Saturday, July 03, 2010

I say "R7"; you hear "ass heaven", and really the product marketing team should have thought of that

I bought one of these the other day and this morning it finally arrived!

(Image shamelessly stolen from random google images search, as I currently don't have a functioning camera).

Although it looks like an e-book reader, it is really one of these in disguise.* That is, sure, it reads e-books, but it has a fully functioning Ubuntu system under the hood, and you can do anything with it that its frankly rather embarrassing 600 MHz processor and 256 MB of memory allows you to. I actually bought it for working on at cafes and the like, and together with a USB keyboard like this (still in the mail), it will be almost like having an entire desktop computer (from 1998) that miraculously weighs less than a pound and fits in a purse. It has practically no hard drive space either but I'll buy it a pet 16 GB SD card (once I get over my rage at having tried to do so on eBay last week and getting scammed), and together with dropbox, which I use for just about all my files anyhow, that should be plenty of room.

So not really an iPad killer, but perhaps a netbook-lust killer. I was deluded for a while into thinking I wanted a netbook, but this is even more portable, cuter, runs linux out of the box, and has a touchscreen.** For $350 AUD, that's pretty good going. I'm currently trying to build it a little case, and a stand, and kiss it gently and tell it it's pretty and all the things one does with a brand new gadget.

* But lighter, and without the parallel WinCE and Android OSes taking up extra space.

**Of course, what I really (truly madly deeply) wanted was one of these or these. Mysteriously, however, all smartbooks seem to have disappeared from the market before they even hit it. (Technically the Always Innovating smartbook hasn't quite disappeared, but I find their statement under the "order" tab a little suspicious: "The current Touch Book production is in stand-by and will resume in the summer [this statement has been up since January] when we will release our newest and craziest innovation. Ordering today ensures you a better place in the queue list, and you will be offered the option to upgrade." No one except me seems surprised by this bellyflop. After all, who wants a tiny, cheap Linux-based tablet with a 10-hour battery life and detachable keyboard? Um, me. That's exactly what I wanted. So I had to damn well build it myself (said the little red hen). And she did.


Grace Dalley said...

Ass heaven...well if we can get used to ipad and wii, I guess we can learn not to find that funny either...eventually.... :-D

Apart from the name it sounds cute and very handy.

StyleyGeek said...

I bet it was the same people who came up with the iPad, the Wii, and this.

Kelly said...

Wow. I have been looking at Kindles and Nooks so intensively lately that I didn't even realise this kind of thing was out there. What an eye-opener!

I would enjoy reading more about your experiences with it as you get used to it. Are you using it to read any ebooks?

Bee said...

Something made me just click on your blog for old times sake....and you're back! Yey! I mostly just used to lurk but I always enjoyed what you had to say. Welcome back!

StyleyGeek said...

Hi Bee, and thanks!

Kelly, whose comment used to be here and seems to have disappeared: I haven't used it much for e-books, and I don't have experience with any other e-book readers, so I'm not sure how useful my experience would be to you. I like that it is back-lit rather than e-ink, because I like to read in low light situations, like in bed :) Some people would no doubt prefer e-ink. The low battery life could be a disadvantage for people mainly interested in it as an e-book reader - seems to be about 5-6 hours of solid use.

I like the way the e-books look on the page, and installing them seems very easy. It takes just about any format, which is handy.

I've seen reviews from comics readers saying it is awesome for comics. I guess the colour screen is the useful thing there!