This is a supplementary post to this month’s Community Update – if you haven’t read this month’s news, then I suggest you go back and have a read since we’ve had a handful of interesting announcements. Regarding the PineTab, I am happy to let you know that production is well under way and we are mostly on schedule with the manufacturing and shipping processes. To be precise, we are just a week behind the original schedule; the cause of the delay is our decision to change the LCD panel driver (or perhaps more accurately, we were convinced to exchange the panel driver by the vendor) as the driver we originally chose is reaching end of life (EoL). We ultimately decided that a week’s delay is worth it. The alternative scenario would likely result in developers supporting multiple LCD drivers in their operating systems, which is not ideal.
Here are the details of the current timeline. Finished PCBAs will be released to us from the factory on the 27th and, granted we’re happy with them, fully assembled tablets should be dispatched from the production line on August 6th or 7th. The PineTabs will make their way to Hong Kong soon after and I expect that shipping will commence the week of August 17-21. Closer to the shipping date, sometime early next month, I’ll open a shipping thread on the forum which you’ll be able to follow.
I am also pleased to announce that CE, FCC and RoHS certifications for the PineTab have already been finalized and the reports are now being written up. All reports will be completed in time for shipping and relevant certificates will be submitted to Wiki as soon as they are made available to us.
As I mentioned in the past, we have significantly improved the battery from earlier hardware iterations. The PineTab ships with a 6000mAh Cobalt in lithium-ion battery, which not only provides a long battery life for the tablet but also superior discharge-cycle battery longevity. Investing into core components such as the battery is part of our commitment to seeing it adopted in both private and corporate (e.g. point of sale) environments, where it will be used for multiple years. We have also received PineTab m.2 LTE/SSD and LoRa adapter samples from vendor partners. Before these become available in the PINE Store we want developers to give them a proper spin so that all necessary functionality these adapters provide can be enabled in software. I presently cannot tell you when they will be available for purchase in the PINE Store, but I suspect that the m.2 LTE/SSD adapter will be the first to become available in the next 2-3 months time.
Lastly, UBports developers have been working hard on getting the Ubuntu Touch build for the PineTab ready. Software progress made on the PinePhone has also directly contributed many features to PineTab’s functionality. Among others, the operating system now supports Over the Air (OTA) updates and real convergence, which allows you to switch between tablet and desktop mode on the fly when the keyboard is attached. Despite the software still being a work-in-progress, the experience of transitioning between one input state and the other already feels very good, and it will only get better from here. I hope that many of you who will be getting these early units will want to contribute to the development process by submitting reports, testing and helping resolve issues.