Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

FlipStart to Replace Your Laptop? 249

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the smaller-is-better dept.
WED Fan writes "Paul Allen has a new hardware venture, smaller than a laptop, larger than a blackberry. According to the Seattle P-I, the vision is to replace the laptop for most everyday use, such as office applications, email, and web surfing. 'Really, FlipStart gives you everything that your laptop does [...] We're not promoting the idea that you would do CAD design on it, but for Office applications and most of what people do with their laptops, it's great.' But at a $2000 price tag, this could be a little bit out of the range of many users. The product will launch on FlipStart.com in the not to distant future."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

FlipStart to Replace Your Laptop?

Comments Filter:
  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@NosPAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:19PM (#18264760) Homepage Journal
    So let me get this straight: They sell you a small brick for more than a notebook computer costs. You get a slow processor, small screen, small hard drive, worse battery life than the average PC or Mac laptop, a keyboard you can't type on, and you're supposed to believe that it's revolutionary? I'm not following.

    Sony tried this years ago with their Vaio sub-notebook [wikipedia.org] line of computers. (Here's a picture. [wikipedia.org]) Unlike this... thing... its keyboard was actually fairly decent, the screen was bright, and it was overall fairly useful. It's only problem was that it just wasn't large enough to be practical. You can't really type notes on a keyboard of that size. Nor are you really going to squint at the small screen while typing letters/memos/spreadsheets. That's why the entire market moved more toward the ultra-thin notebooks that were nearly as portable, but offered larger screens and keyboards.

    The only advantage I can find with this thing is that it's a sub-notebook with Wifi. (Based on the comments about replacing the BlackBerry.) Possibly even GSM/EDGE support. I don't think that's going to make up for the lousy form factor, especially when you can get a $50 PCMCIA card from your cell provider to do the same thing.
    • by Alaren (682568) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:24PM (#18264864)
      Old is new [slashdot.org].

      The article is already slashdotted, so I can't address it specifically, but this sounds like another step on a familiar road. See my comments here [slashdot.org], actually there are some great replies as well. Maybe this attempt will add something new, maybe it won't.

    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:25PM (#18264898) Homepage
      For that price, you could just get a PDA with keyboard and a laptop. I really don't see what this offers over a good PDA. It seems quite expensive for something that's basically a PDA. One point on the keyboard though. Most people I know, many people who use computers every day, even some developers, can't type properly, and use the hunt and peck method. I don't see this device slowing most people down.
      • Most people I know, many people who use computers every day, even some developers, can't type properly, and use the hunt and peck method. I don't see this device slowing most people down.

        This appears to be a little different, though. If you look at the photo of it, it appears to have one of those calculator-key keyboards that's really difficult to use. Probably a chiclet keyboard with plastic nubs for keys. Quite the departure from the scissor switch keyboards found in many laptops.

        Besides that, most people

      • One point on the keyboard though. Most people I know, many people who use computers every day, even some developers, can't type properly, and use the hunt and peck method. I don't see this device slowing most people down.

        The screen would, though. When I'm coding, I want all the screen resolution I can get, and as big a display as possible to read it on.

        • by TCaptain (115352) <slashdot@20@tcaptain.spamgourmet@com> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @03:38PM (#18266120)
          Do you normally code on a laptop? (Not wanting to be a troll or anything, just curious)

          If not, then you aren't the demographic as this thing is being touted as a laptop-killer. Personally, I agree with the parent, it looks like an overpriced, underpowered PDA replacement.

          I love how they always end up mentioning "every day" in this stuff. I love laptops, but when I buy a laptop, I don't buy it because I can do my "everyday" things on it (leaving out any gaming, most any damn laptop can run office or even visual studio...factor in linux and most any laptop will satisfy your "everyday" requirements), I buy it because it can do EVERYTHING I want it to do. This little gadget might run office type apps like nobody's business and might be able to surf the net ok, but if I'm dishing out big bucks it had better handle whatever I want to throw at it (and this machine doesn't look like it would cut it).

