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> Form Factor - Handheld Pc, Or Zaurus-style?
post Sep 26 2006, 01:26 PM
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Wow, this has really captured my imagination biggrin.gif !

For me, the zaurus is too small for comfortable use, both in terms of screen and in terms of the keyboard.

Perhaps I'm too old, but for me the sweet spot of form factor usability vs portability is in the shape of the Psion Series 5, and the Sigmarion 3.

The psion's keyboard is great, the screen is adequate if a weird shape...

The sig3 runs an 800x480 screen with a very, very capable keyboard. If it ran Linux, well, it'd be *awesome*.

I'd love the screen real estate and keyboard size of the old devices with modern hardware. Am I alone in thinking that that is about the right form factor for such a device? We're not going for PDA replacement after all, but general purpose pervasive computing platform biggrin.gif
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post Sep 28 2006, 03:15 AM
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I thought there was a port of linux (or netbsd?) to sig3, although I can't remember whether it's fully featured or only command line?

Not that I've found - there's one for the Sig2 tho.

The sig3 only has 64MB of memory anyhow, and the ROM isn't flashable so it's a tad crippled for serious Linux work... What I think is almost unbeatable is the Sig3's form factor. There's room to shave a fair bit off the sig3 and still keep the screen and keyboard... Let me see if I can explain why it's near perfect.

But wouldn't that put it in the same size as the umpc? I'm sure some manufacturer is going to make a keyboard version or sony's next version will have a better keyboard.

The UMPC is a technical product looking for a marketplace. They don't know what people are going to do with it. What I wanted, and still want, is the Libretto u100 with a decent keyboard in that form factor.

Besides, the sig3 is nowhere near the size of a UMPC. When folded, it's depth (4" 5/8, or 117mm) is the same as the Z's width (4" 7/8, 122mm) IYSWIM. It's a few mm thinner, so fits better in a jacket pocket than the z. Widthwise, it's 188mm - about 7 1/2"... I find it easier to carry the Sig3 than the Z, but then again I use the Z in a Pdair case biggrin.gif . It also looks a hell of a lot more serious than the Z. Dunno why.

I tend to take contemporaneous notes with the Sig3, and the keyboard and screen on the Z means that that is decidedly uncomfortable if i try the Z. If you've never tried a sig3 keyboard, see if you can - my bet is you'll be impressed bordering on amazed. It's better than any other small device I've found, from the Psion 5 to the Jornada 720 to the libretto 100ct or u100 to the g138 to the foldable USB offerings or Pocketop . It's travel is damn near perfect, it's responsive, and it's big enough whilst not being too big.

I also have a Smartbook G138 which is slightly bigger than the Libretto 100CT and runs WinCE .net 4.2. That is too big for the intended use.

Form factor and ergonomics are to me number one priority, with battery life second. The Z is a brilliant device but doesn't get as much use as it might because of the cramped keyboard and small screen. The sweet spot for me would probably be a width of 15cm (6"), depth of 8cm (under 3") and a height of 2cm (under 1").

That'd be big enough to fit a 5" 800x480 screen into, a good size 5 row keyboard with a travel that feels great, give enough space for ports (please can we have integrated video out - I can ditch my laptop then!) and still be small enough to take everywhere I want to take it.

I wonder if it's worth mentioning your plans to the good folk at hpcfactor.com (I moderate on their boards and write reviews for them)? It's a WinCE site dedicated to handheld pcs, but there's people on there who might have valuable experience or input when it comes to ergonomics?

