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Webpads, Anyone? 149

crons writes: "Just found this on the website. FIC is releasing a webpad called the AquaPAD that runs Midori Linux and has a Tranmeta 500MHZ Crusoe cpu. Here's the story from, and here are a few specs. An 802.11b wireless LAN card is supported in the PCMCIA slot, as are modules for GSM, GPRS, and Bluetooth." For around $600, this looks like it might make a great living room terminal.
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Webpads, Anyone?

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  • Cheap!!! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Quasar1999 ( 520073 )
    This looks sweet, and it's cheaper than one of those LCD touch screen remote controls I was thinking of getting... Does it have an IR port that can be reprogrammed to work like a universal remote control for my entertainment system???
    • I'm sure someone makes a USB IR adapter of some sort. Actually, a better solution might be one of the old ePods WebPads. They had a built in IR port, as well as a serial port. If, that is, you can get something other then CE to run on it.

      If you want a cheap(er) touch screen remote, however, just get a plam pilot with OmniRemote. I've had no problems controlling everything I own from up to 30 feet or so with my IIIc.
      • i have the handspring visor springboard module version of omniremote. It's pretty good, although it can't control all of my stereo (NAD reciever/CD Player)

        (P.S. has anyone opened up this springboard module and noticed that there is a spot that looks like it was intended for some sort of transmiter {X10?})
  • Imagine the possibilities, distributed load balanced address books and calendars!
  • by Skynet ( 37427 ) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @06:42PM (#2390122) Homepage
    Hitachi also has a webpad that uses the Crusoe and runs Midori, the FLORA-ie55mi. I have actually had the chance to play with one, it is really nifty. Great on screen keyboard.

    Here [] is the link. It's in Japanese. Babelfish to the rescue?
  • Cheers for FIC (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ryepup ( 522994 )
    For giving users a choice of OS. That way, it can appear to the 'ease-of-use' folks and to the people who want to put Linux on thier TI-83.

    Could this be a replacement for PDAs? Just pull one of these babies out of your portfolio. They seem a bit bulky for that, but with a platform like this, wireless web might gain popularity.

    If municipal wireless (or unsecured corporate wireless) networks gain ground, then these could really take off, especially with the wide flexibility it offers.

    Rambling furthur, if you stick one of those quarter-sized IBM harddrives in this thing, and it puts my computer to shame. Maybe all laptops will head this way, using Crusoe to lengthen battery life.

    Just a thought.
    • The moment you'll put the IBM Microdrive - no matter how much power you save - will go to the IBM Microdrive - it's simply EATS battery power like mad!
    • I don't know about anyone else, but my wireless experience has been less than thrilling. I've got a D-Link access point at home and a D-Link wireless broadband gateway at another site and a D-Link DWL-650 wireless card in my laptop. it seems that either place I go I can only go about 40 or 50 feet away (through several walls) from the wireless access points before my signal drops off completely. I'm not worried about whackers attacking my wireless LAN.. hell, I can barely pick up my access point in my living room.
      • It would seem that D-Link is the problem. At work, we have D-Link Access Points and D-Link USB/PC-cards. I can't close the door of my office! At home, I am using wavelan and Apple airport base station (which is basically an lucent card orinoco.) Here everything works fine. I can surf the web from the back of my house with 2 rooms and the main wall in between.

        On top of this, the Apple base station is more pleasing for the eyes than the grey color D-Link "Sharper Image" gizmo look.
  • I seem to remember when these first appeared as prototypes floating around comdex a couple of years back. It seems that most everyone thought that a PDA on steriods was a great idea and wanted one. I vote we all go out and get one anyway (whether you like it or not) and help the economy. Oh, you can't because you lost your job, in hock to your neck from debt built on equity in the form of high-tech stocks and your too busy papering the walls that load of options to a closed-up dot-bomb ....shucks!!!!
    • I was looking for a device almost exactly like this yesterday, heh. I can swing $600 easy, but I can't find any place that actually sells these things. Can anyone find these things actually for sale? Or even anything else like it for sale and in stock?

      Is it practical? I'll get back to you on that one, I'd like to actually use one first. A new toy? Definitely.

