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> Irda Versus Wifi
If you could have IRDA or WiFi built into a future handheld computer, but not both, which would you rather have?
If you could have IRDA or WiFi built into a future handheld computer, but not both, which would you rather have?
IRDA [ 4 ] ** [11.76%]
WiFi (802.11b, g, a, WiMax, etc) [ 30 ] ** [88.24%]
Total Votes: 34
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qx773
post Dec 10 2005, 08:22 AM
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IRDA seems mostly useless to me compared to WiFi. IRDA has the limitations of lower speed, higher power consumption, a need for line-of-sight, and a need for close proximity between the sender and receiver. I think that in future handheld computers, IRDA should be dropped entirely in favor of WiFi.

The only advantage of an IRDA port is that you can potentially use it to control televisions and VCRs, but not many people are going to use an expensive handheld computer for that purpose.

The question was cut off. The question was: If you could have IRDA or WiFi built into a future handheld computer, but not both, which would you rather have?

The IRDA port is the infrared serial port with the reddish plastic cover.

WiFi is a slang term that refers to a range of wireless radio communications technologies that are used in various places such as libraries, Starbucks, and home networks.
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ThC
post Dec 10 2005, 08:31 AM
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I've seen posts of newly Z adopters who were happy to be able to transfer datas between their old handheld and their new Z (including me) as all handheld have irda but all dont have wifi yet ...
I think you can't have a generation of wifi-only handhelds before having a few generations of both wifi and irda enabled handhelds so users can forget irda slowly ... same thing happened with floppy drives : they couldn't disapear before all computers had CD writers and CD witers were cheap enough to be replaced as they are less reliable than their floppy counterparts.
Another thing is : while irda takes more power while tansfering data, it doesn't have to be always on and doesn't heat as much as a wifi module (well, i think but I can be wrong on this one as I don't know lots of things about irda and never used it for hours like I did with wifi ...)

Btw we're mostly new-tech addicts here so I guess most of us would like Wifi enabled handhelds instead of this crappy old irda wink.gif
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qx773
post Dec 10 2005, 08:34 AM
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Please vote. Somehow Sharp representatives got it in their heads that IRDA is a must-have feature in favor of built-in WiFi. Let's see if that is true.
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ThC
post Dec 10 2005, 08:40 AM
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I did vote, btw Sharp's point on view with Wifi has been discussed many times and it appeared that Sharp would probably add some mobile-phone broadband acces instead of adding wifi possibility as Zauriis are targeted to Japan market where Wifi is not used as much as in US or in Europe sad.gif
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the_oak
post Dec 10 2005, 10:29 AM
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Tough question, but I voted irda. Why? Am I crazy? No, I use an irda external keyboard (PocketTop), and if I had irda only, I could still get a wifi cf card, but I'm not sure about getting an irda cf card if I had a wifi only device. Actually, at this point, I would not buy a device unless it had both. I don't want to lose an expansion slot to another externally added device. I bought my 6000 because it was the only Z to come with wifi.
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qx773
post Dec 10 2005, 10:45 AM
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If you had an external bluetooth keyboard, and if the handheld computer had a bluetooth transmitter/receiver, then you would still be able to use an external keyboard with it. Bluetooth is not really what most refer to when they say WiFi, but maybe in the future a single handheld could support multiple forms of wireless communication.
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DrWowe
post Dec 10 2005, 12:16 PM
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I voted WiFi because I rarely use the infrared. But, if your poll had included Bluetooth I would have voted that instead. Bluetooth uses even less power than WiFi, and it can do all the same functionalies as IRDA, like file transfer, keyboards, connecting to mobile phones, sending calendar and contact stuff, plus it can also do WiFi style networking.

In my opinion, Bluetooth completely replaces IRDA because it can do all the same things. WiFi is better (faster/better range) than bluetooth for networking, but it doesn't have the same general purposeness.
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neuroshock
post Dec 11 2005, 08:39 AM
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Two things:

(Please note that in this post I will use the word WiFi to represent collectively 802.11b, bluetooth, and RF modules.)

1. The assumption that you based your question on is incorrect. Basically your assuming by doing away with irda in the device that Sharp would then be able to use that space etc. to install an embedded WiFi device. This just isn't the case. the circuitry and controller as well as the actual port itself are tiny in comparison to a any single WiFi module. This is also true because from an economic perspective they can throw in irda for pennies almost and any of the WiFi modules are MUCH more expensive. Because of the extremely small space it takes up and how cheap it is to integrate no PDA manufacturer is going to miss the chance to keep it on the list of Specifications it can boast about to the consumer.

