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Old 07-18-2015, 09:18 AM   #1
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Are there any modern "pocket" computers?


Back in the day I used to use HTC "pocket PCs" which ran the Windows "Pocket PC" and, later, "Phone Edition" OSs. I wasn't so keen on the OS but the form factors of fold-out keyboards on a small device was something I found really usable. Is there anything of that kind around nowadays?
I recall Sony used to sell an Windows XP machine which would be pocketable but it seems to have been discontinued.
I tried googling but I'm not sure which terms to use nowadays.
To be more precise about what I am looking for I realise that an Android mobile is, in processing capability, far superior to the old devices but I would like something more versatile, preferably capable of running Debian, and with a hardware keyboard. Something akin to the C.H.I.P., perhaps, but I'm not sure how long that will be in coming out and just how versatile it will be when it does.
I currently use an old Blackberry 9900 for my mobile communication needs and it serves me well so I'm not looking for a smart phone either though if one fits the bill, like my old HTC Universal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTC_Universal, one could be of interest.
I'm not looking to buy right now, unless the price is similar to the C.H.I.P. or Pi, but more looking to be aware of any options so if anything comes up I can buy one.
 
Old 07-18-2015, 09:39 AM   #2
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Smartphone or small tablet, that's all I know of. There might be something else available, but I'm not motivated enough to Google it. I used a Palm, through several models, for years, and I really liked it. But my current Android phone does far more than the Palm ever did, easier and faster. I can use a bluetooth keyboard with it if I want, as well as a monitor, but don't often bother. There are Android devices with hardware keyboards available, and with the current state of cloud computing, you can do pretty much anything online with a browser, or Android apps. People have installed Debian on smartphones, but it's not optimal. Android is Linux, optimized for touchscreens. I've tried Debian on small devices like a Nokia N800, and while it works, it's always a little clumsy. I've given up, and just use my Android phone, because it's faster and easier, and it does everything I need. YMMV.

Last edited by sgosnell; 07-18-2015 at 09:47 AM.
 
Old 07-18-2015, 10:09 AM   #3
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Even Blackberry moved on to touchscreen. Probably because tiny mechanical keyboards fell out of favor or maybe too costly to incorporate anymore.

Smart Book by McGraw Hill is like a good example of how touchscreen seems to rule but innovation is focused on other function capability.

I was disappointed when "Always Innovating" quit selling their "Smart Book" and other prducts to the general public. Probably a conspiracy theory behind that move.

Good luck finding what you want. Because I think the market is more now into getting you to buy addons, like blue tooth mini keyboards on a 4 inch tablet. Instead of supplying out of the box. I have a older working Iview Android 4 inch 29 dollar tablet.

Hardest part of deaing with it, is replacing the battery.
More functions and more powerful hardware sucks up the voltage.

Last edited by rokytnji; 07-18-2015 at 10:12 AM.
 
Old 07-18-2015, 11:45 AM   #4
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I have no use for Android anything anf touch screens just frustrate me. Since I am a couple of generations behind I ought to be OK getting Blackberry devices for a while yet but it would be nice to use the WiFi hotspot for a real pocket PC as well as this Kindle.
 
Old 07-18-2015, 12:19 PM   #5
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Well, good luck with finding anything. Like it or not, hardware keyboards are going extinct, for good reasons. I've never been able to use one, they're far too small and fiddly for me. Touchscreens aren't ideal, but they're better than keys the size of a pinhead. YMMV.
 
Old 07-18-2015, 02:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
Well, good luck with finding anything. Like it or not, hardware keyboards are going extinct, for good reasons. I've never been able to use one, they're far too small and fiddly for me. Touchscreens aren't ideal, but they're better than keys the size of a pinhead. YMMV.
I'm not sure whether you've used a Blackberry but they're certainly not "the size of a pinhead" -- real keyboards are more expensive so they're on nobody's priority list.
Touchscreens are designed for media consumption and they're not bad at it but they're not an interface for anybody who wants to type.
 
