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Handhelds Portables Linux

Jolla Crowdfunds Its First Tablet 56

SmartAboutThings writes: Jolla is another rising star in the tech world, having recently expanded its smartphone sales into more countries across the globe. Jolla's Sailfish OS is based on the Linux kernel, and considered by many to be a direct successor to Nokia and Intel's MeeGo and the N9 mobile phone. Its software is based on the open-sourced components of MeeGo. Now, the company is ready to start production of its first tablet. They're crowdfunding it, and they blew past their $380,000 goal in about two hours.

The tablet has a 7.9-inch screen with a resolution of 2048 x 1536. It's powered by a 1.8GHz 64-bit quad-core Intel processor, comes with a 32GB of storage, an SD card slot, 2GB of RAM and a 5MP rear camera. Judging by its size, we can see this will rival the iPad Mini the new Nokia N1. While there aren't too many Sailfish-specific apps available, as with the phone, Jolla's tablet will be compatible with Android apps.
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Jolla Crowdfunds Its First Tablet

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  • The problem with any new product release whether it be from those morons over at AGPTek or alleged professionals over at Samsung is that you have to wait a few weeks for reviews to outline any massive defects. Like a lot of Rockchip tablets (which is the manufacturer behind at least 50 different low end tablets for various brands) had trouble with the DC charging pin snapping off and with the tablet failing to turn on while charging. I don't care what a company's history of reputation is, they can still g
    • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2014 @10:58AM (#48417335)

      It's the only way to get a tablet that is open to run Linux. My Nokia N800 is obsolete and this looks like a viable replacement.

      • Do we know that the Jolla tablet is open? No fancy unlocking or cracking required? Open source drivers?
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Well, the Jolla phone was...

        • They don't explicitly say, but it looks very much like they're using a Moorefield [wikipedia.org] system, like the Nokia N1. The PowerVR graphics in the Moorefield benchmark well on Android, but it's no good.

          The PowerVR drivers are closed-source, the company is hostile to open source, and even on Android the performance is inconsistent. See page 2 of Ars Technica's review of the Nexus Player. [arstechnica.com] And in Jolla, the device driver is not native to the operating system, but goes through libhybris. [wikipedia.org]

          I refuse to support PowerVR outsi

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            > I refuse to support PowerVR outside of iOS, so I'm going to sit this one out.

            Somebody on maemo.org quoted a Jolla employee from IRC as saying, it will be an Intel GPU.

            • by RR ( 64484 )

              > I refuse to support PowerVR outside of iOS, so I'm going to sit this one out.

              Somebody on maemo.org quoted a Jolla employee from IRC as saying, it will be an Intel GPU.

              Even better, The Register found somebody from Intel to claim that it's an Atom 3700 series [theregister.co.uk] device, meaning Bay Trail. Now I'm much more interested in this device, but I'm still inclined to wait until firm confirmation.

      • Wasn't the year of the GNU/Linux tablet supposed to be a few years ago? I think there was something called a 'Spark' tablet that runs KDE, but that dissapeared in the ether. It would be nice to see GNU/Linux available on mobile devices. This tablet does not look much better than other crap out there. I really hope it meets your expectations as Jolla seems like a cooler company with seemingly nice products. I have not been able to get my hands on one to see for myself.
    • by Enry ( 630 )

      This is partially what happened with the Kreyos. I'm passing on this.

  • Very cool! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by muckracer ( 1204794 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2014 @10:56AM (#48417317)

    Competition, other ideas and implementations can only be good for everybody!

    Hope to Thor, that everything works out for Jolla and their vision!

    • Yes, but for all you obsessives out there...

      ... please note that sailfish uses systemd

      ... and pulseaudio.

      ... and wayland.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... not bad for a (supposedly) burning platform. Competition is always good and this tablet has good specs, reasonable price, runs an OS that is based on Linux + standard userland and is not made by a company whose main business is mining information about you. I wish good luck to Jolla!

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      On the other hand by now Nokia stock + dividends is up to about the same (or higher?) level than they was at the memo of the burning platform.

  • Why does everybody add those .9" all of a sudden? (Purely rhetorical question. Don't answer)
    • A 7" LCD is fine for 9:16 or 10:16 display aspect ratios, like the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7. Once you widen the screen to 3:4, which some users appear to prefer, you need to extend it to 8".
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I know you said don't answer, but I'm guessing the screen is 20 cm, and it was converted to inches for the benifit of Americans.

  • Awesome specs, looks good, cheap price. This is trés cool. I have been toying around with the idea of getting a Huawei or Asus Cheapo Tablet as a new one, but I think I'll wait until this ones out and take a look at it. Like the Jolla Phone too - but my HTC Desire HD is still holding up, so I'll pass for now.

    • I would join the crowd funding, but the tablet won't ship to Brazil! :(
    • by i.kazmi ( 977642 )
      Just out of curiosity what ROM are you running on your DHD? Screen rotate doesn't work with most of the ROMs I've tried, apparently it's something to do with SenseUI
  • by RoccamOccam ( 953524 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2014 @12:51PM (#48418409)

    Interesting that the battery spec isn't on par with the competitors listed on their website. Both the Nexus 9 and the iPad Mini have in excess of 50%-more capacity. I didn't see any numbers on expected battery life.

    On the other hand, the price and multitasking-approach makes it a very attractive alternative, to me.

    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      Multitasking? On a memory-starved 64-bit quad core processor?

      Yea, you have fun with that!

