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Pepper Pad, an Open Alternative to MS Origami 188

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the fun-toys dept.
SilentBob4 writes to tell us that MadPenguin has a look at an open alternative to Microsoft's Origami, the Pepper Pad. From the article: "The Pepper Pad, like Origami, is a mid-point form factor PC that is bigger and more powerful than a PDA, but smaller and less optimized for traditional desktop PC tasks than a notebook computer or a desktop PC. The Pepper Pad is a good buy for people who would like to have a light-weight, dirt-simple, point-and-click open source device for watching videos, listening to music, reading e-books, and doing simple web surfing with a view screen that is actually easy to read. If you want do more than that, you are really better off getting a small Linux notebook, unless you are willing to get under the hood (which you can do with the Pepper Pad!) and start compiling for yourself."
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Pepper Pad, an Open Alternative to MS Origami

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  • Input (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Umbral Blot (737704) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @01:40AM (#15280033) Homepage
    No offense to the people who make these devices, but they need better text input than the minisule keyboard that the image for this product shows it having. Stop trying to put all the keys there and innovate. Maybe something like a chorded keyboard [wikipedia.org]? I really want a small computing device, which I could whip out and take a note or two on, but as long as it is easier to write on paper it seems silly to switch to something like this.
    • Re:Input (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Moofie (22272)
      Innovation doesn't change my muscle memory. If you want to use a chorded keyboard, there's nothing stopping you. I don't, however, think that a large number of people are interested in learning a new way of typing. Learning the regular way was a huge PITA.
      • there is plenty stopping me, the device doesn't come with one, and who wants to carry a usb keyboard arround for a portable device?
        • by fean (212516)
          A chorded keyboard on a mobile device would be difficult at best, Thumb-boards, etc are around because you have to hold on to the device and type at the same time.. The could solve this by putting other keys on the back of the device, but this would mean you would HAVE to hold the device to input text, it would make cases for the device much MUCH more complex, AND it would not be able to be sold to the "it makes my life easier" crowd, since they would have to learn a new way to enter keys. (and really, some
    • Re:Input (Score:3, Interesting)

      by EvanED (569694)
      Supposedly the handwriting recognition of Windows Mobile is very good.

      I think that handwriting is a MUCH better approach than trying to do voice recognition, which another poster said. You could use it in a croweded room and not worry about either interference or being heard, or in a library. Depending on the application, handwriting recoginition could be better than a keyboard too. It'd probably be faster for almost everyone (even if it would be possible to type faster, I would guess almost no one would sp
    • I'm surprised these things [thinkgeek.com] haven't started showing up in mobile devices yet. I guess maybe they're still a bit too pricy, and maybe a bit too large. Wouldn't be a total replacement for a keyboard, since you want to be able to provide input without putting the device down on a desk -- but would be great for when you want to do some serious typing.
      • It's a great hack, but completely impractical. If you had a flat surface on which you could put something, you'd put a keyboard there, not a simulation of one. Sure, this device is smaller, however, you can get a flex keyboard from Radio Shack that rolls up about as small. Sure, this device uses bluetooth, but given that you can only use it when you have a flat level surface, a cable wouldn't be much of a hinderance.
    • That's not the market they're aiming for. From the article, the Pepper Pad "is going to be optimized more for data consumption than data creation". These things are designed primarily for audio/video playback and web-browsing. Of the three, only web-browsing requires a keyboard interface, and that only for entering username/passwords (although this could be cached in the browser) or for typing in URLs. People may use it for posting to blogs (or slashdot), but that's getting back to production rather than co
    • Re:Input (Score:3, Informative)

      Nothing is stopping you from plugging in an USB keyboard.
    • by dindi (78034)
      i was thinking the same thing .... then i looked at the 800 price tag .. hmm for $200 more you get a nice ibook, or maybe an older picturebook or other mini-laptop, that makes a lot more use than that HIP device ...

      btw, what computer was that in the beginning of mission impossible 3 ? looked like something with small screen but full keyboard ... hmm... anyway :)

      so bottom line is: if you wanna whip something out to write on, whip a small laptop ... palmtops, cellphones, these pads are useless - for me a
    • Actually, the thumb keyboard design on that device looks excellent: it's easy to learn for novices, familiar to texters, fits the device and the way it's held, and is probably quite efficient. If they didn't screw up on some detail, it should be at least as good as a chorded keyboard for most people, and it's going to be much better than pen input, on-screen tapping, or "drawer" style keyboards.
    • Re:Input (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fm6 (162816)
      Whenever a device like this appears on Slashdot, there are always posts that say in effect, "But it doesn't support what I'd like it to do!" You should evaluate a product in terms of what it tries to do, not what you want it to do.
      • Re:Input (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sj0 (472011)
        And why is that?