  • Well, there is a much cheaper living room terminal availible. It's called a TuxScreen (originally called a shannon.) You can get the information here: [] , but please, leave 6 for me.
    They only cost $99, and have a reasonably sized touch screen, PCMCIA slot, StrongARM processor, run Linux, IR Keyboard support, and have a phone attached.
  • This type of thing could wipe out the $600 palm and pocket pc devices... it is a sub-sub-notebook, with enough power to do apps, not just organizer type things. 800x600 screen? That beats out th 160x160 for doing something other than scratching out a quick memo.
    • Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tswinzig ( 210999 ) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @07:05PM (#2390216) Journal
      Why do people constantly feel the need to pit devices against each other, especially when they are clearly in different niche markets?

      Palm's are small enough to fit in your pocket, and are designed for taking short notes, keeping appointments, contact information, diet logs, cell phones, GPS guides, MP3 players, etc. Things you want in your pocket. Their screen sizes are adequate for these needs.

      Laptops are mobile PC's. Enough said on that.

      And in the middle now are webpads. A laptop with a touch screen instead of a keyboard, wireless connectivity, emphasis on internet and information access, roughly the size of a pad of paper. These are not meant to be carried EVERYWHERE like a PDA, and are generally not going to be used for the same things as PDA's.

      If anything, webpads could evolve into laptop-killers for most people, NOT palm-killers.

      Enough already!
      • I think web pads will have a comfortable market in between PDAs and laptops. People who want to work mobily will have a laptop, gotta have a keyboard. People who want to sit on the couch an browse the web will have a web pad.
      • For me, I really want this space to converge.

        1)I want (BADLY) for something that is more powerful than a PDA - thus why the wince pocket pc's appeal to me - they have enough power to do more than just keep appointments and sync email. The form factor makes it tough to do anything but basic app - but even something like MP3's are tough to do with under 64M of storage. If this thing uses standard SDRAM, then w00t! 512M today is an easy thing to see happening. That does not even include the micro HDD advances... I want something less than a super mobile PC, more than a PDA.

        2) I want something smaller than my thinkpad. I end up lugging this think in and out of meetings all day long. Toss it in my carry-on, and I don't have a lot of space left.

        3) I want something I can code to - if that's IBM's j9, Microsoft's wince c++ package, whatever, I want to build some custom apps. If its a closed systsem - thanks, but no thanks. Give me a compiler and a resonable chance of building something, and hey, I'm in....

        4) The only reason I don't have a pocket pc right now is the bloody price. If palm could run a JVM and had enough space to store a few hours of MP3's I'd shell out the $400 for one of the sony jobs. Its close... The wince kits have almost enough power and RAM, but come on... $600 is way to much when I compair it to some of the laptops out there. Get the price down to $300, and things get interesting.

        In short, I'd like to see my laptop and PDA killed off. Way to many "wants" in this post....

  • Oh no. They've lowered the barrier again...

    Soon, legions of The Furry Ones who call me late at night with answers to questions like what harddrive do you have as "it's grey, and it has a green light on it", will purchase these systems, sparking some twisted new trek episode on Enterprise where some stupidity fissure corrupts space-time and they need to rescue some microcosm from $evil_bad_guy. Why me, lord? Why do they make these devices so fucking simple to use, when an obscure and difficult to learn system, with a command-line syntax that would send shivers down the back of even the most hardened LISP coder would have been so much better?

    ((((( Oh)), shit),((( oh shit...)))))))))

  • It's non-volitile memory is a whopping 32MB, which is less than my camera. I just don't see how this will be useful. If a part of that runs the OS, how many MP3s can you store? One?

    Unless you think it's cool to sit at Starbucks and check your email. I don't think it's very cool to even enter a Starbucks, unless you really need to pee.

    • Think 802.11 and all your mp3s stored on the network.. This device really doesn't need much local storage once you add wireless ethernet.

      This thing isn't for bringing to Starbucks, use a real laptop for that. I want one of these for sitting in my living room and doing quick tasks like checking my mail.
    • how many MP3s can you store? One?

      You don't have to store MP3s. You store all of your MP3s on your workstation/server and stream them to your webpad. 802.11 is certainly fast enough.

