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NanoNote Goes Wireless

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the better-late-than-never dept.

Handhelds 83

dvdkhlng writes "Even though completely copyleft, the NanoNote hand-held platform failed to get the attention of many due to its low specs and the lack of wireless connectivity. The objective to keep things open had its price, and wireless technology is a mine-field of patents and NDAs. Now, a few gifted hackers designed an add-on card to bring wireless to the NanoNote. It's not what you would expect; WLAN compatibility was sacrificed, going for the less encumbered IPv6 over the 802.15.4 standard instead. The resulting dongles won't win a prize for the highest bandwidth, but excel at simplicity, energy efficiency and manufacturability. Want to see the ugly details? Designs, source code and production documentation are published under open source licenses."

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Yeah whatever (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 3 years ago | (#36485960)

This is just more advertizing for APPLE and its nefarious band of devilish Communists who are undermining our American vrility and potency.

Scale (1)

witch-doktor (1592325) | more than 3 years ago | (#36485978)

Is the device really that small as the picture comparing it to a coke can suggests? I really can't think of a practical use for this form factor.

Re:Scale (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486032)

You can't think of a practical use for a small handheld device with a screen, keyboard, and wireless networking?

Have you heard of this ancient device called a BlackBerry. Or a much newer thing called an iPhone (without the hardware keyboard)?

Re:Scale (2)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486106)

Really? You're comparing this to those? Wow. Take a look at the specs of this thing, and then take a look at the specs of even the humble Blackberry. Then feel ashamed for even comparing the two. Not all "wireless" is created equal. The protocol this one supports is pretty shit.

Re:Scale (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486478)

Doh, the subject was the Form Factor, not the present capabilities.

Re:Scale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36486040)

I personally refuse to buy a device with a bezel that large. It gets infuriating to look at.

Re:Scale (1)

Musically_ut (1054312) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486064)

While it is true that the device is prohibitively small, the article still suggests some possible uses, like:

music or video player for Ogg or an offline Wikipedia or MIT OpenCourseWare appliance

Re:Scale (2)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486190)

I'm pretty sure most people already have a small, handheld device in their pocket which can do all of those things, and more, and which has a better screen, better connectivity, more storage, and far better support.

Re:Scale (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486284)

The NanoNote is not my ideal solution, but I really wish everyone with a smart phone would stop assuming that everyone else also has one. By the end of the year, only half of the cellphones will be smart phones and not everyone even has a cell phone. On top of that, even if you have a smart phone, you don't necessarily have a data plan. I'd have to guess that right now, probably only 20% of adults actually have a smart phone and data plan.

The good news is Android SmartPhone turnover (1)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486896)

In three years, all those new Android SmartPhones will be discarded for something new, and the millions of old ones can be repurposed as educational tools for people in materially poor countries. So we can write educational software for Android *now* and just assume the networkable platform will be free in three years to essentially anyone anywhere wanting education. More on that idea:
http://listcultures.org/pipermail/p2presearch_listcultures.org/2009-November/006250.html [listcultures.org]

Re:Scale (3, Interesting)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486318)

I'm pretty sure most people already have a small, handheld device in their pocket which can do all of those things, and more, and which has a better screen, better connectivity, more storage, and far better support.

Do they have them for $100?

Seriously, I could think of a few things to do with this, and I'm not all that creative.

Wikipedia in a hand-sized device (although there was that other Wikipedia handheld thing), basic word processing, email and webmail, Telnet / SSH access... Hell, it's running linux, so you could have all kinds of useful utilities on the silly thing as a sysadmin.

Yes, most First World Geeks (and some Second World Geeks) have PDAs and Smartphones, but for underprivileged geeks? Young hackers (in the correct sense of the word) interested in learning basic computer/electrical engineering and code modification? I couldn't afford an iPhone when I was a kid (still can't, really) but this? I could have swung this and had an absolute ball mucking about with it.

Yes, it's not a Smartphone. But it's nothing to just scoff at.

Re:Scale (2)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486380)

I got a phone that runs linux for well under â100 on contract, and it has more than enough space for Wikipedia. It has word processing, email, webmail, telnet & ssh access, samba, etc. etc. etc.