Old 07-18-2015, 02:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
capable of running Debian
I run a Nexus 4 with Cyanogenmod 12 on it. F-Droid.org has a Debian pkg, which will run 'beside' android. I had to install Cyanogen from a download as I didn't want google play and all that on it. So it is straight Cyanogen, F-Droid, and Debian. Does everything I want- firefox, email, encrypted texting.

If I was to do it again, it would be a bigger phone, maybe with something that would run Replicant instead of Cyanogenmod.

Regular Android phones with google play makes me feel like I am always in Vegas
 
Old 07-18-2015, 02:54 PM   #8
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I run a Nexus 4 with Cyanogenmod 12 on it. F-Droid.org has a Debian pkg, which will run 'beside' android. I had to install Cyanogen from a download as I didn't want google play and all that on it. So it is straight Cyanogen, F-Droid, and Debian. Does everything I want- firefox, email, encrypted texting.

If I was to do it again, it would be a bigger phone, maybe with something that would run Replicant instead of Cyanogenmod.

Regular Android phones with google play makes me feel like I am always in Vegas
I mean no disrespect but Android isn't something I am interested in running, even with the desktop shims available. If possible I am looking for a computer which can run an OS of my choice and be used as if it were a desktop but in a smaller format. I know it is possible, as in the the XP machines I mentioned, but I'm wondering whether there are any around. Sadly it seems not.
 
Old 07-18-2015, 11:05 PM   #9
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Out of curiosity, why are you so strongly against Android? It's Linux, uses a Linux kernel, just tweaked for the hardware. It does use Java, but that's going away sooner or later, more likely sooner.
 
Old 07-19-2015, 01:29 PM   #10
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Old, but maybe of use to you, are Palm & Sharp Zaurus, but they tend to be quite expensive if you can find one.

What about a netbook(?), I find them very good.

Edit: Admittedly you'd need a big pocket, but they are lightweight.

Last edited by fatmac; 07-19-2015 at 01:33 PM.
 
Old 07-19-2015, 03:07 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
Out of curiosity, why are you so strongly against Android? It's Linux, uses a Linux kernel, just tweaked for the hardware. It does use Java, but that's going away sooner or later, more likely sooner.
Android's designed for a touch-screen slab with only one application open at one time -- I'd like to be able to have more than one windows open and to manipulate them as I want so be running something like XFCE. I know the original "pocket PCs" I had ran a cut-down mangled version of Windows but at that time you could buy an Windows P machine which fitted into your pocket. Netbooks are cool, but a lot bigger than I have in mind.
It seems ridiculous to me that after all this progress in computing the only thing that will fit in your pocket is still a cut-down machine with artificial limits imposed upon what you can do.
 
Old 07-19-2015, 03:37 PM   #12
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Requires a 7 inch pocket, no keyboard, and I don't know if you can get them as cheap or even if they are available in England.

Link
 
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Old 07-19-2015, 03:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rokytnji View Post
Requires a 7 inch pocket, no keyboard, and I don't know if you can get them as cheap or even if they are available in England.

Link
Thanks. The no keyboard bit is annoying but that's much closer to what I'm looking for. I like how it has a dedicated button to summon the Special Air Service regiment of the UK Special Forces .
 
Old 07-19-2015, 07:36 PM   #14
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There's a few pocket sized laptops, although they tend to have older specs. About as close as you'll get. Otherwise you can connect a bluetooth keyboard to some phone devices. There's also an ubuntu phone that's already out in europe and coming to the states sometime in the not so distant future. Or just a raspberry pi, plus phone charger for a battery, plus small screen. Although still borderline DIY, and keyboard not included, or screen, or battery, or cables, or ... I had an agenda vr3 bitd, but sat on the screen. I used to get about a week on it on a single AAA. Those old iPaq things with the foldup targus keyboard was kind of sweet bitd. Although mostly useless by todays standards.
 
Old 07-19-2015, 08:52 PM   #15
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Here we go - even get one in pink !

http://www.alibaba.com/product-detai...428397532.html
 
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