The PineNote tablet is now on sale, which means anyone having $399 to spare, can order the E Ink tablet right away. The company known for its PinePhone and PineBook devices had put on sale limited quantities of the PineNote device in December though that was limited to the developers only. However, the e-note is now available for all to buy, and barring the Chinese New Year celebrations in February, there isn’t likely to be any disruption in supplies in the foreseeable future, the company revealed via its Jan. 2022 update.
That said, the PineNote is still very much a work-in-progress thing so that the device right now is shipping without any operating system installed. There is going to be just the bootloader, which means buyers have the liberty to install the OS of their choice. Here again, there aren’t very many options as well though developers have been able to run the Alpine and Debian Linux to run on the tablet. A NixOS port too is being readied and should be available sometime soon.
Then there has been some progress made with the OS kernel, with the most significant development here has been the release of the DRM or Direct Rendering Manager driver for the e-ink controller and panel of the device. This makes for an important achievement considering that developers will now be able to test their graphical applications for the E Ink display of the PineNote so that the apps perform to the optimum on the E Ink panel which typically has a low refresh rate.
Among the changes that need to be introduced to the app to make it fit for running on an E Ink display include getting rid of all animations along with maximizing the contrast. Further, all of it has to be in grayscale as no colors will get reproduced on the tablet. All of these calls for quite some work to be done on part of the developers though with the process already underway, we should get to see updates on this front fairly soon.
The display driver too will need some serious updates, which include supporting the optimized anti-ghosting waveforms, the fast monochrome waveform used for low-latency pen input, and the dithering waveform necessary for watching videos.’ Fortunately, there are many who have already got onto the task and here too we might have something to cheer about soon.
Among the other aspects where there has been some progress made include support for external hardware via USB. As the company blog post mentions, this is important as developers will now be able to work directly on the PineNote device itself using a keyboard. Also, the touch screen and audio playback too have been achieved though the microphone array and Bluetooth support still have to be activated.
So, what is evident is that the PineNote has come a long way to emerge as a user-friendly E Ink tablet device though what is also amply clear is that there is still a lot of work to be done to offer the same if not better experience as say the Kobo Ellipsa or the Onyx Boox Note Air 2.
With a keen interest in tech, I make it a point to keep myself updated on the latest developments in the world of technology and gadgets. That includes smartphones or tablet devices but stretches to even AI and self-driven automobiles as well, the latter being my latest fad. Besides writing, I like watching videos, reading, listening to music, or experimenting with different recipes. Motion picture is another aspect that interests me a lot and maybe I’ll make a film sometime in the future.