        We don't buy products to do what others want to do, we buy them for what WE want to do. At least, that's what the sane among us do.

        To try to confine our views to what the machine claims to do is to fall prey to marketing.
        • by fm6 (162816)
          Huh? PDAs suck because they make lousy servers? Shampoo sucks because it makes lousy toothpaste?
          • by Sj0 (472011)
            If there are server appliances in the same form factor as the pda, then yes. If I'm not looking for toothpaste, but shampoo, then yes.

            In this case, we're talking about a device which is in a certain form factor, and that form factor requires it to be capable of doing certain things, or it's not useful. Just like a unicycle is useless compared to a bicycle, if this device is incapable of meeting the standard set by similar devices in functionality, then it is forced to be judged similarly.

            Sure, a unicycle is
  • Not Bad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by datafr0g (831498) * <datafrog&gmail,com> on Sunday May 07, 2006 @01:54AM (#15280070) Homepage
    Bit short on the HDD space (20GB), especially given that these devices are intended to be used for data consumption - I'd expect there'd be a little more space for movies, etc. Battery life really needs to be sorted out too at 2 hours.

    Other than that - cool!

    One question though - how do you hold these things safely? You know, like Laptops not being recommended for use in your lap? Laptops (or notebooks, whatever), will sit fine on a table, these things don't look like they would. I noticed a small stand on the back of the image but - I dunno - it seems more like a device I'd want to hold rather than have it set up on a table or desk - sort of kills the portability aspect for me.
  • waiting for the right problem to solve.

    This is what happens when engineers get to spec what they like, without requirements.
    • by anagama (611277) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Sunday May 07, 2006 @02:54AM (#15280209) Homepage
      I play go at a coffee shop near my office once a week. There's a guy who comes there with this Vaio thing -- I haven't looked at it very closely because it didn't interest me much, but essentially it's a little black brick with a small (6 or 7 inch range) but high resolution screen. It's probably a bit smaller than a 200 page hardback novel. Still, once he props it in an upright position, plugs in something to the upper left (wifi perhaps?) and plugs in a foldable keyboard, it takes up more room than a 12" laptop.

      Add in a fresnel lens (think Brazil [quxmore.com]) to keep from going blind, and I don't see any advantage. And for those who like to keep their hands on the keyboard, using a touch pen is worse than a mouse. I saw a video demonstrating some of the earliest interfaces (early Englebert groundbreaking stuff in the 50s). At first they used a pen but found that people became very tired very quickly when they had to point at the screen with it repetively. With the Sony mentioned above in the propped up position, using the stylus pointer would be very tiring.

      The fact is, we have hands of a particular size, visual capabilities of a particular resolution, and pockets too small to fit a device that meets those physical requirements. A pocketable AND usable computer is going to take some big leaps -- for instance glasses that function as high res displays (at reasonable prices, weights, and appearances) and a real break from finger oriented input. Whoever figures out how to free input from dependence on the human hand will make a bundle -- and they should because it isn't going to be an easy feat.
  • I dunno... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IANAAC (692242) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @01:58AM (#15280083)
    If what you're looking for is a nice alternative to Windows Mobile, why not consider an import from either Dynamism or Trisoft? They both offer a smaller form factor Linux-based clamshell with better keyboards for half the price. Not only that, they have both SD and CF slots to expand storage.

    I don't get the "gotta have" with this.

    Tablet PCs that are able to run Linux are cheaper, if you're looking for a hard-disk based solution.

    • I assume you mean this trisoft offering. [trisoft.de]

      Eh, no. That's less than half the product for the same price! (There's a $150 rebate on Pepper Pad if you go to their website. Good until the end of May.)

