NanoNote vs Zaurus

My collection also includes the Sharp Zaurus SL-C3200 pocket computer. It’s Linux pocket computer (it uses the Qtopia for the GUI) and it is quite nice.

This machine is no longer produced (about 2008 the Sharp abandonet its line of Linux handhelds). It is somewhat similar to the NanoNote, but not too much. It’s more sophisticated (it has a touchscreen, a convertible screen – it can be used in a tablet mode, it has a full SD slot and a PCMCIA slot and it also has an infrared interface). The building quality and the used materials are better that these used in the NanoNote (it was of course much more expensive and even today an used Zaurus costs at least two times more than the new Nano). Of course it is somewhat bigger and heavier.

NanoNote vs Zaurus

The hardware of the Zaurus is still somewhat better than NanoNote’s: RAM 64 MB, 6 GB harddisk (and 128 MB of a fash memory), 640×480 screen and 416 MHz ARM CPU. It also has an USB host support. It also has a proper suspend mode – it can survive weaak or more on battery (as you probably know, the NanoNote can’t do this – it must be turned off when not used).

The problem of this machine is that it is less or more abandoned today: the software is mostly not developed (I use the Cacko ROM which is from about 2008) so there is a limited support for new pheripherals and services (for example I’m not able to make work my CompactFlash WiFi cart and use of SD card bigger than 1 GB causes system errors).
Also some pieces of software, that were ported to the Zaurus, are no longer available (LaTeX distribution, for example) and it is sometimes quite hard to compile them.

Anyway, it still is a usefull pocket computer. It can be used for light office work (it has onboard – but limited – a word processor and a spreadsheet), as a PDA, e-book readed (the FBReader is of course available) and there are some other applications and games. The gcc is still available so light software development is also possible here.

Of course, I have no plans to replace my NanoNote by this machine.

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NanoNote vs Zaurus

Atari Portfolio

This is my new toy: the Atari Portfolio palmtop from 1989. It is quite big (like the VHS casette) and it is somewhat limited (a 80086 processor, a 128 kB of RAM and a 40×8 characters display) but all of these parameters were OK when it was new. The screen has no backlight. I uses three AA batteries so it can work couple of weeks on single set of batteries. It runs a DOS 2.0-like operating system.

Atari Portfolio vws Nanonote

Being the one of the first (if not the first) palmtop computers it is filled with propietary technologies (RAM expansion cards and expansion modules)
but it was necessary at the time (there was no standard for such things). It also includes some build-in application (a Lotus123-compatible spread sheet, a plain text editor and a calendar program with alarms).

The main limitation is the size of its memory: 128 kB is divided between data storage (RAMdisk, usually 32 kB) and the actual operating memory. The expansion (battery-backed) cards can be sized from 32 kB to 512 kB (I have 32 kB one). It means that only relatively small programs can be used here. My ddfor software does not fit into the 32 kB when compiled by my favorite DOS compiler. I have had to compress the executable (both the pklite and the lzexe works well).

There are no speed issues: build-in applications starts under one second and they are very responsible. Big slow programs (like the Gnuplot) simply don’t fin into the memory. The computing speed (when using the ddfor is similar to the HP 95LX).

Atari Portfolio

Office in train

I was recently in Prague (it’s about 3.5 hours in train for one way) so a have taken a picture of my mobile travelling setup.

Office in train

Actually I had a 12″ laptop in my backpack but I didn’t used it during the travel. Next time I will leave it at home.

I new have a working WiFi card for my NanoNote so I was able to read/write e-mails and download RSS/Atom feeds to the NanoNote. I also used my usuall offline tools (vim, octave, hnb,…) and also the Gmu music player.

The Neo Freerunner phone has been used for few SMSs and as a GPS after I leaved the train.

Office in train