Couple that with the fact that backward compatibility is of utmost importance to any manufacturer (ANYTHING that makes their consumer pool smaller is avoided and they would invariably lose a few customers who have specific needs for irda) so irda may be here for a LONG while yet to come. The only thing that would get the irda ports dropped would be utter obsolecence. Whether they put any WiFi module in future Z's will simply not be impacted by the future of the irda port.

Which leads into...

2. Backward Compatibility. As others have touched on there are plenty of users out there who are dependant on irda for a peripheral or general communication. (A good example of this is the irda keyboard that was mentioned.) As Zaurus users that are active in the community we tend to be users that often put great importance on performance (as in video), gaming, mpeg and mp3's, and we also like to "tinker". The vast majority of us are Zaurus owners simply because our Z's are based on Linux and we crave the ability to play with the OS and enjoy making our Z's jump through bizarre hoops just to say we can. We are the Zaurus Zealots, the exteme high end user who like to often use our Z's for things that Sharp never originally anticipated. Yes there are a few of us who use our Z's strictly for business purposes, and a sizeable amount of us that use our Z's for pleasure AND for business purposes. Because of this we often become out of touch with the view of the manufacturer.

The manufacturer's main consumer target is business users, they account for almost 85% of Sharps Clamshell sales to date. It always has been way ever since the SL5x00's and probably will be into the forseeable future. It's how they make money and they cater to those customers. Those customers use their Z's for their daily business purposes. Yes as I mentioned above some may also play and "tweak" their Z's on their time off but their need to use their Z's for PRODUCTIVITY and that is what drives them to buy the pda in the first place.

The final thing that I haven't mentioned is that what the irda port offers that WiFi doesn't. Irda is superior to a WiFi module at those business sensitive times when quick down-and-dirty cross-platform communication while away from the network infrastructure is needed. Take your average business meeting for example at a restaurant. What if a data or picture file of the product being discussed needs to be exchanged between your Z and a Palm OS or PocketPC device? or even the simple exchange of electronic business cards? With irda you can simply and easily move those files across pda's of different flavors. With any of the WiFi technologies you can do the same... BUT both users have to be knowledgeable enough to quickly reconfigure the wireless settings to be able to do so. Remember now, for us this would be a piece of cake, but these are NORMAL business users who usually know nothing about a ROM/OS etc. So unless they are able to drag their IT folks to every meeting they would be unable to exchange files. Almost any Palm user since the venerable Pilot knows how to use the irda port- it's darn near close to being dummy proof on palm devices and since the SL-5000 we've known how to communicate with Palm's using the irda port for basic file transfers.

While 100% backward compatibility has always been Sharp's policy, they are especially sensitive to keeping the irda port. This is because from day one, everyone condemned their linux-based offering because of Corporate concerns that the Zaurii wouldn't be compatible/interoperable with the other platforms (read: Palm devices.) Sharp relied HEAVILY on the fact that the irda port was the "ace-up-the-sleeve". Early on the irda port was what made the first generation of Zaurii acceptable at all to the Business/Corporate user.

Please understand that this post wasn't meant to attack your idea (God knows I'd love just as much as everyone else to find SOME way to get them to embed 802.11b/g and bluetooth into the clamshells!) It was meant to be a gentle reminder that we unfortunately are not the driving force in the market that Sharp must kow-tow to as a matter of fact they have shunned us. To be frank the irda simply was not put there for us, yes we do use it sometimes because it's there, but it's for the average business minded customer. That very same business customer is of UTMOST importance to the life of future Zaurii. If for ANY reason those "productivity" minded business customers ever quit buying Z's and sales flagged badly they would shut the whole model line down for good.

Because of these things I have NO problem whatsoever with Sharp keeping the irda port in the Zaurus line of products for as long as they feel it needs to be there to entice business customers in Japan if this is what it takes to insure that there will be more Zaurii for us to purchase and play with in the future.