          For many people its an either/or situation. Either you get a desktop or a laptop. I don't know too many people who get both and scrimp on a sub-standard laptop on special because they are satisfied with their desktop.
          • Do you normally code on a laptop? (Not wanting to be a troll or anything, just curious)

            I've done it, but not by choice. I would much rather be coding on a desktop with a nice big monitor than a laptop, and much rather a laptop than a mini laptop-pda hybrid, and only on a PDA to actually save the planet. Granted, there are laptops with much nicer displays than mine, but for any given budget I'd prefer a development system to be a non-portable device. There are plenty of times a laptop is fine for me, bu

    • Are there any pics of this thing anywhere? It sounds like an OQO.
    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:28PM (#18264966)
      Psion 7. Instant on. Zero boot/wakeup time. Pretty good battery life. Smaller/lighter/slower than a laptop. Pretty decent keyboard (better than a blackberry etc)

      Sucky things: If it is too big to fit in your pocket you have to hand lug it and the size is not a huge benefit over a regular laptop. Screen is really too small, even for word processing etc.

      • Nokia 9300 (Score:3, Informative)

        by Colin Smith (2679)
        The Nokia 9XXX machines are basically next generation Psions with a phone built in. The 9300 has a usable but not good keyboard. The 9500 is better, but obviously bigger.

        It fits in the pocket and can do pretty much everything a laptop can do. The really massive benefit though isn't readily apparent. That is, you always have all your data with you.

         
    • So let me get this straight: They sell you a small brick for more than a notebook computer costs. You get a slow processor, small screen, small hard drive, worse battery life than the average PC or Mac laptop, a keyboard you can't type on, and you're supposed to believe that it's revolutionary? I'm not following.

      I could live with the reduced performance for general purpose applications. Especially if you could pare down the OS a little so I didn't notice too much. But the real catch to me is the size.

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        The difference is that there currently is no laptop-sized computer that weighs only 1.5 lbs. Most laptops weigh at least 5 lbs, with most I see weighing more than 7.
        • But isn't that because most laptops are much more powerful than this thing? What's keeping them from just making a laptop form-factor with nearly the same components? You'd make the screen bigger and have to add a bump in the hardware to up the resolution (though not a ton, since this isn't going to be a high performance machine). And you'd add a bigger keyboard. But surely that would keep it below 2 lbs.

          I think the problem is that there really isn't that much of a market for this feature set, whether i
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      They sell you a small brick for more than a notebook computer costs. [etc, etc] I'm not following.

      The point of this is SMALL.

      Sony tried this years ago with their Vaio sub-notebook line of computers.

      They are bigger, and the screen resolution sucked on them. The question is whether this new device has a "real" screen resolution. And you criticize the keyboard of this new device, missing the point of SMALL. Small is not compatible with "good keyboard".

      I don't think that's going to make up for the

      • The point of this is SMALL.

        The point is not, "so SMALL that it's useless". We can make a computer that fits in an oversized watch, but you wouldn't want to use it, either.

        If the slightly larger Sony products (which had better keyboards and longer relative battery life, mind you) were to SMALL to be useful, why would this POS be any more useful?

        I'm sure that many-a-technophile will appreciate how SMALL this thing is sitting on a SMALL shelf in a SMALL corner of a SMALL closet, having gotten SMALL amounts of

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rob the Bold (788862)

        If you think the form factor is "lousy", then you're not looking for SMALL. The product is not for you, which is OK, except that you somehow generalize that no one is looking for small.

        There are smaller devices out there for less money. WinCE/PocketPC PDAs, Zauruses (Zaurii?). Those are a lot more transportable than this 1.5" thick brick. You're right that small and good keyboard don't go together, but that's exactly what it looks like they tried to do.

        So -- and this is a real question -- what sort of

        • There are smaller devices out there for less money. WinCE/PocketPC PDAs, Zauruses (Zaurii?).

          Those are PDAs, with all the limitations of PDAs. They can't run general Windows applications. That's part of the point of this.

          So -- and this is a real question -- what sort of application would this device be suited for?When would this be an ideal device instead of a pocket-sized/palmtop computer or a small notebook?

          Oh, how about a real web browser (e.g. Google Maps). How about running full Office? How a

          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            I'd like to see you try to squeeze ms word on there. After the 3 rows of icons, the rulers, the status bar, the menu, the window frame and all the other junk, you don't have much space left to see the document on that screen. Same goes for most other windows applications. They are not made to be viewed on such a small screen. I think that for a computer of this size to be useful, the applications must be written to take advantage of the size of the screen, otherwise you will have serious usability probl
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by AKAImBatman (238306) *
              This is actually a 1024x600 screen. So prepare to squint.
              • by CastrTroy (595695)
                Yeah, so now those 25x20 pixel icons will measure about 1/16 of an inch square. This makes me think of those people who run 1600x1200 15 inch screens. Everything becomes too small to see, but they claim they have much more usable space. Myself, I like to run my 17 inch monitor at 1280x1024, which is the same resolution I run on my 19 inch monitor.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by starwed (735423)

      All of your arguments apply when comparing laptops to desktops; but people use them anyway because of the enormous convenience of being able to carry around your computer.

