Archive for November 14th, 2005

The $100 laptop

As I posted it on osnews, about the upcoming $100 laptop:
Some of the specs on the $100 laptop are pretty expensive actually. I would go for specifications that are closer to a PDA rather than a laptop, but with a normal screen instead of a touchscreen (cheaper) and an onboard keyboard/mouse-stick. Think of it as Toshiba’s Libretto (second picture, third) that was released 6 years ago, which was a handtop (not a full laptop in terms of size and not a PDA either — but something in between). I think that the following specs would make it easier to produce a $100 device that schools/kids could use without losing a lot of functionality:

* 206 Mhz ARM (enough for Qtopia and apps that are properly written, as the Zaurus SL-5500 proves)
* 32 MB RAM (enough for Qtopia which requires about 8 MBs to start up, swap support should be supported too. If other distributions/DEs want to port to the device, they would have to optimize to run on such low RAM)
* 128 MB internal storage flash (about 100 MB available)
* WiFi 802.11b
* Ethernet (best solution for schools)
* VGA 5″ or 6″ LCD (with Qtopia’s UI using fully the VGA resolution, not how it double-pixels its *widgets* on the Zaurus VGA devices. This allows for more real screen estate.)
* Compact Flash slot and/or SD slot
* 1 USB 1.1 host
* on board keyboard and mouse stick with two buttons
* sound card, internal speaker, internal mic, line-out/headphone jack
* 1100 mAh battery (that’s about 4-5 hours of usage on Linux with WiFi off and LCD in low brightness)
* Runs Linux with latest Qtopia, plus some of TheKompany/HancomOffice apps, Opera or Netfront web browser

I would not go with GPE or QPE because they are notoriously unstable (yes, I tested their latest “stable” versions). If anything, QPE is more stable than GPE, but if it’s to replace Qtopia for this fictional device, they better optimize it, make it more stable, and secure a good port of a web browser because they currently have nothing acceptable (latest Konqueror mobile port is 3 years old and pretty bad to start with, Minimo is terribly slow/buggy/memory-hog and Dillo is pretty bad too). So until these problems are fixed on their side, for this fictional device specifications I provided, Qtopia and its allies would provide a better experience.

Maemo doesn’t cut it IMHO because it was designed with a different mindset. QTopia resembles more of a real PDA/desktop operating system than Maemo does.