RedFlag MidLinux, a new Linux distro for Mobile Internet Devices (think PepperPad, Nokia N800) is scheduled to be launched in May. It looks great and has all the right buzzwords.
The PDF mentions 18 second boot time, screen rotation, a modern browser and GPS. Sounds great. The OS install footprint, though, is between 500MB and 1.5GB and the minimum RAM requirement is 256MB.
Does this mean a new Internet Tablet with the same form factor as the Nokia N800 but more powerful? Maybe. It almost certainly means another low cost substitute for those who’ve been having trouble justifying the cost of a Windows UMPC. It’s encouraging that Intel is embracing the smaller form factor and an open platform! Congrats to Nokia for being early visionaries in this segment!
Unfortunately, I don’t see any real focus in the PDF on gaming…..
Update: The story has been picked up by Engadget.
Places to look for third party N800 applications are popping up everywhere. ThoughtFix has an Editor’s Choice post in the works (nominations here), Jonathan Greene has an all-maemo blog starting up, and Nokia has a new directory for N800 and 770 apps.
The next month or so will also see some official releases. Better support for online video is coming from Nokia, Navicore should be releasing a navigation kit soon and Skype will be launched.
I’m looking forward to more reasons to use my N800 out and about. The Nav bundle, in particular, is going to be handy.
Steve just launched UMPCPortal, combining his work from CarryPad.com and the great community site OrigamiPortal that he recently acquired. It’s now a one-stop-shop for UMPC specs and news.
I helped him out a little with the UMPC Comparison section (an upgrade to his already awesome UMPC product info database), so check that out during your visit – and bookmark it! I expect it will be really useful during next week’s CeBit as the UMPC news rolls in. For an example of the great treatment and extensive descriptions his portal gives to individual UMPCs, check out this page about the Samsung Q2.
You can read more about the launch here.
Here are some ideas as to how such a configuration would work. Please add your thoughts.
What are we talking about?
Two Nokia N800 Internet Tablets fastened together. The hinge would connect the bottom edge of the first one to the top edge of the second one. The hinge would allow the two devices to be ‘closed’ by folding them back to back. Ideally, the hinge would also allow the devices to be folded screen to screen. The hinge would also be set up to allow for a flat position with the two being two screens tall. Finally, a slightly angled position would also be supported with the top device lightly tilted ‘in’.
How would this be useful?
- Use the bottom device as a keyboard for the top device.
- Use the top device for watching movies and the bottom device for reading the imdb entry about the movie.
- Use the top device for ReaderMini.com and the bottom device email.
- Applications could be written to take advantage of the screens as though they were one. The application could communicate with the ‘secondary display’ via bluetooth, usb or wifi.
- Use the top device for GPS / directions and the bottom for a browser.
- Use the top for video chat and the bottom for a movie/browser, etc.
ThoughtFix has an excellent recap of the situation that current UMPC customers are facing in terms of upgrading to Vista. I have to agree with him on most points, especially the ‘You don’t need it’ statement. I’ve just come back to Vista after a multi-month XP vacation and I really enjoy it – on my laptop. But there’s no compelling reason (yet) to upgrade an XP UMPC to Vista.
That being said, I’ll be interested to see some solid tests (on UMPCs) of ReadyBoost, Indexed Search and the new Vista battery life improvements. Also, on my laptop, I find hibernate in Vista to be much, much faster than XP, so I assume the same would be true for UMPCs.
UMPCs are starting to be released with flash memory hard drives. Large flash drives use less power than a conventional hard drive, so they are an obvious choice for an ULTRA MOBILE device. But they are EXPENSIVE. ThoughtFix suggests a great compromise. Let us hibernate or standby to Flash. Flash is faster than my seagate and less volatile than RAM. It doesn’t have to be a lot (2-3GB) to take on the task, so it won’t add hundreds of dollars to the price tag.