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Handhelds Hardware

First Review of Sharp's new Linux-based PDA 80

Posted by Hemos
from the pretty-cool-thing dept.
A reader writes "In this article, just posted at LinuxDevices.com, embedded developer Jerry Epplin takes a close-up look at Sharp's new Zaurus SL-5000D Linux/Java PDA developer edition, from both a user and developer point of view. In the article, Epplin says the SL-5000D demonstrates that "Linux has reached maturity as an operating system for handheld devices", and concludes by saying "Overall, the polish and quality of integration of the environment and applications are excellent. Their documentation and support are first rate.""
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First Review of Sharp's new Linux-based PDA

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  • Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you the Anti-WinCE.

    -Evan
  • by makapuf (412290)
    from news.kde.org [slashdot.org] :
    (this PDA runs Qt/PDA)

    Trolltech and Sharp have announced a really spiffy-looking Linux palmtop, named "Zaurus". The device itself features a sliding (retractable) keyboard, a color display, a CF expansion slot (for memory or peripherals), an SD expansion slot (for secure memory storage or other peripherals), an IR port, a USB connector and a headset port. On the software side, the Zaurus uses Lineo's Embedix Linux; Trolltech's Qt/Embedded, Qt/Palmtop and Qt AWT GUI technologies; Insignia Solution's Jeode PDA Edition; and Opera Software's embedded web browser. Sharp is accepting pre-orders from the developer community for the SL-5000D developer unit (register here). With the continuing additions to kdenox, this might just be a great platform for KOffice/embedded.
    Read More...
  • nice toy... (Score:2, Interesting)

    .. and I predict it will be buried in my closet in 30 days or less...

    Why? It's just another novelty. A few apps will be developed for it, sure, but without community support that's where it will stop. I'm sure it runs linux and that's all well and nice, but you know how DIFFICULT it is to make a application that will run in that space and actually be usable?

    If you'd like a PDA for daily use as a useful TOOL check out http://www.handhelds.org [handhelds.org] those folks have got it nailed down to an art, with nice apps being release seems like every day.
    • Re:nice toy... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jay Carlson (28733) on Monday November 12, 2001 @10:34AM (#2554014)
      but you know how DIFFICULT it is to make a application that will run in that space and actually be usable?

      Why [desertscenes.net] yes [sourceforge.net], I [sourceforge.net] do [huv.com].

      (OK, now that I've established my credentials... :-P )

      You folks should react to new products differently. New Linux products are an opportunity, not a threat.

      Let's do iPaq vs Zaurus first.

      The Zaurus hardware architecture is substantially similar to the iPaq. Even if the kernel sources are maintained separately, you should be able to run the same distributions on the the Sharp as on the Compaq (once we do any needed X server changes). So if you're really dedicated to the handhelds.org community, this gives you the opportunity to choose between two hardware vendors and devices to run Familiar on. Competition is good, right?

      Now, what about handhelds.org/familiar vs Zaurus Linux? Well, there's still a lot of lingering questions about the efficacy of the X11 architecture for handhelds. Sharp's commitment to QTE means they've spent a lot of resources on building a nice environment on top of it. So for you, the opportunity is to let Sharp spend a lot of money finding out how well the QTE architecture really works. And if they're right, because this is Open Source you have the opportunity to take the basis of their code and use it yourself. No risk.

      What about the Java angle? Jeode [insignia.com] isn't Open Source. But PocketLinux [pocketlinux.com] is. (And appears to have some very active development lately.) If Jeode is doing some things right, PocketLinux gets to pick up the best of their ideas for free. The opportunity is to explore the viability of Java and alternatives for Java application architectures for handhelds, and again, at no cost to you.

      Stop thinking of yourself as a member of the handhelds.org community, or the PocketLinux community, or the Agenda VR3 community.

      Start thinking of yourself as a member of the Open Source community---with particular interests: handhelds, information management tools, multimedia, task mobility....

      We don't know what the right answers are to all of the hard questions that face us; we don't even know all the questions. But we can share our results, change direction, and work on parts of the problems as we ourselves see fit. When companies produce Linux products, they're another research staff and contributor to this, not a dictator. That's the value proposition of Open Source in emerging technologies.

      • Representatives of the Familiar distribution have already stated that it WILL be ported to the Zaurus.