      As for Dynamism [dynamism.com], I don't see anything on there that's linux, and nothing less than $1000. (Most are $2000+)

      Prove me wrong. Please. I actively want to be wrong here.

  • by Swift Kick (240510) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @02:04AM (#15280096)
    This is not a new device, and has never really caught on, regardless of how many times you might scream it has Linux inside. It might be neat for those that just have the burning desire of throwing money away, and that's about it.

    See for yourself...

    - It was announced back in 2004, and Engadget mentioned it:

    http://www.engadget.com/2004/09/08/the-pepper-pad- 2/ [engadget.com]

    Then Tux Magazine reviewed it in April 2005, and it was still not available to the public:

    http://www.tuxmagazine.com/node/1000125 [tuxmagazine.com]

    Now it's available for sale, but for the price it's selling ($850), you can easily pick a cheap laptop with far more expandability for quite less.

    Do you think it's portable? Think again. Look at the dimensions:

    http://www.pepper.com/products/specifications.html [pepper.com]

    12.1" x 6.6" x 0.8" (309 x 175 x 20mm)
    2.3 lbs (1043 grams)

    Now, for something this big, why not get something that's cheaper and just better like say, the Dell Inspiron B120 for $499, with free memory and wifi upgrades? See for yourself:

    http://www1.us.dell.com/content/products/features. aspx/featured_basnb?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs [dell.com]

    Just my 2 cents....

    • Now, for something this big, why not get something that's cheaper and just better like say, the Dell Inspiron B120 for $499, with free memory and wifi upgrades?

      WTF, man?! You're complaining that the 2.3 lb Pepper Pad is too big, and then recommend getting a 6.41 lb Dell [dell.com] instead?! That just doesn't make sense.

      Now, I'll tell you the real reason why nobody wants the damn thing: it's too flat-out weird. First of all, it runs Linux (no flames please; everyone should be able to admit that most people don't use

      • by LordLucless (582312) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @03:07AM (#15280238)
        First of all, it runs Linux (no flames please; everyone should be able to admit that most people don't use Linux).

        Nobody gives a stuff what OS it runs. As long as you can double-click the movie/audio icons to play them, most consumers won't notice that it's different to windows under the hood. They'd expect a device like this to have differences to a fully-fledged computer.

        Second, it's got a strange keyboard that you probably can't touch-type on.

        And yet, people are destroying their thumbs on mobile phone keypads daily. This is a step up from that, at the very least, and is not designed to be used to enter a lot of information. The article specifically says it's designed for media consumption - playing audio, video and surfing the web. If you think you're going to be using this thing to write reports, buy a laptop.

        And finally, it's slow. I don't care what kind of IPC it has; 624 MHz just isn't fast enough for something big enough to be a real computer.

        It's not trying to be a real computer. It's trying to be a media station. Nobody who uses it will care how fast it's clock-cycles are as long it doesn't skip during DVD playback.

        Now, you wanna know how to fix it? Turn it into a convertible tablet with a real keyboard, put in a bigger (10.4") screen, give it a decent CPU (e.g. 1+ GHz) and more RAM, and (as much as it pains me to say it) put Windows Tablet Edition (or better yet, Mac OS, but that's just a fantasy) on it.

        So, turn it into a laptop? I think all you've done is prove that you're not the target market for this device.
        • The article specifically says it's designed for media consumption - playing audio, video and surfing the web. If you think you're going to be using this thing to write reports, buy a laptop.

          I don't care what it's intended for, I only care about what it actually is. And what it actually is is an overpriced, obsolete laptop with a weird keyboard and tiny screen.

          Besides, everything you just mentioned can be done just as well on a $250 PSP.

          It's not trying to be a real computer. It's trying to be a media stat

          • I hate to reply to myself, but I made a mistake or two on that list:

            I meant Fujitsu P1510D, not T4020 -- the T series is the big, heavy one.