You can buy old second-hand phones for well under $100 that can do all of this, too. Prices for these devices have tumbled.

Re:Scale (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36486450)

I got a phone that runs linux for well under â100 on contract,

In other words, you only had to pay thousands of dollars in order to get that $100 phone.

Re:Scale (2)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486934)

I realize that a lot of people consider the contract that make smartphones affordable are evil... but you know what? I'd pay for voice and data on my phone anyway. Arguably without the contract I'd have more freedom to move to different networks to squeeze a few more pennies out of my bill every month, but practically I don't think I'd move that often. Most of the major players charge similar amounts for equally mediocre service. If I was really on the ball I doubt I'd save more than a hundred bucks or so by always shopping the best carrier deal; and I save way more than that by buying a phone under contract rather than paying full price for it.

Re:Scale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36493122)

And if they decide to "alter the deal" as all of their contracts allow them to do, you can easily get out of that contract. All you have to do is pay off the rest of the cost for the phone and whatever other fees they tack on.

Re:Scale (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#36494740)

Maybe, where you live. Not here. Once a contract is signed, that's it. You've made an agreement between you, your provider, and your bank, to pay a fixed amount of money for a clearly-defined service, that can not be modified without your explicit approval.

Re:Scale (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36487366)

Funny how it doesn't work like that here in Australia.

$0 upfront, $59 p/m - no difference to a normal $59 BYO plan.

I think I'll stick with my subsidised phone.

Re:Scale (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 3 years ago | (#36489676)

Right, except that if you took a different plan, e.g. prepaid, you wouldn't have to pay that $59 a month and would probably end up closer to $15 a month. So you are paying about $1000 extra for the phone.

Re:Scale (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36488666)

I got a lease for a phone that runs linux for well under â100

FTFY. You don't actually own the phone.

Re:Scale (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36489894)

Don't know what shitty part of the world you live in, but here in the UK, yes you do. From day one. The carriers have to separate the phone from the contract, otherwise they are responsible for the phone. Which means (amongst other things) if they break the contrac (usually by an unfair change in the terms) you get to cancel at no penalty, and keep the phone.

Re:Scale (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#36494642)

Things suck where you live. Here in sunny Europe, that phone is mine, Mine, mine, mine.

Re:Scale (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486396)

It looks interesting, but not so much for it handheld features, but for the size. I have been looking for a while for a micro sized cheap motherboard that can support Linux, networking and either serial or USB connectivity. Oh and being light enough on energy requirements that a solar panel is enough to power it. If it could support Apache httpd and Java then that would be big plus.

Sure there is the Adruino, but I want something that is a step up. Then again, maybe I have underestimated what the Adruino can do?

Re:Scale (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486466)

If you want Apache and Java, you're way over Arduino's capabilities. I think a SheevaPlug (1.2GHz ARM, 20W max (usually less), $100) is more suitable for that purpose.

Re:Scale (1)

Roman Mamedov (793802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486476)

> Do they have them for $100?

Sure, why not?

Checked eBay lately, you can get yourself a 7" Android tablet for like $65.

NanoNote has many virtues, but being cheap and "accessible" (third world, blah blah blah), is NOT one of them. On the contrary, it is WAY overpriced for what it is. And likewise so, this new wireless addon - 41 Euro, for god's sake, and you were saying something about students and poor children?

Re:Scale (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 3 years ago | (#36490326)

The trouble is... the Zipit Z2 is cheaper and actually has wireless networking built in, so most people wanting to hack on a cheap handheld computer in this form factor just buy one of those and load Linux onto it.

Re:Scale (1)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486294)

It would be a perfect place to keep your Bitcoin wallet. You could carry it around in your pocket to keep your bitcoins safe from hackers.

Re:Scale (4, Funny)

pnot (96038) | more than 3 years ago | (#36487108)

It would be a perfect place to keep your Bitcoin wallet. You could carry it around in your pocket to keep your bitcoins safe from hackers.

