Ben and the art of ...
Well, if you are after the latest mobile phone that offer various functionalities apart from making a call, sending SMS etc, stop there! There is a little pocket computer called Ben NanoNote carrying the Openmoko legacy made by Qi Hardware which promote copyleft hardware. All mobile phones in the market are both non-free (in terms of software) and closed (in terms of hardware), even though some pretend otherwise. I think NanoNote has a very good potential because it can double as PDA, ebook reader, gaming console, DAP,offline wiki reader etc. You can carry a low end mobile for being connected to the world.
The projects like Openmoko and Wikireader didn't really take off owing to various reasons. One can also remember the fate of the much hyped Simputer as well. I hope this will not happen in the case of NanoNote. Ben NanoNote is built upon open hardware specs and is based on a MIPS compatible SOC. It runs on FreeSoftware called OpenWrt. (I would like to switch over to the blob-free LibreWrt once it is ready). People have already ported Debian to NanoNote. So, its possibilities are not limited. The small form factor and low cost factor can also attract people interested and commited to FreeSoftware. More so, in the case of students as it comes with Python, Lua etc. pre-installed, so that they can have a whiff of these languages. Its present status is somewhat geeky, though. But that should change soon.
The Ben NanoNote I bought unfortunately does not have support for usb host. The next iteration NanoNote, Ya will have that. Technically, the microSDIO slot supports wifi/bluetooth adapter devices. NanoNote boots to Debian off microSD comfortably. You can even run an X session. Right now it is targeted towards developers who can turn it to a multi-function device.
Technorati Tags: NanoNote, FreeSoftware, OpenHardware, OpenWrt, Debian, MIPS, Qi-Hardware