        Jason Perlow
        Moderator,
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sharp-linux
    • Re:nice toy... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by k4m3 (259891) on Monday November 12, 2001 @11:31AM (#2554102) Homepage
      If you'd like a PDA for daily use as a useful TOOL

      My PDA is a useful tool since I don't have to think about what or why it is running. I don't want to listen to kernel or OS upgrade, I don't want to hear about graphic toolkit and so on. What I want is :

      • power on
      • a quarter of second later, do some task _quickly_
      • power off
      • a quarter of second later, my PDA is out of my view

      I don't want a keyboard, I don't want a CLI, I don't want a developper toy for developpers who are only looking for adding bells and whistles to functionnal apps.

      • To each their own... I still use an HP 200LX precisely for the following reasons:

        1. a CLI, allowing me to easily back up and restore data and perform other apps

        2. Compatibility with my primary systems; I can run my inventory and other DOS programs on it.

        3. I can EASILY write or port applications for it.

        4. The keyboard, which is essential when entering long notes.

        You use your PDA one way, I use mine a different way. Wince is fine for you, but woefully inadequate for me. The new Sharp is my fantasy-come-true!
  • by tmark (230091) on Monday November 12, 2001 @09:26AM (#2553482)
    Since the rejoinder to any WinCE machine is "Does it run Linux", I'm sure curious as to whether it runs Windows. Some geeks are interested in Windows machines, too, you know.
  • >The keyboard itself is
    similar to those found on the Blackberry email devices; you need some practice to get to
    the point of pressing only one key at a time.

    is there really any advantage having a 'real' keyboard thats so small - i've been using my palm pilot for a couple of years now and i'm quite happy with the onscreen keyboard.
    in my opinion, the best bet would be to combine the two, have a touch sensitive keyboard layout separate from the screen.

    phil.
    • You aren't forced to use the built-in keyboard - there is a handwriting recognition mode, a onscreen keyboard (pc layout) or a character picker (letter groups similar to mobile phone, but a little easier to use)

      the built in keyboard takes quite a bit of getting used to, but you can get up to quite a respectiable typing speed with it, holding the device in both hands and "thumb typing".

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I took a look at QTs web site a few months ago, and was quite impressed with what they'd come up with for a handheld environment. And if you're curious, go take a look. Trolltech offers a demo disk to try it out on an x86 (self-bootable floppy). Here's the link.

    http://www.trolltech.com/developer/download/qpe- di sks.html
  • Autonomy ??? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mirko (198274)
    A friend of mine recently bought a Lisa/iPaq [www.lisa.de] which appears to have the following issues:
    • It is not that quick
    • It has around 2 hours of autonomy which (IMHO) is unacceptable regarding the mobile position it is supposed to fulfill.

    I read the article but couldn't actually get an idea of the Zaurus' autonomy.

    Could somebody answer me.
  • Its a PDA! I want it to do that!

    Palm really has it figured out: apps that take very little memory or power, and a good handwriting recognition system.

    WinCE and Pocket Windows just try to embed Windows, including the lack of speed and horrible handwriting recognition.

    Now we give Linux a go. So far, it hasn't really been much of a PDA, just a port. If you have a full sized keyboard (not a little dinky one that's hard to use like this one), and a way to hook up a mouse, then you're fine. Barring that, the user interface is a pain.

    What's my point? Use whatever codebase you want! Just give me an easy way to access and input my data - that's exactly what a personal digital assistant is for - NOT for general purpose computing, like a desktop.
    • I agree with the point that it doesn't matter, but your point on WinCE is dated...

      A year ago I would have agreed with you, however I've converted to the new Jornada 568, and while it's still on the slightly expensive side, it's freaking brilliant. It can recognize Graffiti so it was a simple tranisition for me, and the apps are great.

      Yes, it's a resource hog, but the equipment is getting powerful enough that it runs without a hitch. PocketPC 2002 is a very nice OS, and the integration with my day to day organizer/email program Outlook is seamless. yes, it's all Windows-centric, but sometimes that's OK. Considering my office environment is Windows-centric whether I like it or not, this fits in perfectly. I've got a Wi-Fi CF card in it so I can roam around the office with email and a web browser at my fingertips at all times... and the browser *works*... in fact it works well to render "normal" sites, it does a great job of on the fly adjusting without requiring a stupid WAP gateway. I had Omnisky on my Palm Vx and frankly the anywhere connectivity was nice, it pretty much was too klunky to use effectivly, plus my mail app crashed constantly. I also had a blackberry for a while and the email integration was dead-on, it was a one trick pony... the net access on my Jornada has come in handy more times than I can count.

