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Rugged PDA moving to Linux

Aug 11, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 45 views

SDG Systems is porting Linux to a rugged handheld computer that currently runs Windows Mobile. Aimed at applications including parcel delivery, Bluebird Soft's BIP-6000 offers a 3.5-inch VGA touchscreen, 3-megapixel camera, 1D/2D barcode scanner, RFID and IrDA readers, WiFi, GPS, and HDSPA.

A value-added reseller of mobile computers and PDAs, SDG Systems specializes in porting Windows Mobile-based handhelds to Linux and Android. In May, the company ported the Tripod Data Systems (TDS) Nomad PDA (pictured) to Android 1.5. The year before, it ported the same rugged, "military-grade" PDA to Linux, reselling it as the Trimble Nomad.

The Nomad Linux bundle includes Angstrom Linux and Qtopia PDA Edition pre-installed, as well as including a toolsuite and build environment based on OpenEmbedded. SDG made its first Linux port to the original Recon PDA back in 2005 at the request of 10East, a vertical ISV (independent software vendor) that sells to the railroad industry.

SDG Systems will now provide a Linux port for the BIP-6000, the latest in Korea-based Bluebird Soft's Bluebird Pidion line of handhelds. SDG Systems also announced that it plans to distribute and support the entire Pidion line in the U.S.

Other Pideons include the BIP-1300, the BM-150R PDA, and various data collection devices. The company says it plans to port Linux to at least some of these products, starting with the BIP-6000, which should be tuxified sometime during the third quarter.


As detailed in a recent story on our sister site, WindowsForDevices, the BIP-6000 measures 6.3 x 3.1 x 1.4 inches, is resistant to drop impacts, and is designed for parcel delivery, meter reading, public safety, and inventory management. Based on a Marvell PXA320 processor clocked at 806MHz, the device offers 256MB of RAM and 512MB of flash, says Bluebird Soft.

The BIP-6000 is further equipped with a 3.5-inch VGA touchscreen, 3 megapixel camera, 1D/2D barcode scanner, and both RFID and IrDA readers. Communications features are said to include a GSM cellular modem that supports HSDPA (high speed downlink packet access), as well as WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS.

Wired connectivity includes an RS232 port, USB 1.1 host and client ports, and Ethernet connections via an optional cradle. The phone also offers slots for a SIM and for a microSD memory card, Bluebird Soft says.

Stated Todd Blumer, President of SDG Systems, "Bluebird has a reputation of providing cutting-edge and full-featured rugged mobile hardware platforms at compelling price points. The solutions are unique in the market place from a combination of functionality and pricing."


The BIP-6000 sells for $1650 to $2100, which is almost exactly the same as the price of the Nomad. More information on the BIP-6000, which will be available with Linux in the third quarter, as well as other Pideon products, may be found at SDG Systems' Online Store, here.

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