WeTab – The Linux iPad Alternative

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At this point practically everyone has heard of the iPad, and its “magical” effect on sales. But there’s another slick tablet that you may not have heard of that’s making waves, and it has a similar name. That tablet is called the WeTab, but you could almost give it another name – the anti-iPad.

What makes the WeTab an interesting tablet? Let’s take a look.

Standard Interfaces

Unlike the iPad, the WeTab has the interfaces built into the unit. You will find an SD card Slot without a cable required. You will also find two USB ports for your connection needs, allowing peripherals such as keyboards and data sticks. Bluetooth and optional GPS rounds out the device.

There’s also a webcam on the device, and the screen is a nice 11.6 inches that displays in 1366×768 pixels. Connectivity is done through WiFi, and there is a 3G version to keep you online on the go.

Android Compatible OS

The German made WeTab is powered by a 1.66 N450 Atom chip and runs a Linux version that is compatible with the Android OS. In fact, it even has access to the Android marketplace, and it works great with all things Flash.

The software runs the standard applications, and the Open Office suite comes installed on the device. You can use any application you see fit to play your music and videos.  Widgets are supported, and you can see the tablet in action in the video below:

A Name Change

Those of you familiar with the product may have known the WeTab as another product, the WePad. Neofonie recently changed the name, and the similarity to Apple’s iPad (and potential legal action) could have played a part in the decision. According to Neofonie:

To clearly differentiate our products within the international market for tablet computers, as of today we have changed the product name of our tablet computer from WePad to WeTab. Similarly, the company formerly known as WePad GmbH will now trade under WeTab GmbH. This change only concerns the name of the product and company. All other particulars and pre-orders are not affected.

Or maybe the name change to weTab was just an attempt to avoid a lot of jokes. Either way, the name WeTab works fine to distinguish the product in the market.

Pricing and Availability

As of this writing, the 16GB Wifi WeTab is set to sell for €449 ($573). The Deluxe 32GB version, which includes 3G, GPS, and 1080p HDMI output as well Wifi is set at €569 ($726).

The WeTab is set to ship in July this year. So, if you love the look of the iPad but not the closed approach, then you might want to consider an android based tablet such as the WeTab. While I expect there to be be several on the market in due time, it looks like the WeTab has all of the right components to make it a handy tablet for your needs.

  13 comments for “WeTab – The Linux iPad Alternative

  1. Ben There
    May 15, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Not for me, let me tell you why. Worked for 30 years supporting unix like systems, can’t remember them all, primos, OS9, yes there was a non apple OS9 unix system, all those Linux versions, and the last thing I wanted when I got home was another job/hobby fixing/modifying my home computers. Did that with the old Radio Shack Coco Flex system, hour after hour. Finally it hit me, I spent more time dinging with it, then using it. At home I want an appliance. This is why at home I switched to Apple years ago. At work Linux severs/workstations. Bagged Micrsoft because too much like another job supporting it, home or work. Once sucked myself into buying a Linux based palm pilot like device. Turned into a time bandit, too. With my iPad I find I am back to reading books, via of iBooks, et al. apps. Glasshouse Early Edition, back to reading a sudo newspaper. I have no desire, nor can I, to dink with the thing.

    • tyler
      August 8, 2011 at 1:11 am

      Linux really isn’t that difficult to set up for a basic user. In fact most distros nowadays have everything you need pre-installed. I definitely understand your point but its not like its running arch linux or anything on it. And keep in mind  ease of use is the main point of this design.

  2. Dun That
    May 24, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    So you need Steve Jobs and a closed system to tell you to get a life and use your devices instead of fiddling with them? Sorry, looks more like a lack of self-discipline to me.

  3. Get Withit
    May 25, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Have you used a Linux-based portable in the last 3 years? Most modern distros come completely skinned, and as-or-more ready to use than Apple devices, with equally intuitive GUIs and much more compatibility and customizability, from looks to function. Get with it. You’ve become lost in the smog cloud of Apple marketing; they want you to be like sheep, managed, told that everything else is more complicated or too difficult

  4. Russ
    June 11, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    I like the idia of the Ipad but whould never!!! own a MAC, I can’t wait for a LINUX based pad done right.

    Where do I sign up??

  5. Jojo
    July 24, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    Great exchange between Ben There and Dun That. It encapsules the issue of Linux market penetration. One of my closest friends is a Linux system programmer. Every time I hear him describing, about some linux device or software and all the ways it can be used and configured, I start chanting the command line newbies lament:

    Well you can do it this, or you can do it that,
    or you can do it this, or you can do it that,
    and maybe it will this, or maybe it will that,
    but one thing that is sure, is that it will drive you bats

    What most linux heads don’t realize is that every tweak or customization made by a user can result in a disaster that will cost time and maybe money. If we all had enough sytems programming background then we could recover and go on easily, but we don’t. Even after a summer working with command line tools a few years back I now can’t remember enough commands to get me out of trouble when something doesn’t work.