      The potential uses for this are plentiful. I can hook it up to my stereo and stream audio. I can have my web recipes in the kitchen. I can chill on the porch and surf while listening to music. I'm thinking of it largely as a dumb terminal that connects wirelessly. I don't need it to have much horsepower because it can pull everything off of larger machines (ala X and other UNIX goodness). What's important to me is that it's:

      1. Small
      2. Light
      3. Cheap
      The fact that it uses Linux makes it even sweeter because it'll be infinitely hackable. Sign me up.
    • I would use the 802.11 connection and grab my .mp3's one at a time through my network. You'd have your home server sitting somewhere else, and THAT guy would hold your gigs and gigs of songs for you.

      I'm also thinking that you would use the home server to cache web pages on if you wanted to. You may also want to stream in some video too. You could also use it to sync your calendar, email, etc.

      I'd use one and carry it around the house with me so I could actually be productive from my couch, my bed, the throne, wherever. It'll add additonal freedom for the telecommuters.

      I still want the uber-remote, for it, though.

      • Rather than hooking this thing up to a network and to a good amp/speakers, wouldn't it be easier to just turn on your stereo?

        Now, if the thing were an ueber-remote, that might be interesting. With a nice interface, it could be your home media device. I can imagine commands like "play ???.mp3, bedroom 2, volume 4" but I wouldn't want the webpad to actually do the playing. Rather, it would instruct my music server to execute command and route the sound output into the system I specified. Then, I could control the features of that system itself, like the volume.

        So I agree with you that the thing isn't very useful unless you're sitting around the house, but when you are, why not just go to your computer? Are you so lazy you can't drag your butt to your desk? And when you're on the web, are you sure you're not going to need to type something? (Say, on Slashdot.) It will be such a pain to compose even a short post with that stupid palm-style pen that you would have been better off having walked to your desk. And, may I add, $600 richer!

        • So I agree with you that the thing isn't very useful unless you're sitting around the house, but when you are, why not just go to your computer? Are you so lazy you can't drag your butt to your desk?

          Well I work fulltime and study a 50% uni load AND have a familly (Wife, 1 kid), and we like to spend time reading together (me, uni materials, her, natural health/gemology magazines) but being an external CompSci student, a lot of my material is on the computer (web pages mostly) so I would love a device that lets me browse my web material away from the desk. Also the chance to read the online material outside on a warm sunny day is very tempting.

          Also on the point of the stereo, for me (once more the above criteria) I like to listen to classical music while I study, if I had one of these,I believe they have a headphone connector, so I could read my online material outside listening to Bach or Mozart with headphones. I think it's pretty nice looking myself, I just wonder how easy it would be to set up with X.

          (Also I was thinking that coupled with a server that is administered with WebMin, it could become a handy little mobile administration unit for the server adimin on the go, providing it handles https, and I don't see why not.)
    • Since these webpads have a compact flash card slot, one can easily and cheaply upgrade the non-volatile memory.

      Not two mention storage options concerning the USB ports and PC-Card slot.

  • Microsoft's new PocketPC software came out today too. When will these devices start converging? They won't be ubiquitous until JoeAOL starts using them. What's it gonna take?
    Obviously, they have to be very light, easy -to-use, etc.. What else to make these devices converge and become totally mainstream? I dunno, maybe PDAs and webpads will always be different devices?

    Also, is more better? Should a handheld BE a fully-functional computer or supplement your computer? This is the old Palm vs. WinCE quandary.

  • "AquaPad? Quick!! Sue them over the use of the word "Aqua" before we go bankrupt!!"

    -- Everyone employed at Apple, Inc.

  • 3com Ergo Audrey (Score:5, Informative)

    by toral ( 267417 ) <> on Thursday October 04, 2001 @07:00PM (#2390196)
    For something a little sooner and a little cheaper, check out the now liquidated Audreys. Sure, they aren't the newest toys, but I just ordered a handful from Tiger Direct for $90 a piece, plus $30 for the usb network adaptor.

    Out of the box, it supports web browsing, email, and palm syncing among other things. And with a little [] hacking [], it can play mp3s, be an X server/client, VNC server/client, web server, etc.
    • Sir, there is a REASON the Audrey was cancelled.
    • Yes, they're OK...I got one for my wife (from Tiger too), but they're still teathered...

