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First UMPC with Linux pre-installed?

Apr 11, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive

TabletKiosk will ship in mid-April what may be the first “UMPC” (ultra-mobile PC) available in single units with Linux pre-installed. The “eo TufTab v7112XT” is a ruggedized tablet with a 1.2GHz Via C7-M processor, 40GB harddrive, and the option of OpenSUSE 10.2 pre-installed.

(Click for larger view of the TufTab running OpenSUSE)

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The TufTab is a rugged device with a frontpanel rated to IP53 standards for resistance to dust and spraying water ingress. Although fairly expensive (like most currently available UMPCs), it offers some high-end features — including a user-facing 1.3MPix CMOS camera with claimed 30fps video capture, a biometric fingerprint reader, several expansion slots, and a full gig of RAM to go with its x86-compatible processor.


TabletKiosk TufTab
(Click any view to enlarge)

The device is based on a Via C7-M processor clocked at 1.2GHz, connected via a 400MHz FSB (front-side bus) to Via's VX700, a “single-chip chipset” designed just for UMPCs. The chipset integrates Via's 200MHz UniChrome Pro II graphics processor, which offers 2D and (with closed Linux drivers) 3D acceleration, along with MPEG-2/4 and WMV9 acceleration. With the right drivers, the platform should play back video at very low CPU usage.

The TufTab comes standard with a full 1GB DDR2-400 SDRAM SODIMM, and a shock-mounted 1.8-inch 40GB UDMA133 hard drive. It has a 7-inch, sunlight-readable TFT (thin-film transistor) LCD resistive touchscreen with native resolution of 1024 x 600.

I/O includes integrated 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 2.0, with expansion via SDIO-MMC, as well as a good old-fashioned 32-bit CardBus-style PCMCIA Type II slot. An optional docking cradle offers additional I/O, including a single USB 2.0 port, VGA, 10/100 Ethernet, audio I/O, and a power connector. Also available are an optional Bluetooth keyboard and USB floppy and CD-rw/DVD drives.

Additional touted features include:

  • Phoenix Award BIOS in 8MB of flash
    • Can boot from USB or CD
    • PNP OS support
    • APM 1.2 and/or ACPI
    • Password protection
  • Replaceable, rechargeable 4-cell, 2600mAh Lithium-ion battery pack with 3-4 hour operation
  • Battery status, drive activity, and WiFi status LEDs
  • Programmable suspend buttons
  • Track pointer
  • AC97 audio with Via's VT1708 HD audio codec
  • Stereo speakers and stereo microphone (!)
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 500 ppi AuthenTec AES2501B Fingerprint sensor
  • Weight: 2 lbs (0.9kg)
  • Size: 8.11 x 5.32 x 1.22 inches (206 x 135 x 31mm)
  • Operating temperature range from 41 to 95 deg. F (5 to 35 C)

Availability

The TufTab is expected to ship in mid-April. TabletKiosk is taking direct orders for the device now, here. It is priced at $1,700 with Microsoft Windows XP Tablet Edition 2006, or $1,625 when configured with no operating system, or with OpenSUSE 10.2.


BPETDC H9
(Click for details)

Previously, the Beijing Peace East Technology Development Company (BPETDC) offered an ARM-based “H9” UMPC design (pictured at right) that runs Linux. However, that ready-to-manufacture design is only available in volume — it costs $420 apiece in quantities of 200, according to reports.

Thanks to Jenn at Pocketables for letting us know about this device. Her coverage of the device can be found here.


 
This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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