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MIDs offer Atom, HSDPA

Aug 26, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 9 views

WiBrain has started shipping its B1LE and B1LH, two MIDs (mobile Internet devices) based on Ubuntu Linux and Via C7M processors. Additionally, the Korean company will soon unveil an Intel Atom-based “i1” MID (shown) that features built-in cellular networking based on HSDPA (high-speed downlink packet access).

(Click for larger view of the Atom-based i1; source: WiBrain)

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WiBrain says it will unveil the i1 (also referred to as “Tomorrow's Communicator”) at the IFA 2008 show in Berlin, Germany, which starts Aug, 29th and runs until Sept. 3rd. The only clue offered by WiBrain about the i1, other than its processor, is that the device will be able to use HSDPA cellular data services. Most commonly found supporting downstream data rates of 3.6Mbps, HSDPA service may also be available in some locations at 7.2Mbps, or even 14.4Mbps.

WiBrain i1 (Source: Dynamism)

The photos above and below, from online distributor Dynamism, show the i1 looking nearly identical, but for its apparently retractable cellular antenna, to WiBrain's B1LE and B1LH tablets, which use Via C7M processors (more details supplied below). The B1LE and B1LH, meanwhile, are in turn doppelgangers of WiBrain's Windows based B1H models released earlier this year.

i1 in four colors (Source: Dynamism)

Dynamism has set up a placeholder page for the i1, but like WiBrain is keeping fairly mum on device features for now. Dynamism does allow that the i1 is based on the B1 design, but with upgraded casing (and judging from the Dynamism photos, plenty of new colors). The only additional information Dynamism offers is that the i1 will be available with a 60GB hard drive, or 64GB solid-state disk, as well as a built-in SD card slot, and up to six hours of battery life. It is highly likely it will be offered in both Linux and Windows versions, like the existing B1 models.

The Via-based B1LE and B1LH

While waiting for the i1, users looking for a Linux-based tablet with multiple input options may want to consider the similar Via-based B1LE and B1LH. Like the Windows-based B1H, the two Linux models measure 7.6 x 3.2 x 1.1 inches and are equipped with Via's C7M ULV processor clocked at 1.2GHz, with VX700 graphics.

Via-based B1LE (B1LH looks identical)

The keyboard is split in two by the 4.8-inch, 1024 x 600-resolution touchscreen. Other input devices include a directional keypad on the left and a touchpad on the right. The tablets appear to have been well-received by the deaf community, with several video testimonials by deaf B1H users hosted on WiBrain's site. Presumably, the device's split keyboard is conducive to typing rapid notes and instant messages.

Like the B1H, the Linux models are equipped with WiFi and a USB port, and come in two versions that differ in memory and storage options. The B1LE includes 512MB of RAM and a 30GB hard drive, while the B1LH offers 1GB of RAM and a 60GB hard drive.

Both of the Linux systems come with an optional docking station that offers an Ethernet port, but the Linux models appear to lack the Windows version's Bluetooth radio. None of the B1xx models offer the i1's HSDPA modem, SD slot, or SSD storage option.

Closer views of B1LE
(Click on either to enlarge)

Features and specifications for the B1LE and B1LH include:
  • Processor — Via C7M ULV processor clocked at 1.2GHz
  • Memory — 512MB (B1LE) or 1GB (B1LH)
  • Display — 4.8-inch touchscreen at 1024 x 600
  • Storage — 30GB (B1LE) or 60GB (B1LH)

  • Interfaces — 50-key QWERTY keypad; directional keypad; touchpad; touchscreen
  • Webcam — 1.3-megapixel
  • Networking:
    • LAN:
      • 802.11b/g wireless
      • 10/100 Ethernet (via optional docking station only)

    • Other I/O:
      • USB 2.0 host port
      • Microphone in
      • Headphone jack
      • 24-pin connector for docking stations
  • Battery type/life — 4-cell lithium-ion battery
  • Speakers - 2-channel stereo speakers (1.0W)
  • Dimensions - 7.6 x 3.2 x 1.1 inches (192 x 82 x 28mm)
  • Weight — 1.2 pounds
  • Operating system - Ubuntu Linux

B1LE directional keys and touchpad
(Click on either to enlarge)


The B1LE and B1LH appear to be shipping now at an undisclosed price. So far, there has been no pricing or availability information about the Atom-based i2. More information on the WiBrain tablets may be available here.

The i1 will be demonstrated at IFA2008, at booth 121 in Hall 12, WiBrain said.

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