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Fully-functional Miniature Notebook Planned

CowboyNeal posted more than 11 years ago | from the better-faster-smaller dept.

Handhelds 225

florin writes "Check out this upcoming extremely cool micro-sized notebook from Microsoft-cofounder Paul Allen's company Vulcan (who were previously mentioned on Slashdot some time ago). Despite being small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, this is a fully blown x86-compatible computer capable of running Windows XP - or, presumably, a Unix of one's choice. Featuring an 800x480 pixel display, 256 MB of memory, sound, USB2, WLAN and optional Bluetooth, GPRS/CDMA or Firewire, this is far more than just another PDA, yet still small enough to carry with you at all times." Looks really cool, but I wouldn't plan on using full typing speed on it's tiny keys.

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I've got a more powerful mini-computer (5, Funny)

tcd004 (134130) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814708)

This think looks cool, but it doesn't hold a candle to the palm pilot built by jesus. [lostbrain.com]

tcd004

YES, BUT CAN IT RUN LINUX ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814796)

"I mean Jesus is alright but his disciples are rather thick and ordinary" - JL

Re:YES, BUT CAN IT RUN LINUX ?? (0)

jagne (74556) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814940)

The spec says "x86 compatible". Ok, that's vague, but one can see on the photos and read on the Details that it runs an XP.
It doesn't say either that Microsoft did an special version of XP for this thing (and the Paul Allen mention is only about "concept", not that he's actively behind this project).

Executive summary: it *should* run Linux.

SARS is punishment for leftists! (-1)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814709)

Notice that all the fatalities from SARS are in countries run by socialist or communist governments.

Clearly this is the first Political Virus. Or maybe it's simply because governments "of the people" have disgustingly lacking health services.

Re:SARS is punishment for leftists! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814773)

By that logic, "poverty" is the first Political affliction.

Fully Blown?? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814714)

Does "fully blown" mean that it has released into someone's mouth? No wonder Cowboy Kneel posted this!
f1r5t

Re:Fully Blown?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814847)

f1r5t

Or not.. dumbass.

Re:Fully Blown?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814918)

The name... is Dumass.

To type fast (5, Interesting)

MickLinux (579158) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814715)

To type fast, use hall-effect touchpads on either side of the computer, and simply redesign the keyboard for one of three modes: one-pad (left-or-right), stylus, or two-pad.

People who want to learn to type on it quickly will find it takes less than a month to be proficient. And if the human-factors engineering is good, then they may find that they can type faster on it than with a normal keyboard.

Re:To type fast (2, Insightful)

Snowspinner (627098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814742)

I am not going to engage in a piece of technology that has a month-long period without proficiency. This may be because I'm enough of a gadget geek that I'm used to one or two day proficiency, but if it would take me a month to become proficient, I'd stop trying around a week.

Re:To type fast (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814805)

I am not going to engage in a piece of technology that has a month-long period without proficiency. This may be because I'm enough of a gadget geek that I'm used to one or two day proficiency, but if it would take me a month to become proficient, I'd stop trying around a week.

Hang on a tic... just how long did it take you to become "proficient" with the good old QWERTY? How long to become expert? Did you memorize all of the Palm character sigils instantly? Now, I don't know what sort of purpose you'd think of putting this thing to, but for a good input device for a general purpose device a month wouldn't be too bad. If you're just thinking of using it to save phone numbers, well that's a different story, but if I could type at reasonable speeds on something this size, a month is nothing to invest.

Re:To type fast (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814980)

You'll try as long as Paul Allen wants you to try -- he will intimidate you with his frighteningly grotesque teeth [slashdot.org] !

As a former Psion 5mx owner... (5, Informative)

OwnerOfWhinyCat (654476) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814950)

I can state for a fact it is possible to learn to touch-type on these little keyboards, but this is greatly affected by keyboard travel and the keyshapes giving good positioning feedback.

On a regular keyboard I can break 80 words per minute pretty easily (up until about 2 a.m.), and on the Psion I was able to average about 25 w.p.m. with some considerable practice. The Psion however was designed with good keytravel, and the chopped pyramid keystyle gave comfortable tactile feedback as to how my hands were positioned.