I've discussed in another thread the reasonings behind Sharp not embedding WiFi and/or bluetooth in their clamshells, search for it if you're interested. We have to remember when dealing with integrated WiFi and Bluetooth that many business/Corporations in Japan will NOT buy nor allow their employees to use pda's with these technologies embedded in the workplace. It's a problem that involves a whole hodge-podge of Japanese Business, Cultural, and infrastucture issues. It boils down to the Corporates insisting on both providing the WiFi modules (usually CF cards) AND keeping an ironclad grip on their management. Even when they supply both bluetooth and WiFi cf cards they don't see the fact that only one can be used at a time as a problem. Actually to the exact opposite they usually do not WANT both to be useable simultaneously.

Sharp IS sensitive to the problem that faces the endusers that want to be able to enjoy more peripherals in thier pda simultaneously.Sharp is just reacting in the only ways they can and continue to enjoy a growing market share of their target audience (remember they only retail these to Japanese customers, the rest of the globe is market-irrelevant to them.) For example: The whole reason that the C3x00 line now has embedded 4gb microdrives is because Sharp knew that Business were insisting on providing their own bluetooth and 802.11b/g cards/modules to there employees. By embedding the microdrive they freed up the CF slot for non-storage devices. It is also the reason why C1000 and C3x00's now have a usb-host port.

So until the Corporate/Business policies that most Japanese business customers must languish under change it would appear that there is not much hope in sight for WiFi embedded Zaurii. The ONE shining hope we may have is for them to fully implement the SDIO slot so that we could use SDIO WiFi cards. Of course this presents a problem for the aftermarket ROM's because of the proprietary software issues with SD technology but hopefully we'd find some workaround.

The situation as we have it now is stupidly frustrating for our high-end Zaurus crowd. It seems just silly that when I look at my SL-6000L and compare it to my C3100 it leaves me with the notion that we Sharp has managed to devolve the device. Two years later and the flagship Zaurus is still not signifigantly improved (the 4gb drive is somewhat offset by the Expansion Sled that gives 6000 users a second CF slot) and in some areas (Screen, WiFi) is even completely inferior. Apalling.

For the present, all we can hope for is true SDIO or managing to do enough hardware-hacking ourselves to get WiFi integrated into our clamshells. My money is on the second option. I've learned not to depend on Sharp delivering something we actually want.

Sadly,
-NeuroShock
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DrWowe
post Dec 11 2005, 02:30 PM
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QUOTE(neuroshock @ Dec 11 2005, 10:39 AM)
(Please note that in this post I will use  the word WiFi to represent collectively 802.11b, bluetooth, and RF modules.)

I agree with most of what you said. the IRDA port is cheap and universal, to be sure, and I don't really mind having it. I've even used it on occasion. I've even successfully used it, instead of bluetooth to connect my cellphone to the net (althought it was slow and awkware, I suppose it's a nice fallback). IRDA isn't going anywhere soon, it use will just be gradually subsumed over time.

Few additional comments:

Don't use the word WiFi to refer to Bluetooth. That's just confusing. WiFi collectively refers to the 802.11* wireless networking standards, and nothing more.

QUOTE(neuroshock @ Dec 11 2005, 10:39 AM)
I've discussed in another thread the reasonings behind Sharp not embedding WiFi and/or bluetooth in their clamshells, search for it if you're interested.  We have to remember when dealing with integrated WiFi and Bluetooth that many business/Corporations in Japan will NOT buy nor allow their employees to use pda's with these technologies embedded in the workplace.

How do you explain the 6000L and 6000W? They only make sense outside Japan by your logic, but, the 6000 series was still primarily designed for and sold in Japan, the limited release of the 6000L in the USA notwithstanding. And, for the matter, the Hitachi FLORA-ie mx1?

QUOTE(neuroshock @ Dec 11 2005, 10:39 AM)
It is also the reason why C1000 and C3x00's [ed: and 6000  smile.gif ] now have a usb-host port.

Indeed, I don't think people appreciate this enough. The USB host post is a powerful capability which is often overlooked, since it allows virtually unlimited expansion opportunities, via hubs, and the wide range of USB devices out there. Need more CF and SD slots? No problem. How about bluetooth and wifi, yup. Maybe throw in an 80GB hard drive and a DVD drive too. biggrin.gif The problem is mainly one of portability, but that just takes some creative thinking.
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neuroshock
post Dec 11 2005, 03:15 PM
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Good point Doc. You're right I've fallen into that cesspool of confusion myself before over the WiFi/bluetooth wording. More than a bit embarassing to find myself spreading it myself.


