First RISC-V Tablet is For Hardcore Enthusiasts Only

The world’s first RISC-V tablet has gone on sale.

Fresh from giving us affordable entry to the exciting world of RISC-V with their new single-board computers, Pine64 has announced the PineTab-V, a tablet powered by the FOSS-friendly RISC-V architecture.

The PineTab-V was announced on April 1 in a post on the Pine64 blog that featured a lot of wordplay and unicorn references (!). Thus some folks (myself included) assumed the whole thing was an April fools’ prank.

But it’s not.

The PineTab-V is real and it’s available to order right now.

PineTab-V – ‘Vaguely Functional’

The PineTab-V is virtually identical to the PineTab 2.

It’s made out of the components — case, display, RAM, storage, etc – as the new PineTab 2, save for two differences: 1) the PineTab-V is housed in a black case, and 2) it uses a RISC-V JH7110 SoC (which is also used in Pine64’s new Star64 boards).

This means 4x SiFive U74 64-bit RISC-V cores @ 1.5GHz, and Imagination BXE-2-32 graphics processor. Two models are available: one with 4GB RAM and 64GB eMMC storage, and one with 8GB RAM and 128GB eMMC.

But hardware is only one part of the equation.

Software RISC-s

Bring up for Linux on RISC-V is, in general, formative. Anyone interested in buying the PineTab-V needs to be aware that the device is only “vaguely functional” at launch — if that! — and software development knowledge is almost a prerequisite.

“While it walks and quacks like PineTab2, it sure as heck isn’t an Arm machine. You are basically buying into an idea, a vision, a dream. Indeed, unlike its Arm brethren it doesn’t even boot Linux as of today — at least not as far as I know,” cautions Pine64’s Lukasz Erecinski.

“Of you are in the market for an open, high-quality and sexy looking tablet that doesn’t work since the software for it is a-way-of from pre-Alpha then you’ll be thrilled to know we’ve got you covered!”

The PineTab-V is available to order from the Pine64 store right now, priced from $159. Shipping is estimated to begin in May 2023.