    • Yup. and there is a REASON the audrey is now on the discount shelves. actually two: 1. they used to cost too much ($499/549 depending on the color of the box you wanted - very silly). 2. 3Com got into deep doo doo financially and dropped their IA (internet appliance) division, called Ergo. I bought two audreys from $89 bucks each plus $29 for a USB NIC. Very sweet little girl with a touchscreen and QNX. Very hackable. You should see what people are doing with these things. everything from x10 touchpads for the home to 14 watt webservers.... and more to come. Gotta love it! (and now because of it, I'm completely in love with the QNX OS. Ever install an OS in LESS than 5 minutes and that boots in 14 seconds on a crappy little box? Nice RTP boys and girls. and audrey likes it.... lol!)
  • For around $600, this looks like it might make a great living room terminal.

    I would have thought anyone that wanted a living room terminal would have bought a 3COM Audrey a couple months ago when they were going for $100...
    • Holy crap! I looked at this thing over a year ago, and even talked to a representative from the company that said it would be ready bye April 2001. I haven't heard anything from FIC so I just assumed it was another project down the drains. This is great news. It's going to be an awesome product!
      • This is great news. It's going to be an awesome product!

        Huh? It flopped. They sold them for a few months but nobody was willing to pay $600 a pop so they canceled it. Most retailers cleared out remaining inventories for a fraction of the original selling price.
        • Ryan - have you actually READ the story???

          they'll starting to give samples THIS month, and mass production NEXT month, and Japanese version will be available a month later...

          The story dated Sep. 20,2001 - so where do you get the "dropped" thing? Audrey was dropped, not this...
  • Deja Vu (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mr. Sketch ( 111112 )
    I'm having the strangest sense of Deja Vu on this article. I'm 97.3% sure I've seen this on /. before, but I can't find the link. And since my web browser remembered that I've been to the FIC webpage and all the links to their aquapad were already visitied, I know this has been here before.

    So what's the big news? Did the price drop? I seemed to remember them being around $1000, I suppose $600 is more reasonable, but built in 802.11b would make it a lot more appealing.
    • >An 802.11b wireless LAN card is supported in the
      >PCMCIA slot, as are modules for GSM, GPRS, and

      The 802.11 isn't built-in, but it is *available*...
    • Some guy claiming deja vu and a 97.3% chance--and how did we arrive at that magical figure, Mr. Jones?--gets moderated insightful?! Moderation on Slashdot is at an all time low.

      I think we should be able to filter comments in ways other than by score. For example, I'd like to see all Informative + Interesting comments posted, or all Funny comments posted to an article.

      And I think that we should create a new type of comment posting: Informed. People wishing to post informed comments would need to take a short quiz about the story, prepared by the story author. This would infer that they either read the story link (I have a deja vu feeling that 97.3% of /. readers don't) or are knowledgeable enough about the field in question. Slashdot is so wonderful to read because of those nuggets of postings from informed readers, but it's getting harder and harder to blast through the tons of worthless bedrock to get to them...

  • With the wireless connections, these will fit in great for our logistics personnel who wander around the warehouse taking inventory. Being able to utilize a decent sized, common web interface will be great as we already have that infrastructure in place...unfortunately it is only accessed at fixed terminals currently.

    There have been other solutions, but they were either too bulky, poor battery management, but mostly only interfacable through proprietory inventory management software.

    - AC
    • Ummm this guy here only has a 2-4 hr battery life last time i checked that a warehouse workers shift was a weee bit longer than that and throw in the 802.11 transceiver than drawls out the battery life a bit more and well its still got bad battery life i love the idea but it was like the P/PC when they first came out only having a few hrs battery life ok ok... the ipaq haves a bit over 12 or so hrs... read the posts in the article about Pocket PC's while is a lot because its not on all the time in a warehouse they will pretty much be on non stop for a shift.... 2 hrs will be good for those union people so that can take a break while recharging than head back to work once its recharged

  • It's interesting to see Windows CE on the Crusoe. I know that WinCE has been ported to the Intel architecture - might be nice to know what they've done in the way of optimizing for Crusoe.

    Have Linus and the Microsoft WinCE team been working together? And if so, how?
    • they will probally run a StrongARM abstraction layer due to all the programs alredy out their. Thats the great thing about Crusoe is you can have a layer surrounding the CPU so i will do what ever you want it to kinda like an emulator ok i know its not but go w/ me

  • necessary? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MikeRepass ( 199982 ) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @07:12PM (#2390240)
    I hate to be negative here, especially because this looks so cool and is running Linux on a Transmeta cpu, but how useful could this ever really be to the average geek?