In fact, I'm surprised the summary didn't read something like Potential Bitcoin wallet goes wireless. In Bitcoin news today, Bitcoin experts said that Bitcoin uptake of Bitcoins could increase with the addition of Bitcoin wireless to a device which might, potentially, at some point, be used to store Bitcoins. Asked to comment on the development, a Bitcoin-using Bitcoin promoter replied "Bitcoin Bitcoin Bitcoin Bitcoin. And furthermore, Bitcoin."

Anyone care to explain in plain english? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36485984)

Is it bad to lack WLAN, IPv4 and 802.11g/802.11n support?

Is there anything compatible with IPv6/802.15.4?

Re:Anyone care to explain in plain english? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36486224)

> Is it bad to lack WLAN, IPv4 and 802.11g/802.11n support?

That means you cannot connect it to your already acquired wi-fi router (or to Starbucks Coffee's one, too). Basically, you'll have a wireless network isolated from the world (which might be good). Since I don't know much about these standards, I wonder what level of security there will be...

> Is there anything compatible with IPv6/802.15.4?

You can attach the USB version (see links) to a Linux proxy server and voilà (/. may have eaten the acute sign): you're connected to the world via your own patent free network!

Ni IPv4 GOOD!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36497518)

I consider it good to lack IPv4, given that addresses are @ such a premium, and the designers probably chose to avoid NATting in the first place in order to have a clean connectivity w/ the product.

If WiMax can enable one to access wireless broadband services from any particular subscribed carrier, then don't need to connect to the WiFi @ Starbucks!

its not selling well (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36485988)

cause you cant find the thing for sale anywhere

besides if you could would you? I mean I might give up to 40 bucks for this toy that will end up in the junk bin a year later

Re:its not selling well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36485998)

Can it do anything my Blackberry can't?

Re:its not selling well (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486288)

Yes, it can boot an open source OS out of the box.

Re:its not selling well (2)

Balial (39889) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486368)

Can that open source OS do anything his blackberry OS can't?

This sounds like an excellent open source hobby kit, but a practical device it does not appear to be.

Nope (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486598)

"a practical device it does not appear to be."

A practical device is PRECISELY what it is.

It is designed for embedded systems and low-cost distributed networks.

Tell me what is your definition of the word "practical"?

Re:its not selling well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36486392)

Yes, it can boot an open source OS out of the box.

It can boot multiple open-source OS [wikimedia.org] out of the box :P.

Re:its not selling well (1)

dvdkhlng (1803364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486438)

Can it do anything my Blackberry can't?

It runs the software that you write, and you don't even need any SDK for that. Out of the box it runs Lua, Python, Tcl, Octave, Scheme, gForth, Emacs-Lisp, Shell Script and who knows what else. There's even a GCC toolchain package available, if you need it. If you're satisfied with the software that vendors throw at you or allow you to obtain via their managed app-store, than maybe NanoNote is not made for you.

End users aren't interested in writing software (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486734)

It runs the software that you write

Most end users aren't interested in writing software.

If you're satisfied with the software that vendors throw at you or allow you to obtain via their managed app-store

At the moment, this appears to describe most end users. And without a distinct feature that appeals to a lot of end users, don't expect to see this device on store shelves. And without store shelves, don't expect to be able to buy this device with cash.

Re:its not selling well (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486012)

cause you cant find the thing for sale anywhere

I know, man. If it isn't in Best Buy it just doesn't exist! Fuck people who make niche hardware for thinking they can try!

Re:its not selling well (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486058)

its not even on google dingbat

Re:its not selling well (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486130)

I just searched "nanonote" in google and it was the FIRST GODDAMN PAGE OF HITS.

Re:its not selling well (-1, Flamebait)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486172)

yea i see the home page, and some news links, a couple of videos but where do you buy it?????

someone was kind enough to point me to the open hardware page, your too god damed busy being a fucking troll to bother with that, you just give me shit

congratulations you fuckwit ass hat, you are a worthless waste of time! POINT STILL STANDS if your "selling" a product fucking make it where people can find it, if you dont go fuck yourself and your story about how its not selling well

or do you not understand that you fucking numbnut?