      The question is whether the convenience of this particular device is enough to get people to buy it; probably not right now. This is exactly what I want from a device, but I wouldn't pay 2k for it.

      • All of your arguments apply when comparing laptops to desktops

        O RLY?

        They sell you a small brick for more than a notebook computer costs.

        Ok, I'll give you that one. Laptops/Notebooks are more expensive than desktops.

        You get a slow processor

        Laptop processors are quite competitive with their Desktop cousins. Especially when referring to the power-friendly Core Duo, which many folks find more desirable than the latest Pentium IV.

        small screen

        Laptop screens are very competitive with 15-17 inch desktop screens.

        sma

        • by starwed (735423)
          Oops; forgot to be clear that I meant the state of laptops when the technology was new. ^_^ Obviously now they've caught up quite a bit, but at first the screens, hard drives, and processors were all inferior to desktops of the time, and yet people used them anyway.
          • forgot to be clear that I meant the state of laptops when the technology was new.

            Fair enough. :)

            However, I'd like to point out that the sub-notebook market is anything but new. In fact, it's been around for over a decade. The problem is not one of technology. It's one of practicality. These devices are not practical computers. Which makes paying exhorbant sums of money for them... well, impractical.
        • by Khyber (864651)
          The only advantage to a desktop is the addition of a keypad.

          HP and Toshiba got rid of that advantage with their 17" notebooks. There's a full-sized numberpad on many laptop models now.
      • No, the arguments are not the same between laptops and desktops, because a laptop and desktop occupy fundamentally different form factors categories. A laptop is portable, a desktop isn't. Fundamental difference. This is more like laptop vs notebook.

        There are basically 4 broad categories of form factor based around the effort involved in carrying them, which I will call Pocket, Portable, Luggable, and Immoveable.

        Pocket is your cell phone, your pda, your blackberry. They fit in your pocket, so they're ea
    • So let me get this straight: They sell you a small brick for more than a notebook computer costs. You get a slow processor, small screen, small hard drive, worse battery life than the average PC or Mac laptop, a keyboard you can't type on, and you're supposed to believe that it's revolutionary? I'm not following.

      That's fine; you're not the target market for it.

      I've been following the flipstart since the web site appeared in 2004/2005. Vaporware to the extreme. If it comes out, I'll pay whatever they

    • Sony tried this years ago with their Vaio sub-notebook line of computers.
      [snip]
      It's only problem was that it just wasn't large enough to be practical. You can't really type notes on a keyboard of that size.

      And yet, a folding keyboard, when attached to a Palm III, is quite usable for taking notes, writing travelogues, etc. It mostly suffers from the limitations of the Palm: very limited and volatile mass storage, no networking.

      But the folding idea allows for a reasonable sized keyboard to fit in a small spa
    • by wsanders (114993)
      Ok, this thing will replace my Blackberry and my Palm and maybe my phone, and it weighs ONE AND A HALF POUNDS?

      I have a feeling the iPhone will be able to do all this gizmo does, at a fraction of the weight and cost, a bit slower perhaps, but at 10x the [babe version of yor choice]-magnet factor.

      I'm not trying to plug iPhones, but what kind of cool stuff has Vulcan lately, versus Apple? (Besides spiffing up downtown Seattle.)
    • by Ucklak (755284)
      It was called the Picturebook and was quite useful for me.
      Very lightweight, battery life was comparable to laptops at the same time, a little over 2 hours IIRC.
      There was no wireless then but I had a 3COM 10/100 PCMCIA with an XJACK so there was my ethernet without a dongle.
      I used a USB to Serial for programming routers and used the onboard camera to take pictures of datacenters.

      This was a notebook that was supposed to appeal to realtors because of the onboard digital camera.