    I understand that this might be great for those unable to get around or confined to bed, as it would be small and unobtrusive and allow easy access to the net, but at a pricetag of $600, could this ever be justified for someone perfectly capable of getting up and walking 15 feet to their machine?

    For around $600, this looks like it might make a great living room terminal.

    A great living room terminal? Do you really feel the need for a living room terminal? I spend about 10 hours a day in front of my machine, seriously, and that'd be more if I was working instead of attending class. When factoring in sleep (which is becoming less and less) and eating and simple things like transportation, I have very little time for anything else, and I very rarely find myself sitting around *itching* for the Internet, because normally I'm right there in front of it. I can't really imagine myself sitting in a recliner and thinking, "damn I wish I could get on the Internet but that'd mean I'd have to walk all the way over there, and use a keyboard, nahh I'll just sit here."

    Also, configuration/ease of use becomes an issue, because I like to be webbrowsing in a comfortable and familiar environment, where I have my bookmarks at hand, I have my mp3s playing, I have Kinkatta up so people can IM me, I've got about 25 windows open, maybe even KVirc on #debian; in other words, if I'm only 15 feet from my computer, I'd rather just get up and go full Internet mode than sit around, dealing with a small screen and uncomfortable interface. Yes I read the specs and saw that it offers a "full" range of Internet tools, but you ever try to communicate on IRC with handwriting recognition?

    Basically, I can't see buying one of these as anything but self-indulgence, unless of course you have an understandable need such as a disability preventing you from using a regular computer/terminal set up. If I had a spare $600 to burn on geekstuff that I'd never fully use, I'd think about building a cluster or an mp3 jukebox/mapping+gps system for my car, at least I'll have the parts left over in a couple months after I realize how little I used it.

    Sorry to be so cynical, but after dropping $500 on a PDA that I only used to play Doom and for playing mp3s and it didn't help me get organized one bit, I've started to rethink my approach to gadgets.

    Just my $0.02,

    • what did most of these people pay for their ipaq
    • potential uses: looking up movie listings, online banking, imdb access while watching a movie or show,
      doodling, reading online magazines, photo album viewing, etc.

      if this comes out at that price and has a useful handwriting input mechanism, i'd buy one. it gets rid of most desires for a computer in the living room.

    • I spend about 10 hours a day in front of my machine, seriously, and that'd be more if I was working instead of attending class.

      I think that this device would help me spend less time at my machine.. When I want to check my mail quickly, I won't have to run upstairs to do it, and get caught in the whole "Well, while I'm here let me just see if anything new is on Slashdot/k5/AICN" time trap. I swear, sometimes I just go up to check my mail and end up losing a couple of hours.

    • Re:necessary? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MisterPo ( 520698 ) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @11:03PM (#2390773)
      My father told me 3 things were very important in life, all must be achieved to have a balance.

      A day has 24 hours.
      8 to work.
      8 to play.
      8 to sleep.

      He would tell you that your life seems to be overlapping somewhat. I think you should meet my father :)


    • Do you really feel the need for a living room terminal?

      Actually yes I do. In fact I have one.
      I've got one of those little boxes from the seat in front in Business Class.

      Touch screen, 486 (with a p75 overdrive @ 150Mhz), 100Mbps nic, 800x600

      I find it very useful. It can control the music around the house, show me a tv guide, etc. etc.

      I mostly use it for IRC while watching TV

      I used to have full size PC in the room but with desk & chair & big monitor etc. I find it too intrusive in my little house

      having said that for $600 I'd want it to do more than be an irc & tv guide box! I paid $100 for my thing
    • I understand that this might be great for those unable to get around or confined to bed, as it would be small and unobtrusive and allow easy access to the net, but at a pricetag of $600, could this ever be justified for someone perfectly capable of getting up and walking 15 feet to their machine?
      I don't know about you, but I don't want to spend my entire waking life in at a computer workstation. Casual reading matter, light entertainment -- these you want to be able to carry round with you. Even a laptop is too much computer for your favorite armchair, relaxing under a tree, or fighting insomnia with some favorite reading matter. Electronics will never compete with dead trees until it allows you to do this.

