Vivaldi tablet in harmony with new vendor
KDE and Plasma developer Aaron Seigo has given an update on the state of the planned Vivaldi tablet in a video published on his YouTube channel. In the video, Seigo addresses new developments regarding the tablet, which was originally announced at the beginning of 2012. The team has apparently changed its plans and has designed its own, custom tablet hardware which should enter general production in about three months. According to Seigo, the manufacturer has now begun the tooling for the hardware. The last official statement on the project dates from September and cites a major setback.
Seigo says that the team's original plan – to source off-the-shelf hardware which the manufacturer would agree to release open source drivers for and then pre-install this with the Plasma Active version of the KDE desktop – has failed. According to Seigo, the project suffered several setbacks from business problems to a general lack of a product roadmap from the chosen manufacturers. Apparently, the original tablet hardware was changed by the OEM without warning when they delivered the first developer version of the device. The change was such that the operating system that was tested on the prototypes would not even boot on the new model.
The team also encountered problems with GPL violations and OEMs that claimed their hardware was supplied with completely open source drivers – when it was checked, Seigo says "it took about five minutes of looking through their source code to find entire binary drivers". The team also had to convince the manufacturers to release the source code to their drivers anew with every change in the hardware. In the end, Seigo says that the complete lack of a product roadmap on behalf of these partners left the KDE team only one choice: to come up with their own hardware design built from readily available components.
Seigo says that the team plans to publish an official announcement on the future of the project in which the release timing and the specifications of the device will be confirmed. Seigo expects this announcement at the end of the month. When released, the tablet will officially support Plasma Active, including full warranty coverage. After the initial release, the team apparently plans to manufacture several follow-up devices with different hardware specifications. Seigo says the new approach allows the team to be "in full control" of its roadmap for the first time.