The Week That Was: Waiting on the Agenda, Saying Goodbye
We had several full stories on embedded Linux from the consumer
angle over the past week. There's an understandable amount of
excitement over the release of the Agenda VR3, which serves as a
counterpoint to the failure of Indrema.
I've got an Agenda on hand, and I've been playing with it since
I got the unit a few weeks ago. It's probably unusual to not try to
be first out with a rundown and the obligatory pictures of one of
the devices in action, and it would have been easy to spend a day
putting it through its paces and bang out a writeup. There are,
however, a few things that caused me to reconsider.
I've had a PalmOS-based device of one sort or another for around
four years now. I've used them for a little of everything: the
normal range of organizer functions, mail clients, financial tools,
pocket databases, word processors, and on and on. It's not possible
for anybody who's used one of these devices for an extended period
to look at an Agenda and avoid comparisons because the Palms are
the standard in terms of design and usability at the moment.
One of the reviews we linked to this week was cautious about the
VR3, saying it had bugs that needed to be worked out "prior to
release," which provided a welcome reminder that work hasn't
stopped on the device even if reviewers got units to take home a
few weeks ago. That's what we're waiting for: the improved software
we've been told will ship with the unit when it goes into general
retail release next week. That's the unit and software people will
be deciding whether to purchase or not, and that's the unit we'll
In the mean time, there is something very, very fun
about walking around with a PDA that can handle your appointments,
track your contacts, play a decent game of solitaire and
run Apache, SSH, or mount NFS shares over a serial link. We're
enjoying ours, and we think our enthusiasm will show when we get
our review out.
On the other hand, it's hard to be enthusiastic about Indrema's
fate. The company folded after proving unable to lure more
investors to pony up somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million.
People said it on the pages of AllLinuxDevices and they said it
elsewhere: trying to launch a brand new game console, regardless of
how appealing the terms would be for developers or how compelling
the content might have been, was a proposition fraught with all
sorts of peril. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo aren't lightweight
competition: something Sega learned despite having been in the
console market since the 80's.
Good idea or not, though, it's a shame to see Indrema come to
this end, before it even had its shot.
Here are all the features and stories from AllLinuxDevices for
the past week:
G.Mate Announces Second Round of Price Cuts on Yopy Developer
"G.Mate, the Korean company developing the Linux-based PDA Yopy,
has announced a 30% discount on the Yopy Developer's Kit, a version
of the PDA the company released in late January. The devices were
selling for around $790, but under certain conditions the company
will now sell them for as little as $550."
Indrema: What went wrong? Can open source and consoles
Reprinted from a cousin site, this article asserts "Even if the
hardware was up and running flawlessly along with the power to
match the Playstation 2 or the Xbox, it's the open source software
development environment that spelled doom for the company.
Investors were hesitant to add to Indrema's coffers because of a
radical departure to software development."
Indrema CEO Discusses the Close of His Company
"Indrema CEO John Gildred met with curious enthusiasts on IRC last
night to discuss the end of his company and the future of the code
and hardware design originally intended for the next-generation
Linux game console. Not all of the software designed for the system
will be released to the open source community."
Noteworthy from Around the Web:
Other stories we've linked to over the past week.
EETimes.com:Group proposes embedded Linux standard
"Dissenters at the meeting expressed concern that the ELC standard
wouldn't benefit the broader Linux community as a whole. "This
proposal . . . seems to smack of an attempt to produce an embedded
Linux cartel," said Kevin Dankwardt, president of K Computing
(Mountain View, Calif.). "An attempt to define a standard merely on
an API will be fairly useless except for marketing value to a few
infoSync.no: Project Mercury uncloaked
"Project Mercury is actually a backpack that is attached to any
Compaq iPAQ from the H3600 series (color series) like any other
expansion sleeve available for the iPAQs. The project in its entiry
though is bigger, as it includes using a downscaled version of
Linux instead of Windows CE to run the entire solution."
LinuxDevices.com: Inder Singh on The ELC Platform
"The ELC initiative for a unified open platform for embedded Linux
(the ELC Platform Specification) is a watershed event for the
embedded industry. One of the most tantalizing promises of Linux
for this highly fragmented market is the possibility of a single,
open, multi-vendor standard platform for embedded software."
NewsForge: VR3: Linux handheld has potential but still needs
works before release
"So is brighthand.com being overly pessimistic about an Open Source
product as some in the mainstream press have been lately, or is
LinuxHardware.org cheering too strongly for the home-town team? My
experience so far with the VR3 is somewhere in the middle, although
I share of the of same frustrations as the brighthand