      Of course, web pads are only part of the solution. We still don't have the "last-mile" technology we need to get content into the webpad. And we still need some kind of economic model that will compensate content providers.

  • by 4of12 ( 97621 ) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @07:15PM (#2390251) Homepage Journal

    Yes, yes, I'd like to be able to browse the web in my living room using a comfortable wireless webpad about the size of an etch-a-sketch. But what about when I have to move beyond point and clicking to enter text. Laptops, especially when balanced precariously on knees, cause my shoulders to stress up because I have to be soooo careful not to hit the wrong key.

    Yes, I need a personal organizer, but this is too big to strap to my belt.

    Things that could really ingratiate this into a living room setting:

    • is there an Uber-remote app for it and necessary IR hardware peripheral
    • make it a nicely integrated controller to a media server in a different part of the house to stream digital video and digital audio to your TV and stereo.
    My current home electronics system is a mess due to the multiple I/O ports on the VCR, DVD player, satellite TV, TiVo, TV, Receiver. If this device could make my life more convenient from that perspective (and it sure looks like it could), then it would get my vote for a purchase.
    • What we REALLY need is open source software that plays DVDs, mp3s, has Tivo functionality, etc etc. Basically every type of media would be playable/recordable. You'd use one of these webpads as a remote, interfacing to the media server over 802.11 with an apache interface. That would be my dream entertainment setup.

      As an aside, why doesn't Tivo sell their software as a commercial app? They make their money off the service anyway, not the boxes, so why not? I'd like to be able to build a machine with as much storage and as many TV tuners as I want, using Tivo's excellent software for recording & playback. Sure, it runs on a PowerPC chip now, but I'm sure they could easily port it to x86. I guess their partners Philips & Sony might be a bit pissed though.
      • For DVD playback you can start with Xine - it knows how to play DVD's in remove Xv window - that of course, depends if the X driver for this tablet supports Xv extensions. If it does - then it shouldn't take more then few minutes to hack and play DVD's there (although you need 100Mbit Ethernet card with the huge amount of data transferred with DVD playback remotely)...

      • Sigh. Too bad this wan't 1998.

        I could cut n' paste the posts and call it a business plan, we'd have VC funding by Friday!

        Oh well.

    • I see cooperative work as the future for those. Picture the scenarios : I'm working on a piece of code when I need to discuss something to my pal across in the next room.

      See it happend : I just wank my lightweight screen from its dock and walk over. Its just as soon as the connection the the keyboard is servered that an on-screen keyboard appear.

      The greast thing is, since we both have touch-screen stylus handy, we can work togheter right there on the same screen, without having to fight for mouse control.

      It's very natural, unintrusive. Very paper-like.

      Did anybody think of putting a full size keyboard on the flipside of them? With proper straps you could type two-handedly where there is no table.

  • transmetazone had this article out way back in january. leID=543

    cheap web pads are becoming one of the many casualties of the dot com bust. i remember when companies were claiming availabilites in 1999, with sub- $500 prices. The only two web pads (honeywell, and progear) have prices at $1600~$3000. I just can't get myself to buy one at that price range yet, even for my business.

  • Touch screens still don't cut it for me. My stubby callused fingers are about as precise as a horse's hoof for a pointing device.

    Also, the 'soft' keyboards that can be displayed on these touch screens are frustratingly inaccurate due to a lack of tactile feedback (no click-clack).

    Combine a Web pad with a chording keyboard []-mouse combination and we would have something great. 'Til then I'll stick with my Palm.

  • Wow (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Imagine a Beowulf cluster of THESE!
  • Some might say this isn't where the market needs to be, but this is starting to hit the sweet spot.

    Most people want a way to surf the Net and be able to watch (and control) their TV and stereo. This gives them both, is priced reasonably, and has a reasonable form factor.

    I'll buy one when it hits the $500 price mark - looks right to me, and better than the $1600 Linux webpad previously covered on /.

