Amusing blast-from-the-past Linux PDA

Posted June 1, 2005

This is highly amusing in a certain way. It's a brand-new PDA model that appears to be essentially a cloned version of PalmPilots circa 2000, running the Linux kernel. Tech specs are pitiful compared to more contemporary devices (Dragonball CPU, 8MB RAM, grayscale screen), though at least they added basic MP3 and SD-card functionality to the original PalmPilot-class design.

I had a look at their SDK... it is a Linux kernel and libc under the hood, but they don't keep any other parts of the GNU toolkit around. Instead you have an application API that's precisely what you'd expect to get if you shipped an old version of the PalmOS documentation to your favorite offshore development shop and said, "Code this." The result is, shall we say, eerily similar without being nearly as polished.

Even at $99 this is a questionable purchase for a user, because you don't get to run applications from either the Palm software collection or the common Linux library. But it's vaguely still interesting for a hobbyist/hacker because it it a complete, cheap PDA platform that is totally understandable from top to bottom: basic well-tested hardware plus simple open-source software (they apparently sell the source code to their API library too, so one should be able to have full control over the ROM).