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Transmeta Webpad 72

Quickening writes: "At long last, the coveted transmeta webpad is available from FrontPath as the ProGear 1050 HX+. Juicy tidbits: linux 2.4, TM3200 400MHz, touchpad, 802.11b, and USB. I expect to see this kind of story on Slashdot before I run across the product surfing. These are the same Rio people that bought up the EMPEG car mp3 player." They're not exactly cheap, but they sure are nifty. I think I'll stay with my old laptop with 802.11 though.
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Transmeta Webpad

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  • "neat-o keen"

    Looks more etcho-sketch to me... did you guys have those things in the US? It was the ultimate in vector graphics, I had one when I was 5.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Give it a couple of years, they're just used in vertical applications at the moment like stock control and in hospitals etc, the same was true of 802.11 until a couple of years ago when it went mainstream, wireless lans have been around for about 10 years in various incarnations (unstandardised 433, 900mhz etc).

    Actually webpads have been around for ages too, remember Pen Windows? Fijitsu and Toshiba used to produce them, but not on scale. Hopefully if Rio produce on scale the price will drop precipitously within a few months, I can't see them going anywhere whilst they're more expensive than notebooks.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    On the one hand it says "The stability of a Unix OS." I can't really argue with that. But it also says, "Netscape version 4.7 for compatibility." Doesn't Netscape break the stability and Linux break the compatibility?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The Ricoh G1200s [] is an "Obsolete" 486-DX2 Webpad with 640x480 colour touchscreen that runs Linux & X just fine. Costs $185 and does almost all that this device will do.

    But that's not going to interest the super-rich Slashdot readership, of course.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 21, 2001 @01:57AM (#70870)
    "These are the same Rio people that bought up the EMPEG car mp3 player."

    No that was a British company called EMPEG [], Rio's innovation was writing a cheque and buying them up.

    I've seen people with an EMPEG and AirPort base station in their car window... obviouly great for zapping new tunes to your car.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 21, 2001 @03:34AM (#70871)

    I dont own, nor have I had a chance to use any computer based on a Transmeta chip -- so I cant say wether they're any good or not....

    ...but I have to think that a fair (most?) amount of the buzz surrounding that company, and the single reason why any of us here pay attention to TMTA is because Linus Torvalds works there.

    I reckon that if Linus hadnt signed on with them, today we'd think of Transmeta much like we think of the IDT/Centaur chips...a fringe low-end player in the market.

    I dunno why we dont think of them in such low terms _anyway_. Transmeta chips dont perform as advertized -- and both Intel and AMD have demonstrated that they can at least match Crusoe chips (for low-power usage) even if only in the lab -- they could bring those chips out, if there were enough demand to warrant them.

    Honestly, does a Transmeta Crusoe (any model) have any advantage or even interesting quirk for end users beyond low power consumption?

    Dont get me wrong, I wish them well. I get the feeling that by this time, Transmeta wanted to be competitive with at least AMD, and perhaps even have a (small) slice of _desktop_ computers to go with a (larger) slice of notebooks. But the chips dont even match Celerons in terms of performance, and Celerons are really lagging behind at this point.

  • nForce is a nice chipset, but I really donno who can assist you there if you want Linux support..

    On the other hand - SiS have a full chipset solution, open source drivers, and they know Linux pretty well..

  • It looks like most of the webpad-type appliances I've seen all run Linux; it is the dominant desktop OS for this market.

    This means that, if this market takes off, suddenly lots more software companies have to support Linux. We could see (dare I say it?) a Quicktime port.

  • These are simply not going to slel at that price range. It's just not worth 2200 bucks. Put it down near a grand or so, and maybee, but the use and capabilities provided simply do not meet the price tag. Look at what it provides..

    400 Mhz Processor
    10.4" LCD
    802.11b networking card
    128 Megs RAM

    Thats it. Combined, the equipment, not counting the fact that this is a transmeta processor, is like maybee 500 dollars worth of equipment. Counting batteries, case, etc, maybee 700 to 800. So essentially, that looks like around a 1400-1500 markup.

    I can get a KICKING laptop with a 802.11b card for that price. What does this give me, besides a smaller screen, no HD, etc, that a laptop wouldn't?
  • The last time I checked, $185 gets you a G1200s with no hard drive. So you have to buy a PCMCIA drive, which doubles your cost and makes it a severe PITA to install an OS on the thing.

