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‘Low cost’ Linux-based PDA unveiled at Taipei Linux Expo

Jul 31, 2002 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

Esfia (Taipei, Taiwan) will demonstrate a new low-cost Chinese Linux-based PDA at the Taipei Linux Expo this week. The device, which is based on a Samsung ARM7 system-on-chip processor and is available with a color or monochrome backlit 320×240 pixel LCD, was developed by Esfia to provide a ready-to-use Linux-PDA technology solution for license to companies wanting to distribute low-cost Linux-based PDAs… in either the China or worldwide markets.

The Esfia PDA runs a customized version of uClinux, a variation of Linux for MMU-less processors such as the device's ARM7TDMA-based Samsung SC44BOX. In addition to Linux, the PDA's software stack includes a PIM app suite, office-type apps with Word and Excel file compatibility, and a range of useful utilities (see below).

Hardware features . . .

  • Processor: Samsung S3C44B0X ARM7TDMI system-on-chip, 66Mhz clock rate
  • Memory: 8MB/16MB/32MB SDRAM system memory; 64KB boot Flash; 8MB NAND Flash
  • Display: 320×240 pixels LCD with backlight and touch panel; choice of 16-grayscale mono, or 256 color
  • User interface: pen-and-touch interface; handwriting recognition; on-screen keyboard
  • Buttons: power; 4 user-programmable quick launch keys; record; scrol; action key; ESC; Reset
  • Power: 850 mAH rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery; worldwide auto-voltage AC adapter input; DC input jack
  • Expansion ports: IrDA; RS232 serial; stereo-audio jack; USB; CompactFlash (Type I/II) slot; SD card (option)
  • Sound: buzzer; audio CODEC

System software . . .

  • Linux-based OS: derived from uClinux and kernel 2.2.14 (currently)
  • Window manager: embeddable GUI framework which is based on Nano-X.
  • PIM suite: calendar, contacts, ToDo, memo, calculator, and email functions
  • Other application software: dictionary, expense, PC sync (with Outlook), Word- and Excel-like apps
  • Utilities and drivers: configuration/settings app; handwriting recognition; MP3 player; voice recorder; and support for boot, display, touch, power management, serial, USB, CompactFlash, CODEC, and buzzer functions

Esfia has positioned itself as an R&D solution company, offering professional services including software, hardware, and mechanical design. This week's PDA demonstration at the Taipei Linux Expo is meant to showcase the company's full-service system integration capabilities.

For companies interested in mass producing the Esfia PDA design, samples of the PDA's system-board (including the LCD) are said to be currently available. Esfia says its PDA strategy is to work with its customers to finalize a desired mechanical enclosure design, locate a contract manufacturer, and qualify the final production units.

Earlier this week, Esfia announced a companion chip for Samsung's system-on-chip processors for PDAs and other mobile devices.

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