The PineNote is a tablet with a 10.1-inch grayscale E Ink display and pen support. It is designed to be a hackable, Linux-compatible device and is one of the latest products from the makers of the PinePhone and PineBook line of devices.
First introduced last summer, the PineNote began shipping to developers in limited quantities in December. It’s now available for everyone to purchase for $399 – no invitation required. But it’s probably only a good idea to buy one if you’re a developer or very early adopter as there is very little software available for the PineNote so far.
At this point, Pine64 ships the PineNote with no operating system installed. It will only have a bootloader, allowing developers and enthusiasts to load their own software. And since there aren’t really any pre-built disk images available, you may have to build an operating system from scratch.
That said, the developers have already made strides to get Alpine and Debian Linux versions running on the E Ink slate, and according to Pine64, there are ports for NixOS and other operating systems on the way.
There is already a partially working display driver, but it’s still a work in progress. The goal is to allow developers to port major Linux operating systems and applications to play well with a monochrome screen with a slow refresh rate.
There is still a lot to do, even booting without UART is not yet possible. But it happens. pic.twitter.com/ViAZoQtSlZ
— Danct12 (@RealDanct12) January 10, 2022
The developers have also figured out how to enable PineNote’s touchscreen, audio playback, and USB port support, which makes it possible to use USB keyboards, storage devices, and other peripherals. But at this point, some hardware is still not supported – no operating system yet works with the tablet’s Bluetooth microphone or radio.
Here is an overview of the main specifications of the PineNote:
Grayscale (16 shades)
Front lighting (36 levels)
Adjustable color temperature
Capacitive multi-touch input
EMR Pen Digitizer
|Processor||RK3566 rock chip
4 ARM Cortex-A55 processor cores at 1.8 GHz
ARM Mali-G52 2EE graphics card
|RAM||4 GB LPDDR4|
|Storage||128 GB eMMC|
|audio||1.3W stereo speakers
|Ports||USB 2.0 Type-C|
|Sensors||Gyro (for automatic screen rotation)|
|loading||USB Type-C 15W (5V/3A)|
|Dimensions||191.1 x 232.5 x 7.4mm
.52″ x 9.15″ x 0.29″
The tablet comes with an EMR stylus, a protective cover and a USB Type-A to Type-C adapter. But again, at this point, it’s really aimed at developers and enthusiasts who are comfortable with a device for which there isn’t yet fully functional software and which comes without an operating system pre-installed.
Thanks to Samuel Holland (https://t.co/5X6z7vQfNd) and other contributors for this amazing achievement. pic.twitter.com/SY16yTuN2w
— PINE64 (@thepine64) January 5, 2022
That said, the more developers who get their hands on it now, hopefully sooner the PineNote will be becomes a viable and user-friendly device for people who want an ePaper tablet capable of running free and open source software.
via Pine64 January 2022 Update