    Plus, it doesn't boot off the CDROM.

    When you're done, it's still too slow to play MP3s (my critical lowest common denominator app these days).

    I have a Panasonic CF-01 tablet PC that is just barely powerful enough to play MP3s (it has a Pentium in it). Sadly, it can only do this in Windows, since there are no drivers for PCMCIA sound cards under Linux, and the CF-01 has no built-in sound.

    The big thing is battery life - my CF-01 only gets a couple of hours of battery life, and I don't thnk the Ricoh is much better. Some of the nicer Transmeta laptops can go up to 9 hours on battery.

    Jon Acheson
  • Let's see -- it costs more than most decent laptops, has a smaller screen, and in the absence of a keyboard, it's far less capable.


    Jesus, all I want to be able to do is read /. and Gutenberg texts at a readable point size while I'm sitting on the sofa. For that kind of money, I'm better off buying a mid-range HP laser printer and several cartons of paper.


  • Oh how about a $890.00 version that is palm sized?
    has pcmcia slots, CF slot,USB,etc...

    It's the Mylinux PLW search for it in google... they start production in a few weeks...

    Thewebsite is a bit behind, but the archives for the mailing list have the info
  • It looks like they've either gone with the "PDA too large to be a PDA" market or the "Slow laptop with no keyboard" market. I'm sure they'll corner both.

  • Well, kickass! Thanks - I knew it would be hackable; that is the beauty of linux supported hardware. Let me clarify some points:
    • "Not intended for the consumer" means these prices are obviously "hospital prices", that is, "appropriately absurd". It also means they're not doing support like consumers would expect.
    • This is the first transmeta webpad of, I hope, many. Using transmeta chips should mean cheaper, not just long lasting battery life. I think Transmeta still has a lot going for it - the 1GHz cpu is coming, its partnership with AMD, and the software upgradeability of their cpu translation engine.
    • Prefered uses for a webpad over a notebook. I personally have never liked notebooks, but I would still like portable access anywhere on my estate to my lan. The applications I would like to use in this manner would all be point/drag/drop applications - which is why the touchscreen is so important. All it really needs to do is run an X-server, and the x-clients connecting to it would be using the resources of more powerful computers.

    I'm still waiting tho until organic LED screens, 802.11a, and support like that behind the MyLinux PLW project []

  • The Sharp Wizard runs off commodity batteries. I think the Handspring Visor does also. So this is just a matter of technology. LCD's don't really take much power, but the interface needs to be designed to be relatively static if you want to save power. Disk drives might be a bit more problamatical, though I think I saw some reports from IBM that are promissing.

    Say, 3 years from now.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.

  • Sure, it looks nice, but.... Does anyone really want something like this? Yes, yes, its neat-o keen, and you can use it show off infront of other people, but for $2500, i'd rather have a high-end Thinkpad. It'll have more features--Like a cover, to prevent my LCD screen from getting scratched up like a 20 year old Etch-A-Sketch.

    Sorry, but, "It looks cool" doesn't top my list of "Reasons To Spend $2500 On A Computer."

  • by Mike Schiraldi ( 18296 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @05:21AM (#70882) Homepage Journal
    Go to Well, lookie here. Laptops, small cool low-power servers...


  • $2300 for a 400mhz web browser?
    Netscape 4.7? (The bane of my existence...)
    No CD/DVD?
    No built-in wireless?
    Yeah, sure...
    Send me 10 of them...
    I give it ten minutes before people try to find a way to add a keyboard and mouse, too.

    My PC has 'Instant On' too, if I only turn off the screen...

    MMDC Mobile Media []
  • OK, it was 5 minutes.
    My bad.

    I guess what I meant was that people would use it for about 10 minutes before hooking up a keyboard.
    I mean, I like the idea of Crusoe and all - Linux is great and all, but this is one expensive piece of hardware they're selling.
    Every year or so, a company comes out with a tablet-style computer and time after time, it falls flat. I guess they picture that doctors or field engineers or somebody will be using them, but it just hasn't happened.
    I know I sound cynical, but oddly, I run a site for palm pilot... Go figure.