The essential ingredient to getting the speed up was increase one's (right to left) hand tilt to about 45 degrees and learn to stike the keys a little more with the outside edges of your fingers. The extra tilt works like the arms of an old manual typwriter letting typing elements that are normally to fat for the space they have to share swing into each other's flight paths to share (in the typewriter case a single spot) a smaller space.

I would strongly caution anyone who needs typing speed against purchasing this online. Go to whatever computer store might stock such a thing and make sure that the tactile and positioning feedbacks are going to be sufficient for your needs. This will probably be at least a $1000 toy, so no-one is going to begrudge you a few 30 minute sessions standing in their store playing with it.

Re:As a former Psion 5mx owner... (2, Informative)

yomegaman (516565) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814962)

From the photos at the site it appears that the "enter" key is not on the home row, but rather one row above it. Bah!

Graphics Capabilites (1)

GoldMace (315606) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814717)

If it can do graphics halfway descent it might make a cool gameboy.

Re:Graphics Capabilites (1)

SirDaShadow (603846) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814876)

If it's fast enough you can actually play Gameboy Advance Games [emuhq.com]

My PDA (Axim) looks more useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814718)

The thing just looks like a real waste of time.

Key too small to type
Screen looks like crap

I'm a gadget geek but this aint something I'd rush out to buy

Re:My PDA (Axim) looks more useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814807)

uh-huh, sure dude.... what, 4x(if not more) as much memory? and how many times as much storage? the ability to put xp(let alone ANY version of windows) and possibly any other x86 operating system on it? and were you insulting the screen? oh really, what the hell is the resolution on your axim??? quit trying to justify your purchase.

Slashdot editors strike again (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814720)

Looks really cool, but I wouldn't plan on using full typing speed on it's tiny keys.



Just think of how much faster you would type if you didn't insert unnecessary apostrophes into words!

Re:Slashdot editors strike again (0, Offtopic)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814761)

"Looks really cool, but I wouldn't plan on using full typing speed on it's tiny keys."

Just think of how much faster you would type if you didn't insert unnecessary apostrophes into words!

IIRC, you use the apostrophe with it to indicate possession, but not for the contracted "it is".

If not, I've been doing it wrong for years...which is entirely possible. ;-)

Re:Slashdot editors strike again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814781)

The possesive form of it doesn't take an apostrophe. Saying "It's true" is correct while saying "It's name" is not.

Re:Slashdot editors strike again (1)

cperciva (102828) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814795)

You've been doing it wrong for years.

Re:Slashdot editors strike again (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814802)

If not, I've been doing it wrong for years...which is entirely possible. ;-)

You have been. "It's" vs. "its" is a common confusion, since it is the opposite of the usual use of an apostrophe.

it's = it is
"its" is used for possession

Re:Slashdot editors strike again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814851)

IIRC, you use the apostrophe with it to indicate possession, but not for the contracted "it is".

If not, I've been doing it wrong for years...which is entirely possible. ;-)

You've been doing it wrong all these years. It goes like this:

pronoun -> possessive pronoun
he -> his
she -> hers
they -> theirs
you -> yours
we -> ours
it -> its

None of the possesive pronouns have apostrophes.

All contractions have apostrophes:

do not -> don't
could not -> couldn't
they will -> they'll
it is -> it's
can not -> can't

Re:Slashdot editors strike again (1, Informative)

ryanr (30917) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814853)

Exactly the opposite. With most words, you can use 's to indicate possesive or contract with is. You don't use 's to indicate possesive with it, you use its.

Here, I'll let Bob explain further

http://angryflower.com/bobsqu.gif [angryflower.com]

Re:Slashdot editors strike again (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814861)

According to the standard rule you would put the apostrophe after the s like its', but with "its" you don't actually use an apostrophe at all. The contraction for "it is" uses one though--it's.

Re:Slashdot editors strike again (1)

ClippyHater (638515) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814863)

It's confusing, but the rules are "it's" means "it is", and "its" is possessive. I.E.:

It's a fine day == It is a fine day.
...I wouldn't plan on using full typing speed on its tiny keys == ...I wouldn't plan on using full typing speed on the device's tiny keys.

