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68newyorker
After checking out various devices and growing tired of waiting on Pocket PC companies to redesign their devices, I'm pretty much set on picking up a SL-C1000. I have a few questions that I haven't been able to find answers to on the forums (you can smack me around if it was because I didn't look hard enough):

1. I have read that the Zaurus can support an external hard drive through its USB Host . The article I found mentioned mounting a Linux drive. I want to use the drive (a large capacity 2.5 laptop drive) as a media drive both for my laptop (Windows 2000) and the Zaurus. Is this possible?

2. How is video playback on this device? Can it handle 640x480 24-30fps divx encoded at reasonably high quality bit rates? Are there benchmarks I can review for this?

3. Are there good quality graphics editing/painting/drawing programs for this device? One of the main things that attracted me to the Toshiba e805 was being able to use its very good 4 inch screen for doing graphics work on the move. I know GIMP is a very good open source program. Is it available for the Zaurus?

4. Purely consequential, but how is console (game) emulation on the zaurus? This is not a necessity but would be nice to have.

Sorry for the newb questions. I've been a technician in the Wintel world for 10 years now but have zippo experience with any Linux device. I would like to move the SL-C1000 as the design is close to perfect for my needs. Pocket PCs have some decent technology but their button placement, orientation and UI sucks. I won't gush about the Zaurus' advantage in these areas. You that use them know it. If the Zaurus can handle at least 2 out of 4 of the above its what I'm going with.

Thanks
kahm
QUOTE(68newyorker @ Mar 31 2005, 05:07 PM)
After checking out various devices and growing tired of waiting on Pocket PC companies to redesign their devices, I'm pretty much set on picking up a SL-C1000. I have a few questions that I haven't been able to find answers to on the forums (you can smack me around if it was because I didn't look hard enough):

1. I have read that the Zaurus can support an external hard drive through its USB Host . The article I found mentioned mounting a Linux drive. I want to use the drive (a large capacity 2.5 laptop drive) as a media drive both for my laptop (Windows 2000) and the Zaurus. Is this possible?


If it shows up as a mass storage device, then you'll be able to use it on the Z. You won't be able to power a 2.5" drive off the Z's usb port, though. You'll probably have to use an external power supply. Fat16 and fat32 filesystems should work fine. I've heard of people using 20gb or larger drives on the Z.

QUOTE
2. How is video playback on this device? Can it handle 640x480 24-30fps divx encoded at reasonably high quality bit rates? Are there benchmarks I can review for this?

*smack* =)
There's been whole novels written about video support on the forums. The Z can basically handle 640x276 widescreen @ 24fps, ~500kb/s DIVX, or 320x240 fullscreen. You can squeeze a bit more if you rotate the video when you re-encode it (The Z's natural orientation seems to be rotated 90 degrees, so to show landscape video it has to be rotated 90 degrees clockwise. If you pre-rotate it when encoding it saves a little strain on the processor.) Also, make sure the audio is encoded @ 48khz. I think that's the sampling frequency that the Z hardware runs at - anything else requires more CPU. I do my video encoding at 320x240 30fps 500kb/s Divx, 48khz 128kb/s stereo MP3.

That's on the Cxx0 Devices. The 1000 uses a different video chip and, while the software is improving, it isn't quite there yet. I expect good things soon, though.

QUOTE
3. Are there good quality graphics editing/painting/drawing programs for this device? One of the main things that attracted me to the Toshiba e805 was being able to use its very good 4 inch screen for doing graphics work on the move. I know GIMP is a very good open source program. Is it available for the Zaurus?

Yup. There are 2 or 3 editing packages that I know of. The Gimp is available for sharp roms using an X-windows layer, but it does work.

QUOTE
4. Purely consequential, but how is console (game) emulation on the zaurus? This is not a necessity but would be nice to have.

There are emulators for half a dozen different platforms that you can play games with. NES emulation runs at full speed, SNES is a little slow. There is frotz for playing text adventure games like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, etc. I think that there is a commodore 64 emulator (Which I'll have to try soon - Mmmmm. Archon! ) There are lots of game options available. I'm not the biggest gamer, so I can't give you an all-inclusive list.

QUOTE
Sorry for the newb questions. I've been a technician in the Wintel world for 10 years now but have zippo experience with any Linux device. I would like to move the SL-C1000 as the design is close to perfect for my needs. Pocket PCs have some decent technology but their button placement, orientation and UI sucks. I won't gush about the Zaurus' advantage in these areas. You that use them know it. If the Zaurus can handle at least 2 out of 4 of the above its what I'm going with.

