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First UMPC with Linux pre-installed?

Apr 11, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

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)


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.

(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.

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