Looking through my photo collection I stumbled across, what I believe, was and still is the greatest PDA/UMPC ever. The Psion 5MX. In the days of iPhones, Eee PCs and smartphones, this device still holds its own. I remember back in 2000 I was popping mail and surfing with the Psion 5mx via IR on my 9.5k cellphone connection. One fond memory I have was connecting to my email via my Psion Revo (I had two of these also) in rural Namibia…….They don’t make them like they used too.
In many ways 2007 has been Apple’s year. The iPhone, the iPod Touch and the launch of Leopard catapulted Apple into the lucrative consumer electronics space. People will no-doubt disagree. The price point of the iPhone, the lack of 3g etc…All very common complaints by pundits in the tech world. But I will defend the iPhone to all the haters. Despite the connectively flaws, it is, in my view one of the best examples of integration, innovation, user experience and aesthetics on any single device – ever. Linux growth But this is not the point of this post. What, in my view has been an even bigger technological breakthrough this year is Linux. Yes Linux. More specifically, its emergence into the mainstream. From Dell shipping Ubuntu natively on its boxes, through to the success of the Nokia Internet tablet range – Linux is out there – running on mainstream consumer products. Its success has been understated. Most consumers, are not necessarily attracted to hardware because of its Linux core. They are simply attracted to good hardware. But Linux is there, in the background, doing what it does best. Stability, reliability, software and – now ease of use. It has broken out of the geek kingdom and entered the real world. The Linux purists will moan. Linux has been highjacked by big industry. It’s now out of the hands of the tech savy and now available to the mainstream. All common complaints from the Open Source extremists. Take the Eee PC for example. What is selling the device? Not Linux – but the price and the complete package. The fact that Linux delivers an awesome user experience is a credit to how far the operating system has come. Introducing Linutop Another example (less well known but hot off my press). The Linutop PC. This thing rocks. An ultra-tiny form factor computer. In a similar vain (but much smaller), than the Mac Mini, this device is BYOKAM (Bring your own keyboard and mouse) Developed by an innovative French start up – this computer is incredible. Retailing at €280 this box is not just appealing for the Linux community but for the mainstream consumer looking for a cheap computer. I really have to get my hands on one. Check out the Linutop here. So, hats off to everyone involved in Linux and its 2007 breakthrough into the mainstream. I suspect this is a sign of more and even better things to come in 2008. I for one cannot wait.
The Eee PC is still the talk of the tech world – and rightly so. Engadget are reporting that a generous hacker has compiled a Xubuntu distro for the pocket sized laptop. It seems like it supports the native hardware….Without wanting to get on my open source soap box – this is exactly why I love Linux and the community. Equally kudos to Asus by making the Eee PC a truly hackable machine. I really think this has to be the device of the year…..Oh did I say that?! Surely the iPhone grabs that accolade….Discussing the device with a friend we wondered whether 3g support might be possible with those popular 3G USB dongles, such as the offering from Three Given the hacks available on the device I am sure its only a matter of time. Imagine it. The Eee PC connected to 3g on your daily commute. Popping mail, blogging, surfing and skyping on a beautifully crafted piece of kit. Could life get much better?