Thanks
*



Depending on if you can live with re-encoded video (It is quite watchable on the Z's screen. I've watched subtitled anime with 0 legibility issues), I'd probably call that 3.5 out of 4 =) Congratulations - you're getting a Z!
68newyorker
QUOTE(kahm @ Mar 31 2005, 12:40 PM)
Depending on if you can live with re-encoded video (It is quite watchable on the Z's screen. I've watched subtitled anime with 0 legibility issues), I'd probably call that 3.5 out of 4 =) Congratulations - you're getting a Z!
*



Thank you very much for the info (and the smack....I feel like one of my customers). Indeed, as soon as the funds are available I'll be getting a Z.

One final (semi-rhetorical) question; what makes Sharp think this thing wouldn't sell like bad monkeys on crack in the states if they marketed it agressively?

Anyway, damn find device and I'll be getting one. Thanks again.
kahm
QUOTE(68newyorker @ Apr 1 2005, 01:23 AM)
Thank you very much for the info (and the smack....I feel like one of my customers). Indeed, as soon as the funds are available I'll be getting a Z.


You're welcome smile.gif
BTW - I work tech support as a day job dry.gif

QUOTE
One final (semi-rhetorical) question; what makes Sharp think this thing wouldn't sell like bad monkeys on crack in the states if they marketed it agressively?
*


Once upon a time, Sharp tried to sell a neat little handheld with a keyboard in the US. Unfortunately, the battery life stank, then screen was mediocre, and the software was nowhere near ready. It bombed.

Undaunted, they built a new one. The battery life was better, the software more polished, and it was faster. However, cautious of their last bomb, they never tried to sell it very hard. Little exposure meant less sales, so it bombed again.

Sharp gives up on the North American consumer market so they charge ahead with an Enterprise targeted device. It has a beautiful screen, more memory, USB host, and more expandibility! Unfortunately, technical differences make it harder to run the existing software, plus it's large enough to sink the Bismark and priced accordingly. It doesn't sell either.

Finally, Sharp makes a truly innovative clamshell design that many people in North America would actually buy. They promptly tell the North American market to bugger off and die.

The End.
technojunkie
QUOTE(kahm @ Apr 1 2005, 03:01 AM)
They promptly tell the North American market to bugger off and die.

The End.
*


I don't think you could possibly be more accurate smile.gif
rickh
QUOTE(technojunkie @ Apr 1 2005, 07:19 PM)
QUOTE(kahm @ Apr 1 2005, 03:01 AM)


They promptly tell the North American market to bugger off and die.

The End.
*


I don't think you could possibly be more accurate smile.gif
*


That's OK. I'm not actually bothered so much by this, since we currently live in a global market. If there's demand for something that's not available here in the US (or other parts), someone will come along and pick up where Sharp left off (such as Dynamism, Conics).

Seems almost everything I've bought online lately has to go through customs.

R.
==
kahm
QUOTE(rickh @ Apr 1 2005, 07:43 PM)
That's OK.  I'm not actually bothered so much by this, since we currently live in a global market.  If there's demand for something that's not available here in the US (or other parts), someone will come along and pick up where Sharp left off (such as Dynamism, Conics).

Seems almost everything I've bought online lately has to go through customs.

R.
==
*


Yes, but economics of that global market starts to move things up into Technological Elite status, just from the added cost. For example, I just purched 3 iRiver USB cables to use with C1000/3000 USB host ports. Total cost was $15.00 US for the parts. Shipping was $25.00US US to Canada (By UPS, which stands for U Poor Sucker.) I'll have an additional ~20-25 dollars Canadian in brokerage fees to get across the border. That $15.00US worth of parts is going to actually cost me $80Can.

How about the Z's themselves? Street value on the C1000 is ~43000Y, or $485Can. I'll pay 7% GST on it when it comes in, so my cost will be $520. (I'm having a friend pick it up while they're visiting). $520Can is about in line with retail PDA prices here. Dynamism is charging $649US/$789Can - and that still needs Shipping+Brokerage. My 3000 was picked up for ~62000Y/$700Can. Dynamism is $819US/$996Can. Trisoft in Europe charges 798 Euros/$1300Can(!!!). You're no longer purchasing something in the price range of a PDA - you've moved into laptop territory. $700 is already a lot to drop on a PDA. The $1100 it would cost me to have a C3000 shipped from dynamism just isn't worth it.

I can go on. Socket BT card - Order from eBay in the US and sent to Canada will be close to $180Can my cost. Another forum member is getting them for me and sending them from Europe for ~$35ea.