Re:Slashdot editors strike again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814797)

Slash'dot doe'snt have editor's, they have moderator's. I don't think th'ey care about errant apostrophe's.

The problem all of these have (5, Insightful)

Snowspinner (627098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814721)

The tiny keys issue really gets at the problem I have with PDAs in general. Interfaces at that size are a real bother. My handwriting is far too bad to use the handwriting recognition, and any other input method is just painful. I can get a fold-out keyboard attachment, but at that point the device becomes sufficiently big that I can't carry it around in the pocket of anything short of my trenchcoat.

PDAs are a wonderful idea, and once someone solves the interfacing problem I'm sure they'll be as common as full-size or notebook computers. But in their current form, I just can't use them, and I doubt that I'm the only one with this problem.

Snowspinner Horsey? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814745)

Snowspinner Horsey!

Re:The problem all of these have (1)

Blaine Hilton (626259) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814766)

This is why the only mobile device I would use is a cell phone or laptop. I had a PDA and it was always a pain to use, so I didn't use it.

Ah, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814734)

Is it forced to have WinXP on it by default, issuing out the legendary Micro$oft Tax?

Re:Ah, but (1)

ryanr (30917) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814865)

Yup, burned right into the BIOS.

just to small (-1, Redundant)

adamruck (638131) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814737)

Is it just me or is way so much emphasis being put on having a small product? I dont want to have to squint my eyes and use a needle to operate my computer. Any smaller then a laptop and its just not comfortable to use.

Re:just to small (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814758)

oops... typo.. it was sapposed to say "way to much emphasis", but I guess that would be wrong also.

Change it to "way too much emphasis"

Re:just to small (2, Insightful)

kinnell (607819) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814828)

Is it just me or is way so much emphasis being put on having a small product?

The whole point is that you can stick it in your pocket. Laptops are too big and heavy, even the subnotebooks. For the kind of thing you want a laptop for, there is a certain size below which it becomes counterproductive. Likewise, for the kind of thing you use a PDA for, there is a certain size above which it becomes impractical. The catch is, though, that PDAs lack the power, storage space or expandability for many tasks which they would otherwise be ideal. This is the niche which this device is meant to fill.

Mini Notebook Buttons (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814738)

Will it come with finger extensions a la Freddie Krueger? That would be neat and would keep away those annoying WiFi cops. Well at least until the SWAT team shows up.

HID (4, Interesting)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814743)

The small keyboard shouldn't be a problem:
Just stick on a USB twiddler. Chording keyboards can be much faster than full keyboards. And perhaps someday you'll never need to use a normal keyboard again - just use your personally-customized portable keyboard and point at the computer you want to type to.

Re:HID (3, Interesting)

secolactico (519805) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814942)

I always wanted to try a chording keyboard. Connecting one to this device, however, would negate it's portability. If the chording keyboard were part of this device, it would be ideal. It might scare away potential users, however.

Fancy PDA? (1)

Larkfellow (265776) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814746)

And I thought the keyboards on a standard laptop were hard enough to use. That is just PDA sized, and as such, means thumb usage for the keyboard.

No, as far as I'm concerned laptops can't get much/any smaller now as it is, otherwise they stop being feasable for actual usage other than as a PDA.

Re:Fancy PDA? (1)

pVoid (607584) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814871)

That depends on what you use your laptop for.

If you want to go sit at a Starbuck's and type your resume on it, yeah, this one might be slightly cumbersome. But as far as I'm concerned, I've got plenty of reasons to want the power of a laptop in the size of my palm. Most important things being: using it as a docking station for my mp3 player, quick fast access to email (and emails *are* short little messages in my books), IM, and SSH/connectivity... anything that'll give me a way to monitor remote servers.

When I'm out on vacation or something, I don't like lugging around an extra briefcase containing a laptop. And, I do like checking the state of my servers every once in a while.

How is this news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814748)

A fully-functional miniature notebook has been around since 2001.

It's called an "iBook" [acmug.com] -- and now there's an even smaller one called a "PowerBook". [acmug.com]

Did the Slashgeeks not get those memos???