Re:its not selling well (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486196)

your too god damed busy being a fucking troll to bother with that, you just give me shit

Shit you deserve, for being so thick. If you clicked on the first link there's a "buy now" link at the top of the page.

if your "selling" a product fucking make it where people can find it, if you dont go fuck yourself and your story about how its not selling well

They've put it exactly where they wanted it. "Not selling well" was put in by the article submitter. But please, continue being an idiot.

Re:its not selling well (-1, Flamebait)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486250)

why dont you go back to sucking your mothers cock, thats all you seem to be good at

you could have politely stated that at the start, but no you had to be a cock gobbler about it

go fuck yourself

Re:its not selling well (0)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486558)

Hey, well if you had rubbed your two brain cells together at the start, maybe I wouldn't have been so snarky

Oh well.

Re:its not selling well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36503704)

Next time try writing like an adult if you want respect. This isn't a text message, try using capital letters and punctuation if you want respect. Kids these days.

Re:its not selling well (1)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486356)

yea i see the home page, and some news links, a couple of videos but where do you buy it?????

Right here. [sharism.cc] They're $99. Wifi will cost you [qi-hardware.com] about $30-40 (but isn't copyleft).

(Got that link from the provided link [qi-hardware.com] in the article above.)

Re:its not selling well (1)

Musically_ut (1054312) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486042)

cause you cant find the thing for sale anywhere

Yes, one can. [sharism.cc]

besides if you could would you? I mean I might give up to 40 bucks for this toy that will end up in the junk bin a year later

The cost is $99.

I agree that it might very well end up in the junk bin a year later, but I believe that is the point behind the device. It is not an end product in itself; it is meant to be experimented with, . Developers and students are meant to start from here and make something else. ~ musically_ut

Re:its not selling well (1)

grosshei (718025) | more than 3 years ago | (#36488388)

cause you cant find the thing for sale anywhere

Yes, one can. [sharism.cc]

Original poster still has a point: The cheapest shipping option from Sharism to the U.S. is ~$24. and there are no U.S. vendors that sell them. (That I've found.)

It's not exactly the most accessible product ever.

It still doesn't do anything useful (0)

jschottm (317343) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486026)

It still has low specs and poor design, except now it has an ugly dongle (that makes it harder to carry without breaking it) that doesn't connect to anything people actually use. Tools have to solve problems and this doesn't solve anyone's issues other than a very, very, very tiny minority of open fanatics. If it's not a tool, it's a toy, and these don't seem like much fun.

In the mean time, the rest of the world has cell phones that are more powerful, have better displays, better input devices, and roughly the same cost under contract. And they connect to the cell networks as well as people's home, office, and coffeeshop networks.

Moving on..

Re: It still doesn't do anything useful (2, Funny)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486048)

It's niche hardware, that makes it stupid. I hate it and so should you, and if you don't you suck. Everyone involved with it is a insane asshole (because I said so) and if you enjoy using this then you're mentally retarded and I hate you. Excuse me while I play mindless consumer and lock myself into an overpriced multi-year contract for something mostly unrelated to the subject at hand.

I think I gleaned the true meaning of your blather.

Re: It still doesn't do anything useful (1)

jschottm (317343) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486272)

No, I'm pretty sure the only insane asshole involved is you.

Arduinos solve problems and are successful, despite being nice hardware. SheevaPlugs solve problems and are successful.

If people want to design and play with these for the fun of it, more power to them, but it's poorly conceived and will never be very successful at reaching the hands of hobbyists and they shouldn't be surprised when they fail. As I told the other gentleman, if they're dedicated to open hardware, they'd be better off creating open hardware for desktops where they wouldn't have bad space, heat, and power constraints rather than poorly duplicating functionality of something that most people carry around already.

Re: It still doesn't do anything useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36486370)

It looks to me like a cheap, disposable hack launching platform that the authorities would have little idea what to make out of it if they found one...

Just because it is useless to you doesn't mean more enterprising individuals can't find a use for it.

Re: It still doesn't do anything useful (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486584)

If people want to design and play with these for the fun of it, more power to them

Except your post basically comes off as "they should never have bothered, because they're dirty zealots and it's been done better by others and I don't find it interesting."

it's poorly conceived

How so?

will never be very successful at reaching the hands of hobbyists

It's been around since 2009 at least and hasn't died yet. Maybe it is, and you're just making things up?