            Also, I forgot to mention that I'm also considering the iRex iLiad [engadget.com], which is an e-ink ebook reader (but has the right specifications to be a PDA with a nice big screen). At the moment, the finalists in my decision are it and the X41 (but I'm waiting to see if anything better comes out this summer, since I don't need it until school in the fall).
          • Wrong. I am exactly the market for a device like this. I've been looking for a small tablet device to take notes with at school

            And these people specifically designed it for uses that don't involve a lot of typing. This is not the device you're looking for. When I was commuting, I would have loved a device like this, except for two things. Price. $800 is way, way too expensive for a portable media player. And no DVD drive. I have no idea what the hell they're thinking not including a DVD drive on a media
            • And these people specifically designed it for uses that don't involve a lot of typing. This is not the device you're looking for. When I was commuting, I would have loved a device like this, except for two things. Price. $800 is way, way too expensive for a portable media player. And no DVD drive. I have no idea what the hell they're thinking not including a DVD drive on a media device.

              And if they didn't design it for typing, why bother including a keyboard at all?

              I agree with you about the price and DVD

              • And if they didn't design it for typing, why bother including a keyboard at all?

                Probably because entering text any other way is infuriating at best, and there's always a need to enter some text.

                Even if one only ever uses it as a web browser, it will still be necesisary to give it URLs by hand. Just trying to pick out "slashdot.org" with a schrollwheel letter chooser would be enough to drive me to violence.

                Having spent much too much time trying to enter strings of text into test equipment with and without l

        • Nobody gives a stuff what OS it runs.

          People writing vertical apps certainly do. And being one of the few devices running Linux in that form factor makes it quite attractive, in particular given the price.
      • Second, it's got a strange keyboard that you probably can't touch-type on.

        You think that people won't buy the Blackberry because it has a "strange" thumb operated keyboard? Sorry, I've talked to lawyers that love them.

        • The difference is that Blackberries are tiny, which is the only excuse for having a thumb-keyboard. This thing is big enough to be a laptop and have a real, touch-type-able one, which means it has no excuse.
      • I'll tell you the real reason why nobody wants the damn thing: it's too flat-out weird. First of all, it runs Linux (no flames please; everyone should be able to admit that most people don't use Linux). ... And finally, it's slow. I don't care what kind of IPC it has; 624 MHz just isn't fast enough for something big enough to be a real computer.

        Your reasoning is less than convincing. It's hard to determine the market reaction to a device that's just become available, so I'm not convinced that "nobody wan

        • Your reasoning is less than convincing. It's hard to determine the market reaction to a device that's just become available

          This thing has been available for over a year.

          Moreover, Linux will make it work better than you expect. Linux performs better and has better handwriting recognition than M$ does.

          I know that; I think Linux is great. But everyone else does not know it, and everyone else is who it would have to appeal to if they want to sell more than one.

          For what it's worth, if I end up getting a Tab

    • Hi SwiftKick,

      This is not a new device

      No, it's not a new device. I reviewed this product now because of the hype around Origami. For those of us who don't like DRM, and do like open source, I wanted to talk about the Pepper Pad in comparison to Origami. IIRC, none of the reviews that you cite in your post were written at a time when Origami had been announced. That's what's new. The context.
    • I'm not sure this device knows what market it targets. It seems to me it's shooting too closely towards the notebook end, rather than the highly-mobile-but-more-capable-than-a-PDA category. Both its capabilities and its price are way too high for what it aims to do. I laughed when I saw the $800 price point. Something like $300 would be more like it. Basically, a modern PDA like the iPAQ 4700 is pretty close to a webpad-type device, it just needs a bigger and higher-rez screen, a physical keyboard, and mayb
  • Paper Pad (Score:5, Funny)

    by CtrlPhreak (226872) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @02:15AM (#15280119) Homepage
    Anybody else read this as Paper Pad alternative to MS origami? Think of it, infinite battery life, lots of storage space, great handwritting recognition, light weight... come on someone start writing the jokes.
  • by rdoherty (898394) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @02:31AM (#15280151)
    I'll wait until they make a few improvements...

    Currently, it only synchronizes with Windows (even though its marketed for the open source community)... being a software issue, I'm certain that they'll eventually port it to Linux.. The 2 hour battery life will need some improvement.. Their FAQ contains too many "At this time, you cannot do this".. and worst of all is that it may not support 3rd party applications...