    MMDC Mobile Media []
  • by Brento ( 26177 ) <`moc.razotnerb' `ta' `otnerb'> on Saturday July 21, 2001 @04:49AM (#70885) Homepage
    We got a demo unit a month ago for a 30-day evaluation. I set the thing up, so I'll shoot my mouth off here and let you know how it went.

    We do customer satisfaction surveys - when you see a comment card in a hotel, it probably gets sent to us when you're done. We scan it, compile the comments, and give nice reports to hotel managers (among other things.)

    Well, everybody wants more detailed satisfaction data, so we explored the idea of having these at the hotel front desk. When you checked out, the clerk would hand you this webpad, and you would take a survey instantly just by tapping your choices onscreen. Did you use the restaurant? (Yes/no) Then, of course, it could do things that comment cards can't: change questions based on your inputs (only show restaurant questions to people who click Yes, only show dissatisfaction questions to people who weren't happy, etc.) Anyway, that's what we were using it for - web-based surveys in a restricted environment.

    First off, this thing is locked down tighter than the Pope's poop chute. After struggling with it for an hour, we called the support line only to find out that they really didn't know much about it either. When we finally got hold of someone who had a clue, he informed us that no, we couldn't change the IP address - it was DHCP-only. That should have been our first clue that this thing wasn't ready for prime time.

    I couldn't tell you what version of Linux it was, because frankly, I didn't care, but you don't have access to configuration utilities anyway.

    The handwriting recognition is good for a first release of the unit. (We didn't need recognition, but we played with it anyway.) IMHO, it was better and more intuitive than the iPaqs I've used.

    The screen is great, very readable from all angles. It has a built-in speaker, so just for yuks, we tuned into a RealAudio station and walked around the building, using it as the world's most expensive boom box. Somehow, people were not amused. Other than Netscape, RealAudio, and a couple of obscure plugins, that was about it.

    At first glance in the ads, you might think the 802.11b wireless is built in - it's not, it uses a normal PCMCIA card. FrontPath shipped them with a couple of different cards (tech support has to ask you which one you have) and we had the Lucent one, if I remember right. The coverage was absolutely phenomenal for a battery-powered unit: we could traverse most of our 35,000 sq ft building, both floors, using just one central DLink access point on the second floor. Very impressive.

    Usability is pretty rough - most of the icons don't make much sense. From a physical standpoint, it's just not the right size/weight either. The weight is pretty much spread across across the entire unit, so when you hold it and write on it, you have to support it from underneath. You can't just hold it by the side, it'll flop all over the place. It's heavier than it looks, and it's awkward, too - the "easel" they give you to rest the thing on doesn't support it well enough to actually use it while it's in the easel. (Whoo, bad sentence there.)

    That pricing is flexible - I think we got a quote for around $1500 for even the smallest quantity order, but I'm not in accounting so I couldn't give you an exact number.

    We recommended against it just because of the ludicrous price. At that price point, we could put in small touchscreen PC's instead, and get much, much more functionality. Remember, you're paying laptop-grade bucks for a machine that only surfs the web and NOTHING ELSE.
  • Yup, according to their FAQ it will also run Windows 98 SE.
  • You can get an epods one for around $200, hack it back to plain Windows CE, and add a 802.11b hub and card for cheaper than that!

    I suppose you don't actually *have* an Epods One... I do, and once you've done that, you've still got something that's effectively terminally brain-dead because it's not only stuck with WinCE (Yuck, really) but stuck, in fact, with an even more brain-dead subset of WinCE, one that does not properly run over half of the WinCE/MIPS programs out there. (Remember, this isn't Java-land, so you'll need to get WinCE binaries for not only your arch. type, but as a practical matter, for the specific WinCE box you have, especially if it's a bit "odd" in having a full 640x480 screen, as the Epods does.

    I've played extensively with both the Epods and the FrontPath. Trust me, the price difference is *more* than justified.
  • Actually, I'd be more than willing to trade off CPU for battery life in a device like this. Get real - what are you likely to need more tha 300Mhz worth of CPU for on a machine like this?

