An uncompromising combination of mobile phone and PC that will fit into your pocket?
I saw the description above, and I'm always interested in a cool gadget, so I had to look further:
Are you looking for the perfect all-inclusive solution for everyday business? An uncompromising combination of mobile phone and PC that will fit into your pocket? With remote access to all important desktop resources? You can find all these in the Linux-based Handy-PC S101!
Yes! Yes! of course I am looking for all of that, who isn't? Interesting, runs Linux, acts like a phone, or a mobile linux workstation. The form factor is similar to the Nokia communicator series, which I have always found cool, but the price point (on the Nokia) was way out of line with other options (an no US carriers subsidized the upfront cost). This Road smartphone is not released yet (who knows if it even will be), and no price is mentioned, but I for one am hoping that these guys are successful in launching this smartphone. I'm been a Palm Treo user for a few years now, and I am starting to want more (better form factor, a real phone experience better voice quality and a numeric keypad when using as a phone, and a qwerty keyboard for email / web.).
This got me thinking about what is possible with a small factor linux laptop like device. I have been following the One Laptop per Child
since last year when I first read an article in MIT Technology Review about the project.
Here are a few Deets:
What is the $100 Laptop, really?
The proposed $100 machine will be a Linux-based, with a dual-mode display—both a full-color, transmissive DVD mode, and a second display option that is black and white reflective and sunlight-readable at 3× the resolution. The laptop will have a 500MHz processor and 128MB of DRAM, with 500MB of Flash memory; it will not have a hard disk, but it will have four USB ports. The laptops will have wireless broadband that, among other things, allows them to work as a mesh network; each laptop will be able to talk to its nearest neighbors, creating an ad hoc, local area network. The laptops will use innovative power (including wind-up) and will be able to do most everything except store huge amounts of data.
The interesting thing here is the price point is amazing. A useful device for around $100 is amazing. Lacking a large hard drive, the specs remind me of the Road smartphone. I'm hoping both of these devices succeed.
Of course that begs the question, where is Microsoft in all of this. Apparently they may be porting Windows CE to the OLPC device:
In a keynote at LinuxWorld last week, OLPC project chairman Nicholas Negroponte said that in addition to its plans to use a lightweight version of Linux, the group is "also talking to Microsoft," eWEEK.com reports. "They're going to make a Windows CE version" for the machine.
An of course a competing Microsoft initiative has been announced and a prototype was shown:
Microsoft shows off cell phone-PC prototype
Microsoft on Thursday showed a prototype of a cell phone-based computer that could one day find a use as a cheap PC for emerging markets.
No word on price in that article, but since even the cheapest Windows powered smartphone (or Palm for that matter) costs at least several times more than Hundred Dollar Laptop, I'm guessing it will cost more.
The good news is the focus on power conservation for the Hundred Dollar Laptop (HDL) and of course for smartphones, where extended battery life has always been an important feature.
The HDL does not appear to be in direct competition with the newly announced UMPC devices. I'm not sure who is even interested in these devices, they have some interesting features, but the price is way out of line. You can get low end regular laptops cheaper than these things. To further demonstrate that I am not alone in understanding the target audience for these devices, Here is a great article comparing a recently released UMPC with the old Apple Newton, and the Apple Newton won! I had an apple Newton and can attest that it was a great device, and I knew exactly what to use it for and why I needed it. Check out the article for more details on the knockout:
Apple Newton vs Samsung Q1 UMPC
On the price front, the Samsung costs close to $1000, similar to other UMPC devices. This is a far cry from low cost computing device.
An interesting detail from that comparison was the Samsung Q1 UMPC had a battery life of only 2.5 hours. The Newton had a battery life of 30 hours.
Wouldn't it be great if the average laptop today got 30 hours of use on a single charge? I use 2 laptops, one which is powerful and works great, but must be plugged in to be useful since it's battery life is only 1 hour. My second smaller laptop has a respectable battery life of 4 - 5 hours, but of course, does not have nearly as much speed as the larger power hungry one. Devices today (especially portable ones) need to improve on the battery life.
Tags: OLPC, smartphone, UMPC