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Biodegradable, solar-powered netbook runs Linux

May 22, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 16 views

A startup in Spain is readying a mini-netbook with open source Linux software and a solar power option. The under-$200 “Gyy” is based on a MIPS-based Ingenic processor clocked to 400MHz, offers an 8-inch, 800 x 480 display, and is made of biodegradable materials, says iUnika.

The Gyy netbook (pictured), or Ultra Mobile Personal Computer (UMPC), as iUnika refers to it, stands out with its bioplastic construction. Fabricated from renewable resources of natural origin, such as starch, cellulose, or corn flour, the Gyy can biodegrade in landfills without environmental impact, says the company. Furthering its “green” image, the Gyy has a casing designed to affix optional solar panels to supplement the built-in battery, thereby extending usage beyond the battery's typical four-hour duration.

iUnika founders:
Angel Blazquez (left)
and Pablo Machon

Based in Madrid, Spain, iUnika also has offices in Hong Kong, and has contracted with an unnamed manufacturer in China to build the Gyy netbooks. The devices are built around an unnamed MIPS-based system-on-chip (SoC) from China-based Ingenic Semiconductor.

The SoC appears to be the 400MHz “XBurst” architecture Ingenic Jz4740 Multimedia Application Processor. The Jz4740, often referred to simply as an XBurst SoC, was used in two other low cost, Linux-based netbooks that shipped last year: the Bestlink Alpha 400 and the 3K RazorBook 400. Last year, Ingenic also released three Linux-compatible MIPS-based SoCs, called the Jz4720, Jz4730, and Jz4740, which clocked to 240MHz, 336MHz, and 360MHz, respectively.

Other Gyy features appear fairly standard for a low-end mini-netbook, including 128MB RAM, 1GB flash, an 8-inch display, Ethernet, and three USB ports. Communications features include WiFi, ADSL, CDMA, and GPRS, and appear to be optional.

Specifications listed for the Gyy include:

  • Processor — Ingenic (MIPS) @ 400MHz
  • Memory — 128MB RAM
  • Flash — 1GB
  • Display — 8-inch, 800 x 480 display
  • Networking — 1 x 10/100 Ethernet port
  • USB — 3 x USB ports
  • Communications (optional) — WiFi, ADSL, CDMA, GPRS
  • Power — 4-hour battery; optional solar panel charger
  • Dimensions — 9.1 x 6.3 inches (23 x 16cm)
  • Weight — 1.54 lbs (700 grams)
  • Operating system — GNU/Linux


Pricing for the Gyy will start at 130 euros (about $182 US), or 160 euros ($223) for the solar model, says iUnika. The company did not offer availability information. More information may be found on the Spanish-language iUnika site, here.

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