    So when a user hears “you can do it this, or you can do it that” what registers in a users head is “you can play Russian Roulette this or you can play in traffic that”. What Apple knows is what Ben There states, the user needs to have a device that works and does stuff that improves your life, period. Second, and this is just as important, if there are ways to customize the device or program, something many users really like to do, then it has to be in a sandbox so that it can be tried and only after it works will it be incorporated into the system.

    So two key lessons all linux developers need to learn if they want to get market share are:
    1. Push no more Russian Roulette games on users
    2. Provide a sandbox for the curious, adventurous and technically skilled to try their customizations so that the baseline functionings of the device or program can continue.

    The sandbox can be provided via a virtual environment or by a system restore function which enables a user to reboot and really , truly get back to where they were. Microsoft provides a preliminary, rough approximation of this function, but the main problem with system restore in Microsoft is that it rarely restores a busted system, so users can’t and don’t count on it working when they need it.

  6. Got the T-shit
    August 1, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Evidently noone has gone through a more thorough review of this device. A “sandbox” environment as jojo postulates is exactly what has been incorporated into the WeTab. While the pad is linux based, all the usual tweaks etc have been disabled to an extent even ubuntu would be ashamed of. Until, of course, you enable professional mode if you are in the mood to meddle with it.

  7. Corvin
    August 1, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    I feel it is a good option to have. Coming fromf someone who owned an IPAD and I am here to say that I was disappointed over time with its limitations and its inflexibility. The drawbacks of it being a closed system are quite a few not to mention that Apple has been enforcing more and more restrictions on developers. Plus let’s not even start on the ‘data plan’ offerings/coverage by ATT which Apple has aligned their product line with currently here in the U.S.

    WeTab offers felxibility, having flash, java, linux & android which has been proven to be a stable and excellent OS with so many options including for ereaders that I feel this is a great option. If you want a webcam, you got it. If you want gps, you got it. If you want to import & export ebooks you can easily. You can also edit docs online and offline with its openoffice. Plus the quality of the product is good. Considering all that it can handle the battery life is also good. So far so I think this is a great option & I look forward to having many other tablet devices out there for tablet computing I believe is on the rise and will become a staple in the near feature.

  8. Linux?
    August 16, 2010 at 3:06 am

    Yes linux is nice, but isn’t open source cheaper? where’s the savings? can i draw a schematic on it or fire up eaglecad or spice? if its a tabletpc lets call it a tabletpc…. so what if apple re-invents some previous technology again and gives it a funny name.

    i want function, i want to be able connect to wifi in the house and control my media center…. i would also like to be able to ssh or vpn in from starbucks and check on the kids while i am not at home.

    apple is good at redesign and marketing to the point where they’ll sell you a car with no doors and say that’s extra and then sue the previous developers and manufacturers of past tech for infringement, for them to have a decent competition it has to have more function and be totally customizable. with a windows machine i can just peek and poke the ports i need without violating something, with linux i just have to script it, with apple…. i gave up after powerpc clones.

    i don’t know the WeTab looks neat i am glad it runs *nix but the price is a bit out of range for most. if they can get the price down and market it as a tabletpc that’s more usable than an iPad, then i’ll drop the laptop.

    it’s a good step not saying its a bad one, but the spec’s i want to see are what it can run, if it is linux, and can i compile anything on it to make the things i want to run, compile and run.

  9. August 26, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Well, the errors caused neofonie are certainly business by but certainly not intentional. Personally, I can here to press two eyes.
    Unfortunately, I do not think the iPad WeTab can refer in his place, as regards the Arbeitssgeschwindigkeit. But even the possibility to install their own “normal” programs and not necessarily dependent on an App Store to be showing me that it would be better with the

  10. Karan
    October 1, 2010 at 8:49 am

    It’s not android! It is MeeGo!

  11. Raffym
    October 15, 2010 at 12:51 am

    Will the company do an Asus eee (that is, market it to the techies first). Afterwards, market to the rest of the crowd (and by that time, people will be talking Win7).

  12. Freja
    October 25, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    In response to comments below. You can either use the default OS (MeeGo, a kind of Android) or wipe it and get Windows 7 or any suitable Linux to run on it. Check Youtube. Right now almost all users are German and there is an excellent forum for this, in German.

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