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Top-10 gift ideas for the Linux Gadget Geek

Nov 9, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Got a Linux Gadget Geek on your shopping list? You can't fail with a gift from this guide to the ten hottest Linux-powered devices gleaned from's news throughout 2007. There's something for everyone, at prices from $150 to $1,000, organized from least to most expensive. Enjoy!

Top-10 gift ideas for the Linux Gadget Geek

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PMP does WiFi, downloads music, runs LinuxFlash memory and consumer device specialist SanDisk is shipping the first portable multimedia player (PMP) able to download music directly via WiFi, without the use of a PC. The “Sansa Connect,” which runs embedded Linux and Mono, connects directly to online music services via WiFi. About $150 for the 4GB version.

Linux IM pad beefs up, invites hackingZipit Wireless has updated its Linux-based, WiFi-connected instant messaging client for kids and other frequent IM users. The new $150 Zipit Wireless Messenger 2 (Z2) adds a color screen, a faster processor, and expansion interfaces likely to prove popular among both kids and Linux hackers.

Linux-based programmable clock device shipsChumby is shipping its Linux-powered device designed for the bedside, desktop, and kitchen counter. The alarm-clock sized “Chumby” has hackable hardware, software, and outerware, connects via WiFi, and can be programmed to display everything from clock faces to stock quotes. $180 with free shipping.

Motorola touts updated Linux/Java phone platform The MotoRokr Z6 (vendor site) is the first of Motorola's Linux phones to be widely sold in the U.S. It's a music-oriented slider phone, and you can buy one for $275, or two for about $500, as long as you don't mind them both being the same color. Formerly known as the MotoRizr Z6 when first announced, the phone uses an innovative single-chip, dual core architecture with a single memory bank, for longer battery life, among other geek-pleasing features.

iPhone-like Linux phone ready for hackersA project to build an open, user-extensible Linux-based mobile phone has opened its online store for business. About 1,000 OpenMoko Neo1973 phones are available initially, primarily targeting hackers and developers, with general availability of a “mass market” phone expected this Fall. Price: $300 to $450, depending on whether or not you want the “hacker” edition (you know THE GEEK will!)

Linux-powered Asus Eee PC mini-laptop arrivesThe Xandros Linux-powered mini-PC has finally arrived. One of the most eagerly awaited laptops in some time, the tiny Asus Eee PC 4G is now available from online retailers that include Newegg and Directon, albeit priced higher than originally expected, at nearly $400. A sub-$300 model should follow by mid-November, however.

Nokia unveils Linux-powered N810 Internet TabletThis is probably the one they really want. This new version of Nokia's Linux-based Internet tablet is smaller, heavier, and faster than the older N800, with new features that include a slide-out hardware QWERTY thumb keyboard, GPS receiver, FM transmitter (for in-car listening), and a light-sensing screen dimmer. It runs Maemo Linux, one of the flagship examples of how well open source development can work, and costs about $380. The older N800 has the same internals, and is just as good for users not planning to do email/IMing on the device. It sells for as little as $250, and still seems to be in production.

OLPC “Give 1, Get 1” promo starts Nov. 12 in the U.S.One Laptop Per Child's “XO” device — commonly referred to as the $100 Linux laptop — will be offered as part of a “Give 1, Get 1” promotional program in the U.S. and Canada beginning Nov. 12. Total cost of doing a good deed for your child and one in a foreign land? About $380.

Mot's Linux phone arrives at U.S. storesIn October, Motorola sent out a mass email inviting recipients to “experience” its Linux-based RAZR2 V8 phone “at your nearest mobile phone store.” The first of Mot's “iconic” Razr line to use Linux, the V8 may have been delayed, however, as it still doesn't seem to be available as of Nov. 7 from major U.S. GSM/GPRS providers like AT&T (formerly Cingular), Sprint, and T-Mobile. You can find unlocked versions for about $500. Motorola has also announced a “Luxury Edition” with 24K gold plating and fake snakeskin, which probably costs even more.

Linux device makes good, better, BestAnother Linux-based gadget has broken into the mainstream consumer electronics marketplace. The Sonos Digital Music System, first introduced in 2006, but updated several times in 2007 with features such as WM11 file support, is now available in more than 450 Best Buy retail outlets in the U.S. A basic two-room setup costs about $1,000, including a nifty Linux-based handheld controller.

And, an honorable mention…

Linux-powered prophylactic protects Vista PCThe Yoggie Pico is a Linux-powered, USB-interfaced firewall squished into a thumb drive-sized package. The device can be found online for $150 or less.

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