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NEWS FLASH: Royal to debut $300 Linux/Qtopia PDA this year

Sep 16, 2003 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Updated 2:30pm PDT — Royal Consumer Information Products and Trolltech announced that they are jointly developing a new line of “feature-rich” and “competitively priced” Linux-based handheld devices that incorporate Trolltech's Qtopia application platform, thereby providing software compatibility with Sharp's Zaurus… PDAs. The first of these products, Royal LineaLX, is scheduled to ship in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2003 for less than $300, the companies said.

According to Bob Smith, Sr. Product Manager of Royal Consumer Information Products, the LineaLX will be positioned at the top of Royal's Linea line of low-end handheld organizers. Other members of the Linea family use a proprietary OS.

The LineaLX will be based on a Motorola i.MX1 MDragonBall processor running at 200MHz. Motorola claims this chip outperforms competing chips clocked many times faster due to architectural advantages and built-in function accelerators, and that the low clock rate uses less power. A recent whitepaper from Motorola claims that i.MXL processors outperform Intel's Xscale PXA250 and TI's OMAP 1510 in power conservation benchmark testing.

According to Smith, the LineaLX will come with 64MB SDRAM plus 32MB Flash memory and an SDIO expansion card slot, and the device will feature a 3.5-inch LCD screen with 240 x 320 pixel resolution and 65K colors.

“This partnership with Trolltech reinforces Royal's strength and expertise in creating products with stellar features at aggressive price points. It gives us the basis for a complete line of Linux-powered PDAs,” commented Todd Althoff, Vice-President of Marketing and New Development for Royal Consumer Information Products.

“The LineaLX will provide great consumer value and deliver the features customers want in an affordable, open environment that can accommodate emerging technologies and applications,” Althoff added.

The use of Qtopia in Royal's new Linux PDA will enable it to capitalize on the growing base of Qtopia apps already developed for the Sharp Zaurus. Haavard Nord, Trolltech's CEO, said there are currently over a thousand such applications.

In January 2002, Royal unveiled a $300 Linux-powered PDA at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The unit (shown at left) was based on a 206MHz Intel StrongARM processor with 16MB of Flash ROM and 32MB of system RAM, and incorporated Century Software's PIXIL application platform. Royal subsequently opted not to introduce that product, instead embarking on a redesign.

According to Smith, the redesigned LineaLX features a new “look”, will be thinner and smaller, have buttons on the front, a cursor pad, and a clip-on thumb keyboard on the bottom of the device.

Watch this space!

Keep an eye on this news item over the coming days and weeks, as Royal has promised to provide additional details and photos soon.

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