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Mini-notebook runs “Windows friendly” Linux

Jun 4, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive

[Updated Jun. 4] — 3K Computer is shipping a $300 ultra-mini PC notebook that runs “Genuine CE” Linux distribution from a 4GB SSD (solid-state disk). 3K's RazorBook 400-Mini-Notebook uses a 32-bit RISC-based processor from Chinese processor start-up Ingenic.

(Click for larger view of the 3K RazorBook 400)

Weighing under two pounds and measuring 8.25 x 5.5 x 1.25 inches, the 3K RazorBook 400 offers a claimed 15-second boot time and a “shock-proof” design, says 3K. The device closely resembles another recently announced low-cost laptop based on an Ingenic processor, Bestlink's Alpha 400 mini notebook. Both use an unspecified Ingenic CPU, possibly the Jz4740 Multimedia Application Processor, clocked at 400MHz.

Ingenic was founded in China in 2005. It fabs its chips on 0.18-micron technology, and claims them compatible with both Linux and Windows CE.

Ingenic's processors are based on a 32-bit RISC-based architecture dubbed Xburst. The architecture is based on MIPS, according to Ingenic's Linux page. The Xburst architecture also supports SIMD (single instruction, multiple data) instructions that, like Intel's SSE1, SSE2, and SSSE3 instructions, aim to accelerate media processing.

A changelog on Ingenic's Linux page suggests the company maintains a 2.6.24.3 kernel for its SoCs, with drivers that include YAFFS2, UBI & UBIFS, power management, SLC/MLC NAND, MMC/SD, LCD framebuffer, ALSA/OSS audio, UDC, USB host, Camera, RTC, WatchDog, udev, hotplug etc. The page also hosts ports of several open source applications, including the versatile mplayer media player.


RazorBook 400

The RazorBook 400's Genuine CE Linux Operating System is said to be “Windows-friendly,” suggesting its interface resembles that of Windows. The distribution includes an “open source Office Suite,” which includes AbiWord, GNUMeric, an email client, FireFox 2, and a PDF Reader. The pre-installed software also includes games, schedulers, music players, movie players, and planners.


A big hand for the RazorBook 400

The specs listed for the RazorBook 400 include:

  • Processor — Ingenic 400MHz 32-bit single-core mobile processor
  • Memory — 512MB DDR2
  • Flash — 4GB internal flash storage
  • Flash expansion — Memory card reader supports SD/SM
  • Display — 7-inch WVGA (800 x 480) TFT LCD
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet
  • WiFi — 802.11
  • USB — 3 x USB 2.0
  • Audio — “high-definition” audio, integrated stereo speakers
  • Modem — 56K V.92 Data/Fax PCI
  • Dimensions — 8.25 x 5.5 x 1.25 inches
  • Weight — Under 2 lbs
  • Battery — 2-cell 2100 mAh; AC adapter
  • Other features — Three docking station options up to 4 x USB, Ethernet, VGA ($110); RoHS compliant
  • Operating system — Genuine CE Linux Operating System version 2.4

According to an early-look review that appeared last week on Laptop.com, the RazorBook 400 was “not as bad as I'd expected,” wrote reviewer Joanna Stern. However, she faulted the Genuine CE distribution, which she found to be difficult to customize and unable to accept new applications. She also knocks the system for its lack of a VGA output, although a VGA port is available via a $110 docking station option that also provides four additional USB ports and an extra Ethernet port.

Availability

The 3K RazorBook 400-Mini-Notebook PC appears to be available now for $300, says 3K. More information may be available 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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