As to explaining the SL-6000 series: You're incorrect- The SL-6000's were NOT made FOR NOR marketed in Japan originally. Yes you could buy them direct from Sharp Japan just as we can buy the clamshell models direct from Sharp Japan- a courtesy that Sharp extends to customers within their mother-country since it is made there. Unfortunately we have to pay for Importers to do our work for us unlike the japanese consumers. Just because individual units were available to be purchased direct through Sharp Japan doesn't indicate that it was a Japanese based release. I'll see if I can dig up the old Corporate Sharp public announcements on it and link you to them. You can find them on Sharp Japan's website, you just have to dig a bit- I've done it before.

The SL-6000's were designed and made in Japan but shipped to America to compete SOLELY in the US marketplace. The SL-6000 was a product of Sharp USA and not of Sharp Japan- this is well documented and acknowledged. They were almost prophetic in anticipation of what the customer of the future would want/need in America however. Almost two years since their US debut and we just now have handhelds that are incorporating 4" vga screens, with integrated WiFi and Bluetooth etc along with the traditional (not clamshell) format design- and bragging the whole while that they are the LEADING EDGE of pda technology. Should we send them a card and tell them they're two years late? They were definitely devices that were WAY ahead of their time. But the issue of what Sharp will design in the future rests solely in the hands of Sharp Japan as Sharp USA no longer exists in this capacity. Because of this the SL-6000 doesn't and won't affect the near future revisions of the Zaurus clamshell line.

The SL-6000 line was never meant to be offered to the Japanese customer. It was only after Sharp closed down Sharp USA that this changed. Unexpectedly they ended up with many more SL-6000 units still on hand and consequently they were all shipped back to Japan along with the rest of the Sharp USA's handheld holdings and equipment. Once there Sharp made the logical decision to try to recoup some of their losses by reflashing them a Japanese ROM and offered them to Corporate customers in Japan. Meanwhile they were desperately trying to find a buyer for the production line so they could get out from under what they felt was an "Edsel". Ironically it was this "Edsel" that spawned the realization that if you integrate a CF Microdrive (think 6000 Expansion Sled) and toss in a USB host you could free the CF/SD slot to dedicated WiFi and Bluetooth modules. Hmpff. "Edsel" my foot- "Ford Mustang" is a more appropriate moniker for the SL-6000 series!

The Hitachi Flora offering (I now know much more about it than I did a few days ago when Guylhem pointed them out to us- a VERY interesting story might I add) is a further result of this. The Flora is the long lost Sharp SL-6000D series with Windows CE flashed to it and HITACHI stamped on the front (along with some silver paint). Sharp sold the Fab itself and the intellectual and physical property rights of the SL-6000D to Hitachi. Hitachi has NEVER had the blindsighted marketing myopia that Sharp suffers from chronically and I'm sure they will sell them quite well. But again remember that Hitachi's Flora MX1 has nothing to do with what SHARP will offer in their handhelds in the future, (which is what my post in this thread and the original posting was about - Sharps future offerings not Hitachi's).

Btw...in case anyone's interested in what Hitachi's plans are- they bought up the SL-6000D rights simply because Sharp was selling them for pennies on a dollar and they thought it would be a great inexpensive way to get thier feet wet in the Japanese Corporate handheld marketplace. Kinda funny huh? A pda designed and built by Sharp for the American only marketplace- Sharp gives up on the line and Hitachi scoops it up and in turn offers it to Japanese Corporate customers (that Sharp was so sure wouldn't be interested) and they apparently are selling fairly well. However before anyone get's their hopes up too high while Hitachi COULD continue the manufacturing line, at the time of the sale with Sharp they publically claimed to have no further interest in continuing Sharps SL-6000 legacy. Rather they would develop their own offering to replace it in the future. In the mean time it gave them a cheap way to test the marketplace while they got their own fab facility tool and die'd and ready for production. BUT maybe if they continue to sell well it would be the impetus for the Corporate feelings in Japan on integrated WiFi and bluetooth offerings in the workplace, or even better yet maybe Hitachi WILL continue the SL-6000 line. Maybe. The fact that they are selling pretty well at least proves that there is SOME Japanese Corporate sympathy to integrated WiFi and Bluetooth.

