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Old 01-19-2009, 02:42 PM   #1
cyent
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Help please, seeking handheld open linux based devices available for purchase now.


I'm looking for links to...
* Handheld / jacket pocket sized devices.
* Linux or *Bsd based OS supported by manufacturer. (Not pay for some other OS, invalid the warranty and install Linux. I wish to support manufacturers that "get" why linux is better and at least make some small measure of honest effort at supporting it on their hardware.)
* Open in the sense of "consumer hackable" all the way down.
* Complete hardware in the sense of having case + battery + connectors (ie. not bare boards / eval boards)
* The more connectors for more I/O the better. (Have you seen the list of i/o types a modern ARM9 can support? Wow!) (gpio, audio, usb, can, ethernet, ....)
* Cheap, not way overpriced eval boards - come on, I _know_ the ST micro parts capable of doing this are just a few dollars!
* Working and Available with orders taken now / shipping within the week.
* Display, touch display, GPS, keypads, mobile phone are "nice to have" features.

I have read many many press releases announcing such devices over the last few years, and you, like I did, probably feel this should be trivial.

Just Google and Go.

However over the last four months I have followed up many many such press releases old and new mostly to end up... very frustrated.

Can this forum please help me sift the few grains of "available now"s from the vast pile of excitable marketing hype driven "coming soon"s?

Thanks.
 
Old 01-19-2009, 09:01 PM   #2
{BBI}Nexus{BBI}
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Here's one link: Linux Devices.
 
Old 01-19-2009, 10:58 PM   #3
cyent
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Undigested stream of marketing conciousness

Quote:
Originally Posted by {BBI}Nexus{BBI} View Post
Here's one link: Linux Devices.
Oh Gawd...with tears streaming down my face... that place is pure undigested stream of "press releases". I have spent many happy minutes browsing that site.

Alas, those happy minutes degenerate into very unhappy hours when I actually follow the links to source sites and try find something that I could buy, program and use NOW!

For example they have a press release on the Arduino Lilypad. What an incredibly cool device. Cheap....

...but sewing it into your clothes? Conductive thread sewing kit? What's wrong with a box and connectors? Sigh! Aha! There's a case for an arduino. Grrreat. Holes for power and USB. So where do I plug the advertised 23 gpio lines? The 8 channel ADC? The I2C? The SPI?

Ooh looky there is a link to sparkfun.com....

Oh drat, I have just wasted another swathe of time following promising press releases off linuxdevices... it's all so exciting, all so close, cheap tiny tiny CPUS with sensors galore, io busses of every flavour, oled and touch screens, the incredibly rich linux programming environment...

But to actually _use_ these things away from a static safe desk with power supplies and crocodile clips it needs a case and a battery and connectors and perhaps screen.

Someday now soon, somebody will just embed these things in lego-like bricks with a bus connecting them.

Sigh! But that day is not this day.

(Edited to note that the lilypad was in a press release on linuxdevices, but is not itself a linux device, it merely has a "linux compatible SDK". Bah! Sorry, I should have read the fineprint a bit better.)

Last edited by cyent; 01-21-2009 at 08:19 PM.
 
Old 01-20-2009, 06:48 AM   #4
Matir
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Well, if you want a hackable but functional device, take a look at the Neo FreeRunner: http://us.direct.openmoko.com/products/neo-freerunner

Gumstix (http://www.gumstix.com/) makes a bunch of hackable devices with every form of I/O you can think of.
 
Old 01-20-2009, 02:50 PM   #5
cyent
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Close, but no cigar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matir View Post
Well, if you want a hackable but functional device, take a look at the Neo FreeRunner: http://us.direct.openmoko.com/products/neo-freerunner
Freerunner is currently at the top of my list of possibles. Alas it's quite expensive and last couple of reviews I have read said it didn't quite make it as usable mobile phone yet. But watching the openmoko list those guys are pretty busy so I expect that will be fixed soon.

I also have a couple of app ideas that don't need a mobile phone and would do better with a cheaper device.

Quote:
Gumstix (http://www.gumstix.com/) makes a bunch of hackable devices with every form of I/O you can think of.
Ahh the fineprint on that is "every form of I/O you can do the mechanical set up and wiring for yourself", the non-barebones / "computer" gumstix is _very_ _very_ limited on the i/o front.

Aha! I see they have moved one step on... they do blue tooth now.
http://gumstix.com/store/catalog/pro...roducts_id=160

Thats a bit better, but more or less says...

"Well, our gumstix computer is actually useless,
well, it does have a nifty computer, but it's just going to sit there thinking to itself.

Well you can plug it into a host computer, but there is not much point, because if you can plug it in.. you have already have a computer, the host computer. And the host computer is bigger and can think harder and has lots of peripherals, thats why its a host and I'm a client.

You can buy another computer called a "bluetooth device" which can do the work.

Well, actually the bluetooth device you buy has a powerful enough computer in it already, but it's locked down and proprietary so you can't reprogram it.

Thus the only real reason for a gumstix 400xm-bt computer is the consumer bluetooth devices are closed.
"

Well, the top'o'the'line gumstix is interesting.
http://gumstix.com/store/catalog/pro...roducts_id=170

It as ethernet and compact flash II. That means, instead of plugging flash card in, you can plug in any CFII device that can do almost anything...

But wait! That means I'm buying another computer to plug into the first computer because the first computer (the gumstix) has, despite the fact that it, as you claim, can do every form of IO, can't actually do anything! Sigh!

So close, so close,... but no cigar.

Last edited by cyent; 01-21-2009 at 08:21 PM.
 
Old 01-21-2009, 08:00 PM   #6
cyent
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Found one! A bit expensive, a bit big, but getting there!

http://www.artila.com/dshtml/ds_matrix500.html

More expensive than an openmoko, no battery and doesn't do gps/touchscreen/gsm.

But ooh, loads of I/O goodies.

So it is possible.. (but we knew that) still not quite in the ball park for a wearable application. Very close though.
 
  


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