There's been a rumour circulating for a few weeks now of an Ubuntu-powered tablet computer in the works, and recently several leaked photos and specs have emerged offering more detail on the intriguing device.

Reportedly under development at Taiwanese firm Tenq, the forthcoming model P07 is apparently a 10in tablet featuring multitouch capabilities and running Ubuntu Linux Netbook 10.10, according to a report on the Giz-China blog.

Also reportedly incorporated in the device will be an Intel Atom 1.66GHz CPU with 2GB of RAM and a 32GB SSD. Boot time, according to Giz-China, is "almost instant".

The device's 10.1in screen is reportedly a capacitive display with a webcam built into the bezel. And two USB ports as well as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI out, and a Micro SD card reader will be standard on the device, which will also feature space for an optional 3G module and a built-in keyboard with cover.

The device is reportedly planned for release early this year. In the meantime, its developers say they are working to polish its touch interface and on-screen keyboard display.

Amid the current tablet mania that's captivated consumers and the media, it's refreshing and exciting to see at least mention of an option that's neither another 'i'-device from Apple nor powered by Android.

We've already heard news of Augen's dual-booting Gentouch Espresso Doppio - offering users the choice of Android 2.2 or Ubuntu - but an alternative focusing exclusively on Ubuntu could be attractive.  It didn't take long, after all, before recipients of Google's Chrome operating system-based CR-48 notebook computer got Ubuntu up and running on the device.

The Linux distribution is increasingly becoming a force to be reckoned with on netbooks and the desktop thanks to its many compelling advantages - price is only one of them - and the changes being incorporated into upcoming versions promise even bigger things. I haven't succumbed to the tablet craze yet, but an Ubuntu tablet like this could well be what finally draws me in.

See also: Buyer's guide: How to choose a Linux laptop