View Full Version : MIDs
01-06-2008, 06:13 PM
While I'm absolutely happy with my new N800 and I also like the feeling of having a non x86 computer, I think it's time to discuss some of InternetTablets competitors of the future which will be running Linux (among them Ubuntu Mobile based) distros.
Here is an article I found on Engadget some minutes ago and as it looks this MID is roughly the same size as a N810
01-07-2008, 02:16 AM
x86 based systems keep getting smaller but I think there is at least another year or two before they actually end up as small and power-thrifty as ARM based Nokia ITs. So right now the NITs have a couple advantages:
1) always on with standby times of a day or so while connected to wifi
2) cost: No one can put together an Intel-based MID that can match the ~$250 price tag of the N800
3) size: I think it will be another year or two before we see any production x86 machine that's really as small as the N800/N810. We might see "pocketable" x86 MIDs this year, but I'm betting they'll be more "chunky" than the NITs.
What MIDs have over NITs:
1) raw CPU power, more memory and storage.
2) software compatibility.
01-07-2008, 06:49 AM
I'm ok with "chunkier".
The thing I really liked about the compal prototype is that it has enough buttons on the face (dpad, what looks like the sidekick 'trackball', home, zoom in, zoom out, etc.) that you can use it closed ... and then only open it for actual keyboard use.
If a MID comes out that has:
generic x86 linux support (xterm, ssh, easy to use generic debian packages, build on an x86 debian desktop or server box and use the binaries on the MID, or build from source on the MID)
a finger friendly GUI (stylus included, but entirely optional, for precision work only (like drawing, but not navigation))
dpad on the face, and not under the slide
functional buttons on the face (home, back, +, -), or a second programmable dpad (so you can swap the functionality between left and right dpads, while also having the other dpad used for things like home, back, and menu)
more ergonomic keyboard than the N810 (less pressure required, more of a click for tactile feedback)
compatibility with firefox and thunderbird for contacts, bookmarks, IMAP, plugins (incl. sunbird, and syncing with gmail and google-calendar), PREFERABLY actual Firefox and Thunderbird, perhaps modified to fit the smaller screen
Bluetooth (DUN, PAN, FTP, and hands-free modes for completely controlling a phone)
EVDO or HSPA versions, with SMS and MMS support
WiMAX version (dunno if it makes sense for that to have SMS and MMS support)
decent battery life
updates without having to re-flash the device, or at least without having to re-install add-on software, and without having to re-do settings and preferences.
Then it'd be really hard for me to pass that up.
Add on a few things like gobs more memory (maybe even a 1.8" SSD with 30 or 60 GB), at least one full size SDHC slot, micro-DVI out (with DVI-A support), charge via USB-Client*, plus a USB-Host/OTG port ... and make it still be "pocketable", even if it's a little bit larger than an N800 ... then I'd really have to buy it.
(* which also causes it to export the SD card, and SSD memory, to the USB host it is connected to, in Mass Storage Device mode; oh, and, the USB-Host port should support USB keyboards)
Of course, I probably wouldn't buy such a thing before 3rd quarter, say September-ish... so if Nokia addressed all of that by September-ish, I would just stick with Nokia's offerings.
01-07-2008, 09:52 AM
Well if you're ok with chunkier and you really need all those features take a look at this: Sony Vaio UX (http://b2b.sony.com/Solutions/subcategory/notebooks/ux-series)
Weighs about 1.1 pounds, gets 2.5-3 hours battery life, and costs $2500. I've had a chance to play with one on numerous occasions. After you get over the "this is a real computer!" wow-factor, you quickly realize how clunky, fragile and heavy it feels. It really is a matter of what you need in a portable computer.
I'm sure once the Intel MIDs start showing up, Linux-based distros with more finger-friendly UIs will be a dime a dozen.
Side note on "re-flashing": I really don't know how Nokia managed to miss the boat so impressively. The Angstrom guys (who do a distro for the Zaurus) have had the upgrade-in-place problem nailed for quite a while. With Debian as a base OS this should not be that hard to solve and should be a high priority. *Shakes head and shrugs*
01-07-2008, 02:31 PM
If the Vaio UX had an officially supported linux distro (that made full use of all of hte hardware on it), I might have considered it. Same with the OQO (which has semi-official linux support, but not official enough to say whether or not it supports its EVDO modules).
Plus, those beasts are way too expensive. I guess I should have put that in my qualification: all of my LIST for under $600 ... not sure if/how-much more I'd pay for the also's I put after the list.
01-07-2008, 08:34 PM
That's exactly what I was saying earlier. We won't have all of those features (or even most) for at least another year or two. For right now the N800 is the right trade-off for me. At least with Intel's interest in Linux for MIDs we can count on good Linux support for the hardware when it hits the right intersection of size/price/battery life.
I guess the whole thing can be summed up as: "small, fast, cheap; pick any two."
01-09-2008, 12:13 AM
So, this is where I potentially have to eat my words. :D The LG Xnote B831 looks pretty darn close to the size of the N800 and the Sharp Zaurus C1000, both of which I find acceptably pocketable. What remains to be seen is price, battery life and heat dissipation. I have to admit, I didn't really believe it 'til I actually saw the measurements on it from an official source. I really didn't see this thing coming.
Did a quick size comparison at sizeasy: link (http://www.sizeasy.com/page/size_comparison/9049-Sony-Vaio-UX-vs-LG-XNote-B831-vs-Sharp-Zaurus-C1000-vs-Nokia-N800-vs-ipod-touch)
The "Aigo" MID looks nice as well though maybe a little bigger?
-John (is looking forward to eating his words.)
01-09-2008, 03:58 AM
As far as features, the aigo looks like what the n810 should have been.
The calendar app looks a lot like gpe summary.
01-09-2008, 04:37 AM
That is pretty ugly, but have you seen the one from LG?
A little nicer in my opinion. The major downside as I see it: No SSD hard drive makes it fragile, and the fast processor must eat batteries fast. Even if it is 10x more efficient than the Pentium-M (and I believe it is) that is still a lot more hungry than the ARM proc in the n810.
That being said. If this thing is less than $800 and seems to hold up to usage, I'll drive to canada to get one (They have no plans to sell in the US). I won't hold my breath though.
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