    (BTW: I'm writing this from my primary laptop, which is still in daily service and runs at a screaming 133 MHz. CPU is not the bottleneck: RAM, Disk, and network are.
  • by dublin ( 31215 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @10:36PM (#70889) Homepage
    Actually, there are millions of us that want touchscreen computers. The problem is that the marketdroids that figure out what we want don't have the vision to picture a Linux-based PDA on steroids.

    BTW: I played with both early and late prototype FrontPath units, and they are really just laptop PCs: You can easily load Red Hat, Debian, or Slack on them - I know because I've run them on this device.

    A real SuperPad would encompass all PDA functionality (and do it as well as a Palm, which is a tall order); interface *seamlessly* with PDAs, cellphones, and desktop computers; have reasonable support (handwriting recognition AND virtual keyboard support preferably in the BIOS) for keyboardless input, good wireless support, and most importantly, be designed to be hackable, since the simple fact is that neither the marketdroids nor anyone else really knows what applicaitons for such a beast will take off - it needs to be open enough to let people try, just like they did with the original (Palm) Pilot 1000: people wound up using it for things Palm never dreamed of.

    (This raises interesting questions about architecture and design for such things, and points out some problems: Even if it makes sense to put some new functionality in the BIOS, you can't do it, because MS excercises absolute control over PC architecture via the PC9X and related standards - they wield their club over the OEMs more heavily in this area than any other. Compliance with their architecture dictates is "voluntary", but you will find yourself paying MUCH more than your competitors if you don't dance the MS tune. This is a REAL example of how MS PREVENTS innovation.

    Tablet computers are desperately needed, though, and would be wildly successful if they were designed as above. Somethign at a laptop price point that's locked down to being only a bad web surfing device will fail, as we've seen over and over again from companies like Netpliance, Epods, etc.

    People desperately want tablets or full-function webpads, they just don't want supid ones, and since the technologies they use are on the expensive side anyway, manufacturers will need to go out of their way to make them attractive. I'm available for consulting.
  • does anybody know of an internal 802.11 card that is linux compatable that supports an external antena? basically, ive heard that you cant really use the things without an external antena on at least one end.

    id like to setup my firewall/gateway w/ a card and a nice, big antena and get a pcmcia card for my ipaq, that would be the ultimate web pad.

    so, any ideas?

  • I dont own, nor have I had a chance to use any computer based on a Transmeta chip -- so I cant say wether they're any good or not....

    ...but I have to think that a fair (most?) amount of the buzz surrounding that company, and the single reason why any of us here pay attention to TMTA is because Linus Torvalds works there.

    Rectification. Linus Tovalds doesn't work for Transmeta anymore, he left the company on the 20th of june []. He now works for Guiness Breweries.
  • > The second image where he is lying down with blood pouring of his head clearly draws a map of Italy, Cicily and Corsique.

    Wow, indeed! Although I think it's supposed to be Sardiny rather than Corsique (Corsique belongs to France, not Italy).

    Now, check this against Mapquest [], and be amazed at the level of details of the forgery! If you rotate the picture of the bloodstain by 90 degrees to the left, and scale it up by 13.7%, it almost exactly matches the map!

  • > Formally, perhaps, but in practise prime ministers and presidents have become more and more autocratic. They've got the unquestioning support of their majority party, because a member of a party cannot vote according to his/her will but always has to vote for the proposals of the party.

    Moreover, in many countries voting against the ratification of an already signed treaty means dissolving the government. And no party is going to dissolve its own government on a whim.

  • Just that one question keeps ringing in my mind. For 2K dollars, you get a system that can only surf the web, I see a sale needed badly. Kiosks cost alot less and just aren't as easily transportable, which is probably a good thing as they're harder to steal. So my question is what would anyone do with it?
  • Looks nice. However, I can't see the price. How much are they ?

    -- Pure FTP server [] - Upgrade your FTP server to something simple and secure.
  • Look under "Additional Requirements" []. I believe it already supports a USB keyboard and mouse.

  • This is product for vertical markets (not for home). And the price IS competitive if you compare with japanese tablet PCs.
  • hey dude
    i work at Frontpath and bike to work on $120 chinese bike every day.
  • it has USB port
    you just plug in USB keyboard and mouse
  • Well, my first laptop I spent $3000 on and it was obsolete within a year, but I think you're right now. I gave that laptop (a Gateway solo 2100) to a relative, and found myself justifying protable computing again.