      So... as soon as Ricochet is revived, I'm golden, until then, I think MSoft has got it right finally...
  • A PDA Like this looks like it could be a real hoot to play with, but I still don't think it compares with the Palm Pilot. And it doesn't seem powerful enough to be the kind of [palm.com] Linux [linux.org] toy that I really want. And these things are never going to reach the price/performance ratio of something like a Gameboy [nintendo.com]. That is what I would really like is something around the price of a gameboy that runs linux and lets me write fairly simple games for. Or how about something about the size of a tomigachi that you could write games for and easily download them over a serial cable. And maybe access that serial cable from the games so you could interconnect them. Is there something like that available?
  • I was originally going to post something negative here, but as I read the article, I came across this article [linuxdevices.com] on what Century Software [centurysoftware.com] has done [microwindows.org] working with the distro from handhelds.org. And other open software, like FLTK. [fltk.org] FLTK is a neat tool kit that uses OpenGL as its window renderer, and pretty much works on any os that has OpenGL libraries.

    I was impressed enough to revise my original opinion of Linux on a PDA. Which was the thought that it is neat to run Linux on a PDA, but why bother? I use a PDA to sync my calendar and emails. Everytime msoft changes express or whatever, the linux equivelants are broken, so why fight it?

    But in reading what Century has done, well, it hasn't changed that opinion, but their package is cool enough that it makes me want to install it on my Ipaq anyway.
  • Sure, this device may not seem that useful now, but in the future (if developers find that it is a viable open source platform)it may be useful for students and scientists in the future. If someone wanted to write a special program to say, calculate the materials required to hold a certain mass on a bridge, they could just port it to the PDA and not worry about lugging around a laptop or waiting to use their PC back at the office if they needed this kind of information in the field. This is just one example, but I am sure that many of you already have apps that you would like to port to a PDA.
    • No one is going to calcualte the materials needed for a bridge while standing there overlooking a river. Maybe 1000 years ago when they were deciding exactly how many logs needed to support three columns of heavy cavalry, but not today. Surveyors go out and take measurements. Engineers go out and take core samples of the ground. They do traffic surveys. Once the data is gathered, then they design the bridge. They don't design it in bits and pieces in the field.

      PDAs have found limited use in the field, but mostly to gather data and take notes. That data is fed later into a full sized 'puter that does the number crunching and spits out results.

      For example, in many places around the world forest and park rangers use PDAs to track animal sightings. Sure, with a powerful PDA they could crunch those numbers, but what would it mean? Nothing. Not until all the data from all the rangers is collected, then you have useful data about animal numbers, migration patterns, etc. Data from one unit is pretty useless by itself.

      Still, assuming with wireless, you communicate with other wireless units and manage to do some collective computing to get the results. Now what does the ranger do with the data while in the field? The data will be useful in the larger picture, but for the individual ranger? Maybe he can tell hikers which parts of his range the bears are gathering.

      Which comes to the point, it will probably find a niche. But I doubt it will make any significant impact.

      • If it could run Mathematica then most Math, Physics, and Chemistry students would glady replace their calculators. Give it an HP-48 layout, with popup mathematica palettes. Sweet. Data collection? Boring... Wrapping up that late night hairly integral, then polishing off a few PDEs? Priceless.
  • It seems that this is quite close to a Free Software PDA. Of course, there is that huge junk of proprietary Java stuff on it, but perhaps it's usable even without it. The hardware specs are not too overwhelming, though, it seems Sharp is a bit behind Compaq in this area.

    (There's also the Trolltech announcement [trolltech.com], if you are interested in some pictures.)

    • The Java environment is what attracts me to this device more than anything. The practicality of Linux and the development bliss of Java are a killer combination. I have been putting off the purchase of a Palm that can run Java for some time due to the lack of developer docs for it. Now Sharp deliver Java, Linux and solid documentation!
  • GUI woes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mj6798 (514047) on Monday November 12, 2001 @09:59AM (#2553696)
    I checked with Sharp. The device does not run X11 and, according to Sharp, there are no plans of offering it. That means that any application you write for the SL-5000 has to be either in Java or it has to be written for Qt/Embedded. Forget about easily porting existing applications you may have unless they happen to be written in Qt already. I suspect that this will prove to be a fatal limitation, but time will tell.

    I'll stick with my Palm as an organizer, and with the iPaq using the Familiar distribution [handhelds.org] for developing special purpose handheld software. You can pooh-pooh X11 all you want, it works well, it uses no more resources than QTE, it's free, and it manages to run Gtk+, FLTK, wxWindows, and Qt, all on the same screen.

