Oracle demos do-it-yourself DukePad tablet based on Raspberry PI and Java

September 25, 2013
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SAN FRANCISCO — At the JavaOne technical keynote, engineers with Oracle’s Java division unwrapped what they call the DukePad. The nearly 2-inch thick tablet device is powered by a computer the size of a deck of cards that is typically used for school instruction and other research projects. The device supports a 10-inch screen and can run streaming video, game-quality graphics and typical office productivity apps.

Harkening back to the days when home computers were built from scratch, the DukePad was built using off-the-shelf components. The tablet features a touch screen, camera, HDMI, and USB outputs.

According to the project leads, “the software on the DukePad uses Raspbian Linux as the operating system, JavaSE Embedded 8, and an OSGi-based JavaFX environment. Within this DukePad environment, apps are simple JavaFX OSGi Modules.”

Only a concept… for now

While the DukePad is not an official product from Oracle, Richard Bair, a Java Client Architect with the company, told TabTimes that it was a good opportunity to show how advanced Java was in supporting this kind of project.

“We really wanted to see what we could do with JavaFX (a user interface variant of Java) and felt it was time to try it with a tablet. My kid was excited when he heard about this project because he said he’d like to build his own tablet with me.”

Raspberry PI is getting a lot of attention in the developer community these days as the simplified computer allows for audio, video, automation and sensor controls. The self-contained box includes a 512MB RAM Broadcom main processor, a graphics processor (also from Broadcom), an SD card for the operating system, external jacks for RCA video and HDMI, and a USB port.  

The plans and instructions for building the DukePad are openly available. Bair says his team is working with potential partners to make pre-made kits available that can be more easily assembled.

(DEVICES: Choosing your next tablet: The operational advantage” will be a key session at TabletBiz conference & expo in NYC on Nov. 13)


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