So anyway, except for comparing and contrasting issues the American marketed SL-6000 had no real purppose in my previous post as it holds no relevance on the future of Sharp's handheld Japan's offerings (the clamshell line) because as of this date Japan is the only customer base that they design and sell pda's for and to. Sharp Japan's engineers are completely poisoned against the SL-6000 line and has become the mascot and mantra representing the evils of integrated WiFi/Bluetooth in the Corporate Marketplace. Silly. Completely Silly. Like I said before Sharp couldn't market their way out of a wet paper bag.

Well I hope this clears the water a bit.

Later Folks,
-NeuroShock
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DrWowe
post Dec 11 2005, 05:47 PM
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Very interesting. You seem to have some inside knowledge of the Japanese market. I'd be interested in the Hitachi story, if there's more to it than you already said.

There are still a few things I find curious:

1) Why was the 6000 released in Japan around Dec 2003, when they weren't in the states until the following April? It really seems like a device for the US market would have been released here first. (I may have the months wrong, but I know it was in Japan first for quite a while)

2) Why was the 6000W only available from Japan? At first, Sharp USA gave some very indeterminate answers about it "maybe" being available "later" in the year, and then of course that never happened at all. So why did Sharp Japan release it at all?

3) Why is the Hitachi flora only available in the 6000W wireless configuration? It seems like they would want to cover their bases and also release perhaps a 6000N equivalent for the conservative business you talked about.

I hope you can dig up some of the old corporate stuff about the 6000, I would be interested in seeing what was going through Sharp's collective brains at the time.

Well, despite the botched releasing, I'm glad they did, and I'm still glad I bought it. smile.gif It's had more longevity than any other PDA I've ever owned, and it's the only one I've come back to after switching to something else for a while.
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neuroshock
post Dec 12 2005, 06:23 AM
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QUOTE(DrWowe @ Dec 12 2005, 01:47 AM)
Very interesting.  You seem to have some inside knowledge of the Japanese market.  I'd be interested in the Hitachi story, if there's more to it than you already said.

There are still a few things I find curious:

1) Why was the 6000 released in Japan around Dec 2003, when they weren't in the states until the following April?  It really seems like a device for the US market would have been released here first. (I may have the months wrong, but I know it was in Japan first for quite a while)


You are the king of concise questions! Why can't I ever be so clear and specific yet brief?! I envy you that.

Anyway these are good questions with practical answers. This one is easy- it was available for individual sale at that date along with a media blitz to get developers interested and hooked. Neither corporations nor individuals were allowed to buy in bulk at that time. Bulk sales were only available through Sharp USA later on, individual sales have always been available through Sharp Japan- a practice that they make for every product they manufacture in that country regardless of where it is bulk marketed. These are very similar tactics to what they used when they released the SL-5000 prior to the SL-5500 to entice developers to not only program on the device but fall in love with it as well and use it on a daily basis.

QUOTE
2) Why was the 6000W only available from Japan?  At first, Sharp USA gave some very indeterminate answers about it "maybe" being available "later" in the year, and then of course that never happened at all.  So why did Sharp Japan release it at all?


Manufacturing was lagging behind heavily. While the SL-6000L's were being released in America back home in Japan the production line was just starting to crank out SL-6000W's when Sharp made the determination to close Sharp USA's pda offerings. You'll of course noted that Sharp USA up to that point was making every indication that SL-6000W availability was just around the corner. When the shutdown of Sharp USA's marketing came out USA Japan (who was responsible for the manufacturing of the SL-6000 series- Sharp USA never made a single thing they sold- they're just Sharp's Sales arm here in America) abruptly froze production. Sharp then waffled for about 60 days and then decided it would finish the SL-6000W's production run because it wouldn't incur signifigant cost, (as R&D as well as the fab had already been done), to finish the original production run. So they did.
This is where Sharp really had another of it's famous moments of stupidity. Sharp USA's manpower was being scaled back dramatically and when nobody from Sharp USA sent a message to the contrary Sharp Japan actually shipped the majojrity of the SL-6000W's production to America. Once it arrived here everyone realized they had cut personel and infrastructure so deeply they could no longer even begin to hope to sell them on the market. Sharp worldwide stepped in and instructed that all SL-6000 and SL-6000L's be dumped to the American market at whatever price they could get and to send all other production and parts back to Japan. This is where our $399 Amazon.com SL-6000L's came from last year this time.

