The makers of a popular Raspberry Pi challenger, the $20 Pine A64, have returned with two sub-$100 Linux laptops, called Pinebooks.
The Pine A64 stood out among developer boards because it was cheap and relatively powerful, helping its maker raise $1.7m on Kickstarter last year with just a $30,000 target.
With an Allwinner quad-core ARM Cortex A53 64-bit processor, the A64 board could run Ubuntu, Debian, or Android Lollipop 5.1. The same processor is powering the 11-inch and 14-inch Pinebook notebooks, which at $89 and $99 respectively, could become some of the cheapest laptops available.
The displays on both models have a 1,280 x 720-pixel resolution, and besides the A64’s ARM processor, the Pinebooks include the basics needed for a functional laptop, including display, keyboard, touchpad, storage, memory, and ports.
Both models feature 2GB LPDDR3 RAM, 16GB eMMC 5.0 storage, two USB 2.0 ports, a microSD slot supporting up to 256GB additional storage, a mini HDMI input to connect to an external display, headphone jack, built-in microphone, a 1.2-megapixel camera, and a 10,000mAh lithium polymer battery. They also support Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connections.
CNX Software, which first reported the new laptops, notes that the Pinebook’s system on a chip (SoC) includes a Mali-400MP2 GPU. Also, while the machines will run all operating systems supported by the A64 boards, the firmware needs to be modified due to the LPDDR3 RAM. The devices should support the Remix OS Android fork.
While the new netbooks share a common system on a chip, CNX notes that the new laptops aren’t actually based on the A64 board itself, but rather on a custom board that’s designed to keep the laptops thin.
According to the Pinebook’s spec sheet, the notebook is 352mm wide, 233mm deep, and 18mm high, or 14in by 9in by 0.7in. It weighs 1.2kg, or 2.65lb.
The devices aren’t actually for sale yet, but would-be buyers can register to be told when sales commence.