    • Re:GUI woes (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Its a REAL shame that they are not going to include PyQt on it..
    • The device does not run X11
      You have the kernel source.

      You have the X source.

      You have the hardware docs.

      You have the right to modify the source.

      I seem to recall seeing on ./ that there is a serious effort going on to produce a very lightweight X again.

      Just because sharp haven't done everything for you doesn't mean it is useless - it looks like it could be the toy that the Newton promised to be but never was (even the calculator app used undocumented features).

      Forget about easily porting existing applications
      Try, but it still should be easier than porting to a palm.
      • Just because sharp haven't done everything for you doesn't mean it is useless

        Well, if you use X11 on it, you effectively lose all the built-in apps, which want to write directly to the screen buffer. That, or you have to do a lot of really hard work on X11 to make it integrate with Qt/Embedded. I think getting a different Linux PDA is a whole lot easier.

        • Well, if you use X11 on it, you effectively lose all the built-in apps, which want to write directly to the screen buffer.
          How about letting user input switch between the two display systems by poking an icon with a stylus or something? Also, your other idea (X in a window on the display which is owned by another display system) has some merit - XFree86 on win* works that way. The ideal would be to recompile the existing apps for X on that platform when X is working on that platform.
  • Focus on Strengths (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Clearly, this is a battle that Linux can win. One of the big strengths of Linux is its scalability. The other is the ability to compile on multiple platforms. These strengths MUST be exploited for Linux to be a strong commercial success.

    If there are 2 fronts where Linux can win, it is in the handheld arena and the server arena. It's my opinion that (for now, at least) the desktop war is futile. It will take a great deal of time before Linux can gain substantial ground in the desktop market. BUT, the handheld market can easily be dominated by Linux within the next few years. The only problem is that of an interface.

    The Qt Palmtop Environment (QPE) is nice, but not nice enough. The interface borrows too much from WinCE to stand out. Another issue is that of Qt's licensing. Look at the PalmOS software sites. There are hundreds of programs available, many of them free. There are also programs which cost less than $20. This is a big motivating factor for many developers. Because of Qt's licensing, a developer would have to shell out $2400 in order to sell a simple $15 program he/she wrote. I think that this is cost prohibitive for many people. And, as we have all seen in the past, a platform is only as good as the applications available for it.

    These issues can be overcome by Qt (or another organization) releasing a library that has a reasonable (or free) cost, and can be used for commercial handheld development. Not all developers want to create free software. Many would like to be able to make $5 or $10 from their prodcuts. The second thing that needs to happen is an innovative interface. One such project is the Onyx PDA project. Work has been developing on this for a while, and it's quite impressive. It will be GPL, and is based on Qt 3.x. Look for a SourceForge project site for it really soon. I met with the guy developing it and he gave me a little demo, and it was looking good. The game plan he has laid out for it sounds like it could be very good for users, as well as a lot of fun for developers.
  • If you know how to type and do not have baby hands, this tiny keyboard will not help you.

    If you know how to type, it is likely that your hands know where the keys are, but you eyes do not.
  • The nice things about this are more subtle than just the fact that it *runs* Linux. First off, the sync software provided by Sharp is for Linux (and Windows). I believe the very first case of a PDA being shipped with a Linux based sync package.

    Second, Sharp is setting up a totally Free developer site for the unit. Free as in Speech as well. After the disappointing "They just don't get it" with the Yopi, this is the first real, corporate sponsored open source development site for a device that I've seen. Most companies just "tolerate" open dev sites (like those for the Palm or Tivo).

    Third, a keyboard (and I've no experience with this format, but have seen people get quite fast with the blackberry in a week) makes shell commands easy. And this puppy has a shell! We'll see if it's there on the consumer unit, but here's hoping it will be. Ironic that the minimalistic commands created for teletype (ls, rm, mv, cp, etc) make this the perfect environment for a minikeyboard. "cp Myf[tab]~[enter]" is 10 keypresses.

    --
    Evan

  • The nice things about this are more subtle than just the fact that it *runs* Linux. First off, the sync software provided by Sharp is for Linux (and Windows). I believe the very first case of a PDA being shipped with a Linux based sync package.

    Second, Sharp is setting up a totally Free developer site for the unit. Free as in Speech as well. After the disappointing "They just don't get it" with the Yopi, this is the first real, corporate sponsored open source development site for a device that I've seen. Most companies just "tolerate" open dev sites (like those for the Palm or Tivo).

