The first Ubuntu-based convergence tablet is finally here.
Ubuntu-maker Canonical and BQ, an electronics maker based in Spain, opened the BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition for preorder today, with global shipping prices starting at €259.90 (about $291). The devices are slated to start shipping in early April.
Protip: If you’re ordering the Ubuntu Tablet, make sure you click through to BQ from Canonical’s tablet devices page to get the worldwide pricing and shipping options.
The new tablet features Canonical’s Ubuntu OS version 15.04, Vivid Vervet, and is supposed to feature a Continuum-style PC-tablet convergence feature. In other words, if you plug this device into peripherals such as an external display, keyboard, or mouse, the traditional Linux desktop appears ready and waiting.
The story behind the story: Canonical has been talking about mobile-PC convergence for years but it appears the feature is finally here in a consumer-ready product. Even though Canonical took forever to get here, the company seems to be starting out from a good spot. Canonical says its software is able to switch between a touch-based tablet to the “full Ubuntu desktop experience.” Microsoft, by comparison, uses a nerfed experience based on Windows Store apps for Continuum.
That said, the Ubuntu tablet is still running on an ARM processor, while most Linux applications are written for x86. Theoretically, however, any Linux desktop application compiled for ARM should run on the tablet.
The Aquaris M10 Ubuntu tablet will come in two flavors: FHD and HD. The former features a 10.1-inch screen with 1920-by-1200 resolution at 240 pixels per inch. The latter comes in the same size screen, but with 1280-by-800 resolution and 160ppi. Both tablets feature a 16:10 aspect ratio.
Other than the screen, the two tablets are identical. Each will come with 16GB of onboard storage, of which only 11.2GB is usable, with the rest reserved for the system software. There's also an expandable microSD slot that can take up to 200GB of additional storage formatted for ext3.
A 1.5GHz MediaTek quad-core MT8163A CPU powers the machine with help from 2GB of RAM. The tablet also has two cameras that don’t sound all that impressive; the rear-facing snapper is 8 megapixels while the front-facing is 5MP.
The HD version of the tablet is priced at €259.90 (about $291) while the FHD version will set you back €299.90 (about $335). That’s cheaper than an iPad Air 2, but still a bit of a jump from the €229.90 starting price for the Android version of the Aquaris M10.
That’s the price you pay for being an early adopter—literally.