Turning The InnoTab Into A Linux Tablet

A few weeks ago we caught wind of [Mick] breaking out his screwdrivers and soldering iron to get a serial console on his son’s VTech InnoTab. [Mick] was able to get the touchscreen working and successfully ported SCUMMVM to the device, but there was still a long road ahead to get  the source for this pint-sized tablet.

[David Anders] from elinux.org wrote in to tell us VTech is now giving away their source for the InnoTab, something they’ve been holding back so far. [Dave] is now verifying the VTech release is 100% complete, so if you’d like to give him a hand, drop him a line.

If you’re thinking this is your ticket to an inexpensive and powerful Linux tablet, prepare to be disappointed. The InnoTab is an ARM 11 running at 180 MHz with a paltry 64 MB of RAM. That’s not exactly top-of-the-line hardware, but at the very least you’ll be able to play Doom on it.

11 thoughts on “Turning The InnoTab Into A Linux Tablet

  1. Based on what I see, through the “Sqlite exploit” and what appears to be a jvm, wouldn’t that mean I can run any Java compliant program? If so, how far away is it from running a JIT .obj file?

    1. What are you talking about? If this is not hacking, then what is? He is taking an electronic device and hacking/modifying it to do something it was never intended to do. This is a consumer electronic device– it is not particularly cheap, but not outrageously expensive either.

      Perhaps you could more clearly articulate your grievance(s) rather than resorting to expletives?

    2. But that’s the glory of hacking!
      So many things to f*** , and so little time. :)

      Look at the guy who basically put Max Headroom onto the screen of his $35,000 BMW… A hack is a hack, whether it involves two sticks and a little friction, or re-purposing the entire banking system and money supply of the free world.

      Plenty of low cost hacks out there, but Hackaday now has the shmoo problem – it’s rather tough to be all things to all people, and some people think getting root access to these boxes is fun.
      In general, if a story doesn’t interest me, I pick the next one, and HAD has an awful lot of stories lately.

      And now for a few lines from “Real Genius”:

      Laslo: No. These are entries into the Frito Lay Sweepstakes. No purchase necessary, enter as often as you want. So I am.

      Chris: That’s great! How many times?

      Laslo: Well this batch makes 1,650,000. I should win 32.6% of the prizes including the car.

      Chris: That kinda takes the fun out of it doesn’t it?

      Laslo: Well they set up the rules. Lately I’ve come to realize that I have certain materialistic needs.

    3. Beach,beach,beach. Never ever seen it written that every build, hack etc. published has to be duplicated by anyone, and has to be affordable to the poorest of the poor. Where it’s no longer just one hack a day posted, use the browser back button, and scroll down to the next new post. In the event you can’t find anything you like it may be time to examine your own standards, not of those who are actually creating content and those showing us where content is located.

  2. When this was first featured my thought was that any money spent purchasing this may be better place towards getting a net book or a 7″ tablet or a smart phone maybe even the Kindle Fire. Anyway this information is good to know if become a much cheaper close out item or shows up at garages sales. Great that VTech released the source, but I don’t know what could have been done if they forever chose not to.

    1. n0lkk,

      VTech had to be “persuaded” to comply with the GPL/LGPL. they weren’t exactly in a rush to release the source. Mick and i were already on the road to replicating all the source for the kernel, this just shorted the path to getting it working…..

      at just a measly $59.99 USD ,for the amount of hardware that is provided, i think it is extremely inexpensive.

    2. I got mine at a goodwill brand new, in-package for $20. Of course, mine is the pink and purple “Girl” model but it matches the brand new IM-ME I got for 5 at the same store. I think someone’s kid must hate the toys they are getting. I am extremely excited about what Mick and David are doing/have done and I will be watching the elinux page very closely

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