The smartbook is the great 'might have been' of mobile computing. Something thin and light, with solid-state storage, a keyboard, a day-long battery life and the ARM CPU that makes such a quality possible, and a price in keeping with the Small, Cheap Computer ethic. Killed by the iPad? Killed the absence of the right chips and …
'Stick Linux on it'
I find it increasingly hard to understand why someone would take a piece of consumer electronics which is almost certainly going to have some combination of custom hardware, and try to shoe-horn Linux into it. This isn't a server - you're only going to be running a browser, an editor or two and a few media widgets. So why make your life miserable trying to squeeze a quart into a pint pot when there's an OS already optimised to run on that hardware?
Surely the answer is to have your server (at home/work/in the cloud) set up with your hardcore dev tools that you cannot live without, and use a device like this as a terminal, browser and code-editor. These are jobs it would be good at, which won't require constant fiddling with Linux releases, obscure badly supported drivers and would allow you to get on with your job....
.... oh, hold on, I see what you did there.
Anyway, personally this looks like a cracking bit of kit. And, @Spencer - ARM based portable devices with keypads are very old history.. The Psion 5 came out ~13 years ago and was a great device.
Re: 'Stick Linux on it'
Android is Linux, just not GNU/Linux.
"These are jobs it would be good at, which won't require constant fiddling with Linux releases, obscure badly supported drivers and would allow you to get on with your job.... The Psion 5 came out ~13 years ago and was a great device."
Around the time you last looked at Linux with its supposed "constant fiddling", I imagine.
Re: Re: 'Stick Linux on it'
I thought that might touch a nerve.
I have a handful of machines running recent linux distributions, a couple of Macs, a few net/laptops running various flavours of Windows, and sitting on my desk are two blackberries, a couple of iPhones, and an Android tablet. Of all of them, the ones that best and most consistently support the hardware they run on are NOT GNU/Linux unless they are bare metal servers that have standard commodity IO. In fact, I'll quote the other Anonymous Coward (or was it you) who said: "nVidia's linux support for tegra2 has been significantly worse than for their GPUs".
Don't get me wrong, I like Linux. I just don't see the point of taking _consumer_ electronics and putting a different and slightly incompatible O/S on it.
"I just don't see the point of taking _consumer_ electronics and putting a different and slightly incompatible O/S on it"
Because you can?
The answer is obvious
My phone runs Debian. Sorry, Maemo, but come on, it's Debian. Why is that awesome, pray tell? Well, aside from the obvious bonus of not having an arbitrary abstraction layer keeping me away from my own hardware and sucking resources in the process, it means I don't have to do anything half-arsed.
I don't have to download some God-awful SSH client from the Market that will forget everything it was doing the minute I try to check my e-mail at the same time, and doesn't support landscape mode. I just hold a couple of buttons and up pops Bash, with ssh, grep, tail etc all ready to go. (Trying to do remote server admin on any portable device that isn't Linux-based is just PAINFUL, and potentially costly.)
I don't have to piss around with Opera Mini and Firefox Home, when Opera Mobile and Fennec are available.
I don't have to pay over the odds to get overly expensive shitty touchscreen remakes of games I never liked. My phone runs DOSbox!
I can edit code on my device without feeling like I've lost several fingers and my colour perception. What's Android got? SilverEdit? Give me a bloody break.
I can dick about with my device as much as I like, binding PS3 controllers to it and playing Mario World on the projector at work in my lunchbreak, and no-one will tell me I'm not allowed to, nor do I have to re-flash the device to pull that off.
*That's* why you put Linux on the device. Not because it's supposedly not as polished, not because it takes some tweaks to get working, but because it means you can do more with the device, with less interference, for no cash.
The first person I showed this article to came out with "nice machine, but if I can't get Android off it, then knackers to it." Personally I'd love to have this thing dual boot a Linux distro and MeeGo Tablet, just for a laugh.
As an Android Fanboi, I'd like to be the first to
Buy you a beer. You make excellent points all around.
