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Chinese educational handhelds get Qt

Jul 14, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 16 views

A Chinese educational device vendor announced it will use Trolltech's Qt for Embedded Linux application framework in its Linux-based educational devices. Noah Education Holdings currently offers over a dozen handheld “digital-learning devices” (DLDs), three of which run embedded Linux.

(Click for larger view of Noah NC200)

Noah claims to be China's “leading provider of supplementary education content and services.” Qt for Embedded Linux will allow the company to “build off the embedded, free, and open-source Linux operating system to create more advanced applications and state-of-the-art interactive features,” says the company. There was no indication, however, of a timetable for the Qt project, or whether all the company's future DLDs will use the Qt stack.

Trolltech's Qt for Embedded Linux is the Linux version of the cross-platform Qt, which was recently rev'd to version 4.4. The Linux version is built into a variety of devices including Roku's Netflix Player. Trolltech, meanwhile, was recently acquired by Nokia.

Noah currently offers three Linux-based DLDs. The latest is the NC200, which doubles as a portable Chinese language course-ware device and a “travel companion,” says Noah. The device is equipped with an undisclosed 400MHz processor and 1GB of memory, and supports up to 4GB of additional Micro-SD-based storage. It also offers a 3-inch, 320 x 240 touch-panel with 26 million colors and handwriting input, says Noah. Additional NC200 features include a USB port, 3.5mm dual-channel headphones, rechargeable lithium battery, and support for MP4 and MP3. There does not appear to be WiFi, Ethernet, cellular capability, or any other direct access to the Internet, but Web-based course updates can be transferred from a PC via USB.

The NC200's software includes a pictorial dictionary, terminology dictionary, multi-language dictionary, and a “role-play function,” says Noah. The multimedia Chinese-language courseware is based on a 45-lesson course from the 2008 edition of Boya Intensive Chinese Learning. Chinese character lessons incorporate pen input by students, says the company, and the software is said to enable easy switching between Chinese, English, and Pin-yin characters.

Noah is also billing the device as a travel-oriented handheld for visiting the Beijing Olympics. The software is said to include road maps and travel guides, as well as an English/Chinese translation program. Additional features include a calculator, calendar, and an ebook reader.

Noah's NP1000 (left) and NP1100 (right)
(Click either to enlarge)

Noah's two other Linux-based models, the NP1100 and NP1000 offer similar hardware specs as the NC200, except they are limited to 512MB of RAM. The two devices also have slightly different keypad and physical input designs (see photos), and the NP1100 appears to have slightly updated software, with features including:

  • “Learning Searching Engine” for Chinese, English, math, physics, chemistry, history, and politics
  • Five Chinese and English language dictionaries, and animated dictionary
  • “Riverdeep” multimedia learning content
  • Graphics calculator with five-function module
  • Pocket English learning module
  • Video courseware

Stated Zheng Wei, SVP of Noah, “Qt for Embedded Linux will help us to rapidly build applications and stylish user interfaces, effectively shortening the product development cycle and enhancing the Noah user experience.”


The NC200, NP1100, and NP1000 digital learning devices appear to be shipping now with prices undisclosed. No timetable was provided for the arrival of Qt-based DLDs.

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