Fujitsu already have one (4, Informative)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814751)

The Lifebook series by Fujitsu, and much better specs. http://webshop.fujitsupc.com/fpc/Ecommerce/buildse riesbean.do?series=P1

Re:Fujitsu already have one (2, Informative)

Apreche (239272) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814817)

yeah, my friend has one of those. Runs Linux on it and everything. The thing in this article doesn't even hold a candle to it. Even the mini Sony VAIO is better than this. Sure they're both a little bigger, but they are small enough.

Re:Fujitsu already have one (1)

Florian Weimer (88405) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814891)

yeah, my friend has one of those. Runs Linux on it and everything.

Is the Linux power management able to guarantee extended battery life?

I'm still looking for something which can run Linux, has mass storage, can run Emacs confortably, and can run without reload for 5 hours or more.

Re:Fujitsu already have one (4, Informative)

Trejus (87937) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814968)

I just got one a few weeks ago, and the answer is, I'm not really sure. I think the answer is probably, but it will take some time and tweaking on the user's part.

The problem is that the newest model, the P2120 (I can't speak for the P1000 series), only has support for ACPI, which means that all your powermanagement is controlled solely by your OS.

Unfortnately, ACPI is not quite there yet on linux and the controls it does have are somewhat hard to configure. I don't think there are any gui's that make it easy. It is also in experimental status. The 2.4.x series has it, but it's not that good. I hear 2.5.x is better, but I haven't had time to try it yet.

As for the other things, Mandrake 9.1 workes reasonably well right out of the box. It comes with a 40 gig harddrive, and the keyboard feels prety natural after a few hours of use. X requires some tweaking because it has a funny resolution, 1280 x 768. And USB devices crash the kernel, but I think that's because USB shares an interrupt with the buggy ACPI.

Re:Fujitsu already have one (1)

SWTP_OS9 (658064) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814854)

There have been a bunch of these over the years. Even Atari had one. Ran Dos and even smaller!

The think is like MS they have the idea of "We invented it first!" Sheech!

Re:Fujitsu already have one (1)

usotsuki (530037) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814969)

Yeah, and it was used in T2. BTW, ever heard of the "Poqet PC" ?

-uso.

Re:Fujitsu already have one (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814878)

Or clickable:

click here [fujitsupc.com]

Too small (2, Interesting)

CausticWindow (632215) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814752)

My hands are too big to operate one of those.

The perfect size for laptops is something like the Dell x200. Very lightweight, but with a keyboard where you actually can hit individual keys.

I think the smaller is better craze is only good to a certain point, this is in my opinion, beyond.

Linux??? (2, Interesting)

georgep77 (97111) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814760)

Looks good... which distro installs on it? I mean with something that cool you wouldn't want to run "your Mother's OS" (tm) on it would you? It's too bad they aren't selling these *WITHOUT* a display, You could actually bring your own personal BEOWOLF cluster of these on trips etc.

Just a thought...

Cheers,
_GP_

But the question you have to ask is... (2, Funny)

IwannaCoke (140329) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814763)

With the screen having such an odd resolution, will Quake III still work?

Sponsored by... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814764)

This unbiased story was sponsored by...

Been there,done that (2, Interesting)

mattwolfewvu (642717) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814767)

One of my CS instructers came back from Japan last semester with something similar to this [reviewsonline.com] , (scroll down to the bottom, yes it's an old picture, only thing I could find that looked similar), but smaller and faster and without the camera. (It was a Sony though.) It also had a keyboard that you could actually type on, at least a little better than the Vulcan one. Of course, the battery was the same size and weighed more than the rest of the computer.

It isn't special (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814768)

This isn't really that special. Take a look at the new PocketPCs - they have taken a PDA and aimed to be a PC (really a PocketPC device is much closer to a PC than a Palm Pilot), whereas Vulcan are taking a PC and aiming to be a PDA. Sure there are still some differences (the ability to run the OS of your choice, and a useless keyboard to use with it) but ultimately in a generation or two they will be at the same point.

Actually MS already have their Tablet PCs that seem to have filled this role. Neat idea, but nothing new.

They've invented the Toshiba Libretto (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814769)

This is the kind of product that comes from shortsighted product research - I'm sure test users love it for the three hours they use it. After that, the novelty wears off quickly on these damn tiny things. They're just too small to do any useful work with (well, anything that involves typing).