    This one is like coming out of the stone age. USB firewire, active matrix screen... The only thing I miss is the DB9 serial port.
  • The Powerbook G4 is my webpad.

    For nearly the same price, you get an actual computer. It is light and thin enough to bring on the toilet (the main purpose of a webpad) backpack or airplane (the main purpose for a laptop), and the powerbook keeps your legs warm on winter nights to boot.

    2x HD space, State of the art Unix-based OS, larger screen, DVD player, more RAM... I can't think of a comparison where the Tibook comes out behind this product.

    I bought the G4 because I was done waiting for the webpad of my dreams to come. This webpad has the right specs for a webpad, but the price-performance ratio is still beaten by the Tibook. 6 months have passed without obsolescing this purchase, I'd say a that's pretty good ROI. I'm impressed, anyway, and that's all that matters.
  • Everybody and his mother seems not interested in the display resolution. Usually companies don't quote them because that's what's expensive. A manufacturer can build a 3" and a 18" Display for roughly the same price, while any XGA display costs much more than a VGA regardless of size. Jeez.
  • Ouch! What are these people thinking? It comes with Netscape 4.7 pre-installed. I thought this was supposed to be a web pad, not a lack of all the web's cool features pad. Good grief, they would have been much better off installing the latest mozilla build than Netscape 4.7.
  • OK, given that commodity batteries will not happen (come on, how long do you think that a laptop would run off of D cells? and what about recharges?), it appears that what you want is to buy a cheap laptop (for the price you quote, an older one), an external keyboard and mouse, and a suitcase to pack them in. Problem solved.
  • Check out RLX [] to read about a company that is going whole hog into the Transmeta-based server market. They are down here in Houston and appear to have a lot of traction. I don't know how their sales are going though.

  • If you need a "network administrator" with a "USB keyboard and/or [huh?] 3-button mouse" to get the thing up and running and connected, then it is obviously not for the average Joe luser.

    Do you really think that Megacorp Inc is going to buy hundreds of these to their employees? Maybe if it had a bar-code scanner it would be useful for field service people, but I didn't see that included....

    Now if this thing had a bar-code reader and it was certified to run SAP, Siebel, et al., then I could see it being bought by the truck load by some companies I know.

    But as it is: who is it for?

  • Well, apparently there are people who think the Crusoe chip is adequate because a Fujitsu laptop with a Crusoe 533Mhz chip won "Best of Show" [] at PC Expo 2001.

    The reason a lot of people haven't tried Transmeta powered machines, is because these computers aren't currently sold in the United States. However, you can check out a whole line of sleek, feature rich laptops at Dynamism []. There are impressive laptops available that include built-in DVDs, bright screens and Transmeta chips that have extraordinary battery life. Don't count Transmeta out yet.

  • God dammit, I want one of those! It says it has a 600MHz proc, but not what that proc is. Frankly, if you're going to go all the way to making it a notebook like this, I'd really like to see a weighty brain in there. There's really no excuse to sell underpowered devices when all the hardware's there. Anyhow, if Apple brought out the TiBook (or even iBook) replacement with this kind of incredible ergonomics, I'd jump on it in seconds!

    The key for me has always been the ability to incorporate (or ebtter yet, built-in) ethernet ports as well as abillity to run a shell. This stuff is perfect for telco and isp engineers. I'm so sick of lugging heavy laptops around. If I could take the screen off and use it as a terminal, then plug back into the base and have a proper high-powered machine, that's all I'd ever ask for.

  • by whookey ( 102450 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @08:02AM (#70910)

    I've been playing with a beta version of one of these units for a while, getting the software of the company I work for running on it. Here's what I've found out:

