Portable Processor Display and much much more

Robert Stratton bob at stratton.net
Tue Dec 1 15:16:35 CST 2009

Someone previously mentioned the Nokia N810. Now that the N900 is out,  
it's possible to find the N810 for a lot less than before, and the USB  
behavior is pretty well documented if you absolutely need a USB host.  
The maemo framework is not bad for developers in terms of ease of use.  
If you don't need a physical keyboard, the N800 and earlier N770 are  
available inexpensively now. I use my N800 to control aspects of my AV  
system and am about to put my N810 in a car as a real-time OBDII front- 
end over Bluetooth. (Look up "Carman" - it's a nice piece of work). If  
you need more memory you can just slap a larger SD card into most of  

My current favorite for mass-market-hackable-product-as-nice-UI is the  
Palm Pre, but I don't think anyone is likely to have it USB mastering  
anything soon. Like the iPhone (and even certain elements of Android  
devices), there are aspects of the bare metal that they'd just as soon  
you not manipulate, but it is utterly trivial to start to develop  
under Mojo, the Palm Pre (and Pixi's) environment.

Unlike Apple, Palm has some nice arrangements where they'll waive the  
(admittedly rather reasonable) App Catalog fees if you're going to  
make your project open source. They also are quite laissez-faire about  
what one can put in the catalog.

If you want to even bother with that, there is a thriving non-App  
Catalog environment complete with automated updating and over-the-air  
downloads called Preware.


On Sep 26, 2009, at 3:31 AM, Albertson Chris wrote:

>> Frank, et al:
>> I looked at building an iPhone app last year, after getting a first- 
>> generation iPhone.  While downloading (and registering for) the  
>> Apple development tools is indeed free, which I have done, I  
>> understand it costs money to distribute an app via the iTunes  
>> library system.  Also, iTunes is the only way to distribute iPhones  
>> apps.  I believe that I was told that it costs $200 to be able to  
>> distribute via iTunes.
>> If that's the case, I don't think I'm willing to spend the time to  
>> develop a free SDR app, but have Apple making money off my hard  
>> work merely to distribute it.  Maybe others feel differently.
> My idea was really simply "why not find some mass produced device?   
> It would be
> cheape and better built then anything you could make at home.  The  
> iPhone was an example.
> There are likely other devices.  Maybe Nokia or RIM makes somethiing  
> as good?
> Back to the iPhone, yes you have to buy in to get the app  
> distributed via Apple's app store but you can avoid paying two ways
> (1) The fee is "per organization" not per person.  So you join an  
> open source "club" that has already paid or
> (2) you distribute it informally any way you see fit.
> #1 is best because few iPhone users would know what to do with  
> a .tar file
> Also there is an effort to port a version of Linux to the iPhone.   
> That would over-write Apple's firmware and run on bare hardware but  
> this is still not ready for prime time.  I read it just booted and  
> as yet does not do much more than boot.
> Competing with iPhone is Google's "Android". Android is more open  
> but there is as yet not a lot of good hardware
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