I’ve been looking at PDA’s and laptops on and off for a few months now. I was looking for something simple, and quick to boot. I really only wanted a PDA type device that would give me Wi-Fi connectivity, a way to take notes, and access to a shell and SSH. That’s kind of alot to ask from a simple PDA, and thus I never really found one.
I had given up and decided to just get a laptop even though it was overkill for most of the things I wanted to do. Hibernation mode and a Linux install would get me my quick-booting machine with all the features I wanted. Unfortunately it meant I would have a very large device (compared to a PDA) and it would cost a lot of money.
I started looking back into handhelds the other day. UMPC’s are perfect, but crazy expensive. The lifedrive came close, but it’s expensive, has a kinda-small screen and Linux isn’t quite ready on it. I remembered back to seeing a post on Jon Johansen’s blog (that’s DVD Jon for those who don’t know) about selling a really cool looking Nokia handheld.
I went and looked it up in his archives and found out it was a Nokia 770. It’s (almost) perfect. It has a good and thorough review over at Ars Technica. The specs fit in nicely to what I want. It floats in the middle of the too-weak PDA’s and too-heavy laptops. It also nicely evades the too-expensive UMPC’s at $360.
It runs a patched up Linux kernel too, along with GTK+ for the GUI stuff. That means there is a big developer community who’ve ported all kinds of goodies to the platform. It plays back MP3, Real Audio, MPEG4, AAC, WAV, AMR, MP2, MPEG1, MPEG4, Real Video, H.263, AVI, and 3GP. Whats more you can mount SMB/CIFS or NFS shares and stream from them. I’ll be more than happy to watch movies from my fileserver on the 800×600 screen.
The only real problem I have with it is that the storage space is 64mb. That’s tiny, but it has an RS-MMC card slot good for up to a 1Gb card, so if I need more room I can get it. Plus, it comes with a 64mb card when you buy it, so that brings it to a total of 128mb off the shelf. I have a wicked idea too. Since it can mount shares, why not get the WL-HDD I was going to buy for my hacked ZipIt and just mount that wherever I go? Couldn’t be slicker. Actually it could, but whatever.
So I finally made up my mind and purchased it today. I’ll let you know more about it when it comes, but I’m psyched.