    • The shipping software is based on slackware. It was great seeing a "real" product shipped with an alan cox kernel :)
    • there's a unity USB port, so to use a mouse and keyboard at the same time, you need a hub or keyboard pass-thru. Both these objects worked out of the box.
    • Once I got an xterm up, the first exercise was to get root. They have me the pass when I called tech support, but there's a better way. There's a mysterious process called impp running. strace showed that every second it reads a file in /tmp (impp.somethingerother) and *passes the first line to a root shell*! hee hee, easy. This will make things fun when they deploy these things in hotels as mentioned in an earlier comment :)
    • To install my own OS, I opted to swap out the hard drives. They didn't make it easy, as you'll need some small torx wrenches in order to get the backplate off. I preinstalled RedHat7.1 on a disk, using another laptop. With some squeezing, I was able to get a full-height laptop harddrive into the unit, to replace their half-height. Everything came up beatifully, all I had to do were some XF86Config tweaks, and get the drivers for the touchscreen and power management from the ProGear install. (no source available). I installed a software keyboard, xvkbd and integrated it into our company's environment. So we've got support for sound, (beautiful) touchscreen video, wireless 'net, USB; a friendly linux device! The PCMCIA chipset is well supported, so the possibilities increase dramatically by installing your own system.

    After using this thing for weeks, I still agree with everyone who prefers laptops to webpads for the consumer, based on street prices. Webpads have perfect applications, but randomly applying them to the market doesn't work. Real keyboards and real pointing devices are still far superior to "virtual" ones. That said, I would gladly take this little beasty home for some lovin'. for slouching style couch surfing, it conforms to one's lap much nicer than a laptop, especially in a drunken stupor (i plan to put this theorem to the test at a future date). once the Progear has been paid for, it's AOK.

    Feel free to contact me if you want to hear more (and please do if you're also hacking this thing!) [ j o s e p h s (at) o e o n e (dot) c o m ]

  • Anybody else pick up on this?? They are charging twice as much as I guess that's one way to shave $70 off the price... well of one of the accessories.
  • This is TOO EXPENSIVE for the home user. Most home users are barely willing to fork out for a $500 eMachine! So, why not aim something similar at corporate users?

    How about this: a webpad type case, but more like a laptop inside. So you can run WHATEVER YOU WANT. Linux, Windows, goddamn Freedos for all I care. With a DVD, and speakers, and a big hard drive and plenty of ram. Now, you also have a docking station on your desk, with a keyboard and mouse. The pad drops vertically into the docking station, and viola! A desktop computer ala Gateway Profile type deal, except you can pick it up and bring it to your meeting.

    I know that if these babies were out there, everyone in the company would have one. Right now.
  • Here's what I really want in a laptop:

    1. A full sized keyboard.

    2. A detachable monitor. Note, that doesn't mean wireless. A 2 foot cord is probably fine.

    3. A real mouse option as well as an "eraser head" on the keyboard.

    4. A CD/DVD drive and floppy built in.

    5. Capable of running on commodity batteries. NO proprietary form factors on the battery. Standard rechareable D-cell sized batteries, chemical composition of my choosing. Needless to say, it should also be possible to run it off a regular wall socket. To expand on this point, there should be as many commodity components as possible. I don't want to be beholden to the manufacturer if something breaks.

    These characteristics, especially the full-sized keyboard suggest a non-typical form factor. When you put the keyboard and the screen next to eachother, you get two rectangles that don't fit, so don't try.

    Instead, what I would probably have is something that looks like a thin suitcase. Remember the original Compaq computers from the early and mid 1980s? These were "luggable" computers with 6-inch CRTs in them. We could do the same thing today, except now we have the technology to make them truly portable with no CRT.

    This product would work really well for my typical mobile computing scenario which involves being in a public library or away from home in a motel room.

    I think it could even be made to work on a plane, though not as well. The key would be clever case design, fixing it so the keyboard and monitor slide out of the box and lock into an ergonomic position.

    Oh, and it should cost less than $1000.

    Does anybody make such a beast?

  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @03:38AM (#70914) Journal

    ...seems to be that they are marketing to companies that make products nobody wants. Put the thing in a real laptop for crying out loud. If people wanted these webpad thingies, the laptop market would already have evolved in that direction by integrating some of the webpad features into traditional laptops. It hasn't. People don't want this crap.

    If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: It's the servers, stupid.

    People want to cram more servers in a rack, run them cooler, with less power. Save space, save power. Everybody seems to understand that except Transmeta's sales and marketing department. If they continue like this, I give the company another 6 months and that's it.