      What sucked was that it came with
    • by MythMoth (73648)
      The PictureBook series (I had one) was too big to put in a pocket, but far too small to be comfortable when typing. It also had a dreadful battery life. Worst of both worlds. This gizmo looks like it suffers from exactly the same problems, as you point out.

      What I really want to buy is a clamshell pocket PC of some sort so that I can do serious computing in ad-hoc environments. Something like the old Psion series clamshells, but with more modern hardware. I like the Palm derived machines, but you can't reall
    • Real keys, dual mode screen, mesh networking and Linux and its Python-based shell installed by default. Windows is painful enough without a low spec.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I have an old Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook P1032 from ebay. It's 9 inches wide, comes with a touch screen, and happily runs Linux. It's a bit low on memory (128MB), but it comes with 8 hours runtime using an extened battery, and is great for watching movies on planes. Or coding, whichever you prefer. Sub-notes are neat, but certainly not new. Vapourware comes and goes, while Sony and F-S quietly keep producing them.

      http://www0.epinions.com/pr-Fujitsu_LifeBook_P1032 _FPCM02053_PC_Notebook/display_~full_specs [epinions.com]
    • by NerveGas (168686)
      They don't all have to be like that. A LOT of people really liked the Libretto, which if I recall, got something like 5 or 7 hours on a battery. The unusable keyboard is your only really viable complaint, very few small machines get the keyboard right.

      A fast CPU isn't necessary for a lot of everyday tasks. Isn't this Slashdot, where people boast about how nicely they can surf the web and do email on pitifully old hardware?

      Portability is key for some people. When you *have* to carry something around all
    • by basic0 (182925)
      Personally, I'd love a subnotebook sized system, you know, something like 10-12" LCD, weighs about 2 lbs, has a battery life of 8+ hours. Believe it or not, my 15" G4 TiBook with it's 3-4 hour battery life seems large and bulky a lot of the time, and I feel needs to be recharged way too often. Do I really need 15+ inches of real estate on my laptop screen for anything? I'm looking at the MacBooks now, and still find myself asking "13 inches of screen? That's the smallest they have?". What does anyone need a
    • by Mike1024 (184871)
      Sony tried this years ago with their Vaio sub-notebook line of computers. (Here's a picture.) Unlike this... thing... its keyboard was actually fairly decent, the screen was bright, and it was overall fairly useful. It's only problem was that it just wasn't large enough to be practical.

      It occurs to me that the most important thing when developing a new form factor is how are people going to carry this.

      Cell phones can comfortably be put in your trouser pockets. Everyone has pockets, so the form factor is a s
  • This might catch on in 10 years. Once the price falls. Of course the whole idea might be obsolete by then, replaced by cell phones, or something.
    • by Pojut (1027544)
      I'm waiting for the day that my cell phone and TV remote are the same piece of equipment, a la V for Vendetta (the movie, not the comic)
      • by drinkypoo (153816)
        If you have a phone with IR, it's possible already. If you have a PalmOS-based phone with IR (never seen one, no idea if they exist, but I would think they'd have to) you could use OmniRemote. So, you can probably make this happen right now. For that matter, my iPaq came with Windows Mobile learning remote software, and I know that there's Windows Mobile smartphones with IR.
        • by devilspgd (652955) *
          The entire Treo line has IR support... I own a Treo 680 and Treo 650 (GSM editions) that are both PalmOS as well as having IR support.
    • by vertinox (846076)
      Yeah, $2K is a bit much.

      Personally, I just need a web browser, IM, and email client on a device the Size of the Nintedo DS.

      In fact the Nintendo DS would be perfect if it had a qwerty keyboard and moved the touch screen to the top part and have it wider.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:24PM (#18264862) Homepage Journal
    $2000 is enough to buy a desktop replacement machine with a core duo, two gigs of ram, and a gigantic display. If you're not going to go balls-out, then you probably only need a tiny subset of your computer's power, and a super-cheap device like an OLPC machine would suit your needs. Very very few people need a tiny but complete PC, because almost all of the jobs that require that kind of power require a reasonably-sized display as well. The form factor is nice, but the price is at least twice what it should be for a device sold into this market - which itself is vanishingly small.
  • Vaporware since 2004 (Score:5, Informative)

    by Crash McBang (551190) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:25PM (#18264900)
    Google 'flipstart' - you'll find that this thing has been Vaporware since before 2004.

    I'll believe it when woot has it on sale...

