Eric H. Johnson on 6 Jul 2012 05:07:20 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Linux friendly tablet?


I am not sure what you consider inexpensive, but I got my 79 year old mother
an ASUS TF101 (Transformer) last Christmas and she has been attached at the
hip with it ever since. The MSRP is $399 (16GB), but I have seen it for $369
online. If you do not mind a refirb, I have seen those for not much more
than $300.

Out of the box, I think it still comes with Honeycomb, but should upgrade to
Ice Cream Sandwich the first time updates are applied. It is wifi only, and
with the NVIDIA Tegra2 chip set is very good for video, movies, etc. as it
also comes with a 10.1" 16x9 display and somewhat uniquely includes a
mini-HDMI port if you want to hook it up to a non-networked TV. The
disadvantage of the 16x9 format is when used as a book reader, as the 4x3
format seems better suited for that.

Netflix is already installed and just needs to be activated, otherwise it
pretty much has the complete set of Android apps available, although there
are apparently a few apps that only run on ARM. I, so far, have not
encountered any.

It most certainly does play Angry Birds, although I have noticed that it
occasionally locks up, but not enough to affect playability significantly. I
don't know how wide spread a problem that is on other platforms.

For tablets, at the top end is the quad core ASUS Transformer Infinity,
which should be released in the next couple weeks. It is definitely not
inexpensive, but I am waiting to get my hands on one of those.


As many of you know I'm more of a tool guy (e.g. swiss army knife) than
gadget guy, but it seems like it might finally be time for a tablet.

I refuse to have any iDevices in the house, so that basically leaves
Android, AFAIK.  While in theory devices build on top of Linux should be
Linux friendly, not everything is (see TomTom).

So what is a good, inexpensive Linux friendly tablet?  Use cases as follows:

* Stay-at-home Mom, for email, web surfing, simple apps, etc.  (WiFi only is
fine, we're not doing any kind of data plan, if that even applies to
* Kid friendly (6 & 8), preferably edutainment-type stuff
* Angry Birds is apparently a requirement (hey, that teaches ballistics,
* Cut the rope, ditto

Related, recommended apps?

* Astronomy, ideally including satellite info
* Video creator (hate to admit it, but iMovie is pretty awesome)
* eBook reader (but won't work well in direct sun, right?)
* Movie player
* Netflix?  (Optional, we have the DVD-only plan now)
* What else don't I know about?

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