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Handhelds Open Source Portables Wireless Networking Linux

NanoNote Goes Wireless 83

Posted by Soulskill
from the better-late-than-never dept.
dvdkhlng writes "Even though completely copyleft, the NanoNote hand-held platform failed to get the attention of many due to its low specs and the lack of wireless connectivity. The objective to keep things open had its price, and wireless technology is a mine-field of patents and NDAs. Now, a few gifted hackers designed an add-on card to bring wireless to the NanoNote. It's not what you would expect; WLAN compatibility was sacrificed, going for the less encumbered IPv6 over the 802.15.4 standard instead. The resulting dongles won't win a prize for the highest bandwidth, but excel at simplicity, energy efficiency and manufacturability. Want to see the ugly details? Designs, source code and production documentation are published under open source licenses."
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NanoNote Goes Wireless

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  • Is the device really that small as the picture comparing it to a coke can suggests? I really can't think of a practical use for this form factor.
    • You can't think of a practical use for a small handheld device with a screen, keyboard, and wireless networking?

      Have you heard of this ancient device called a BlackBerry. Or a much newer thing called an iPhone (without the hardware keyboard)?

      • by dave420 (699308)
        Really? You're comparing this to those? Wow. Take a look at the specs of this thing, and then take a look at the specs of even the humble Blackberry. Then feel ashamed for even comparing the two. Not all "wireless" is created equal. The protocol this one supports is pretty shit.
        • by Teun (17872)
          Doh, the subject was the Form Factor, not the present capabilities.
    • While it is true that the device is prohibitively small, the article still suggests some possible uses, like:

      music or video player for Ogg or an offline Wikipedia or MIT OpenCourseWare appliance

      • by dave420 (699308)
        I'm pretty sure most people already have a small, handheld device in their pocket which can do all of those things, and more, and which has a better screen, better connectivity, more storage, and far better support.
        • The NanoNote is not my ideal solution, but I really wish everyone with a smart phone would stop assuming that everyone else also has one. By the end of the year, only half of the cellphones will be smart phones and not everyone even has a cell phone. On top of that, even if you have a smart phone, you don't necessarily have a data plan. I'd have to guess that right now, probably only 20% of adults actually have a smart phone and data plan.

        • Re:Scale (Score:4, Interesting)

          by _KiTA_ (241027) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @02:30PM (#36486318) Homepage

          I'm pretty sure most people already have a small, handheld device in their pocket which can do all of those things, and more, and which has a better screen, better connectivity, more storage, and far better support.

          Do they have them for $100?

          Seriously, I could think of a few things to do with this, and I'm not all that creative.

          Wikipedia in a hand-sized device (although there was that other Wikipedia handheld thing), basic word processing, email and webmail, Telnet / SSH access... Hell, it's running linux, so you could have all kinds of useful utilities on the silly thing as a sysadmin.

          Yes, most First World Geeks (and some Second World Geeks) have PDAs and Smartphones, but for underprivileged geeks? Young hackers (in the correct sense of the word) interested in learning basic computer/electrical engineering and code modification? I couldn't afford an iPhone when I was a kid (still can't, really) but this? I could have swung this and had an absolute ball mucking about with it.

          Yes, it's not a Smartphone. But it's nothing to just scoff at.

          • by dave420 (699308)

            I got a phone that runs linux for well under â100 on contract, and it has more than enough space for Wikipedia. It has word processing, email, webmail, telnet & ssh access, samba, etc. etc. etc.

            You can buy old second-hand phones for well under $100 that can do all of this, too. Prices for these devices have tumbled.

          • It looks interesting, but not so much for it handheld features, but for the size. I have been looking for a while for a micro sized cheap motherboard that can support Linux, networking and either serial or USB connectivity. Oh and being light enough on energy requirements that a solar panel is enough to power it. If it could support Apache httpd and Java then that would be big plus.

            Sure there is the Adruino, but I want something that is a step up. Then again, maybe I have underestimated what the Adruino can

            • If you want Apache and Java, you're way over Arduino's capabilities. I think a SheevaPlug (1.2GHz ARM, 20W max (usually less), $100) is more suitable for that purpose.

          • > Do they have them for $100?

            Sure, why not?

            Checked eBay lately, you can get yourself a 7" Android tablet for like $65.

            NanoNote has many virtues, but being cheap and "accessible" (third world, blah blah blah), is NOT one of them. On the contrary, it is WAY overpriced for what it is. And likewise so, this new wireless addon - 41 Euro, for god's sake, and you were saying something about students and poor children?

          • by makomk (752139)

            The trouble is... the Zipit Z2 is cheaper and actually has wireless networking built in, so most people wanting to hack on a cheap handheld computer in this form factor just buy one of those and load Linux onto it.

    • It would be a perfect place to keep your Bitcoin wallet. You could carry it around in your pocket to keep your bitcoins safe from hackers.
      • Re:Scale (Score:5, Funny)

        by pnot (96038) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @05:48PM (#36487108)

        It would be a perfect place to keep your Bitcoin wallet. You could carry it around in your pocket to keep your bitcoins safe from hackers.

        In fact, I'm surprised the summary didn't read something like Potential Bitcoin wallet goes wireless. In Bitcoin news today, Bitcoin experts said that Bitcoin uptake of Bitcoins could increase with the addition of Bitcoin wireless to a device which might, potentially, at some point, be used to store Bitcoins. Asked to comment on the development, a Bitcoin-using Bitcoin promoter replied "Bitcoin Bitcoin Bitcoin Bitcoin. And furthermore, Bitcoin."

