While Linux remains insignificant on the desktop, it is the clear king of mobile thanks to Android. While the iPhone may generate more money, there are more Android handsets being sold globally.
Unfortunately, while Android uses the Linux kernel, the devices are usually not in line with the typical experience. Outside of Nexus devices, many users have to deal with locked bootloaders and the inability to install an alternative OS. Luckily, Android is not the only mobile Linux game in town -- Ubuntu can scale beautifully from smartphone, to tablet, to desktop. Today, the first official Ubuntu tablet -- BQ Aquarius M10 -- becomes available for pre-order, giving Google a run for its money.
Sadly, the tablet uses an ARM processor -- a 1.5 GHz MediaTek Quad Core MT8163A -- and not an x86 chip. Why is this sad? There are far fewer packages available for ARM, such as the missing Google Chrome -- the only way to get a full Adobe Flash experience on Linux. Yeah, Flash sucks, but some sites still use it. With that said, more and more ARM packages are becoming available all the time.
It features 2GB of RAM, which is passable, but I hope to see a version with more. Since this convergence-focused tablet can do double-duty as a desktop, having 4GB would be very much appreciated. The 16GB of storage is rather puny.
Of course it features Bluetooth, but the Wi-Fi is only N -- sorry, no AC is here, folks. Not a huge deal, really, but as more Android slabs get AC access, it highlights a bit of "yesterday's" technology in a forward-looking device.
The tablet comes in two versions, with almost identical specs -- including a big 7280 mAh battery and, according to BQ, the same processor. While there has been some chatter that the lower-priced model has a lower-clocked chip, that is not listed on BQ's page under specifications. It is not very clear.
The real difference is not screen size -- they are both 10.1 inch -- but display ratio. The full HD version, with 1920 x 1200, costs €299.90, while the 1280 x 800 version is €259.90. Yes, you are seeing Euros, as the tablets are being shipped from Europe. Don't worry, the U.S. is a selectable country -- just keep an eye on shipping costs and times.
The prices are quite affordable, and you even get a free cover and screen protector for it too. The cases come in blue, black and cherry as seen above. I rather like cherry.