    Third, a keyboard (and I've no experience with this format, but have seen people get quite fast with the blackberry in a week) makes shell commands easy. And this puppy has a shell! We'll see if it's there on the consumer unit, but here's hoping it will be. Ironic that the minimalistic commands created for teletype (ls, rm, mv, cp, etc) make this the perfect environment for a minikeyboard. "cp Myf[tab]~[enter]" is 10 keypresses.

    --
    Evan

    • The developer site, however, does not look as promissing as it could be. They seem to have their own little development environment and make no mention of source codes and compilers outside of JAVA. From their develpor's site:

      Download development documentation and tools.

      Any Java applications that run in this environment will also run on the models that will be introduced for international markets, starting with the US market. There is an added business benefit for developers in that Java applications developed in this fashion will extend your business opportunities in the Japanese market.

      While this is nice, and the PDA itself is stellar looking, it's not exactly free. If I can't download and compile newer versions of BASH, for example, Sharp is taking less than full advantage of freedom's blessings. The same thing can be said of all the software that runs the platform itself. I'd like someone to tell me that I've overlooked something. If not, Sharp has failed to grasp how free software works.

      • Have a look at http://more.sbc.co.jp/slj/linux.asp [sbc.co.jp] . It says right there

        >>*Embedix on Sharp SL-5000D Source Code:(COMING SOON)
        Source code of Embedix implemented on Sharp SL-5000D
        *Kernel Upgrading Guide for Sharp SL-5000D :(COMING SOON)
        Document how to obtain the kernel source code, how to modify and build the kernel on your desktop, and how to upgrade the Kernel of your Sharp SL-5000D. << (emphasis mine)

        Sounds like everything you need to rebuild the whole software environment will be available soon (whenever that is...<g>).
    • egad, emacs does it in 3 (including the invoking RET).
  • we'd have to get a huge group of people together to put in hundreds of hours to create a windows-like OS that has none of the original source code. After that, we could license it in a way that anyone can change the original source, but they have to let others change and improve their source in turn. After that, I bet we could even port into a PC architecture!
  • by Salamander (33735) <`jeff' `at' `pl.atyp.us'> on Monday November 12, 2001 @01:17PM (#2554585) Homepage Journal

    According to the LinuxDevices link, the battery life is from 2 hours (backlight on) to eight hours (backlight off). Am I missing something? What good is a PDA that can't even go a full workday without suckling from the electrical teat? I'd gladly accept a smaller monochrome screen, a slower processor, and less memory if that meant a battery life that was at least a couple of days. As a point of reference, my Visor (which meets the above description) goes for several weeks on a pair of rechargeable NiMH AAA batteries. No matter how cool the technology in the Zaurus might be, it doesn't seem all that useful with such a short battery life.

    Anyone who's thinking of buying something like this should stop to consider whether it's worth spending $400 for a few days of "gee whiz" before the new toy ends up in the bottom of the junk drawer with all of the other "seemed like a good idea at the time" gadgets. There are much more cost-effective forms of entertainment.

    • One of the issues here is the definition of 'battery life.' I tend to agree with you, in general, that these fancy new PDA's have too short life. But I challenge you to do an experiment, the same thing I did with my (palm compatable) TRGPro a few weeks ago. The battery life listed (2-8 hours) is valid under continuous usage. Turn your Visor on, and use it (on fresh batteries) until the batteries die. Don't let the screen go off. Don't let the processor go fully idle for hours at a time. You'll find that the 'weeks' of battery life you're accustomed to (and my palm has lasted over five weeks between charges, under more-or-less normal usage) corresponds to many fewer hours than you expect; with mine, it finally croaked after 12 hours, with no backlight on. That is, it's only 50% more life than this has. (On the other hand, the palms run on AAA's...)
      • One of the issues here is the definition of 'battery life.

        It would be nice if they'd give a "standby" time number like they do for celphones. Eight hours of continuous use might be adequate, but I wonder how well it compares to Palm devices in non-continuous use? How thoroughly does it sleep? Palm stuff is very carefully designed - both hardware and software - so that battery use is reduced by 99% when the device is not actually in use, which is why a single set of batteries can give you weeks of occasional use. How deeply does the StrongArm sleep in the Zaurus? How about all that RAM? How well does Linux take to being comatose like that? Even if the batteries are good enough for eight hours continuously, it's a pain if I'm losing significant capacity even when it's in my pocket so that I have to plug it in every day to keep it at that capacity.

