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AllLinuxDevices Weekly Newsletter for April 18, 2001

Apr 18, 2001, 22:59 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Hall)

AllLinuxDevices Newsletter for April 18, 2001

Compiled by Michael Hall, Managing Editor

In This Issue:

  • The week that was
    • AllLinuxDevices Reports
    • Notable From Around the Web
  • Coming up

The Week That Was: Waiting on the Agenda, Saying Goodbye to Indrema
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 write about.

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.

AllLinuxDevices Reports:

Here are all the features and stories from AllLinuxDevices for the past week:

  • G.Mate Announces Second Round of Price Cuts on Yopy Developer Edition
    "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."
  • Linux and Handhelds: Good Match or Sure Failure?
    "The easy but incomplete answer is that Linux handhelds are doomed because of Palm's stranglehold on the handheld market. Plus, Microsoft is gaining momentum with its Pocket PCs."
  • Indrema: What went wrong? Can open source and consoles coexist?
    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
    http://alllinuxdevices.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2001-04-12-001-03-NW-GM-BU "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 select vendors."
  • LinuxDevices.com:A developer's perspective on Agenda's VR3 Linux PDA
    "...it is encouraging to report that the VR3 is a fairly successful implementation of a Linux PDA, from both a user's and a developer's point of view."
  • 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 Specification
    "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 reviewer."

Coming Up:

  • Our own report on the Agenda VR3