intensivevocoder writes: One of the consequences of the explosive popularity of the Raspberry Pi is the flourishing of competing ecosystems of single-board computers (SBCs). Aside from the accessibility a $35 price tag offers, the foremost benefit of the Raspberry Pi is the community — the proliferation of projects and integrations that center around the Raspberry Pi, and the ease-of-use that creates, makes competing products that look better on spec sheets a disappointment when taken out of the box. PINE64 has attempted to head this off by fostering an involved community; the PINE64 website explains their philosophy as “the community gets to actively shape the devices, as well as the social platform, of PINE64 from the ground up. The goal is to deliver ARM64 devices that you really wish to engage with and a platform that you want to be a part of.” The first-generation Pinebook was available in an 11.6″ or 14″ configuration, with a quad-core Allwinner A64, 2GB RAM, 16GB eMMC, and 1366×768 display for $99, beating Nicolas Negroponte’s OLPC XO-1, a decade after that project sputtered.
PINE64 is differentiating itself by building not just SBCs, but notebooks, tablets, and phones with community input and feedback. Ahead of the release of the Pinebook Pro this summer, a Rockchip RK3399-based ARM laptop with 4GB LPDDR4 RAM, 64GB eMMC, and a 14″ 1080p display, TechRepublic interviewed PINE64 community manager Lukasz Erecinski about the Pinebook Pro, and the PINE64 community philosophy. An excerpt from the interview: TechRepublic: Why is Pine64 building a device ecosystem of not just SBCs, but also finished devices, like tablets, laptops, and phones?
Lukasz Erecinski: While SBCs are and will remain our bread and butter, there is no denying that our vision for PINE64 has expanded beyond the SBC market. The core aim of our project remains the same however — to foster a community and bring affordable ARM64 devices to developers and end-users. You have correctly identified that we are building eco-systems; that is to say, we strive for convergence between our SBCs and other ARM64 devices we manufacture. In result, when evaluating future SOCs, we’re not only considering if they’ll make for good SBCs but also laptops, modules, tablets, etc. As time progresses, you will see more and more of this type of convergence across devices from us. Allwinner A64 and Rockchip RK3399 are two examples of what we strive for: the Pine64-LTS, the SOPine, Pinebook, PineTab and PinePhone all share the Allwinner A64, whilst the RockPro64, Pinebook Pro and SORock (upcoming module akin to the SOPine) use the Rockchip RK3399.