I undoubtedly consider myself as someone who likes to try new things and the truth is, tablets call my attention as a small gadget that can be useful for everyday things, I will not deny it, I want one for leisure and to facilitate tasks Simple too, well, I like the possibility of reading without needing a book and reviewing many things.
My problem with tablets is that I am a total "Fight you" as they say in my country, bone: I do not have money. That implies that I do not have access to decent tablets, there are rare super cheap Chinese options but the truth is that none of them catches my attention and, the ones that I like that are "more accessible" still do not go down. $250 something that with inflation, the change to the dollar in my country and the restrictions for currency control well ... complicated then.
Anyway, I've been reading for days about a type of tablet that apparently can change this type of situation and represent an interesting niche for Linux users and for non-Linux users who want to change a bit of scene and fiddle with a device: PengPod. PengPod is a project that seeks to sell two tablet formats and a «pen drive»(As I like to call them) that work with Linux dualboot and Android 4.0.
Some time ago they were looking for financing via IndieGoGo and they have already achieved it, so the project continues to advance and they can already pre-order their products that in theory should go on sale as soon as the first quarter of 2013 (if we are alive). In short, the thing is not about the news but about talking about something important since this touches a little the subject that elav had commented on tablets, he wondered What is a tablet for? and the truth is that What is a tablet really good for? Well, with those we have today the answer is: not productive at all seriously, nothing really productive comes out of these devices, not at least in the development field, maybe implementing them in education and putting them to creative use, but that's not the point; The point is What is it for me as a professional? What does it stop my smartphone from doing? Because I check my mail from my smartphone, like social networks, watch videos, use messaging, take photos, surf the internet. What the hell makes a tablet better than my smartphone besides being bigger and letting me read better? WHAT!?... those are the questions that have always tormented me, because the truth is that a laptop serves me better, it allows me to take my work everywhere, work with office automation, tinker with it whatever I want, have a keyboard and of course, program ... a tablet does not do that even in dreams, not yet.
But after spending time watching the PengPod I realized that in fact, the tablets as such are not the problem but the manufacturers and the systems they use Why? simple: you cannot buy a tablet, for example an ipad and then come and buy any usb keyboard and connect it, it must be a special one for i-things. With tablets Android It depends on the manufacturer, since many refuse to implement a damn common and current USB 2.0 input and put the micro USB or they simply do not, which although it is easier to treat than the i-things, is still a pain in the testicles pretty big. The other problem is the systems; What do we have to choose from? IOS and its immense restriction that dictates: «Either you do things the way I say, or you don't ... and you have to like it, you must adore me for that where it is quite annoying to get free apps that serve for productivity just as it is difficult to get something to program; for example:
Then we have Android, that although it is much more open, great and everything we want, it suffers from many things that IOS: There are not too many free things to be productive and many of those that exist, in fact, are not useful for a large number of things (organizers, office suites and little else ...) beyond that you will not get a real code editor or nothing really productive for the field to which I aim.
PengPod seems to be the solution, and I say it seems to be because there is still nothing concrete nor have I touched one to decide whether or not. These devices bypass the manufacturer's restrictions at the hardware level because it includes two generic USB 2.0 inputs and also an HDMI output and two types of formats: 7 and 10 inches. When we talk about hardware, both tablets have an ARM Cortex A8 mono core at 1.2 ghz and 1gb of RAM with a Mali 400 GPU, which allows it to have 3D acceleration and show high resolution videos, all for prices of $ 120 (7 inches) and $ 190 (10 inches). So above we can notice that, at least we have the possibility of skipping the blessed restrictions and being able to put what we want for the USB. This broadly allows me to put a mouse and keyboard in a small case (the 10-inch one) and turn it into a more or less powerful netbook, but of course, there is a detail missing ... the software.
These devices run with a dualboot of Android y Linux as such. I had already mentioned it before but I must say that, the truth is, I don't care that I have Android because I am not looking for that, I am looking to have a true hybrid between tablet and netbook that runs with Linux. From what I have managed to see thus far they will come with Plasma Active pre-installed running on a base of OpenSuse, very successful from my point of view although I do not know how optimized it is OpenSuse to run in ARM environments, the thing is that for now apparently that's the plan. And you know what? … I like it.
I like it because if the system can really be adapted to run smoothly, I will be able to have a hybrid device in my hands that will allow me to do what I want to do: take my piece of plastic and silicon wherever I want and connect it to your keyboard, install whatever you want from the repositories (that works in ARM) and work either working or editing text or writing for FromLinux etc, I mean, what I use a tablet for. And then, if I feel like using it as a tablet just to web a little, read feeds or books, Well I do, period and that's it, it's that simple.
I do not pretend to count the birds before they hatch, nor do I want to be a futurologist, I am just saying that if it is really done as it should be, this will meet my needs and that of many others quite well. Perhaps it is not the competition of tremendous tablets nor does it have the potential that the big manufacturers have to advertise themselves, but the truth is that all that publicity is just that, because they serve me what I use to fart in a hammock; it neither smells nor sounds ...
Time will tell everything. What do you think?