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Leaked: Ubuntu-powered Tablet Spotted in China?

Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth has been claiming that the developers working on the Ubuntu Linux distribution have been busy smoothing out the rough edges of multitouch support for the OS, and this latest leak reported by Giz-China seems to confirm that fact. Apparently, an unnamed slate PC loaded with the Ubuntu Linux distribution has been found making its way in China.

A long time ago, an unnamed individual made a post to a message board claiming that 200x will be the year of the Linux desktop. Unfortunately, for all its popularity and hype, Linux eventually failed to to make any major headways into the desktop. And now that we are fast approaching the end of 2010, it should come as no surprise that the once-popular saying has been reduced to little more than an overzealous joke.

That being said, the recent spike in demand for highly mobile networked devices like smartphones and slate PCs have given the notion of desktop Linux a second wind. This was especially hinted at when Mark Shuttleworth announced a few months back that Canonical was working to perfect multitouch support for Linux, a feature which many have come to take for granted in today’s slate PCs and smartphones. And now, it seems that Linux might just have a chance to make a grand comeback in the mobile space if it plays its cards right, because Giz-China has claimed to have gotten wind of a tablet which runs on Ubuntu 10.10, as shown in the image below.

Few details are known about the Linux-powered slate PC, but Giz-China claims that the device sported a 10-inch touchscreen and was running off an Intel Atom processor clocked at 1.6GHz, 2GB of memory and had a 32GB SSD service the tablet’s storage needs. According to the website, there was little problem with getting Ubuntu to play nice with the touchscreen, and that the boot-up speed was fast enough to be considered “almost instant”, although we’d attribute its speed to the use of a much faster SSD instead of the traditional hard disk. And at first glance, the Unity interface favoured by Canonical for netbooks and mobile devices seems well-suited for a slate PC with a 10-inch touchscreen display.

Unfortunately, it appears that getting the system to play nice with the touchscreen was the only thing which the operating system was successful in. The images posted by Giz-China revealed that Ubuntu was not able to recognize the device’s WiFi card, despite the WiFi indicator light on the tablet being active. MP3 support is also decidedly absent, although it should be pointed out this is a common omission found on any freedom-respecting Linux distro. This is further backed up by Giz-Chana claiming that there are still “bugs” which the developers are currently hard at work on.

Last but not least, Giz-China claims that there is a “hidden Easter egg” in the photos which, if found, will reveal some information about the some of the parties responsible for assisting Canonical in porting Ubuntu over to tablets. Take a very good look at the images we have posted: can you catch the hint?

Source and images: Giz-China

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