Super Sub Tiny Pico Computing Platform Thing-a-majiggie

Slashdot reported yesterday on a new cell-phone sized PC. Dubbed the IMOVIO iKit, this small form-factor PC runs an embedded version of Linux and boasts both Wifi and Bluetooth connectivity. IMOVIO is the in-house brand used by COMsciences to market the iKit.

The technical specs for the iKit are as follows (from the iKit presentation):

  • Marvell PXA270, 312MHz CPU
  • 128MB (ROM), 64MB SDRAM (RAM)
  • up to 8 GB Micro SD
  • 240×320, 2.8” TFT 262k color LCD
  • Lithium-Ion battery with up to 250 hours stand-by, 6 hours WiFi use and 6 hours gaming
  • Dimensions: L95mm x W65mm x D15.5mm
  • OS: Linux 2.4.19 (Windows Mobile or Android special order)
  • WiFi 802.11b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.0 EDR

This is a pretty decent little machine. The screen is slightly smaller than the Nintendo DS screen, but larger than most cellphones. Screen resolution is decent enough for basic video, supporting the same color depth as the DS. This should be enough real estate to display simple web pages, and especially for instant messaging.

The core OS is based on Linux, kernel 2.4.19, but Windows Mobile and Google Android are apparently available as well, for special orders. Being Linux, I expect that an SDK of some sort will be released, allowing additional applications to be developed. The basic applications shipping with the unit include a mail client, web browser, instant messaging client, contact manager, photo viewer, music and video player, and possibly additional applications such as a VoIP client. Configuration of the unit seems to be determined by the customer buying the unit.

The targeted customer, however, seems to be carriers as opposed to end-users. IMOVIO expects to sell these units to carriers, specifically configured for the carrier’s service. From there, the carrier deals with selling them to end-users. This is the typical model for cell-phone companies.

So what good is this unit? Is it worth the expected $175 or so dollars for the unit? Well, I suppose that depends on the user, and the performance of this little device. Personally, it would be nice to have a small instant-on unit I can use for quick web lookups, jotting a quick email, or viewing a video or two. However, most cell phones have the same capabilities today. In fact, my own cell phone, the Blackberry 8830, does all this and more. The biggest drawback to the blackberry, however, is the lack of wifi connectivity, reducing speed considerably.

Personally, I’d like to give one of these devices a shot. It would be interesting to see what capabilities the unit truly has, and, at the same time, see if it impacts how I work and play every day.

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