At this very time they began negotiations with Hitachi to sell intellectual/physical property rights to what remained of the SL-6000W and SL-6000D models. Ironically before the deal was completely sealed Hitachi began press releases for the Flora-ie MX1 in mid February of 2005. Which brings us to your next question...

QUOTE
3) Why is the Hitachi flora only available in the 6000W wireless configuration?  It seems like they would want to cover their bases and also release perhaps a 6000N equivalent for the conservative business you talked about.


When the deal was finally sealed Hitachi decided to only purchase the SL-6000D technology. The reason being was simple. Sharp Japan by then had concluded it's SL-6000W production and had delivered. Since Sharp had to keep the ball rolling for it to be attractive to prospective buyers leading up to Hitachi's purchase they gave the go ahead for the Fab to be retooled and Die'd for the subsequent model the SL-6000D. At the time they signed on the bottom line Hitachi saw no need to buy any of the previous models because the Fab was no longer set up to produce them.

Now let me clear up a bit of confusion you have over model designation numbers. Here's the SHARP Model Designation Sequence that affects this topic:
SL-6000 No WiFi, No Bluetooth, 64mb sdram. This was meant for developers.
SL-6000L WiFi, No Bluetooth, 64mb sdram.
SL-6000W WiFi, Bluetooth, 64mb sdram. (Guylhem has one of these.)
SL-6000D WiFi, Bluetooth, 128mb sdram. (Never truly delivered- just pre-production demonstration units)

So to answer your question- Hitachi's Flora-ie MX1 is not the SL-6000W model, but rather it's our long lost SL-6000D model, aka OUR HOLY GRAIL if it came equipped with Linux. And as I previously explained the reason that they are not offering a scaled down model as well is that they only bought the rights to the SL-6000D and not any of the prior models.

There are two rumors concerning this circling in the Hitachi newsgroups right now. The first is that the reason Hitachi decided not to buy any prior models is that the version of Windows SE (btw I incorrectly called it Windows CE earlier in this thread, thanks for the heads up Eric!) just doesn't run well enough on the models equipped with less than 128mb of memory. This seems strange to me as there are many other Windows SE offerings that only offer 64mb of sdram.
The second rumor is that Hitachi still has an option out with Sharp to purchase the hardware technology of the previous models as well and that Hitachi is only waiting to see how well the machine will be received.

Hitachi has been displaying the Flora-ie MX1 on their Hitachi Japan website since late spring of last year as being for sale but it was not until late summer/early fall of '05 that they seemed to be filling orders for individual sales. Hitachi is following the same format that Sharp did however and is only marketing the unit to Corporation level sales. You CAN buy them individually through Hitachi, but not any of Hitachi's certified resellers.

QUOTE
I hope you can dig up some of the old corporate stuff about the 6000, I would be interested in seeing what was going through Sharp's collective brains at the time.

Well, despite the botched releasing, I'm glad they did, and I'm still glad I bought it.  smile.gif  It's had more longevity than any other PDA I've ever owned, and it's the only one I've come back to after switching to something else for a while.
*


I agree with you wholeheartedly 100%. Imho the SL-6000 series is the most incredible, ahead of it's time, value holding pda in the history of the devices. It shows that while Sharp couldn't market a glass of water to a man dying of thirst their engineers are skilled beyond comparison and almost prophetic in their ability to build a device that would fill needs for years to come and still be a leading technology machine in it's class. I'm grateful to have been an owner too.

*whew* Anyway, the information in this thread is the most up-to-date that I have as of Dec 12, 2005. I must admit that my understanding of the issues surrounding all this are still evolving and maturing as more bits and pieces flow in. Here's a few questions that I'm trying to get answers for and some misc. facts that I haven't covered elsewhere:

-Hitachi also bought the rights to the Expansion Sled and Batteries. I'm pretty sure the Expansion Sleds are no longer being produced and the ones that they are advertising on thier website are jet black like the SL-6000's are. My guess is that they simply purchased whatever remaining stock on these that Sharp had left over. The batteries they show on thier website are jet black also but I have it directly from someone who has purchased one that the color of what was shipped to him was silver like that of the MX1.

-Will Hitachi continue to manufacture Expansion Sleds?

-Will Hitachi continue to manufacture Batteries? If not we'd better get them while they're still there because this may TRULY be our last chance.

-If the MX1 models sell extremely well will they attempt to continue the legacy?