  • for them to fail on the market so I can pick up 6-7 at 100.00 each!
    I plan on using them for game terminals.PnP games. my player can send my private communication, they can keep a complete history of there character, I can store them on my server, pretty much completly automate the mechanics of the game. excellent.
  • I wish someone would make another tablet-type computer with the form factor of the now-defunct Vadem Clio -- with the ability to be used as a tablet with the touch screen, or as a laptop-type device with the keyboard.

    Now that Vadem no longer makes these devices, perhaps some companies can purchase the patent/rights to produce devices (hopefully Linux capable) with this form factor.
  • by schussat ( 33312 ) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @07:51PM (#2390380) Journal
    A living room terminal? Come on, how many slashdotters don't already have the computer desk facing the TV so they can play Quake and watch Enterprise or anime DVDs at the same time? Add a milk crate full of cheese puffs and beer and you've got a great kitchen terminal, too!


  • A webpad running crusoe that is only a year (2 generations) behind the current technology. Transmeta has more than exceeded my expectation. Heh, I never thought that company would get off the ground without openning their code morphing tech. Maybe in a few years they'll come out with a webpad that meets my requirements: minimum 1024x768 res, 128+ ram, 10+ GB HD, built in 802.11b or faster wireless, 100Mb ethernet, pcmcia, 1" thick, and preferable 3d accel. gfx. In fact the aquapad would meet my requirements if they had a better display and built in wireless/ethernet. Afterall that is what a webpad is about, isn't it?

    think 'star trek'
    • FrontPath has the ProGear webpad that sports a 1024x768 display, 802.11b via 1 PCMCIA slot, 5G HD, and runs either Linux or Windows 98. They also retail for around $3000.00. We're evaluating them as a data input device for part inspection at a large automative facility.

      This $600.00 Aqua has piqued my interest, but the 800x600 screen may be a limitation for us. Some of our data input screens show numerous technical drawings of door panels with dozens of welds that need to be checked. It would be difficult to squeeze them down onto a 800x600 screen.

  • ...with basic word processing and/or a drawing program I could toss those paper notebooks I use for all my classes. I thought about getting a laptop, but the ability to whip out a quick sketch is essential for physics/engineering classes, and that's difficult for me on a laptop. I keep all my notes for future reference, and it would be really nice to just back them up on CD instead of having a bunch of tattered old paper notebooks cluttering up my bookshelves, and with handwriting recognition it shouldn't be too hard to put all that info into cross-referenced searchable documents. I'd still have to print stuff out for open note tests probably, but I think I could live with that.

    The real obstacle would be convincing my wife that I need it...

  • So, how long until this latest appliance is disowned (scuse me, "minimized due to a re-prioritization of the corporate mission") by its maker? I wish it all the success in the world, but so far similar products haven't enjoyed a very long shelf life.
  • Think about a Beowolf cluster of these!
  • by AndroidCat ( 229562 ) on Thursday October 04, 2001 @08:42PM (#2390537) Homepage
    When I heard "WebPad", I immediately flashed on an image of a commercial:

    WebPad -- for those light-traffic days when you still need complete protection. WebPad fits your information needs perfectly, but still fits inside your purse. WebPad will absorb all your information with no leaks, and no bulky installation.

    WebPad, 133t enough for a geek, but made for a woman.

    For the real manly types it needs a name like "DataSlab"
  • go to ebay.
    search for pen computer
    buy one that costs at least $400.00

    plug in a 802.11 card

    Voila webpad. no brains required.
  • It's a bit of a cheek not to include 802.11 or Bluetooth in the unit, AND only have one PCMCIA slot and one CF slot. It means that you use up your most valuable expansion ports just adding in the wireless connectivity. As an owner of an Ultralight portable with no internal drives and only one PCMCIA slot, I can tell you that it's a pain having to choose between your CD drive and a 100Mb/s network. I'm sure there are plenty more examples like that...
  • I bought my first Palm in 1997 and am now onto my second one. I has NEVER locked up on me* and I have never lost any data. Simple and reliable.

    * I have intentionally locked it up when mucking around with some alpha software, but that is understandable.
  • If I could actually order one, I would. But lots of nifty Linux-based devices have been announced (Sharp's PDA, HP's Linux Jornada, Yopy, etc.), and they just don't seem to be making it to market. I believe that this thing exists and ships when I see it.
  • I think that folks with the money to spend on wireless net access would just fork over a couple hundred more and get a full-on laptop. This not-quite-a-PDA-not-quite-a-laptop thing seems to fill a nonexistent market niche, the way those Sony "internet appliance" whatsits did.
  • Advantech has just released a line of webpads which use StrongARM CPU's, they might not have quite the punch that the Crusoe does, but they also use a LOT less power.