Wishing 'em good luck anyway...

Dunno... (4, Insightful)

kotj.mf (645325) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814775)

I didn't notice an MSRP anywhere on the site; I've gotta wonder if something like a Zaurus C700 wouldn't be more cost-effective.

I mean, if it's a complete pain in the ass to type on the teeny tiny keyboard on either model, what's the point of a 20 gig HD?

Plus, the Vulcan is fugly.

Re:Dunno... (5, Informative)

isaace (607464) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814858)

From a USA Today article on the Vulcan:

"Though pricing will be left to the companies that ultimately put their name on the device, Vulcan estimates its cost at $1,200 to $1,500."

Full article available here [usatoday.com] .

Re:Dunno... (3, Informative)

ryanr (30917) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814879)

If you sign up to be spammed, it asks

"Interested in reserving a spot on the wait list to purchase a Limited Edition Mini-PC for $1,999, available late 2003:"?

I don't know if "Limited Edition" means more expensive than usual, but that gives you an idea of the order of magnitude of the price. :)

Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814778)

Okay, who here is going to be the first to get Linux running on this thing?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

What's the target market? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814779)

Too small to be used on a regular basis and a bit too large to be treated as a PDA. I'm sure after the initial cool factor wears off, and eye strain sets in, you are going to have a user wondering what to do with that thing.

Surprised no one has asked this yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814784)

but what is the battery life on this thing? I mean, with a processor able to handle windows XP, and an actual HDD, this thing must take a lot of energy.

It's so tiny - needs some pink paint and fur (1)

nate.sammons (22484) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814788)

It should be turned into something like this hello kitty laptop [exonome.com] .

-nate

Imagine (-1, Offtopic)

inertia@yahoo.com (156602) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814794)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of those!

Ow! My Eyes! (1)

Dr. Mojura (584120) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814800)

My eyes already get sore with straining to read 9pt fonts on my 15" laptop display after a few hours. I think my eyeballs will explode from the pressure on trying to read the same 9pt font scaled down to 15cm!

Re:Ow! My Eyes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814960)

get glasses.

As Usual, Taking Credit Where None is Due (4, Interesting)

sparkhead (589134) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814806)

From the page: "The Mini-PC is a concept from MicroSoft co-founder Paul Allen's Vulcan, Inc...."

No, it isn't. IBM and other manufacturers have had palmtop computers for a long time.

Use it in place of jukebox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814812)

Looks like an iPod++ in a way. Of course it would have no shock protection or other hardware features for portable music, but if you are just letting the thing sit on your desk, you could run a fully functional music jukebox program and use it as a slightly more featureful iPod.

Already done before. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814813)

First of all you admitted that you've reported on this before. Second of all this isnt revolutionary.

I currently have a Sony PCG-U3 which is the current titlle holder for smallest laptop. It runs a 900mhz crusoe CPU, got 256mb ram a 20GB hd and 800x600 display. This tiny laptop is only sold in Japan. The keyboard makes it really difficult to touch type, because you have to watch out to make sure your fat fingers dont touch other keys by mistake.

Re:Already done before. (4, Interesting)

Linux Ate My Dog! (224079) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814952)

I am so jealous of you. I am still working on a PCG-C1VN, which is somewhat bigger. I can still type on it fine.

One thing that struck me was how ugly the Vulcan minipc is. Compared with Sony's U1, U3 [dynamism.com] , the upcoming U10 [dynamism.com] , or Samsung's Nexio [zaigen.co.kr] or Sharp's keyboard Zaurus [dynamism.com] , the minipc just screams "I got this with my HotWheels!"

I wouldn't want to be seen with that cheap-looking thing.

Compelling but... (3, Insightful)

jasonditz (597385) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814816)

I don't see any mention of price.

One would expect that the cost would be more than a normal laptop of comparable specs. While its got some compelling features this thing in the end looks like it can't decide if it wants to be a PDA or a laptop. At 800x480 resolution its probably not going to cut it as a replacement for a proper laptop, but at the same time, I wonder how usable an XP system would be as a PDA.

Its neat as a "gee whiz" thing, but what sort of people need a PDA with more power than the present ones enough to shell out laptop prices and likewise what sort of people need a laptop that small but are willing to give up screen resolution?