    I'll check in on the Pepper Pad in a few months to see how its improved...
  • I don't know why this thing is being compared to Origami - it's closer to the size of a Sony Viao. Which begs the question, why would you want something that size that doesn't hve all the functionality of a laptop?
    • That's exactly what I want to know.

      To me, there are two basic form factors for a portable device: Something that can fit in my pocket, so it's easy to carry around, and something that I haul around in a case and leave in my car if I'm not going to use it during this part of my trip.

      If I'm going to lug something around that's bigger than a Sidekick or an iPod, I'd might as well bring along my laptop, a 17" PowerBook. Then I have everything I need at my fingertips, and I'm not confined to passive reading.

      What
      • You've hit the nail on the head - if it's too big to go in a pocket then it may as well be big enough to be useful. I don't think that problem is going to change until they actually get folding screens to market. Then something can be big enough to be useful, but fold into a portable shape.
  • How is this secure? Any mozilla/firefox url exploit makes this an easy target. Was interested until I hit that. Not really interested in recompiling their stupid design decision.
  • With all the open source stuff going on with this device, it's odd that OGG and Jabber aren't on the list of supported media / protocols.
  • I'm interested... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Null Nihils (965047) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @02:39AM (#15280173) Journal
    At first glance, I'm interested, and yet I can't help shake the feeling that there's something rather clumsy about these devices. There is definitely something appealing about the "bigger than a PDA, smaller than a laptop" form-factor, but as I've seen mentioned already this seems like a solution waiting for the problem. My 3 cents about what's holding these types of tech back:

    1) Input
    So far, it's hard to beat a keyboard for actually getting stuff done. Even when playing games, I tend to like having lots of little keys to use instead of a chunky controller with buttons, knobs and levers. Touch screens will do for a pointing device, although touching a screen is less continuous than holding a mouse, so mice still have their advantages. Still, touch screens are very useful for some things (market checkouts or anything with an incremental flow of finite options) and I'd like to see them become more commonplace, but you still can't use them for text entry.

    2) Software and Flexibility
    TFA also mentions that the "Pepper Pad" also lacks useful preloaded software (eg. a calendar). Hardware is useless without some intelligent, useable software to run on it. Also, the Pepper Pad would make a wonderful handheld media device if not for the price tag, which begs that the device be used as more than just a replacement for a portable DVD player. As per the "solution waiting for a problem" comment, people are yet to really think of what software you'd want specifically for a device like this, with these abilities, that you can carry with you.

    3) Internet Availability, Battery Power (Wirelessness)
    This last one is rather simple, in that an Internet-aware device is useful for accessing all that the Web and Net have to offer... provided you have access to the Internet. Wi-Fi is still far from obiquitious. And, if a device needs to suckle on a wall socket (or a car's 12V plug) after 45 mins of heavy use, its not really very "wireless" or "portable".

    And there are my 3 cents.
  • Each button, wheel etc adds cost to the construction and increases the size of the box and reduces the size of the possible screen. Get rid of all the buttons and use a proper virtual keyboard on a touch sensitive screen. You can get rid of the scrool wheel as well. Does there really need to be speakers? Tiny speakers take space, power and almost always sound terrible.

    OTOH, it's good to see more of this style of device. One day someone will get it right.
    • hi geoff lane,

      Get rid of all the buttons and use a proper virtual keyboard on a touch sensitive screen.

      You are right about the thumbpad keyboard. The keys are rubbery and gummy, and they kind of roll under your fingers. It's annoying. BUT. Consider the alternatives. Unfortunately, the alternatives are not good. You suggested a touch keyboard, but IMHO, that would be even worse than the rubbery, slippery thumbkeys. From having used the Pepper Pad to write much of TFA, I can tell you that you
      • You are right about the thumbpad keyboard. The keys are rubbery and gummy, and they kind of roll under your fingers. It's annoying. BUT. Consider the alternatives. Unfortunately, the alternatives are not good.

        The alternative is to turn it into a laptop (or actually a convertible tablet) with a real keyboard. The thing is certainly big enough for it!