    Unfortunately the current screens aren't reflective, so they wash out in bright light, but the next line will be sunlight readable.

    Judging from specs of the current crop of Crusoe single board computers, the Crusoe was only giving a power saving relative to same clock rate x86 CPU's. My 200MHz SBC uses 8W, whereas the 500MHz Crusoe SBC's all use about 8-10W. Sure I get more cycles, but in a mobile computer you want maximum uptime, not sitting around tethered to a power cord.

    Everyone around here beats the "Palm is better because it lasts longer" drum, why not do the same over webpads?

  • Maybe $150. $600? no way. I paid less than that for my main box.
  • Here is a direct link [] to FIC's Aquapad page.

    Gotta love its specifition!

  • by Pyrosz ( 469177 )
    This thing is great. Have a digital camera? This takes Compact Flash cards! Need to edit those photos while out on the road? Nice colour touch screen with stylus. Since its running Linux, you can run Gimp. Need to print those photos? USB and a printer works good. Need to type up a report and the main system is down? Plug in a usb keyboard (or use adaptor) and go to town. The only thing Im a little worried about is that they dont state (or did I miss?) that it has a hard drive... just 32mb internal flash card. Although having it connected to a lan would help the storage problem. I assume, as well, that you can buy USB hard drives(?). Maybe the IBM micro drive? Those come in 1gb and larger(?) or at least a CD burner. It would have been nice if it had a firewire port, or at least 3 or 4 USB ports. Having power problems? I hear 12v car batteries last a long time :) Hook up a GPS receiver and some mapping software and you have a way to find that remote lan party location. Smaller, easier to hold than a laptop and great for that long airplane ride... Just think of what you can do with these types of things! Wireless video streaming from your own "tivo" type box? Sounds good to me!

    • Since its running Linux, you can run Gimp.
      How is Linux embedded in the webpad, is it upgradable? What apps can fit on it?

      I didn't see any mention of this on the specifications page. This would be my biggest concern. If I had an extra $600, I'd buy one of these if the OS is upgradable and the system space has enough memory to fit the apps I want (primarily emacs and TeX). If I have to put those in the flash, there isn't a whole lot of space left unless I buy a bigger flash card.

      • Actually I had that question too... just didnt put it out. I think the problem they will have is that its only got a flash card storage system. It needs a small hard drive, maybe 5-6 gigs?

        I have been looking at the minidisk systems available (as an alternative to an mp3 player) and I think those minidisks would work great in something like this. They work like a re-writable CD but are much smaller and are contained in a hard case much like the old CD load trays. They write fast and the actual players/recorders are Small!! Not to mention they have a recording time of 4 hours on only a single AA battery. Thats continous recording btw. Read time is in the area of 30+ hours.

  • The only thing that stops me jumping to get one of these is the paltry 32MB storage. How much of that is taken up by the base install, if any, or is the OS stored separately? IMHO, even if that 32MB was all yours to use, it's not enough. The only saviour I see for this is having 802.11 and NFS-ing your stuff from your main computer. But then it's only good for around the home. Why didn't they put something like a microdrive in it? Does anyone have more information on its storage?

    Note: if you want to check out its linux distro, it's here [].

  • Last time I heard prices on the Intel Web Tablet [] they were projecting between $500 and $600 for everything you need to use it with your existing Internet connection. Until some of these units become available (for real-world testing), Intel still looks like the one to beat.

    This is yet another arena where there is lots of cool vapor and little actual product.

  • Intel has something similar and should be shipping soon: []

    but for the price.. who really wants one?
  • to the portable (sneek into bathroom / closet / conference room ) E-Porn wacking machine.

  • ...How about a LaunchPad?

    Or maybe a LilyPad?

    I'm enthused to see that this has a tablet form factor -- I'd rather tuck something under my arm or slip it into my shoulder pad if it means a screen big enough to comfortably read (and if not yet, eventually write on).

Last yeer I kudn't spel Engineer. Now I are won.