Gmate Debuts Palm-Sized Linux Device

A South Korean startup, Gmate, used the CeBIT show here to launch Yopy, a palm-sized device running the open-source Linux operating system.

Featuring a 4-inch full-color display, the diminutive device will come fully loaded with an embedded Web browser and e-mail client, as well as personal productivity applications and software for playing back MP3 music or MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group) video files.

The pen-based graphical user interface was developed by Gmate's developer team, and the company also plans to offer a GTK (GIMP toolkit) for developers interested in building applications for the device, according to information from Gmate's Web site.

Yopy also features infrared, serial and USB (universal serial bus) ports for PC connectivity.

Gmate is also looking for partners to help it develop modules for wireless Internet access, officials said. Yopy features a slot for CompactFlash memory cards, and the plan is to develop both CDMA (code division multiple access) and GSM (global system for mobile communications) connection modules in the CompactFlash form factor, they said.

In addition, Gmate also plans to add Bluetooth wireless communications functionality, which would allow the handheld device to exchange data with other Bluetooth-equipped devices, officials said.

Powered by a 206MHz StrongArm processor, Yopy weighs in at 225 grams and measures 128.8-by-83.5-by-22 millimeters.

Yopy, the result of over two years of development work, is scheduled to ship by mid-year, in both Korean and English-language versions, said Lee Sang-Don, general manager of marketing and sales at Pundang, South Korea-based Gmate.

It will be priced somewhere in the US$400 to $600 range, depending on memory configuration, officials said. The prototype models on show here featured 32M bytes of RAM (random access memory).

The device will be manufactured by Samsung Electro-Mechanics, which also will market Yopy, Lee said.

Gmate was formally established in August 1998 by engineers formerly working for LG Semiconductor, LG Electronics, Hyundai Electronics and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST), officials said.

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