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Linux-based picture frame adds Internet radio, widgets, multimedia

Sep 17, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive

HP announced an ARM-based digital picture frame enhanced with multimedia capabilities, Internet radio, and widget-based clients for services such as Facebook and Pandora. The HP DreamScreen provides a 10- or 13-inch display with 800 x 480 resolution, 2GB of RAM, WiFi, Ethernet, and dual card readers, says HP.

The DreamScreen 100, said to be shipping now, is equipped with a 10.2-inch screen while the 13.3-inch HP DreamScreen 130 is due later this fall. Instead of offering a Web browser for unrestricted Internet access, the DreamScreen provides widgets that deliver partner sites and services, such as Facebook, Pandora Internet radio, and the Snapfish photo site, says HP.

Equipped with a remote control, the DreamScreen can stream photos and music from a PC, or users can copy photos, music, or video to the tablet and/or a connected storage device for local playback, according to HP. Although the device is billed as distributing PC multimedia anywhere in the house, it does not appear to run on batteries.


HP DreamScreen 100
(Click to enlarge)

The tailored services approach along with the lack of a touchscreen — users interact via a series of navigation buttons and/or a remote — is somewhat similar to that used by the Linux-based Chumby alarm clock computer and push-based Chumby service. According to an HP spokesperson, however, the DreamScreen is not based on one of the recently introduced Chumby DPF reference designs or any other third-party designs. Instead, the DreamScreen was "built ground up within HP's Futures and Innovations group, and we are using the software experiences from TouchSmart and MediaSmart software suites of applications that come on our PCs," the spokesperson added.

DreamScreen 100 with remote

The spokesperson also confirmed that the device runs Linux on an undisclosed ARM processor, but said the distribution is not based on the Ubuntu-based HP "Mi" distro used on HP's "Mini" netbooks.

DreamScreen 100 (rear view)

The DreamScreen provides 2GB of flash memory, of which 1.5GB is user-accessible. The device also includes two card readers — one compatible with SD/XD/MMC/Memory Stick/Memory Stick Pro formats, and the other compatible with Type I/II CompactFlash cards and Microdrives — plus dual USB ports. Access to the Internet and a networked PC are provided by WiFi and Ethernet connections, says HP.

The device's remote control nestles behind the screen, while touch controls, which become visible on demand, are located along the display's border. A stand and wall mount are also supplied, as is a power adapter, the company says.

DreamScreen 100 running Pandora

The DreamScreen includes stereo speakers, as well as headphone and speaker jacks. The device supports standard music and photo formats, as well as video formats including MPEG 1/2/4, AVI, M-JPEG, H.264, and MP4, says the company.

Music playback features are said to include search by artist, album or genre, with album cover art displayed simultaneously with music. The Pandora Internet music service is also available, letting users rate songs or artists to refine personalized music selections. In addition, the HP DreamScreen offers the HP SmartRadio service, which is said to aggregate streams of live Internet broadcasts from more than 10,000 radio stations.


DreamScreen 100 photo display

A slideshow mode displays photos simultaneously with music that is either stored on the device or streamed from a networked PC, says the company. Additional features include five-day weather forecasts, a calendar, and an alarm clock with digital or analog displays, dual time-zones, and multiple alarms.


Specifications listed for the HP DreamScreen include:

  • Processor — ARM-based
  • Flash memory — 2GB (1.5GB usable)
  • Expansion:
    • 1 x SD/XD/MMC/Memory Stick/Memory Stick Pro reader
    • 1 x Type I/II CompactFlash reader (Microdrive compatible)
  • Display — 10.2-inch or 13.3-inch 800 x 480 display
  • Audio — Stereo speakers; line in; line out
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet
  • WiFi — 802.11b/g
  • USB — 2 x USB ports
  • Other features — Remote control; navigation buttons; stand; wall-mount
  • Operating system — Linux

Stated Satjiv S. Chahil, SVP, worldwide marketing, Personal Systems Group, HP. "With HP DreamScreen, social media, web services and digital entertainment can be enjoyed in more areas of the home."

Availability

The HP DreamScreen 100 is now available in the U.S. for $250 from online distributors including BestBuy.com, Amazon.com, and HPDirect.com, and will be available at Best Buy retail outlets starting on Oct. 11. The HP DreamScreen 130 is expected to be broadly available this fall in the U.S. for $300.

More information on the DreamScreen devices may be found here.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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