Linux PC/phone for the ROAD warrior

Linux gadget lovers may find a new mobile phone/handheld computer from Remote Office Access Devices (ROAD) intriguing.

The S101 is a combination cell phone and miniature computer, capable of running Windows desktop programs, and sports Version 2.6 of the Linux kernel. At first glance, the multi-function device appears as if a cell phone and PDA were pressed together by someone with very strong hands. On top of the 5-by-2.5-inch device is a cell phone face plate with standard buttons and a 102x65-pixel black-and-white LCD. Flipping the gadget open like a clamshell reveals a tiny 64-key keyboard and color LCD with touchscreen controls.

The phone part of the S101 runs on a GSM network - ready to roll on AT&T/Cingular's network, and in Europe. (ROAD is based in Germany.) The PC uses a 400-Mhz Intel Xscale embedded processors with 64M bytes of both RAM and Flash memory storage. Battery life for the phone is around four hours/five hours for the PC.

In addition to GSM network connectivity, the S101 can also communicate on Wi-Fi networks, as well as Bluetooth and infrared-capable devices.

While the operating system is Linux-based, this shouldn't spook non-techies as the device comes with Microsoft Outlook, Office, and an Adobe PDF reader. An MP3 player, dictation software and personal information manager software are also bundled.

The S101 is scheduled to ship in the fourth quarter of this year, and pricing has not been set yet.

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