    • I've left mine off-cradle all day, and it's done everything I've asked of it.
      -russ
  • by tgd (2822) on Monday November 12, 2001 @01:24PM (#2554606)
    Flame suit on, but whats the point of this? I bought an iPaq last week with the intention of putting one of the various Linux distributions on it, but haven't.

    Why? Simple. I decide that I, like the vast majority of people who buy PDA's, want to use it for something more than a gimmicky toy.

    I hate Microsoft products as much as the next guy -- I've been running Linux since 1992, almost exclusively. I have precisely one PC running a Microsoft OS (a Toshiba Libretto that I use for running diagnostic and performance data logging software for my car, which only runs on Windows). But the iPaq will be staying Pocket PC until there are applications available for it on Linux. (But of course, will they be QT applications or X applications?)

    Examples:
    Media Player 7.1 rocks on the iPaq. Nice big compact flash card and I can carry a movie or at least a TV show to watch on the train.
    Vindigo: no problem finding restaurants or bars in Boston. Always know what movies are available.

    Avantgo: I have 4 meg of news cached on it, very handy over the weekend when the girlfriend was off shopping, or I was waiting for the T.

    Pocket Streets: Well, anyone who's ever driven in Boston would immediately see the usefulness of this.

    Mame: Well, duh. I hope this is at least avaiable on Linux for the iPaq.

    Dashboard: Excellent replacement UI for Pocket PC.

    It pains me (a lot) to say it, but Microsoft has a superior product. Source code for the OS is of no fundamental use to me -- this isn't a desktop box. License fees are clearly negligible. The iPaq was $299 for a 64 meg model, essentially with the same hardware specs as this one running Linux, only $100 cheaper.

    So where's the benefit other than the sheer geekiness of it? Being able to say I CAN run Linux on it covers that need in my soul, plus if anyone rips on me I can point out I hacked Linux onto three Virgin WebPlayers, an Audrey (sort of), and an iOpener at home, and my Tivo has ethernet. Installing Linux on foreign hardware just isn't that cool any more.

    So basically, this Linux-on-a-PDA craze is interesting from an intellectual standpoint, but its a LONG ways away from being commercially useful, and this product will probably bomb as quickly as every other non-compatible PDA out there. Especially at $400+!
  • I've played with one (Score:2, Informative)

    by tvf (63451)
    It's a very nice handheld. The SD and CF support is very nice (like Handera). I like the screen a lot, it's very crisp and readable, and it has good performance. You can program it in Java (Personal Java 1.2 compliant, which means a JDK 1.1.8 level, but still pretty good, and with some Java2 extensions) or Linux (you can download the cross-compilation tools from Sharp's develop site at http://developer.sharpsec.com). The Qt Palmtop is a good start, but my complaint is too much emphasis on flash (3D icons) and not enough on some nice features (like categories in the address book). I also wish it had a single-button beam feature for a business card (like the Palm's all do). It beats the crap out of an Agenda VR-3 or an iPaq running PocketLinux. If you look at it as their first entry in the market, then it's a great first step.
  • The only reason I use a PDA is to keep my contacts and schedule, maybe a note here and there. I recently got a Palm-powered cell phone and pitched my PDA. Anybody else wondering if PDA enabled cell phones will kill the standalone PDA market?



    FM

  • And I have to say that it is the first PDA that I like better than my aging Pilot (original U.S Robotics Palm, upgraded to a 3). I use linux on my laptop and my home machine and I am a professional java developer. This thing is exactly what I have been looking for. Now I can easily write custom software for my PDA. I could never get into the whole palm development mess. Just to mac-ish for my tastes.

    Also, this thing uses the same Li-ion batteries as my Canon S100 camera, so I can carry around a spare and use it in either (the Canon really, really likes batteries...).

    Maybe I'm out of touch, but this thing is fast. I mean, there is this 3d java applet that was packed on it and it just flew. The guy who owned it told me that there is supposed to be a 802.11b option coming out for it. Must... control... urge... to spend... money...

    (p.s. The keyboard rocks. Noodling around in the terminal was great)
  • I am hoping that a Linux PDA will offer
    Linux features (not available on WinCE),
    like perl! And, would love to have my perl
    Linux/Win-compatible PIM on a palmtop device.

    However, I understand the Sharp Linux PDA
    does not come with perl, and I do not know
    how difficult it would be to load perl.

    Any thoughts on this?

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