MeeGo tablet unveiled in China

Red Flag Software has demonstrated a 10.1-inch tablet running its new MeeGo Linux version of Midinux 3.0 on an Intel Moorestown Z6xx processor. Equipped with Wi-Fi and 3G, the NPad tablet will go on sale in the third quarter.

China-based Red Flag Software, an early supporter of the Intel Atom-oriented Moblin mobile Linux operating system that forms the basis of MeeGo, showed off a MeeGo-based tablet prototype at a software trade event in Dalian, China, according to Tech.qq. The NPad is equipped with Intel’s new, energy-efficient Atom Z6xx “Moorestown” processor and runs Red Flag’s Midinux 3.0 distribution, which is said to be based on MeeGo (see farther below for more on MeeGo).

The NPad features a 10.1-inch touchscreen, and offers Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity, says Tech.qq. GPS is also said to be available. Red Flag apparently offered no details on storage options, but told Tech.qq that the battery could support up to eight hours of operation.

The NPad is equipped with QQ chat, music, video, office, and educational software, says the story. Pricing was not disclosed, but the tablet is said to be cheaper than Appleā€™s iPad.

The NPad did not appear to be among the MeeGo-based tablets that were demonstrated at the Computex show in Taiwan at the beginning of this month. Prototype tablets based on the Atom Z6xx were shown by Wistron, Compal, Quanta, CZC, and others at the show, and Acer announced it would offer MeeGo on both netbooks and tablets.

In April, however, Red Flag was among the 27 technology companies that pledged support for MeeGo. Like the company’s Moblin-based netbook and MID (mobile Internet device) versions of its Midinux 3.0 Linux distribution, the MeeGo version is based on Asianux Linux. At the time, Red Flag said it would also introduce a MeeGo-based automotive In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) distro.

Other vendors of Linux desktop and fast-boot distros that announced support for MeeGo in April included Asianux, DeviceVM, Linpus, Mandriva, Metasys, Miracle, Novell, PixArt, Red Flag, TurboLinux, WTEC, and Xandros. Fedora was not part of the list, but has also been said to be working on MeeGo support.

At Computex in early June, Novell and Linpus both announced MeeGo-based netbook distributions. In addition, Movial announced a “MeeGo Services” offering, and Telefonica weighed in with support for the open source platform. Although we missed it at the time, DeviceVM used the event to announce a MeeGo version of its Splashtop instant-on environment called Splashtop MeeGo Remix, due later this year.

Last week, MeeGo received more good news when a Nokia executive told Reuters that future versions of its N-series smartphones would all run MeeGo instead of Symbian.

The Intel- and Nokia-backed MeeGo project released version 1.0 of the open source Linux MeeGo in late May. Optimized for Intel Atom-based netbooks, MeeGo v1.0 for Netbooks combines the Intel-backed Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo distribution, as well as Nokia’s Qt application framework. Versions for handhelds and tablets running on both Intel Atom and ARM platforms won’t be out until later this year, at which points we can expect the NPad and other prototype MeeGo tablets to start hitting the streets.

The NPad is expected to arrive, presumably in the Chinese market, in the third quarter, says Tech.qq. More information may eventually appear at Red Flag Software

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