Holy crappy site, Batman! (4, Funny)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814820)

Could it be any lighter on details?

Great job with the photos. Dide we really need FIVE photos showing the size comparison to a mobile phone? Or THREE showing how a ThinkPad dwarfs it? Would it have killled them to show the back of this thing, so I could see the ports and answer this question: Are the actual ports built into the device, or does it have some stupid, proprietary mega-port and a funky, easily-losable-and-expensive-to-replace port replicator cable that breaks the mega-port out into FireWire, USB, etc?

Or does connecting anything to it in the field require lugging around some docking station that negates the whole point of having a dinky computer in the first place?

~Philly

Swivel screen for use as a pad? (1)

otis wildflower (4889) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814825)

That, plus a decent-sized HDD would make this a compelling little linux box & mplayer...

PDAs vs Laptops... (4, Interesting)

SStrungis (629260) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814826)

I have used PC laptops, Powerbooks, Newtons, and Palms over the years. I have switched from Newton to Palm and back to Newton again. Yeah, it's big, but it does lots more for me from a practical end. Easy email, notes, books, scheduling, and MP3's on my Newt! Also easy connectivity via an older 3Com Ethernet PCMCIA card. Sure, it weighs a pound and is not pocketable...That's the sucky side. I use an older Toshiba laptop for SuSE, and Win98 to keep up with the "rest of the world" and my iBook for everyday work. I have to agree with the above posters. A keyboard, whether chorded or not, has to have something that approaches full sized keys. I have an external KB for my Newton and it is as small as it can be and still be comfortable. Before getting my iBook I regularly used a 2400c and that was a small KB as well. Heck, lots of times when I see a 2400c on the swap lists, or auction block or whatever, one of the chief complaints for selling is that the KB is too little for folks with big mitts. Its all about size versus useability versus the right tool for the right job. My Newt is all big and clunky, but for me it blows a Palm away. Others might be different. Just my $.02 Scott

Ugh (3, Insightful)

MagPulse (316) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814835)

Not only is the keyboard small, but it's made of those rubber buttons that are on cell phones. Can you imagine typing for any period of time on those? Plus it has a trackball in the upper right?! How about a pointer stick in the middle?

Give me a traditional PDA with a full-sized collapsable keyboard [amazon.com] any day. With the screen doubling as the mouse input device, it's still very compact. If you need to do serious work, a 2.7 pound ultralight laptop [cnet.com] shouldn't be too much to carry around.

Finally! A useful travel machine (2, Interesting)

71thumper (107491) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814843)

As an Operations guy, man, I have wanted something like this for years. Full featured enough to handle remotely connecting in for sudden downtime events, yet not nearly as large as a laptop. With 1xRTT, it means you can take it into a restaurant and, if you pager goes off, be able to check system status without having to clear off the entire top of the table.

Not to mention that it makes checking Moviefone.com a lot slicker than the current PDA browsers are.

It's not going to be for everyone, but for those who need it, doggone, it's the cat's meow!

And it'll impress the babes :)

Stev

Vulcan? (2, Funny)

tedrlord (95173) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814846)

I don't believe this. No Vulcan would build such an illogical keyboard. ... I'm so sorry.

Re:Vulcan? (1)

Joehonkie (665142) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814883)

Wow I didn't even THINK of Trek until you said that...

How sad that a Greek mytholigical reference has been so utterly overtaken by pop culture. Next thing you know people will only assume Genesis refers to the band...

Genesis? (3, Funny)

TheNumberSix (580081) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814898)

Genesis? Is planet forbidden!

Re:Vulcan? (1)

11223 (201561) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814916)

Next time you make an analogy to undermine a Star Trek reference, make sure it's not a Trek reference itself.

Re:Vulcan? (1)

Joehonkie (665142) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814927)

Hey don't blame me, I don't know enough about Star Trek to make more references to it. That won't stop me from making fun of it though.

Fully functional miniature... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814852)

Mental note: stop browsing porn sites for sooo long... or alternatively seek headshrink help (shrink? oh, no!)... hmm, one of these useful enlargement ads, perhaps?

typing speed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814855)

> I wouldn't plan on using full typing speed on it's tiny keys
yeah, especially if you're going to waste your time typing useless apostrophes.