        However, the Pepper Pad is not a notebook computer. A notebook computer can be a serious production machine. The Pepper Pad is a toy. It's fun to play with. T

  • Nokia 770 anyone? (Score:3, Informative)

    by wertarbyte (811674) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @02:54AM (#15280211) Homepage
    This Pepper pad looks nice, just like a bigger version of the Nokia 770 [nokia.com], which runs Linux [maemo.org] as well. Having an open plattform [datenbruch.de] is a nice way to attract developers and establish a nice collection of applications. I hope we see more of those linux gadgets in the future.
    • Yeah, and maybe they'll get lucky and someone will donate the necessary time and effort needed to get it to sync to linux boxes instead of it's current windows only capability. Seems to me that they aren't really interested in linux for anything except as a way to cut costs.
  • I started out reading with a vague interest, but it appears that this is an inferior product to the Origami. The deal-breaker for this would have to be the 2-hour battery life. (And the lack of data-entry methods didn't help it any) But I can't afford this or the Origami, so the whole thing is kind of academic. Why can't someone just come out with a bigger-screen pda, and be done with it?
    • Why can't someone just come out with a bigger-screen pda, and be done with it?

      Aye, that's the question, isn't it? It seems that no company thinks "just a big PDA" would sell (but they're wrong), so they all try to add some kind of "twist" to it (like the Pepper Pad being for multimedia).

      That said, the closest I've found to "just a big PDA" is this [engadget.com]. Its "twist" is that it has a grayscale e-ink display ('cause it's supposed to be an ebook reader), but aside from that it is exactly a big PDA.

  • Completely useless (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mr. Freeman (933986)
    So, if you want something that you can actually type on and get work done with, you shouldn't buy this.

    If you want something that you can take anywhere, jot down a couple of notes, keep track of a calendar, etc. You also shouldn't buy this.

    How many people are going to buy this thing just to watch movies? I know that I wouldn't want to spend this much money on something with only one function. And most of my routine web browsing necessitates a lot of typing (slashdot, forums, etc.)
  • One thing I am regularly being asked about by business users is a device that can output PowerPoint presentations to a projector, but with the unit being smaller than a laptop and bigger than a PDA - the users want something low-cost (around £300-£400 max), but with the business functionality they need: ie: ability to check and send mail, Web browse (we use SugarCRM, a Web-based CRM package), do some simple word processing and, of course, display PowerPoints. It doesn't need to be a full PC, but
    • Sounds like you want an OQO...or maybe an OQO on clearance sale :P

    • For taking your ppt slides and easily presenting, you could use a palm and a SD adapter.

      I have a Treo 650 that can edit ppt slides as well, so you could make minor changes before the presentation and dump it out on your SD card.

      I have not tried the SD VGA for my Treo, but I assume it would work.
  • ...you can not only switch easily frojm one application to another, but you can also cut and paste content from, say, Writely's word processing tool to the Pepper Pad Journal and back again....

    Wow, that is übercool...:P

    ...You are a GNU/Linux gadget lover. Just think, you get to rub your Mac friends' noses in the fact that a Linux device was first to have a touch screen,....

    Never heard of the Newton [wikipedia.org] I suppose...
  • The Pepper Pad doesn't come with a cable for syncing to your Windows PC. That is potentiality a problem, because both the Pepper Pad and your PC will have the same USB ports and so you will need a cable with the large USB ports on both ends, which I have never seen in a store.

    How ignorant can you get and still be able to post these reviews? USB doesn't do host to host, which is why these cables don't exist. However, there are USB to USB networking dongles with some buffer memory, which both ends see as

  • The Pepper Pad is indeed an alternative to the Origami platform, and one that burdens you with, perhaps, the single worst keyboard ever to disgrace a PDA. I mean, the "thumboard" makes the Treo look speedy.

    But that's besides the point. The point is, Origami looks suspiciously like a Newton. It's spawned some fat and ugly Newton-wanna-be's, true, but they're Newtons... too big to fit into the pocket, but doesn't have a clamshell keyboard to make it a subnotebook.

    I find it endlessly entertaining that Microsof
    • by RiffRafff (234408) on Sunday May 07, 2006 @04:09PM (#15282173) Homepage
      The point is, Origami looks suspiciously like a Newton.

      You say that like it's a bad thing.