-THE BIG QUESTION of course: Is it possible to flash one of these Flora-ie MX1 to Linux?! Said in a different way- Has Hitachi changed or locked the Service Menu's that may prohibit us from reflashing them? If not then it would be a great way to achieve the bluetooth/memory upgrade that the 6000 owners have been trying to implement ourselves without having any of the risk factors involved. Right now the price of the Flora-ie MX1 direct from Hitachi (the only place you can get it mind you) is about 92,000 yen if I remember correctly or about $800. They will only ship to addresses in Japan.

I'll try to keep things updated as I find and verify new information on the MX1.

Cheers!,

-NeuroShock
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henrysviper
post Dec 12 2005, 08:57 AM
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Continuing the original topic, and in complete agreement with neuroshock, I'd like to mention two other issues:

- Radiation: Infrared is much less dangerous than the electromagnetic radiation from 802.11 devices. There is no reason to be submitted to extra radiation if it can be avoided.

- Security: It is much easier to securely exchange a document using an infrared connection than it is with WiFi (would you setup WPA just to transfer a sensitive document to a collegue?)

In fact, for the two reasons above, there are "wireless" systems designed for interior spaces that use infrared.

So, infrared is not dead yet, and if you consider that the cost to add it to a PDA or a phone is a few cents, it is going to be around for a long time.
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DrWowe
post Dec 12 2005, 12:58 PM
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QUOTE(neuroshock @ Dec 12 2005, 08:23 AM)
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3) Why is the Hitachi flora only available in the 6000W wireless configuration?  It seems like they would want to cover their bases and also release perhaps a 6000N equivalent for the conservative business you talked about.

Now let me clear up a bit of confusion you have over model designation numbers. Here's the SHARP Model Designation Sequence that affects this topic:
SL-6000 No WiFi, No Bluetooth, 64mb sdram. This was meant for developers.
SL-6000L WiFi, No Bluetooth, 64mb sdram.
SL-6000W WiFi, Bluetooth, 64mb sdram. (Guylhem has one of these.)
SL-6000D WiFi, Bluetooth, 128mb sdram. (Never truly delivered- just pre-production demonstration units)


Just to be completely sure, I dug up the original 6000 specs. The official ones submitted to the FCC. It's here:
https://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/oet/forms/bl...tive_or_pdf=pdf

There was (and is) a 6000N, with no wifi or bluetooth. It's still available from Conics, btw.

The specs for the 6000D had 128 megs of FLASH, and 64 of RAM, and no WiFi or Bluetooth. Someone reported owning a preproduction 6000D here: http://www.oesf.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=12382
and it did match the specs, except it also had wireless. So the Hitachi specs don't precisely match ANY of the 6000s, since the amounts of RAM and FLASH are reversed from the 6000D.

Oh, and when I said "6000W wireless configuration", I really just meant WiFi+Bluetooth.

I'm probably just displaying my total ignorance of electronics manufacturing, but I find it very curious that the production line needs changing for each 6000 variant. It seems to me like minor variations, like "put/don't put the Bluetooth module on this motherboard" could almost be programmed into the factory on a per-unit basis. Assuming there's one little robot for each part, they could just skip the steps where the wifi, bluetooth, or extra flash chips are added to make any configuration. Or am I totally wrong? Anyway that's why I think it's weird that Hitachi isn't making a wireless-free version. It isn't really a different design at all, it's just excluding a few parts, and from what you've said it ought to sell better in Japan that way.

QUOTE(neuroshock @ Dec 12 2005, 08:23 AM)
-Will Hitachi continue to manufacture Batteries?  If not we'd better get them while they're still there because this may TRULY be our last chance.

I would think they have to if they plan to keep selling handhelds. smile.gif Anyway, I hope so. I'm trying to find out if these batteries are easily importable.

Damn, my appetite has been whetted for one of these Hitachi's. More RAM than ANY Zaurus, and maybe the SMT contacts are still there for a 128 meg flash upgrade too. Wouldn't that be fun?
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speculatrix
post Dec 12 2005, 02:13 PM
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I googled for the Hitach Flora MX1:
http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=hitachi+flora+mx1

and there's not many results.

I then tried adding "buy", "purchase" etc to the search, and nothing turned up.

Is there anyone selling these mythical beasts online, or, as 'shock said, you have to be a major corporate in Jp before you get to buy one?
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