Earlier this week the team behind the Earl Back Country tablet posted an update on their website. While most of the design is coming along nicely, they reported that one key component was delaying certification and production:
While the final iteration of Earl’s walkie talkie was set to be completed back in February, the team contracted to develop and manufacturer the module has been less than satisfactory. Though we’ve tested a few iterations since the last module we received at the end of May, the walkie talkie still had further changes required to interface with Earl. We were promised the final module would be ready upon my return from my trip to the States around the 15th of June. No dice. I arrived back on the 18th and was assured of its completion by the 5th of July. Yesterday I was made aware of yet another delay that has now pushed it’s delivery until the 11th of July. This is the last major piece we need to proceed with certification.
The team doesn’t know exactly how long the delay will be, but they are saying that the Earl won’t be in production before October. (And that assumes nothing goes wrong with certification or at the factory.)
Originally scheduled to ship by the end of summer 2013, the Earl tablet by Sqigle promised to be a unique device that combined a rugged outdoors-safe design with a sunlight friendly E-ink screen. Sadly, the Earl has yet to live up to the promises. It’s been delayed several times since it launched as a crowd-sourced project in May 2013, and now it has been delayed again.
It’s been extensively redesigned over the past year and now sports a new shell, a better and cheaper Mobius E-ink screen, and improved specs. As you can see in the two vine videos below, the Earl has a green and black shell now which looks quite different from the tablet as it was conceived last summer.
The original design, which you can see in the second Vine video, had a kickstand with a solar panel. After early tests revealed that the kickstand was a weak point, the solar panel was integrated into the rear of the shell.
According to the latest specs, the Earl is going to be running Android 4.4 KitKat on a dual-core 1GHz CPU with 1GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, and a microSD card slot. In terms of connectivity, the Earl has Wifi, BT, GPS, NFC, and a multi-band M/FM/SW/LW radio. It can also pick up UHF, VHF, and it can double as a low-power 2-way radio. It also has quite a few sensors, including a a barometer, thermometer, hygrometer, and a 9-axis accelerometer/gyroscope/magnetometer.
Have you ordered an Earl? with a price tag of $250, I thought it was too pricy for the risk so I didn’t get one when it first launched. And after it missed its original ship date I thought it was too much of a risk. That turned out to have been a good idea, but I was honestly just being excessively cautious at the time.