      Everyone who sees my Newton 2100 (which I still use on a daily basis) is impressed by one particular thing: its screen real estate. Yeah, it's bigger than a Palm Pilot, but it also does more. Plus, you don't have to learn some new inane way of writing; you just write (or print). That's the second thing that impresses...writing in English (and yes, we've all heard the Trudeau jokes, but the HWR on the 2000 and 2100 was simply superb) anywhere on the screen instead of writing hieroglyphs on top of each other in one spot and numbers in another until the touch membrane is deformed.

      This Pepper Pad needs its bright color screen combined with the Newton's ease-of-input and battery life. Then then they'd have a winner.

  • If somebody made an ARM powered laptop with solid state storage then I'd be very happy. No moving parts, silent, incredible battery life.
  • bigger and more powerful than a PDA, but smaller and less optimized for traditional desktop PC tasks than a notebook computer or a desktop PC.

    Well, the summary pretty much nailed why I won't buy one. It's neither as small as necessary to carry it conveniently, or powerful enough to compare with a laptop.
  • 800 bucks for the featured item? That seems pretty steep for such a limited device when Dell is shipping full-featured notebooks for $500 and up...

    This looked interesting...
    V2 eBook Reader [jinke.com.cn]

    SRP $349, runs Linux, aimed at EU and US markets... they're hooked up with E-Ink and have China-scale overhead, so maybe $349 SRP will translate to $200-$250 street price if they actually release this... looks like more than the usual vaporware.

    specs [jinke.com.cn]

    I wish the E-Ink prototype kit didn't cost $3,000 or I'd just build my own
    • Have you looked at the Nokia 770? [nokia.com] With the third-party, open source FBreader [mawhrin.net] software it makes a pretty fine e-book reader -- the best I've seen so far, in fact. I've already read 2-3,000 pages on mine. I just saw it on sale for $300 at CompUSA yesterday. One drawback is that it's a traditional LCD, so reading while lying in the sun is almost impossible.
      • ** happy dance **

        wait wait wait... europe.nokia.com? why do they get all the good stuff? am i "allowed" to have one of these in the US? (If not i guess I could move)

        Yeah, that's very nearly it. I may settle for this despite the propietary os. 3 hours isn't quite enough battery life, but yeah, the Nokia 770 looks like it would do "enough" to get me by... thanks for the tip.

        Nokia has apparently created and (for the moment) supports maemo.org [maemo.org], a developer site for the developer's kit that ONLY supports at th
        • Proprietary OS? It runs Linux. You install software with .deb packages.

          Where did you hear that the 2006 OS will cost money?
          • my bad on "proprietary OS". I thought i'd edited that out.

            OS update costing money:
            1) they distinguish between [nokia.com] "Software Update" and "Operating System Upgrade," a sign of potential trouble if ever there was one
            2) This FAQ [nokia.com] which is almost impossible to find without stumbling into... and the fact that they've raised the idea of "price" in the make-believe question in the FAQ

            4. What is the cost of upgrading to the Internet Tablet 2006 software edition?
            Nokia will publish the distribution details later this year.

  • No thanks. Looked cute until i got to that point in its specs.

    Didnt see a price either other then 'subject to change'.. Change from what?
  • When will someone come out with a Tablet that is a tablet.... you know, something I can jot down notes on, check a few references with and get a signature on a form when it's needed.

    I don't want a subnotebook with a touch sensitive screen, integrated keyboard, 5 different input ports, Bose quality speakers and a DVD player.... it's a tablet, if I wanted all that I would get a subnotebook.

    Give me a good touch sensitive screen, about 9 x 12 with a handle and a stylus and no more than 1/4 in. 'frame' so the wh
  • No sale.

    (Still waiting on my iLiad [irextechnologies.com].)

  • So how is this any better than the Nokia 770 [nokia.com]?

    I mean the 770 already has an active community [maemo.org] behind it and an open development environment [maemo.org] that you can dig right into.

    Yes, the 770 is a bit underpowered but the form factor looks MUCH better than the Pepper Pad. Plus I can go to the store and get one NOW.

A method of solution is perfect if we can forsee from the start, and even prove, that following that method we shall attain our aim. -- Leibnitz

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