As I told the other gentleman, if they're dedicated to open hardware, they'd be better off creating open hardware for desktops where they wouldn't have bad space, heat, and power constraints

Maybe the goal was to have a singular portable device not dependent on any other platform, that was completely open. In fact, I believe that was the goal. They seem to have succeeded.

rather than poorly duplicating functionality of something that most people carry around already.

Which generally aren't open in multiple ways. I defer to my earlier snark.

Re: It still doesn't do anything useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36486082)

This wasn't created to solve a problem or to compete with smartphones, it was created to be a toy and for people who love open source hardware and have time to play with it. If you see it and don't fall in love this is not for you. This is for hobbyists and for hobbyists, if this is not for you, well, it is not for you.

Re: It still doesn't do anything useful (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486136)

Im a hobbyist, and i still don't see the point of this thing where there are far more useful devices for less out there.

Re: It still doesn't do anything useful (1)

jschottm (317343) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486198)

The problem, as stated, is that it lacks wireless capability, which is something that is largely the point of portable devices. By not supporting a protocol that users can find (how many people do you know with 802.15.4 connections in their homes?) they haven't solved that problem. This creates a larger obstacle to getting the product into the hands of users, which is their primary goal, yes?

If you're not going to make a compelling portable product, why not make a compelling non-portable product that doesn't have the costs and constraints of trying to be small, portable, and battery powered?

Re: It still doesn't do anything useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36486262)

You are just trolling right? It is not meant to be a consumer device, their goal is not making this a end-user device, it is for hobbyists that are interested in it. Yes, it could and should have standard wifi, but it does not and I'm fine with that. The ones who created this wireless dongle probably did it to solve their own needs of just for fun. This is for people who want to have fun making hardware or software mods, this is not meant to be actually 'usable'.

Re: It still doesn't do anything useful (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 3 years ago | (#36490654)

Well, I don't find it a compelling device, but nonetheless I can think of a few uses for it. If someone gave me one, I'd be tempted to:

  1. Use it as a portable media platform
  2. Use it as a portable gaming device
  3. The "Local copy of Wikipedia" thing others have mentioned certainly isn't a bad idea

Those are three applications it would appear to be more than adequate at. I wouldn't be inclined to use it as the eBook reader others have mentioned - the lack of an eInk screen and the poor resolution/size kinda works against that.

My major reservations are not your's. I don't think the "Costs the same as a smartphone on contract" thing is reasonable, given it clearly doesn't (unless the contract is for a dollar a month or something!) But, on the other hand, if you want an Android tablet, there are things like this [archos.com] that cost less than the device and are genuinely more capable. What would make me pick the NanoNote over the Archos? Well, in my case, I wouldn't buy either, which means I'm not really qualified to address the question. And I think the same applies to you too.

It's an inexpensive device, it appears to have a certain amount of flexibility, it's not ideal, but it's a form factor worth playing with. I'd give it a second look if:

  1. The screen was high resolution eInk, and preferably touchscreen
  2. The device has Ethernet
  3. The device has a USB host controller

I think all of the above are quite possible, so I'll watch the platform with some interest.

Re: It still doesn't do anything useful (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36490742)

Re: It still doesn't do anything useful (1)

jschottm (317343) | more than 3 years ago | (#36492714)

You can get a very capable Android cell phone from any of the major providers for under $100 these days. I've not been under contract since 2006 or so and I was able to get one with a second generation snagdragon processor and unlocked world capability for $150, but I'm also on a small provider that actively tries to avoid being evil.

It might be OK for the three applications you listed but I think you'd be disappointed by the media that the CPU can support and by how clumsy playing games would be on that tiny of a keyboard. But all of those things are true of my cell phone too, which I carry pretty much everywhere I go because it actively improves my life. If something's going to have a similar form factor to a phone, it has to give some reason to carry it in addition to the phone.