I'd hit it. (5, Interesting)

druzicka (314802) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814856)

Just to balance out the mostly negative posts so far... I think that there is real value in having a full desktop OS in my pocket (WinXP or Linux) for 1) maximizing downtime and 2) permitting me to leave my apartment when I'm on call.

I tried Palm OS - great PIM, great battery life, small form factor, large software library... But extremely limited in processing power and networking options.

Pocket PC - Poor battery life, poor software library, but excellent wifi and cellular data connectivity options.

Linux on iPaq (Familiar, Opie, GPE) - Cool to have a shell prompt, but EXTREMELY limited in storage space. Otherwise, Opie and GPE are maturing nicely, and I can get a good deal of work done when I have the right programs installed

Unfortunately, the best solution I've found so far is an iPaq running Pocket PC with wifi connectivity, running JSLandscape at 640 x 480, running terminal services to my WinXP desktop. Yeah it's slow and sucks battery life like a pig, but at least I can run real applications...

This Vulcan Handheld PC would let me run my VPN and full mail program (Lotus Notes - sux but that's what my company uses) along with the entire library of X86 windows/linux software.

Definately cool! (1)

jamesjw (213986) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814859)


I gotta get me one of these!

Beowulf cluster of these? Anyone? Anyone? :)

But seriously, linux or bsd on one of these babies would make walking around your co-lo room doing trivial maintenence on boxes would be awesome..

Harddrive big enough to do network installs off on client sites etc..

Rock on!!

moron offering fully functional internet (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5814860)

minus all the whoreabull Godless touting/pimping/whoring for greed/fear based megaslothions (mr allen 'may' be a possible exception), whilst MiSinforming as to yOUR status in the wwuniverse.

tell 'em robbIE. acting class is over now.

Great, but what speed x86? (2, Interesting)

kni52 (598886) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814864)

How fast an x86 processor will this take? There seemed to be no mention of processor beyond soimply "x86 compatible".

OQO (1)

Joehonkie (665142) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814869)

What about the OQO [oqo.com] ?

What happened to this? It was supposed to be out by now but they haven't updated the website in eternity. It would have had laptop and desktop enclosures to solve the actual typing problem when you needed to use it as a full-on PC, and was just generally loaded with good features. But since I don't seem to be able to buy one, what's the point

Oh yeah...*cough* keys on this Vulcan thing to small!

Dear Lord! (1)

11223 (201561) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814882)

5.8? (15 cm) LCD with 800x480 resolution
Dear Lord! How can you even read on that screen, let alone type?

I think somewhere a line has to be drawn. That line is crossed when you have to use a magnifying glass to read your laptop's screen and a microscope to find your cell phone when you misplace it.

meh (1)

ALpaca2500 (125123) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814902)

all it is is a miniature laptop. there's really nothing special about it. personally, i like the design of this thing [oqo.com] . now, if something like that ever became available, i'd be all over it.

It's not the keyboard, it's... (1)

hsmyers (142611) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814908)

the price! Its listed as P.A. 'concept'---this must be his concept of users as fools...

I just love coding (0, Offtopic)

jeanjean83 (624273) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814912)

I just love the coding, I don't do it for anything else, except pure love. If someone else wants to make money from what i write, let them. I just want to code. If someone else wants to modify my writings, let them. As long as I'm able to code, no-one can take away the fun from me. If someone wants to write closed source software, let them. It's just fun to write, if I can in any way help some-one else, while I'm having fun, why not. It's just plain and simple fun, let's keep it that way

Imagine.. (5, Funny)

wfberg (24378) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814913)

A beowulf cluster of these beasties, kitted out with 802.11g wireless networking and mounted on RC model vehicles, roaming around autonimously, trying to find unsecured wifi hotspots so you can use their bandwidth for p2p!

IBM already did it (5, Informative)

soupforare (542403) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814915)

Bow down to your one and true Master, fellow nerds
The PC110 [basterfield.com] was, and until this M$ thingee comes out, is the smallest laptop ever made.
Now, they go for insane amounts of money on ebay. As a 486, she goes for more cash than the pentium Librettos do
I'm a huge palmtop fan (HPLX/Amity/Libretto/etc), and if this new thing is priced right, I'd be interested... but it'll probably suck :/

Yet more proof that anything anyone has ever done, IBM did first

When I look at this I don't see a PDA... (1)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814920)

I see a way to massively increase the density of servers in my server cabinet.