It's a shame mobile Linux hasn't fared better in the marketplace. However, you've re-fired my interest in Linuxing things that didn't come Linuxed out of the box.
That's another beer for you!
Why stick Linux on it?
Because, as someone has pointed out, you can then use "proper" tools and also the applicaitons you are familiar with. I had to install Linux Mint on my netbook because the default OS was too much of a hassle to learn when I already use Debian on my PC, for example. If I could have debian on a device like this, or a phone, I would be happy as it means less time pissing around learning how everything is laid out and finding out which tools do which job and more time working and playing.
'Stick Linux on it'
So that you know that it isn't periodically phoning home to Mountain View and transferring personally identifiable and/or behavioural data. Or any kind of data at all.
I want to see how the other upcoming tablet-slider things turn out before throwing down any money though.
Why the price excitement?
This is Deffo a replacement for my old Psion Series 7 (yes I was one of the few), but it's expensive compared to many netbooks even at the $/£ questionable 300quid mark.
Good netbooks start at about £220, have proper keyboards and decent hard discs that you can partition and put proper OSs on
How much extra? How come it isn't standard? Then again, I don't mind so much. There are other ways to get a 3G connection.
My problem is with ASUS and their support. They started off the netbook craze and then failed to support the OS in anyway. Luckily a netbook community was formed and covered all the areas that ASUS should have. I hope they will work with Android better than they did with Xandros. I suspect though that another linux community will develop to really extend the use of this hardware.
Count me interested in one of these.
Posted from my original eeepc 701 running puppy 5.
I've got an old EEEPC 701, an N10 as my main(!) travelling CAD workstation (!!) - both run Debian in various flavours, the N10 dual-boots Win7.
Get the idea? I like customizable, portable, well-made netbooks.
Bugger the iPad(n+1), if this does Debian, I'm buying one!
Actually two - my wife will want one too.
Pointless title, which must contain letters and/or digits.
So this thing is even bigger and heavier than an iPad? The iPad is alrady too big and heavy to be the magic solution to all problems that some people expect a tablet to be - it won't fit in a pocket so is inconvenient to carry, and it's too heavy and has the wrong shape to hold comfortably for any extended time.
Depends on your pocket size ...
I can get an iPad into the pocket of a pair of army surplus combat trousers. And no, that's not how I got one out of the Apple Store without paying ;-)
I am excited already and it hits the shops in time for my dismal bonous too.
Does anyone know if there is any multi-track audio editing software (not Audacity) available thats' UI isn't dreadful ?
I use Ardour on an almost daily basis, and find it excellent. I'm familiar with Pro Tools and Ableton Live - Ardour is not yet in the same league as them, but it's certainly getting there.
Shiny screen -> not buying.
I don't want to buy something I have to polish every time I use it so I can read the screen.
When will manufacturers realise we Don't Want shiny screens ? >-(
Think It's Nice But...
It's nice to see Ipad getting a lot of competition as their stuff is always way overpriced in my opinion. However, I've heard horrible things about Asus netbooks which puts me off, sadly.. Now if it was an Acer.........
Asus netbooks I thought were generally considered to be very good.
"Since its launch in October 2007, the Eee PC netbook has garnered numerous awards, including Forbes Asia’s Product of the Year, Stuff Magazine’s Gadget of the Year and Computer of the Year, NBC.com’s Best Travel Gadget, Computer Shopper's Best Netbook of 2008, PC Pro's Hardware of the Year, PC World's Best Netbook, and DIME magazine’s 2008 Trend Award Winner."
(Quoted from Wikipeidia, but still.....)
The reg seems to quite like Asus netbooks as well, if you were to have a look a the reviews...
"5 MP rear-facing camera"
...So, a 5MP desktop-facing camera when opened, then?
Give it a really good macro mode and call it a digital microscope!
Seriously, though, it looks interesting.
If they can get it near as possible to £300 or lower
Then definitely, I'll be getting one, I fancy an android tab and this sounds like a good idea.