The only thing that makes this really distinctive is that the hardware is completely open, which only affects the user experience by giving a very, very small minority of people a happy glow.By doing this project badly, they're hurting their own cause.

These things have been out for two years or so and sold 1000 units (according to the claim on wikipedia). I wouldn't hold your breath on high resolution eInk. On the other hand, in two years or so you'll be able to get a fairly capable 7" Android tablet with everything you wanted (albeit with ethernet off a USB dongle) for around $200. Maybe 5" as well, although I don't know if that form factor will take off.

Wait... (1)

Sinthet (2081954) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486036)

If it runs Linux and comes with a USB port, what was stopping people from simply popping in one of those wifi-card usb things?

Re:Wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36486096)

If it runs Linux and comes with a USB port, what was stopping people from simply popping in one of those wifi-card usb things?

"Open" issues, it's not nearly open enough with new openness of tomorrow that way, leaving you locked into the closed corporatism of yesteryear's dark ages.
Now if you'll excuse me I have to go get my beard groomed.

Re:Wait... (2)

MtHuurne (602934) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486316)

The NanoNote has a USB device controller, but no USB host controller. So you can connect it to a PC and run ethernet over USB, but you cannot connect other devices directly to the NanoNote.

Open? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36486158)

Is this made in an open source factory by open source machines? If so where are the factory specs?

Did they use open power from an open source power plant?

Was it put together by open source people working for free?

Doesn't look too open to me!

Misleading - WiFi already supported (1)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486342)

From their wiki: http://en.qi-hardware.com/wiki/Wi-Fi_in_Nanonote [qi-hardware.com]


This section shows the availability of Wi-Fi connectivity in Ben NanoNote.
Up to now, Ben NanoNote is able to use Wi-Fi devices based on the KS7010 Wi-Fi chip from KeyStream.
KeyStream was a small Japanese startup (about 30 people) focusing on mobile Wi-Fi chips, their first and only main product being the KS3021 RF chip and the KS7010 Wi-Fi baseband chip. They were acquired by Renesas in April 2009, and are now continuing as the KeyStream brand inside Renesas. The technology will probably appear in other Renesas chips in the future.
Known users of these chips are:
Microsoft Zune 30, and probably other Zune models as well
Spectec SDW-821 full-size SD (SDIO) Wi-Fi card
Spectec SDW-823 microSD (SDIO) Wi-Fi card
(note that all other Spectec Wi-Fi cards use MTK Wi-Fi chips without Linux drivers!)

Looks like the Spectec SDW-823 goes for about $30-40 on Amazon.com. And the drivers are all GPLed, so...

While the hack they posted above is really neat, if you want it to "just work" then WiFi is available.

Re:Misleading - WiFi already supported (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36486542)

the power efficiency of the 802.15.4 is much, much better than that of wi-fi, logging in at 2mW. energy efficiency makes a huge difference as it allows less expensive batteries to run laptops longer with an accompanying low-wattage cpu.

"ben" nanonote (1)

Guano_Jim (157555) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486402)

The product's full name is the Ben NanoNote.

Interestingly, "ben" is also the measure word used in Chinese for books, which speaks to the usability of this device as an e-reader.

wo you san ben shu --> I have three volumes of books.

wo you yi ben NanoNote --> I have a NanoNote.

Re:"ben" nanonote (2)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486486)

Interestingly, "ben" is also the measure word used in Chinese for books, which speaks to the usability of this device as an e-reader.

Yeah, now that I realize I have to learn Chinese to understand it, it's even less useable than I thought!

Re:"ben" nanonote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36488648)

If this is the reason it is called the Ben NanoNote, then it should be pronounced closer to "bin", because the "ben" in Chinese pinyin is pronounced that way, not like Ben as in Benjamin Franklin. The 'e' is pronounced like the e in early or earn, but is a clipped syllable because of the 'n' final.

Re:"ben" nanonote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36490362)

More Interestingly, "ben" can mean all kinds of things in any of the worlds 6000+ spoken languages.

Even if we talk Chinese only you statement is silly.

In Chinese "ben" can be:
stupid (ç), and a slew of synonyms we have for that. Perhaps it tells us something about this device?

running or hurrying (å¥"), which shows the small form factor is no obstruction!

