with 16 grey levels, capacitive multi-touch, and an EMR-standard digitizer pen, a front light with 36 levels of high- and low-temperature lighting for night-time use, a Rockchip RK3566 system-on-chip with four Arm Cortex-A55 cores running at 1.8GHz and an Arm Mali G52 2EE graphics processor, 128GB of eMMC storage, and 4GB of LPDDR4 flash.

What it doesn't include is an operating system. "This first production run of the PineNote will be great to write software for, but not great to write notes on," its creators admit. "The device ships without an operating system with flashing mode enabled. As a result, this batch is strictly for developers. PineNote software is still in it’s infancy and therefore it is ONLY suitable for experienced developers. At present time, there is no default OS for the PineNote."

Those undeterred by such warnings, or who want to contribute to the development effort and help write the operating systems or applications which will eventually ship with the retail version, can pick up the PineNote Developer Edition on the Pine64 store now at $399.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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