  • by Fallen Kell (165468) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:25PM (#18264908)
    And not only that, the $2000 device can't even do what the $1000 laptop could.... I just don't see this going very far. Maybe if it cost $600-800.
    • Yeah this thing looks like it does less than the last Fujitsu P1000 which is just slightly wider (barely larger footprint than a paperback book), and has a touch screen which is an anchient 800mhz Transmeta system. This isn't even replacing a $1000 item with a $2000 item. This is at most a $400 item these days. For $2000 I could get a highly pimped out Fujitsu Lifebook P7230 (I dig Fujitsu's sub-notebooks, rugged lil bastards) that does everything that does, has a whole fucking lot more, and the only drawba
  • Since 2002. And what have they produced since then? Nada, but some demo product shots. OQO managed to get some hardware out there, but this project seems to be going nowhere.

    • They probably realized the same thing that I and others have posted above. Its not viable at $2000 price, no one will buy it.
  • by Rachel Lucid (964267) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:28PM (#18264972) Homepage Journal
    Literally almost everyone who's going to be in this market already has a DS, and it's about the right size... a small cartridge loaded with a PDA-style application or three could clean up nicely. It's not going to be a laptop, but it's a nice cheap in-between that with a few key features could clean up big time.
    • Literally almost everyone who's going to be in this market already has a DS
      You think that the market for a high-priced, low-powered machine primarily for word processing and other office applications is the same as the market for the current generation of the game boy?
      • A LOT of the fuel in the laptop market is aimed at college students and young professionals. So yes, I think it's a reasonable statement to make.
  • My Fujitsu slate was thinner, larger, more useful, and more powerful. Plug in a Happy Hacker when at home, and it was sufficiently powered. I also used Verizon CDMA...

    This thing is a brick, which very often is harder to store/transport than a larger slate. Think notebooks. Once these things are as large as iPods/cell phones, they will become revolutionary, though I hazard to guess that the interaction models, and new ways of generating thinking artifacts will be the revolutionary part.
  • N800 can use foldable bluetooth keyboards, or bluetooth virtual keyboards...
  • "The FlipStart promises to do everything a full-sized laptop can do."

    Except give you a screen you can actually see, and a keyboard you can actually use. Hm, there goes the output and input pieces, yep, its doomed for failure.
    • Except give you a screen you can actually see, and a keyboard you can actually use. Hm, there goes the output and input pieces, yep, its doomed for failure.

      These days I use a fairly small laptop for almost everything. The portability is important to me and I'd use it more if it were more portable. Is the small screen size a deal killer? Not really, I usually have it plugged into an external monitor when I'm in the office or at home, using just the built in screen at the coffee shop and on the road. Is the small keyboard size a deal killer? Well, I usually plug in an external trackball at the office and home, so plugging in a keyboard too is not a huge deal,

  • PC Mag review here (Score:3, Insightful)

    by writertype (541679) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:33PM (#18265074)
    Sorry for the brief comment... the review is here [pcmag.com].
  • by xyankee (693587) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:35PM (#18265114)
    With the direction they're going with the iPhone, you know it's only a matter of time before Apple whips that technology into something with a 5"-7" display in a far more attractive package with superior software. I mean, look at that thing... not an ounce of industrial design, it doesn't seem like you'll be able to thumb-type on it like a Blackberry, and it's too big to fit in any coat pocket or to be carried on your belt.

    And is it just me or is Paul Allen grinning like a paedophile holding something illicit in his hands? I can't believe their marketing team let that through (they probably don't have one, mind you).
    • by drinkypoo (153816)
      The idea of the size of the device is that you CAN thumb-type, although with the thickness of the device it's probably damned heavy, too. It's a Repetitive motion Stress Injury in a box! Not surprising that anyone from Microsoft knows jack shit about ergonomics though. Have you ever used their mice?
  • Yeah, it's pricey, but the big question that the article doesn't address is screen resolution (and why isn't that given so often when discussing new notebooks?) Yes, we've had sub-notebooks before that failed, but I think one of the big reasons they fail is that the screens are typically 640 pixels across. You can't do anything reasonable with 640 pixels!

    If this thing has 1024 pixels horizontal, and the price comes down a bit, I'd be all over it.