Benzene (è), which speaks to the usability of this device as an environmental pollutant.

origin (æoe), and a lot of words related to the sense of an origin or base, such as plant roots. It can even be used to say "this".
And yes, it could be a counter, but only when used with a numeral in front of it...

Want me to start on the various meanings of Ben in Cantonese?

Re:"ben" nanonote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36490566)

Granted, it is perhaps the stupidity of sites like slashdot (no unicode) that causes us to run circles about meaning of words in languages with a different writing system...

Great news (0)

moraldo11 (2281686) | more than 3 years ago | (#36486560)

That`s a great news! Http://www.dubaivisitguide.com

Re:Great news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36486644)

That`s a great news!

Http://www.dubaivisitguide.com

Die in a fire, you scum advertiser.

NanoNote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36486616)

NanoNote sucks for everything and anything, get an OpenPandora instead.

ZipIt Z2 in black? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36486796)

Gee! It's a whole lot like a ZipIt Z2 in black. ...without the ZipIt's WiFi ...and for $50 more.

And it still won't get any attention (2)

Zouden (232738) | more than 3 years ago | (#36487042)

the NanoNote hand-held platform failed to get the attention of many due to its low specs and the lack of wireless connectivity.

Guess what? It still has low specs, and it still lacks wifi. I'd never heard of the NanoNote, and I'd never heard of 802.15.4. Now they're combined into a single product that no one will be interested in. I guess that's an improvement, right?

Re:And it still won't get any attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36487632)

Hey Slashdot, what's with all the hate?

Some dedicated people make an alternative open hardware platform that runs open software, encourage hackers to develop for it, then someone comes up with an interesting peripheral for it. This is a good thing.

If you had been around in the 1991 when Linus Torvalds told the world about this new kernel he'd written, how would you have reacted? Based on what I read above, you would have said: "What's the point? We already have MS-DOS and Mac OS, and this new kernel is so limited and not compatible with anything existing. I can't think of any practical use for it. This Linus guy wasted time and effort when he could have been writing useful MS-DOS software."

Full disclaimer: I own a Ben Nanonote and enjoy playing with it.

Re:And it still won't get any attention (1)

Zouden (232738) | more than 3 years ago | (#36489728)

From the Qi-hardware wiki, one of the group's goals is to provide:

the proof that community development is superior to proprietary approaches

Well that's great, except it's 2011 and they've made a portable computer that lacks wifi. Do we really want people associating "open source" with "less capable"?

Re:And it still won't get any attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36490224)

Strawman. Linus's new kernel was not "not compatible with anything existing"; in fact, its compatibility with the GNU system and the rich set of Unix applications was a key reason for its success. It was also way ahead of MS-DOS and Mac OS in key OS attributes, having memory protection and preemptive multitasking from day one. Early Linux was strictly inferior to commercial Unices, of course, but those were very expensive and often ran on even more expensive hardware. The open-source license BSDs could have nipped Linux in the bud, but they were involved in legal tussles that weren't resolved before Linux gained irreversible momentum.

No, this Qi-hardware thing is not the same thing at all with Linux.

Re:And it still won't get any attention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36497326)

the NanoNote hand-held platform failed to get the attention of many due to its low specs and the lack of wireless connectivity.

Guess what? It still has low specs, and it still lacks wifi. I'd never heard of the NanoNote, and I'd never heard of 802.15.4. Now they're combined into a single product that no one will be interested in. I guess that's an improvement, right?

Ain't 802.15 WiMax i.e. a superset of WiFi and Mobile connectivity? In other words, let you be online @ broadband like speeds even in a car or train? That's a pretty good thing, by the look of it. And also, it looks like WiFi is supported [qi-hardware.com] .

Best part - it has IPv6 right out of the box, and so getting connected ought to be a lot smoother.

Incidentally, which processor is this based on?

Re:And it still won't get any attention (1)

MtHuurne (602934) | more than 3 years ago | (#36498020)

It's based on Ingenic JZ4720, a little endian MIPS processor with many integrated peripherals.

MBT online (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36489954)

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