      • Their phone only has 1GB of memory and that works pretty well, so I think 2GB on tablet should be ok?

        Anyway, with the price given this is in the cheap tablet category and not competing with the over twice more expensive iPads. I ordered it just because the phone has had regular software updates unlike the Samsung (tablet) and Nokia (phones) devices I have previously had.

      • If you can't imagine multitasking on a system with a quad core 64 bit cpu and 2 gb ram it shows just how shitty and filled with useless (but shinny) crap current mobile OS's are.

        • by Khyber ( 864651 )

          It shows the general poor state of current software development tools, languages, and capabilities of the programmers themselves.

    • This makes me wonder how well battery-optimized Sailfish is (and its apps are). I never owned an N900 or N9, or used one for long enough to get a really good feel for the battery life, but even when new, the N800 could not last even the waking hours of a day. That's assuming I used it similar to how I use the smartphone I got a couple years later (which would last well into a second day, and which - unlike the N800 - has a cellular radio chip).

      Anyhow, my point is that most Maemo (N800 OS) apps were really p

    • +1 Concerns about battery life. Intel CPUs are not known to be light on power consumption. Couple that with a substantially smaller battery and I doubt this device will last more than a few hours. Remember laptops in the 1990's?
  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 19, 2014 @01:13PM (#48418629) Homepage Journal

    And ONLY 2 GB of RAM? What's the fucking point of including a 64-bit processor?

    It's idiotic design decisions EXACTLY like this *cough Toshiba Satellite L45 cough* that make me stay away from upgrading hardware.

    There's no point to having 64-bit CPU if you don't even give it MINIMUM 4GB RAM. Especially on a QUAD CORE device. Are you trying to memory-starve the damned thing?

    • by dkman ( 863999 )
      Yes. Every time I see 2 GB of RAM in what otherwise should be a capable system I feel that they are artificially limiting the usefulness and longevity of that device.
      a) By starving it of memory for larger tasks or multitasking (as has been pointed out above)
      b) By making it too weak to handle OS upgrades in the future
      • There is cost and the mobiles SoCs and boards are designed to use very few DRAM chips or dies.
        Double the RAM and flash and then the cost goes up. They matched Ipad Mini's lowest price at least.

    • Re:What? 64-bit? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GNious ( 953874 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2014 @02:55PM (#48419709)

      From using my 0.5 gig ram Jolla phone, I'll observe that the OS seems a lot more frugal with memory than the couple of Android phones I have laying around somewhere.

      2.0 gig is pretty much the lowest amount they could do with the Android Emulation, but for the native apps, not going to be much of an issue.

      As for the "QUAD CORE" device being 64-bit, then the rumor-mill is saying that they've basically been given an SoC to use - if that's the case, there's no reason to start screaming about idiotic design decisions, since using a more expensive solution would have been, well, idiotic.

      • I think you'll find that it's 1G, not 512M.
        cat /proc/meminfo shows me 830728 Kb on mine.

        • by GNious ( 953874 )

          Seems you're correct, and I remembered wrong - 811 megs physical reported by free :)

          Still, my argument stands: The device works OK, outside of Android apps, and 2.0 gig is the lowest they could get away with ...
          Turns out, 2.0 gig is also the highest the CPU on the tablet can handle.

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        They could've gone with a 32-bit quad core, saved on costs, and still had pretty much the same performance. The RAM is going to be the major bottleneck, here, in a multi-tasking OS.

        • by GNious ( 953874 )

          Saved cost, by going with a chip that wasn't heavily subsidized by Intel? I don't think so.
          The HW specs are pretty much centered around the Intel® Atom Processor Z3735F, that was offered to them at (supposedly) dumping-prices.

          Spec: http://ark.intel.com/products/... [intel.com]

          Basically, a different chip would have resulted in higher costs.

    • Re:What? 64-bit? (Score:5, Informative)

      by RR ( 64484 ) on Wednesday November 19, 2014 @05:13PM (#48421093)

      And ONLY 2 GB of RAM? What's the fucking point of including a 64-bit processor?

      A couple points that come to mind:

      1. Better performance per clock, due to instruction set simplification and larger working set of registers.
      2. Slightly better security, because of more address space to do ASLR.
      3. Finally enough address space to mmap everything. If your memory usage is dominated by static assets like graphics, this would allow you to use the operating system's virtual memory paging to handle which assets are in RAM at any time.
    • For the default Linux kernel settings, with anything approaching or exceeding 1GB of RAM you can actually get a benefit from more address space. The kernel only maps 1GB by default because of the restrictions of a 32-bit address space - and some of that 1GB is taken up by devices, rather than actual memory. The result is that the kernel has to create temporary mappings to access process memory. With a 64-bit system the kernel can keep it all mapped, all the time.

      My comment applies to x86 specifically - o

      • (I realise that still assumes there's enough memory for the applications to usefully run, which was at least part of your original point)

  • The current state of x86_64 at Intel means that there is no reason to create a 32 bit only processor, it'd be a huge amount of architectural rework with little benefit.

    Now, just because it's 64 bit capable doesn't mean that the OS will be 64 bit. In fact, given the low memory, that might be an option. This is all about SoC cost and low margins. That means each bump in memory really adds up. This isn't the same as just putting a more dense DIMM in a motherboard.

    Also, given the target usage, one would have to

    • On intel it's always better to go 64 bit because of the improved number of registers. Linux is capable of running in 64 bit mode with 32 bit pointers. Best of both workds on low memory systems.

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