  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:41PM (#18265250) Homepage
    The FlipStart team is also working on:

    --a revolutionary car bigger than a SmartCar [smartcarofamerica.com] but smaller than a Mini Cooper

    --a revolutionary porridge heater that will heat porridge warmer than "too cold," but colder than "too hot"

    --a revolutionary Budweiser bigger than a 10-ounce [npr.org] but smaller than a 12-ounce.

    Laboratory prototypes of the latter include a 10.5-ounce Bud, an 11-ounce Bud, and an 11.5-ounce Bud. "Really, they give you practically everything that 12-ounce Bud does," said a FlipStart spokesman, appropriately named Budd.
  • Looks about the size and shape of a Toshiba Libretto, but a little bit more expensive. Toshiba built these in the early '90's and they were very small, lightweight, but functional laptops. They were also rather pricey. Toshiba discontinued them for a while, but then came out with new models a few years ago. I didn't see them at the Toshiba web site, so they may have been discontinued again.
  • I hope Paul Allen doesn't have too much invested in this little device... it looks like something from 5 years ago. If it's going to cost 2 grand, why not just save some space and power and use flash-based storage? It's only 30GB anyways. It might help it look a little less like a brick, also.
  • It looks like it might be an interesting device... Although, not much different than something like the OQO devices that are already available.

    I just don't think a scaled down laptop is going to cut it. On the one hand, it's too small to be used efficiently as a laptop, on the other, it's too large to be a carry-everywhere device.

    I think the better direction is a mid-sized tablet device. Not a clunky windows PC with tablet functions duct taped on, like MS has provided thus far. I'm thinking more of a
  • Seriously, I have a MacBook, which I love. It's great to be able to be mobile with my computing. It's small, light, powerful...

    But I'm a web developer. I spend hours on it every day. The only way this can stay ergonomically practical is by using an adapter to use an external monitor and using a USB mouse. Otherwise, my neck and wrist will start screaming at me.

    A device even smaller than my laptop would be good for using a few minutes at a time, to check email, or look up something on the web. Little m
  • People get a laptop instead of a QQQ or Blackberry or smartphone usually because they need to do serious work, this usually requires prolonged reading of the screen. This means the screen size is an important factor...

    "5.6" display"

    Next please.
  • by hirschma (187820) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:53PM (#18265438)
    This thing costs $2k. Why?

    Because it needs to be x86, with in turn means that it needs to have a bigger battery, fancier engineering, special cooling. A hard drive because it needs to swap due to Windows memory needs and usage patterns.

    Kill off Windows, and then you have a bunch of better processors - PPC, ARM, whatever. Smaller battery. No special cooling. No need for a hard drive. No Windows license. Room for other features - cell phone/modem? Bluetooth hub functionality?

    BTW, it has pretty much been done... [engadget.com] Too bad it isn't Linux.
    • by rlp (11898)
      It's been done [wikipedia.org] - with a Linux OS. The bad news: 1) it was only released in Japan and the whole line has been discontinued.
    • by xdroop (4039)

      Kill off Windows, and then you have a bunch of better processors - PPC, ARM, whatever. Smaller battery. No special cooling. No need for a hard drive. No Windows license.

      And no users.

      Eliminate the ability to run software on it, and you'll eliminate all customer demand at the same time -- think of the savings in distribution and sales costs!

      If people were willing to run non-windows programs, Linux would be a lot more popular than it is. Heck, the Mac would be a lot more popular than it is. But they ar

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by StaticEngine (135635)
      So you want a pen, a paper notepad, and a cellphone?
  • This invention is another solution to the same problem and another recycling of a solution that doesn't work very well. The problem is this: How do you make computing extremely portable? Currently the laptop is one solution. It is somewhat portable but not as small as some people would like. With electronics shrinking, one day we will have computers the size of a deck of cards. The issue that manufacturers are shrinking the form factor but not doing anything about the user interface. In this case the
  • Here's my list:
    • Apple Newton. With a form factor too big to fit comfortably into a pocket, just one of the (many) reasons Newton never really caught on.
    • The cramped keyboard. Lots of failed products had these; pick one. Squeeze the keyboard too narrow and it makes for uncomfortable typing.
    • IBM Thinkpad 701. Getting past the cramped keyboard, IBM made a laptop with a butterfly keyboard [wikipedia.org]. But it turned out that customers were more concerned about the narrow little screen that went with their narrow little k
  • Wow. A Microsoft alum has reinvented the Newton 2000, 10 years later. How revolutionary.

