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Ok, so I'm wanting an ultralite, instant on, mobile linux running on a super-thin "laptop". Maybe an 8-10" screen with 1024x768 or at least 800x600 resolution and a close to fullsize keyboard. I prefer an IBM-style pointer "mouse" instead of a trackball.
I'm envisioning the functionality of Windows Mobile 2006 professional in a slightly bigger than the Asus Eee PC form factor. Something like a Palm Foleo.
There should be no hard drive in it for maximum battery life and low weight. Xubunto requires about 4GB for an install, maybe it could be trimmed back a bit to remove some unnecessary components. So maybe 4GB of flash for the OS and another 4GB for user storage.
Software wise I'd like to be able to install whatever I want... OpenOffice, etc. The key differentiator from a UMPC will be synchronization. I don't want to have to spend 2 hours copying PIM data and files from my real computer. I want to be able to simply grab this mobile laptop/PDA and head to the airport. If I have a wifi connection it should sync not only PIM data, but also files and folders I've designated to be synchronized to the web. Kind of a cross between DocsToGo for Palm and Windows Mobile "Synchronized Files" folder.
A GSM/3G voice and data connection would be great, but I'd settle for the synchronization and web surfing/email via wifi alone.
I know such a beast doesn't exist, but...
(1) Is there a linux distribution geared toward this?
(2) Is there a piece of hardware out there that is similar or that could be built from components and a case?
(3) Have I brain-childed something that I should contact HTC about OEM'ing and I get rich off the sales?
Contacting a company usually doesn't result in you becoming rich. A lot of companies won't take ideas from random people, and if they do... they do just that, take your idea.
Maybe if you have something patent pending and get them to sign a NDA form... but a lot of companies won't do that. Go ahead and look into that stuff... Getting something patented is a long process and requires $$.
You should also be searching this stuff up on patent search engines... I wouldn't doubt if someone already has a patent on something like this or pending.
The comment about commenting HTC and getting rich wase made tongue-in-cheek. I was really more interested in whether there was a suitable Linux distribution and/or hardware out there and whether people were interested in this sort of device.
The HTC Advantage is pretty cool. I think it runs Windows Mobile, but only has about a 5" screen on it. I've used a Samsung Q1 UMPC with a similar sized screen and its just too small to use like a laptop.
I know there are small Linux distributions, like Damn Small Linux (DSL) and that there are some onstant-on BIOS solutions. The BIOS solutions are really just to allow web browsing and media playback while a full OS boots, though.
I know there are various mobile Linux distributions, especially the very cool Google Android and others. However, I don't know that they support screen resolutions beyond VGA. I think the limit for Windows Mobile 6 is 640x800.
So I'm wondering if there is a mobile Linux distribution, which would obviously handle instant-on and be designed for data synchronization, that supports higher screen resolutions?
Or are there any small laptop-compatible Linux distributions that have instant-on and synchronization capability?
Besides the Palm Foleo, which is probably closest to what I'm envisioning, I saw some very cool keyboard/screen combo accessory that works with some WinMobile phones. However, I can't remember exactly where I read about it or who made it. I thought it as maybe Asus, but I'm not turning anything up on Google. I don't think that accessory had a processor or OS, but is very thin and light.
Well, the Eee PC is quite cool for a small Linux laptop, but there are some problems with it with respect to what I'm asking for above:
1. The keyboard and screen are a bit too small. I'm talking about an 8-10" screen vs. the Eee PC 7" screen. From reviews, I understand the keyboard is a bit too small to touch type.
2. Its not instant-on.
3. It has no synchronization capability built in.
4. So its generally a small, light LAPTOP replacement not an instant-on, synchronizable, internet tablet and cell phone companion.
As small, light, and cheap as the Eee PC is, what I'm envisioning is not a laptop-replacement, but something that given no matter how great laptops become its always thinner, more battery-friendly, more cell-phone connection friendly, etc.
Does this make sense? For every argument that there is product X laptop that is cheap, light, fast, this is a new product class that by definition will always be cheaper, lighter, thinner and better connected than a laptop replacement.