Author Topic: The perfect Linux PDA  (Read 7709 times)

nilch

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The perfect Linux PDA
« on: December 19, 2003, 10:35:04 am »
Theres this article at Linuxdevices about the authors impression of a perfect Linux PDA.
http://linuxdevices.com/articles/AT2849522069.html

I disagree on the very first para about the minimum memory requirements - 8 MB to 16MB.
I think a system trying to fit itself into a base memory of 8MB isnt going to try to do much at all.

But of course being spoiled by the Zaurus line, I am thinking more of a handheld rather than a PDA here, so....

Whats the general opinion here ???
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treke

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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2003, 11:14:25 am »
Well Ben Meyer  did develop software for the Zaurus, and was also a member of Sharp\'s Zaurus developer support department. He\'s definitly aware of the things the Zaurus did right and wrong

Targetting 8MB of flash and 16MB of ram as a minimum isnt that bad of an idea. If that 8MB contains the base bootable OS, the graphical environment, basic pim apps, and enough of the settings tools to calibrate, set date and time, configure syncing, and whatever else needs to be there, then you will have 8-24MB of flash left for extras. If the device was targetted at students you might want to include a handrwriting recognition package, a more comprehensive notes application, an  office suite, and some games. Something targetted at corporate users might dunp the notes application and replace it with a VPN client, an email client.  On the memory side you\'d partition 64MB of ram into storage space and app space ( preferably either adjustable on the fly).

If you see a pattern there, you\'d realize that\'s what the Zaurus does. If you check trolltechs marketting materials, you\'d see they quote 8MB of flash and 16MB of ram as the minimum for a Qtopia device, Though I\'m not sure what all would be included in that 8MB build.

nitup

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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2003, 11:36:18 am »
Ok, I see where this is going.  To me, when we speak of perfect PDA, I see dreams of things like:

1) days of run time on battery (with wireless on)
2) lots of memory
3) nice bright screen that works well in bright light and dimly lit rooms.
4) lots of 3rd party support for applications.

So, to read an article like this and hear of perfect, in terms of being practical today, it kind of puts me off a bit at first.

But,  I can see where he is coming from, and hadn\'t looked to see who wrote this.  Given the authors place in the linux handheld community, I have respect for his point of view.

Now, I\'m assuming that 8-16 is the min spec for the base system, to me that is like winxp stating \"can run in 64M of ram\".  Sure, it works in the technical sense, but nobody, given a choice, would do it.
George
sl5500, sharp 3.13, 64M lexar mmc, wcf11

treke

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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2003, 12:34:11 pm »
The article really doesn\'t have much to do with the device itself, it\'s mostly about the software platform on it. We need to be realistic though, you just aren\'t going to get days of runtime with wireless on anytime in the near future. It just isn\'t something current inexpensive battery technology can due, or everyone would be doing it already. Hardware will always move along at its own pace, the real challange is in designing software that runs well on low end software so that it can be added to in the future while still being almost nonexistant as far as resource usage goes.  Remember, this is also intertwined with battery life. As the app uses less cpu time and other resources, it will be lessening the amount of power the cpu is drawing. Of course the LCD and other peripherals will probably overshadow by far, but at least we can have faster sofware.

nitup

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« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2003, 01:51:15 pm »
It just seems like so many of the limitations are hardware based.  The features we do or don\'t cram in are based upon resources.  

Memory, Battery Life, Size, Screen Real Estate.

I find the battery life to be more limiting than the software, and ram can be a bit tight at times, but not as much as the battery.  

I have too many portable gadgets, and they all seem to need a power adaptor along with them to feel secure in their running.  

For point of reference, I realize batteries are better, but power consumption by the hardware has grown faster than batteries have.  I don\'t blame or fault any manafucturer for the state of battery life.  It\'s our drive for more power.
George
sl5500, sharp 3.13, 64M lexar mmc, wcf11

swing

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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2003, 01:59:39 pm »
Quote
the authors impression of a perfect Linux PDA.

When he wrote these, he missed something (as so many do)...
    Area code lookup
    Zip code lookup
      ie, Awareness of the rest of the world.  Which I guess in this case means:

        but more relevantly
          Steve
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nathanwms

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« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2004, 11:58:56 am »
Let me resurrect an old thread.

