Bulgarian open hardware specialist Olimex has announced the impending launch of a laptop with a difference: The circuit designs are publicly available, and you build it up from parts by hand.
Based on the company's successful range of single-board computers for educational, embedded, and industrial use, the Teres I laptop isn't likely to win any awards for performance. At its heart is a quad-core 64-bit AllWinner A64 system-on-chip (SoC) based on the ARM Cortex-A53 core, linked to 1GB of RAM and with 4GB of eMMC flash storage. This is then linked to a keyboard, touchpad, and 11.6in 1,366 x 768 LCD display with webcam and housed in a compact chassis with a 7000mAh battery to keep it running.
Where the Teres I differs from most laptops is in the level of tinkering available to users. Not only is the laptop provided as a kit for self assembly, but every circuit board - from the SBC that drives it to the one housing the power button - is released under a permissive licence for anyone to modify at will. Olimex itself has already teased plans for future upgrades, including integrated field-programmable gate array (FPGA) hardware and oscilloscope capabilities, and promises that it will sell a full array of spare parts should anyone break anything while tinkering.
The company has the laptop available for pre-order in white and black finishes but warns that it still has a little work ahead of it before they'll be ready to ship. 'Hardware wise everything is OK and works,
' an Olimex spokesperson said in a blog post
regarding the laptop, '[but] the software need some care to be completed, power supply management, Linux distribution, and few more details need attention.
The Teres I isn't the first ARM-based open-hardware laptop to hit the market, but is certainly one of the cheapest: Olimex has priced the device at just €225 (around £192), with more information available on the official product page