We ordered a particular 2-burner gas cooktop for doing rennovations. No-one in Canada supplied it, supposedly because it hadn't be certified by the CSA (Canadian Standards Association). We spent 2 weeks looking for a dealer in the US who could ship it, and when we finally found one it turns out their shipping system wouldn't send to Canada. The salesman did it up anyway and hand-corrected the address for us. It still got shipped to some Random US address first, returned to the dealer, then sent to us. It took a month and a half, and the $180US cooktop cost us over $450Can once shipping and brokerage got figured in. And the funniest part? The thing has CSA certification stickers all over it. It was MANUFACTURED IN ONTARIO! sad.gif

I avoid ordering things from outside the country whenever I can help it. Prices have a tendency to increase by at least half again by the time the product reaches me. Chances are that my next Z upgrade won't happen for another couple of years now, because that's when my next trip to Japan will be. It's more worth it for me to fly to Japan to get it than to take advantage of the "global market".

Sorry for the rant. I've been trying to find ways to get ahold of Z accessories over the last few days and the "We Treat Canada Like it is a Hostile Foreign Nation" mentality of US companies drives me up the wall. ($25/US Shipping + Brokerage for 3x6inch pieces of wire. Ha! mad.gif mad.gif mad.gif )
rickh
I can't speak for Canada, but if you REALLY do price comparisons, you'll find that the C-series imported prices are in line with the few remaining PDAs left in the US (read, HP IPaqs). When I say C-series, I mean C860s and C1000s. They're both well above $500 US, as are similarly equiped IPaqs.

It's still too early to do comparisons with the C3000 - it's the only PDA on the market anywhere that has an internal drive. But I'm willing to bet that if/when HP comes out with a hard-drive model, it'll be similarly priced to the C3000.

I gotta say, I'm having a hard time swallowing the "Technological Elite status" argument. Particularly from someone who boasts 5 PDAs in their signature. The type of PDA we're talking about is most definitely a technologically elite gadget, at least in the US. That may change over time, as more people want to do more than PIM type things with their PDAs. But so far, that's not been the case. Thanks to things like the IPod Photo, the new Archos PMP/PIM unit (I forget the name at the moment) and the PSP, that may change sooner rather than later. Hopefully we'll see lots of action these next couple of years.

R.
==
kahm
QUOTE(rickh @ Apr 1 2005, 10:20 PM)
I can't speak for Canada, but if you REALLY do price comparisons, you'll find that the C-series imported prices are in line with the few remaining PDAs left in the US (read, HP IPaqs).  When I say C-series, I mean C860s and C1000s.  They're both well above $500 US, as are similarly equiped IPaqs.


Toshiba e830. VGA, CF, SD, Wi-Fi, BT, 128mb ram, 64mb flash. $599Can/$493.50US, just up the road at Staples. It lacks the keyboard but has WiFi and BT built in, twice as much ram, half as much flash. Compare that with my $485Can C1000, which Dynamism wants $649US/$789Can.

QUOTE
It's still too early to do comparisons with the C3000 - it's the only PDA on the market anywhere that has an internal drive.  But I'm willing to bet that if/when HP comes out with a hard-drive model, it'll be similarly priced to the C3000. 

I gotta say, I'm having a hard time swallowing the "Technological Elite status".  Particularly from someone who boasts 5 PDAs in their signature.  The type of PDA we're talking about


Didn't say I wasn't - computer is a major hobby for me, and I spend a lot of money on it. On the other hand I only have those PDA due to special circumstances. The 5000d was given to me by Sharp to do an evaluation on for the company I worked for (Had to do with research in medical technologies), the 5500 was second hand, and the 860 was purchased at retail when I visited Japan. If I handn't flown to Japan, I'd still be using my Clie TJ35 (Purchased for $150 from the open box discount section of the local Futureshop. Before that I had a Palm M130 that I bought at an auction for $50) If I'd been limited to the choice of import from Dynamism, I'd have probably spent the money on a better laptop or something.

QUOTE
is most definitely a technologically elite gadget, at least in the US.  That may change over time, as more people want to do more than PIM type things with their PDAs.  But so far, that's not been the case.  Thanks to things like the IPod Photo, the new Archos PMP/PIM unit (I forget the name at the moment) and the PSP, that may change sooner rather than later.  Hopefully we'll see lots of action these next couple of years.


But if Sharp released the clamshells here in North America for a competitive price it wouldn't be any more of an elite techno-gadget than any other PDA here. As it sits the extra effort and cost required to acquire one pushes it outside the realm of possibility for many would-be PDA buyers. You could say it holds more of a Super-Elite status than Elite status. I know that I could sell a half dozen c1000s where I work without breaking a sweat, so long as I could bring them in around the same price I'm getting it for.

It is pretty much a moot point, as the PDA market is rapidly dying. Cell phones, with their tiny screens and slower processors, are poised to kill the PDA just as it was starting to evolve into useful platform for portable computing. It may be that specialty devices like the PSP, with it's Wi-Fi and beautiful screen, will kick start a new evolutionary branch so that we don't lose too much ground.
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