They say you have to watch out for false prophets, which might very well be the case with the world’s first alleged Ubuntu tablet. There definitely is more than meets the eye about the Intermatrix U7, a 7-incher supposed to start shipping in October 2013 in Australia.
But let’s start from the beginning. Although we can’t really remember when we first heard about Canonical’s plans for Ubuntu-powered phones and tablets. Anyways, the new mobile OS hit the ground running a few weeks ago with a dev preview available to test on Nexus phones.
Ubuntu for tablets was announced soon after and is due out for developers on the Nexus 7 and 10 “soon”. As for actual releases of specific devices running Ubuntu, we were only given vague ETAs, like late 2013 for phones and early 2014 for tabs.
So where does the Intermatrix U7 fit in this picture? Well, that’s the thing, it really doesn’t. First of all, because it comes from a virtually unknown Australian manufacturer. True, our speculations of a Canonical – HTC partnership might have not proved legitimate for now, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be seeing big time OEMs get in the game sooner or later.
Second, Intermatrix says the U7 is to ship starting October 2013, but Canonical was adamant Ubuntu for tablets is still very much a work in progress. The first “official” slates are only expected in 2014, so how could someone like Intermatrix pull off such an early release?
Third and most importantly, U7’s spec sheet is bound to raise some eyebrows. The tab is to come packing a quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex A9 CPU, 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of on-board storage, among others. That’s not bad if we pit it against other 7-inchers around, but it’s not enough to smoothly run Ubuntu.
For one thing, the RAM needs to be doubled in order to meet the official minimum requirements. We don’t know about that A9 chip either, seeing as Canonical only mentioned the A15 and Intel’s x86 platform back in February. We’re not necessarily saying Ubuntu won’t boot on this thing, but we’re pretty sure it’s going to be clunky as hell.
If, and that’s a big if, the Intermatrix U7 is not just a big hoax. Which, all things considered, we think it is. There’s too much that doesn’t connect about it, and, to top it all off, the tab looks a lot like the Android-based Ainol Novo 7 Venus.
But why is Intermatrix doing this if they know they can’t deliver on their promises? Free publicity would be a good guess, but here’s a crazier one – what if the Australians really bought a slew of unbranded Ainol Novos, which they’ll load with an unfinished Ubuntu port come next fall?
However it plays out, we really advise you to not order this thing. It's not even very cheap, at AU$269. Besides, why would you want to turn your back on the green little robot that we like to call Android?