If it can run directly off a wall wort and accept a CAT5 cable instead of wireless, it's perfect as a (very) small office file server.

It's all really cool but I only have 1 question (1)

LeoDV (653216) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814939)

*How* *much*?

This was more promising but vaporware ... (1)

adzoox (615327) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814959)

The OQO PC was much more promising and elegant than this:

OQO Press release [oqo.com]

But as you will read that hasn't been updated in over a year.

I'd agree with the posts about the Newton (excluding fanatics) that the Newton still holds it's own, even now because it can use 802.11 PC cards and play MP3's plus control iTunes

To all that want a Pocket Computer - I would strongly suggest a top of the line Clie or The Sharp Zaurus

some alternatives (4, Informative)

rewdy (162027) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814973)

with devices becoming smaller and smaller like this i give it a decade before these pda/laptop hybrids are so small you have to surgically attach your retina to the screen to see them. that's why i don't like devices like these, they're just too small.

the ibm pc110 [dynamism.com] started it all back in the mid-90's. i have one actually. it's tiny, a pain in the ass to type on until you're used to it and terribly underpowered. i can imagine one of these things being more powerful, but even smaller? speaking from esperience, it'd make it useless to most every user (though i do admit, the server room maintenance idea was good). that's why i've been keeping my eye on similarly powerful machines of a usable size.

the sony vaio u-101 [sony.co.jp] is the brand new update to the vaio u series. most notably to the speed and memory enhancements it adds a lay-flat design and a display that rotated to landscape with the push of a button which is nice for reading e-books or any long document.

and my favorite the jvc interlink mp-xp7230 [jvc-victor.co.jp] . also the latest in it's series. it's much larger than the vulcan and u-101 placing it at the smallest end of the sub-notebook category rather than a real mini-pc. i've used one of these and typing isn't even an issue. the pointing decive is a tried and true, blue, rubber nipple in the center of the keyboard with laptop-style mouse buttons along with a touch pad below the keyboard. no proprietary mega ports here. everything is seperate so there's no need for an expensive port replicator or converter dongle which we will all eventually loose.

both of these devices have been mentioned before and linux runs perfectly on both aside from some yet to be reproduced proprietary features you'll never miss anyway. and for those of you worried about jvc's first forray into this area, i can tell you it ran rock solid both on and off ac power for three months wile the friend i borrowed it from was away at basic training.

if the ink weren't still wet on my mortgage papers, i'd sure as hell have a jvc interlink mp-xp7230, fully expanded with an external cd-rw/dvd-rom.

zaurus anyone? (1)

hfastedge (542013) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814977)

Sorry, but its justa glorified tablet pc to me why? moving parts i dont care if its small if I cant throw it in my coat and go biking down the street.

Id rather go with zaurus and 512-1gig of flash.

Heres a post of mine detailing prices for some real Solid state storage: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=61888&cid=5803 961 [slashdot.org] .

Zaurus, better and cheaper (4, Interesting)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 11 years ago | (#5814981)

My Zaurus 5500 does all these things, with the exeption of WinXP, although it DOES run bochs.. For $178 + $16 for screen protectors + $51 for a 10/100 card, and flashing with OpenZaurus 3.2, I get:

206 MHz CPU, 64MB of RAM, 16 MB flash
(you can even create swap to increase RAM)
Linux
320x240 full color GUI
SSH client and server
VNC client and server
SMB client and server
Apache
MySQL
Perl
serial terminal
Word/Excel compatibility
Full functionality web browser
IMAP/SSL email
wireless, bluetooth or ethernet
up to 1+ GB of directly accessible storage
keyboard
handwriting recognition
Oggs/MP3s/_MPEGS_

and it's about 1.5x the size (mostly increased length) of a Palm.
Why do I need WinXP, or x86 compatibility? Am I going to develop for Win32 on this thing?

It's all about what you need, and what tool will get you there.
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