As I sit here imagining how the next Zaurus clamshell will be configured, I was wondering what would constitute the \"Perfect\" handheld for many of you?

My perfect handheld:

Form Factor:  SL-CXXX
Display: 4\" CG Silicon Transflective or 4\" OLED
Internal storage: 128 mb flash, 128 mb ram and internal 4GB microdrive
Ext. expansion: CF and SD
Processor:  new Intel x-scale processor, up to 540 mHz (rumored)
Wireless:  Built-in 802-11g and Bluetooth
Battery:  capable of 8 hours continuous wi-fi use (possibly fuel cell)
Other hardware options:  USB host, speaker, built-in microphone, button activated screen rotation
Software:  New PIMs comparable with Palm devices, rock solid sync on all platforms

I don\'t think this is asking too much, seeing as much of this is currently available and employed technology.

Your turn
Nathan

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vishnja

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« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2004, 12:08:09 pm »
I have nothing to add to this one ;-)
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grey_moon

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« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2004, 12:12:49 pm »
all of that adds up to extra power requirements, I think they need to sort out either a better power source (maybe that alcohol based technology) or have really power frugal components
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bajjer31

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« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2004, 01:45:28 pm »
How much would the above PDA run?  I believe it\'d be worth a 2nd mortgage for one with those features!

nathanwms

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« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2004, 02:23:00 pm »
My proposed feature set is close to the SL-6000W, so I think you could do it for close to that price.  I believe the SL-6000W could come down a bit in price from where it it now. So it wouldn\'t take a second mortgage, just a small collateralized loan will do.
Nathan

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4GB Hitachi Microdrive, 256mb SimpleTech CF, 256mb Lexar SD
Ambicom BT2000-CF, Ambicom WL1100C wifi

ccrandal

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« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2004, 11:29:23 am »
My perfect PDA would be the Sony Clie UX-50 with the Zaurus SL-CXXX screen, 256MB RAM, 128MB FLASH, CF & SD instead of memory stick... and a few extra keys (esp \"|\") on the Clie keyboard... oh, and a Linux-based OS that recognizes all the built-in hardware with having to edit config scripts and has a good interface for setting up WiFi and BT connection (PalmOS is already pretty good at that).

OR

Clamshell PDA designed by Apple running OS X-lite/Aqua with generous amounts of memory, keyboard like the Clie\'s (wavy surface, backlite keys), CF & SD slots, decent built-in Palm emulator, and built-in WiFi and Bluetooth... and under $600US.  Come to think of it, this is what I\'d rather have, instead of a Zaurus-like PDA.
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vishnja

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« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2004, 01:35:51 pm »
under $600 for an Apple product with this hardware? dream on ccrandal. Have you checked out the IPod prices lately ;-)
Actually I\'m not a fan of OSX, but on a PDA it could make sense in a way...
C860 with Cacko 1.21 \"Elena\" ROM,
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ccrandal

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« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2004, 02:40:17 pm »
Actually, the prices of Apple products are not that out of line.  For instance, a lot of people have been giving Apple crap about the price of their mini-iPod, but realistically you cannot charge much less since the components are so expensive.  And, compared to (I think) the Rio or maybe one of the iRiver 1.5GB players ($200), the price of the mini-iPod is very competitive.

Apple laptops are also reasonably priced... they may not be as fast as their Wintel counterparts, but the OS is superior and the hardware is of very high quality.  I just bought my girlfriend an iBook G4 for $1000.  She\'s never used anything but M$ Winblows and within a couple weeks of getting used to OS X, she\'s hooked.  I even catch her downloading the eZine verison of Macworld and reading it cover to cover.  I\'d say that $1000 was well spent and, in fact, a bit of a bargain (especially when you factor in the nice apps they bundle).

So, a clamshell Apple handheld for under $600... ok, maybe a bit far-fetched, I believe they\'ll price it competitively to the Sony Clie UX and other handhelds that are similar.
Zaurus SL-C760
Cacko Qtopia 1.21b
EDGE 512MB CF/Kingston 256MB SD
AmbiCom WL1100C-CF
Socket Bluetooth CF (rev F)

padishah_emperor

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« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2004, 11:09:35 pm »
My C860 IS my perfect Linux PDA, or palmtop.   ;-)
Left Linux and Linux PDAs... sorry, got boring.  Switched to Mac.