jingpad hands-on

Check in for your first look at the Linux tablet everyone is talking about: the JingPad A1.

JingOS developers are gearing up to launch a crowdfunding campaign for the iPad-inspired slate next month. But, ahead of that they give us an up-close look at the hardware itself in a video preview.

Sadly, it’s not my hands doing the previewing, but those of a JingOS developer. JingPad reviews from independent/third party folks will, I’m told, appear around the time that the crowdfunding campaign goes live.

In this video a JingOS dev gives us a tour of the JingPad A1 hardware on the first unit fresh out of the factory. We get to see the premium-looking gorilla glass back (though lacking a fingerprint resistant coating foe now); discover that the A1 has a front 8MP camera and 16MP rear facing camera; and learn that the power/lock button comes with a built-in fingerprint sensor — a nice touch.

Hands-on video shared by JingOS devs

JingPad A1 also has pogo pins for expansion (an official keyboard accessory for laptop-lite use will be offered alongside the tablet itself). Rather more notably, there’s also a 5G-capable SIM slot (which is interesting).

As nice as the hardware looks it is only half of the equation. The sum value of any tablet includes a solid OS and software stack. Sadly while JingOS is technically running on this tablet it is not running that well. The resolution is off in this clip, and it doesn’t look like the touchscreen works.

But remember: this is a project in full flow and JingOS is under active development. Our guide reassures viewers by stating that a dedicated video demo of JingOS on the tablet hardware will be published towards the end of May.

Too good to be true?

While some folks in the Linux community are a bit put out by JingOS and its Qt-based tablet UI (partly because it draws so heavily from the iPad) I’m yet to see any indication that this project isn’t what it says it is.

Indeed, so far JingOS developers have met every date they’ve given for sharing preview releases and showing hands-on videos (like this one). Their development forum is active, and code branches are up on GitHub for folks to inspect.

Still, crowdfunding campaign all carry inherent risks. And given that the lack of true Linux tablet OSes isn’t down to a lack of ambition but the hard bite of reality, I remain cautious (if hopeful) about this project too.

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