The tech sounds great, and it sounds like having a slightly bigger form factor could give you some real advantages... 6x3x1... hmm... biggrin.gif
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Posts in this topic
chiark   Form Factor - Handheld Pc, Or Zaurus-style?   Sep 26 2006, 01:26 PM
speculatrix   I thought there was a port of linux (or netbsd?) t...   Sep 27 2006, 03:28 AM
bluedevils   But wouldn't that put it in the same size as t...   Sep 27 2006, 07:10 AM
lardman   I'm with chiark, the Psion series 5 was the id...   Sep 27 2006, 07:56 AM
BarryW   QUOTE(lardman @ Sep 27 2006, 06:56 AM)I'm...   Sep 27 2006, 10:29 AM
maxg   I must agree. I have tried for a few days two UMPC...   Sep 27 2006, 02:09 PM
Da_Blitz   i have seen that many people regard the c3000 as t...   Sep 28 2006, 01:22 AM
chiark   QUOTE(speculatrix)I thought there was a port of li...   Sep 28 2006, 03:15 AM
speculatrix   hmm. Is there any way we could buy Nokia 770 table...   Sep 28 2006, 03:21 AM
zmiq2   Da Blitz, I totally agree with your view. I think...   Sep 28 2006, 03:36 AM
chiark   Speculatrix: Not quite what we're thinking of,...   Sep 29 2006, 04:30 AM
speculatrix   QUOTE(chiark @ Sep 29 2006, 01:30 PM)http://w...   Sep 29 2006, 06:08 AM
Da_Blitz   that gives me an idea or two   Sep 29 2006, 06:04 AM
MONVMENTVM   While a friend of mine had a black Nintendo DS Lit...   Nov 1 2006, 08:22 AM
speculatrix   you can run linux on the DS, but it's not part...   Nov 1 2006, 08:33 AM
raduga   QUOTE(chiark @ Sep 26 2006, 01:26 PM)Wow, thi...   Nov 1 2006, 08:44 AM
MONVMENTVM   yeah, besides that the ds has a small display, no ...   Nov 1 2006, 09:31 AM
Da_Blitz   nice pic. i wish i had a ds to play with now to ge...   Nov 1 2006, 07:16 PM
Snappy   I second the 5" screen on the calmshells. I w...   Nov 5 2006, 03:00 AM
kahm   QUOTEThe UMPC is a technical product looking for a...   Nov 8 2006, 09:26 AM
futaris   Around the DS lite size seems good. The mock up p...   Nov 18 2006, 09:18 PM
chiark   yes, the 200lx would IMHO be a great design ethos ...   Nov 20 2006, 03:48 AM
speculatrix   QUOTE(chiark @ Nov 20 2006, 12:48 PM)bought a...   Nov 20 2006, 04:55 AM
kahm   QUOTE(chiark @ Nov 20 2006, 05:48 AM)yes, the...   Nov 21 2006, 04:51 PM
Da_Blitz   i use to buy pants based on how large the pockets ...   Nov 20 2006, 03:39 PM
BarryW   QUOTE(Da_Blitz @ Nov 20 2006, 02:39 PM)i use ...   Nov 20 2006, 07:54 PM
Da_Blitz   actually no net accsess for 2 weeks, its tempting ...   Nov 20 2006, 08:37 PM
Ragnorok   - The Psion 5mx is actually approximately the same...   Nov 23 2006, 09:42 PM
kahm   QUOTE(Ragnorok @ Nov 23 2006, 11:42 PM)- I...   Nov 25 2006, 05:19 PM
Ragnorok   - Dunno. I just know when I really get flying on ...   Dec 1 2006, 06:52 AM
kahm   QUOTE(Ragnorok @ Dec 1 2006, 08:52 AM)- I agr...   Dec 1 2006, 09:12 AM
Da_Blitz   i find if my hands are cold it gets hard to push t...   Dec 1 2006, 10:28 PM
Ragnorok   - I do often set Hiro down, but not always. Now, ...   Dec 6 2006, 05:33 PM
Da_Blitz   i have really been looking into the diffrent sizes...   Dec 7 2006, 01:28 AM
freizugheit   Will the forthcoming ultra thin 12" Mac Book ...   Dec 7 2006, 01:46 AM
Da_Blitz   actually i saw a core 2 duo laptop with 1G of ram...   Dec 7 2006, 02:07 AM
Ragnorok   - I can't say I agree with the PDA-sized unit ...   Jan 26 2007, 07:54 PM
Da_Blitz   no i agree with you on that. its just the way i sa...   Jan 27 2007, 07:10 AM
Ragnorok   - Roit! Thanks for clarifying. I thought we ...   Jan 29 2007, 05:28 PM
Da_Blitz   but what type of syncing? for my "rig" ...   Jan 29 2007, 06:40 PM
speculatrix   QUOTE(Da_Blitz @ Jan 30 2007, 03:40 AM)but wh...   Jan 30 2007, 02:35 AM
Da_Blitz   i have been reseraching distributed filesystems i...   Jan 30 2007, 03:50 AM
zeigerpuppy   QUOTE(Da_Blitz @ Jan 30 2007, 03:50 AM)i have...   Jan 30 2007, 07:08 AM
Da_Blitz   that support online faliure but not both devices r...   Jan 30 2007, 06:32 PM
Ragnorok   - Dat were a joke! Syncing means nothing to m...   Feb 6 2007, 07:43 PM
Da_Blitz   actually for someone who dosent want to sync anyth...   Feb 7 2007, 02:35 AM
zeigerpuppy   Not sure if this is what you mean by syncing, but ...   Feb 7 2007, 04:24 AM
Da_Blitz   this is going to be painful, im typing this at 100...   Feb 7 2007, 04:46 AM
zeigerpuppy   I am actually quite interested in providing a mobi...   Feb 7 2007, 04:52 AM
Da_Blitz   yeah if i remeber luster was the comercial fork of...   Feb 10 2007, 05:39 PM
speculatrix   I put up some size comparisons here: http://www.za...   Feb 21 2007, 10:39 AM
Snappy   AFAIK, a c1000 is the same size as the other c3x00...   Feb 21 2007, 04:41 PM
speculatrix   QUOTE(Snappy @ Feb 22 2007, 01:41 AM)AFAIK, a...   Feb 22 2007, 03:46 AM
Snappy   QUOTE(speculatrix @ Feb 22 2007, 07:46 PM)QUO...   Feb 22 2007, 06:45 AM
uMP2k   Sorry if this one has already been posted on, but ...   Mar 5 2007, 09:11 PM
Da_Blitz   not really form factor has been a big thing for m...   Feb 22 2007, 01:49 AM
Da_Blitz   im considering that for the laptop/umpc version, m...   Mar 6 2007, 12:21 AM
uMP2k   QUOTE(Da_Blitz @ Mar 6 2007, 06:21 PM)im cons...   Mar 6 2007, 05:44 PM
speculatrix   it occurs to me that an interesting form factor wo...   Mar 6 2007, 02:11 AM
Da_Blitz   actually i found the australian resseller of the s...   Mar 6 2007, 10:32 PM
Ragnorok   QUOTEresseller of the software i want to use- ?? A...   Jun 13 2007, 06:02 PM

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