    ~Philly
  • nokia n800 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by joetheguy (1048262) <joe@jann i n o .com> on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:59PM (#18265538)
    I have a nokia n800 and love it. It can easily fit in a jacket pocket or a bag without having to think about it. Its big screen, wifi, and bluetooth, make surfing the web a breeze. I use it a lot to read news and documentation in coffee shops or on trains. With a folding bluetooth keyboard, or the on screen one, I can easily write quick notes or docs. And its linux and comes with a full featured terminal I can use to SSH into work and get some things done. Plus its only $400

    The genius of the n800 I think is that it is not a laptop and not a pda. It is its own class of device, with a UI designed specificly for its small high resolution screen, touch screen, and set of buttons.

    I am still waiting for a computer that looks like a small book, but where the screen itself folds in half, to become a tablet with a reasonable screen size. Apple dreamed of such a device called the Knowledge Navigator years ago in the following video, and I hope display and voice recognition technology will make this something real within the next 5 years.
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=3WdS4TscWH8 [youtube.com]
  • .. you could use an OLPC for $100:
    http://wiki.laptop.org/go/The_Children's_Machine [laptop.org]
  • For years I've been waiting for the FlipStart to debut but it hasn't yet. I'm a current owner of a JVC 7310, OQO, and Sony UX series. I would have not bought any of those had the FlipState been available. Last I recall checking the website in early/mid-2004. No dice yet. What does Mr. Allen thing will come of this now? Chalk this one up as more vaporware.
  • The royal court of /. has proclaimed this device unsuitable for their needs! Reasons for are as follows.

    My computer is faster! (crowd murmers)
    My computer is cheaper (more murmering)
    Does not keep the opposite sex away like being hunched over a keyboard. (crowd murmers)

    Any notions that anyone needing something bigger and more useful than a crackberry, but easier to travel with than a laptop shall be sentenced to public humiliation in the town square!

    Hear Yee. Hear Yee. That is all.
  • Whereas a few years ago the laptop did everything, now we're seeing divergence. The trend on the desktop is toward multiple displays (heads), and the trend for mobile is the PDA/phone. The laptop, therefore, will be rent in two -- the CPU will return to the desktop in a little black box under the desk, and the storage will transition to the PDA/phone (think iPhone). You'll dock your PDA/phone with all your data (encrypted, of course) into your multi-headed display.

    It always amuses me how execs think men

  • I've been looking for a useful device in this space. Each one I've seen obviously has to make tradeoffs around battery life, screen size, keyboard size, and processor speed, and it's hard to compare one device to another based on features when it's really a question of whether one device achieves a better balance of tradeoffs than another.

    That said, anyone interested in this space might want to take a look at the following devices:

    - Sony Vaio UX series (official site [learningcenter.sony.us] w/ too much flash)
    - Nokia N800 internet
  • When will these companies get a clue. Users need battery life measured in weeks not hours.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again the last mobile device that really worked for me was the psion 5. I don't need a color screen, sound or mechanical drives. Ideally a 1024x768 gray scale coupled with a low power cpu and 32GB of SRAM. Keep your power guzzling features and let me have a weeks vacation and no need to plug the thing in.

    Of course we can't have that, that would be useful.
  • Am I the only person on the planet who finds laptops an ideal size. Good screen estate for working with, a little smaller than I'd like TBH but hey, it's portable. If I wanted something smaller I would have, wait for it, bought a smaller laptop.

    *bang head against wall*

    If I wanted something much smaller, I'd have bought a Psion Revo ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psion_Revo [wikipedia.org] ), which isn't some twisted halfbreed between a laptop and a PDA (it's more what PDAs were, before someone got handwriting recognition w
  • Isn't he the guy who ran the Trailblazers into the ground, lost their arena during bankruptcy, and is begging the city to subsidize them? Finally, he brings his management genius to the palmtop race.

    I swear, if you say that management is like a college coaching staff, Microsoft would be Duke. The main guy (Coach K) is really good, but his high profile mentees are pretty awful (Synder at Missouri, Amaker at Michigan).
  • ...sure got real pricey now didn't they? ;P So that's what old Negroponte was up to in the back room...

Given its constituency, the only thing I expect to be "open" about [the Open Software Foundation] is its mouth. -- John Gilmore

Working...