Debian on a low-cost tablet (50€)

Prices of embedded devices are reaching incredible low, and we can now find tablets for less than 50€.

The ICOO D50 Lite is an example. It features a 7" capacitive tactile screen, 1Ghz ARMv7 CPU 512Mb of RAM and 8gb flash. Moreover, you have a webcam, an accelerometer (you know, that device that tell you where is the gravity) and a battery.

Like a lot of tablets in this category, the micro processor used is one of the Allwinner's: A13. The associated architecture is called sunxi, and there is a linux support for it.

Moreover, a company named Olimex is selling developpement boards based on this kind of processor, and explain how to build Debian for it, giving some prebuilt Debian SD cards. This explains you how to create the image and how to use it, that's why I won't duplicate those explainations here.

Using all this, you can buy an Allwinner low-cost tablet and try to run Debian on it. This is what I did with the ICOO D50 Lite:

Once you've got your tablet, you can follow the Olimex tutorial to build Debian, the hard parts are:

  • Choosing the good drivers to enable in your linux menuconfig
  • Tweak your script.bin to fit your hardware configuration

Fortunately, your tablet comes with a working version of Android, which means that you can extract the script.bin from it to get a lot of interesting information about hardware, like the model of your tactile screen, the wiring of the I2C bus etc.

You can download the image I'm running on my ICOO D50 Lite here: download debian_d50.tgz

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