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Wrist-mounted computer runs Linux

Apr 7, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 122 views

Glacier Computer has announced a wearable computer that runs Linux and includes built-in WiFi along with GPS and Bluetooth options. The wrist-mounted “Ridgeline W200” has a 3.5-inch touchscreen display, backlit keys, a hot-swappable battery pack, and an electronic compass, the company says.

(Click here for a larger view of Glacier's Ridgeline W200)

According to Glacier, its Ridgeline W200 is aimed at emergency services, security, defense, and field logistics applications. Designed to keep both of a user's hands free, the wrist-mounted computer saves battery power by automatically entering standby when being hung down alongside the body, the company adds.

Glacier says the Ridgeline W200 provides “continuous connectivity regardless of the user's location,” thanks to WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS. The 10.2-ounce device has a 3.5-inch touchscreen display and 11 backlit keys, the company adds.

Parvus's Zypad WL1000
(Click to enlarge)

The company recently announced plans to distribute wearable computers from Eurotech subsidiary Parvus. Indeed, in all but color, the Ridgeline W200 bears a striking resemblance to the Zypad WL1000 (right), first introduced by Eurotech subsidiary Parvus back in 2006.

Parvus's Zypad WR1100
(Click image for further information)

The WL1000 featured 64MB of memory and 64MB of flash storage, and ran either Linux or Windows CE on a MIPS-based, 400MHz RMI Au1100 processor. Last November, Parvus released the WR1100 (left), which is offered only with Linux. Also wrist-wearable, the WR1100 is bulkier and heavier than the WL1100, but is apparently more rugged and includes a 640 x 480 pixel display.

Now, Parvus has updated its original WL1000 device as the Zypad WL1100, which includes 128MB of RAM, 1.2GB of flash storage, a 400MHz Marvell PXA270 CPU, and an optional GPS receiver based on the SiRF starIII chipset. We suspect it's the Parvus WL1100 that Glacier is reselling as its Ridgeline W200, but will update this story when confirmation is received. According to Parvus, the WL1100 has a 3.5-inch QVGA (320 x 240) display with automatic contrast adjustment, an 11-key backlit keypad, a Mini SD expansion slot, and USB 1.1 host and device ports.

In addition to its GPS receiver, the Zypad WL1100 is available with Bluetooth 1.2, and also comes in versions offering an RFID reader or ZigBee. A “tilt and dead reckoning system” is designed to detect when a user is not moving and may be configured to send an alert under such circumstances, Parvus adds.

Dust- and water-resistant, according to the IP54 standard, the Zypad WL1100 offers more than eight hours of battery life, claims Parvus.

Features and specifications listed by Parvus for the Zypad WL1100, which are likely similar to those of Glacier's Ridgeline W200, include:

  • Processor — Marvell PXA270 clocked at 400MHz
  • Memory — 128MB of RAM and 1.2GB of flash storage
  • Display — 3.5-inch touchscreen display with 320 x 240 resolution
  • Keys — 11 backlit keys (On/Off, Enter, Esc, Left, Right, Down, F1, F2, F3, F4)
  • Wireless:
    • 802.11b.g
    • Bluetooth 1.2 (optional)
    • GPS (optional)
    • ZigBee (optional)

  • Other I/O:
    • USB 1.1 host and device ports
    • Stereo headphone jack

  • Battery type/life — 2200mAh battery pack provides more than eight hours of operation
  • Operating temperature — -10 to 50 deg. C (14 to 122 deg. F)
  • Dimensions — n/s
  • Weight — 10.2 ounces (290g) with battery

Further information

The Glacier Ridgeline W200/Parvus Zypad WL1100 design runs both Linux and Windows CE 6.0. More information should be available at this Glacier page on the W200, here. More details of the Zypad WL1100 may be found on the Parvus website, here.

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