  • Will it run Windows? ;)

  • I give it ten minutes before people try to find a way to add a keyboard and mouse, too. Why would they need to wait 10 minutes? The description says it supports USB mice and keyboards.
  • It looks like they merely packaged a normal computer in a small space, with an HD and no keyboard. I bet it has a regular OS bootup procedure.
    A webpad should have no moving parts, an always-loaded(prom?) OS, and be instant-on. Cheap and easy to manufacture.
  • by rtscts ( 156396 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @02:35AM (#70918)
    teach em how to build pr0n sites then.. they'll be making more than you 6 months after graduating.
  • When I hear "webpad" I think ~$400-800. Maybe they should add a pressure sensitive stylus and sell it as a graphic art tablet/webpad/portable entertainment device (Of course it would be a much better entertainment device w/ a DVD and a DMCA free world). It would also be nice to see an integrated hard cover that just flips down over the screen. If it has a decent sized HD, good battery life and is reasonably fast I'd buy it for maybe $1800. If you want $2300 show me video and a DVD player.
  • by jeko ( 179919 ) on Saturday July 21, 2001 @01:37AM (#70920)
    (from the sales material)
    How to increase your students' attention span
    ProGear allows you to help students conduct Internet research with touch-screen broadband wireless LAN anywhere in your classroom.

    Yeah, that's exactly what I need, a bunch of 13-year-old boys surfing for porn while I'm trying to explain how to build a table in HTML...

  • All though the price is too high at the moment($1000-$1500 would be more reasonable), yes *I* would pay more to get rid of the keyboard! This is a good start to what I want to see.

    I want to see a unit that will act as a touch-screen capable thin form factor wireless LCD display with 15"-20" diagonal at (at least) 1280x1024-1600x1200. Also it should have USB, etc. for when you do want to connect keyboard or mouse. Sort of like a thin-form-factor iBook but with the keyboard chopped off and the guts glued to the bottom of the display. Then the computer is on the desk, but the display unit can be carried around the house much like a newspaper or in the backyard. And it can run an X server.

    Added processing power in the unit is a plus, but not needed except for in character recognition and display related functions. My idea is a thin display that is actually practical.

    This is a step in the right direction!! Some body go out and buy some. And stop being so critical of new products.. eventually they will all be more practical (if they survive that is...)
  • hmm.. in it's current form it isn't ready for mass market, but it's a step in the right direction.
  • I hope that this company makes a go of it!! Either that or Linux running on any Microsoft based webpads that come out. The problem with new products is most people don't buy the early versions because it simply isn't good enough at a reasonable consumer price and then the company doesn't have enough money to continue and dies. So that is what holds back inovation until some how the proverbial chicken and egg situation is solved. Most likely an issue of forsight and financing.
  • The screen size and resolution are better than many web pads.. But I would like to see 15" to 20" viewable diagonal with 1280x1024-1600x1200.
  • by shokk ( 187512 ) <> on Saturday July 21, 2001 @05:26AM (#70925) Homepage Journal

    You can get an epods one [] for around $200, hack it back to plain Windows CE, and add a 802.11b hub and card for cheaper than that! $2000 is an insane price to ask, so I assume this company will either have to discontinue the line before it gets too far out the door, or drag the Rio and RioCar down with it as it dies trying.

  • Funny, Apple is the first place I went to to try to find a production model with a form factor this cool, but no dice. Somewhere in the Paceblade site, it mentions that it's a Crusoe processor. I don't know if you consider this underpowered, but I think the big advantage is heat. Imagine a laptop that you can your lap! Even with a metal zipper! Although the ppc is much better than Intel/AMD in thermal characteristics, I recall a note on the Apple site about heat problems with G3 notebooks ("the keyboard becomes hot to the touch" IIRC) and G4s are hotter.

    I've heard mixed things about Transmeta's performance, but I saw in their promotional literature that you can touch it while it's running. In a land where you can be sued for serving hot coffee, I'll take that claim as the truth.

    The only question I have about it is whether the rotatable touch screen will have a linux driver. I have to read tons of stuff on line and I've been fantasizing about padding around the house reading from this screen like a newspaper. Mmmmmm. Not to give them any ideas, but it'd probably be worth another $1000 to me if it just works as advertised.

  • The price is junk. Not long ago, Slashdot did a story on the PaceBlade [], which claims it will have a larger screen (12 vs 10 inches), more standard memory, faster transmeta processor, bigger disk, detachable keyboard, etc for $1995. Add a wireless nic and you're still way ahead of this one.

    Admittedly, their product hasn't shipped yet, but I'd be willing to wait to get something that looks truly useful.

  • It's conceptually interesting in that it integrates a great many technologies which deserved to be integrated but it certainly could use some refinements. Keep in mind that this is the first of it's kind (more or less) and we should expect competing (and likely superior) devices to appear on the market in the near future.

    As for being a dodo, well it certainly missed it's window with regard to the web technology craze of the past two years, but reading their literature, it looks like they've repositioned the product reasonably. Only time will tell.


  • A full sized keyboard and detachable monitor could fit together, you would just have a laptop with a larger footprint and a Cinema Display []-type monitor with a wide aspect ratio.

    The 'real mouse option' is available for most laptops through USB.

    The only thing *not* possible is having the laptop run on regular batteries. As these batteries wear down, they start outputting a lower amount of voltage. While your average flashlight will just get dimmer, a computer would lock up or worse, would be damaged.

  • <sarcasm>
    It's good that this bleeding edge hardware is packaged with only the best browser available today.

    Well, I guess one place I would be using something like this is in the bathroom which is where this crappy browser belongs! :)

  • a mere $2300
  • I know what you mean about your PC having instant on, but how did they get instant on to work with Linux for real?
  • well, i was perhaps overly harsh. i, too, am excited by the promise of these types of devices.

    but this product has yet to find it's niche. is it a electronic clipboard that you can surf the web on? is it a home information appliance toy? is it a recipe pad? is it a replacement for the old tried-and-true newspaper to read while you're eating your bowl of Tastey Wheat?

    the answer to all is, yes. of course. but, is it worth $2399 to save a dollar for a paper every sunday?

    here's what i'd like to see: don't eliminate the keyboard (i know, there's a touch-screen keyboard, but try and touch-type on those - where the heck are your fingers?)

    instead, make the keyboard optional - i.e. it can fold around backwards out of the way. it's thin, but it's still three-dimensional. hey, maybe it can fold over and protect the screen while in transit.

    not a laptop, mind you, where the keyboard IS the base and the screen folds up. i mean, a touchscreen pad with a thin, not designed to be used 100% keyboard that optionally folds out (or can even detach completely.)

    different tasks require different levels and types of input. web surfing could get by with pointing/clicking and a bit of text entry (for searches, etc.). composing email might be a lesson in futility unless the handwriting recog. is top-notch.

    as for word processing, spreadsheets, etc. i'd have to see what level the OS has integration. if it were like the old apple newtons - scribble over a word and it goes "poof" that takes usability to the ultimate level - using the paradigm they're attempting to create (a digital pen) and making real-world habitual actions perform the same function in the digital world.
  • why pay $2299 for a glorified wireless Audrey?

    just pick up a TiBook or a superslim laptop, i don't see what the big deal is. are people willing to pay more to eliminate a keyboard?

    how exactly do you type on a 'virtual' touchscreen keyboard, anyway? if you're using 2 hands to type.... what are you holding the computer with? and if you lay it flat on a table, can you still even see what's on the screen?

    i think they need to fire a couple of gadget-freaks and hire someone with some common sense & UI design, then sell their Lexus IS300's and ride the bus so they can drop the price on this to a shade over 7-800$.

  • What the hell happened to the TMTA stocks????? they are at like $5 and below now!!!
  • I am planning to try and build one of those for september.. [skule] .. I am looking forward to the nforce mobo.. cause I think they are small enough + some pci agp riser cards to I can make it all flat... I donno how I am going to do anything yet. just thinkin'
  • You are not being serious are you ?
    Do you seriously believe that Africans would even realize that they HAVE these resources?
    Every time Europeans found them ( be it 16, 17 , 18 or even 20 century) , these people were at the same level.
    They have not progressed a bit.
    Please don't even pull this shit about us wasting their resources.
    If it weren't for Europeans these people would still die out in millions due to simple and very much curable virus infections etc ...
    We used these resources to enhance standards of live all over this planet.
    If you deny that then please show a better model we should follow ...

It's great to be smart 'cause then you know stuff.