  • cause you cant find the thing for sale anywhere

    besides if you could would you? I mean I might give up to 40 bucks for this toy that will end up in the junk bin a year later

    • by Microlith (54737)

      cause you cant find the thing for sale anywhere

      I know, man. If it isn't in Best Buy it just doesn't exist! Fuck people who make niche hardware for thinking they can try!

      • by Osgeld (1900440)

        its not even on google dingbat

        • by Microlith (54737)

          I just searched "nanonote" in google and it was the FIRST GODDAMN PAGE OF HITS.

    • cause you cant find the thing for sale anywhere

      Yes, one can. [sharism.cc]

      besides if you could would you? I mean I might give up to 40 bucks for this toy that will end up in the junk bin a year later

      The cost is $99.

      I agree that it might very well end up in the junk bin a year later, but I believe that is the point behind the device. It is not an end product in itself; it is meant to be experimented with, . Developers and students are meant to start from here and make something else. ~ musically_ut

      • by grosshei (718025)

        cause you cant find the thing for sale anywhere

        Yes, one can. [sharism.cc]

        Original poster still has a point: The cheapest shipping option from Sharism to the U.S. is ~$24. and there are no U.S. vendors that sell them. (That I've found.)

        It's not exactly the most accessible product ever.

  • It still has low specs and poor design, except now it has an ugly dongle (that makes it harder to carry without breaking it) that doesn't connect to anything people actually use. Tools have to solve problems and this doesn't solve anyone's issues other than a very, very, very tiny minority of open fanatics. If it's not a tool, it's a toy, and these don't seem like much fun.

    In the mean time, the rest of the world has cell phones that are more powerful, have better displays, better input devices, and roughly

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Microlith (54737)

      It's niche hardware, that makes it stupid. I hate it and so should you, and if you don't you suck. Everyone involved with it is a insane asshole (because I said so) and if you enjoy using this then you're mentally retarded and I hate you. Excuse me while I play mindless consumer and lock myself into an overpriced multi-year contract for something mostly unrelated to the subject at hand.

      I think I gleaned the true meaning of your blather.

      • by jschottm (317343)

        No, I'm pretty sure the only insane asshole involved is you.

        Arduinos solve problems and are successful, despite being nice hardware. SheevaPlugs solve problems and are successful.

        If people want to design and play with these for the fun of it, more power to them, but it's poorly conceived and will never be very successful at reaching the hands of hobbyists and they shouldn't be surprised when they fail. As I told the other gentleman, if they're dedicated to open hardware, they'd be better off creating open

        • by Microlith (54737)

          If people want to design and play with these for the fun of it, more power to them

          Except your post basically comes off as "they should never have bothered, because they're dirty zealots and it's been done better by others and I don't find it interesting."

          it's poorly conceived

          How so?

          will never be very successful at reaching the hands of hobbyists

          It's been around since 2009 at least and hasn't died yet. Maybe it is, and you're just making things up?

          As I told the other gentleman, if they're dedicated to open h

    • Well, I don't find it a compelling device, but nonetheless I can think of a few uses for it. If someone gave me one, I'd be tempted to:

      1. Use it as a portable media platform
      2. Use it as a portable gaming device
      3. The "Local copy of Wikipedia" thing others have mentioned certainly isn't a bad idea

      Those are three applications it would appear to be more than adequate at. I wouldn't be inclined to use it as the eBook reader others have mentioned - the lack of an eInk screen and the poor resolution/size kinda works a

  • If it runs Linux and comes with a USB port, what was stopping people from simply popping in one of those wifi-card usb things?
    • by MtHuurne (602934)

      The NanoNote has a USB device controller, but no USB host controller. So you can connect it to a PC and run ethernet over USB, but you cannot connect other devices directly to the NanoNote.

  • From their wiki: http://en.qi-hardware.com/wiki/Wi-Fi_in_Nanonote [qi-hardware.com]


    This section shows the availability of Wi-Fi connectivity in Ben NanoNote.
    Up to now, Ben NanoNote is able to use Wi-Fi devices based on the KS7010 Wi-Fi chip from KeyStream.
    KeyStream was a small Japanese startup (about 30 people) focusing on mobile Wi-Fi chips, their first and only main product being the KS3021 RF chip and the KS7010 Wi-Fi baseband chip. They were acquired by Renesas in April 2009, and are now continuing as the KeyStream bran

  • The product's full name is the Ben NanoNote.

    Interestingly, "ben" is also the measure word used in Chinese for books, which speaks to the usability of this device as an e-reader.

    wo you san ben shu --> I have three volumes of books.

    wo you yi ben NanoNote --> I have a NanoNote.

    • Interestingly, "ben" is also the measure word used in Chinese for books, which speaks to the usability of this device as an e-reader.

      Yeah, now that I realize I have to learn Chinese to understand it, it's even less useable than I thought!

  • by Zouden (232738) on Saturday June 18, 2011 @05:34PM (#36487042)

    the NanoNote hand-held platform failed to get the attention of many due to its low specs and the lack of wireless connectivity.

    Guess what? It still has low specs, and it still lacks wifi. I'd never heard of the NanoNote, and I'd never heard of 802.15.4. Now they're combined into a single product that no one will be interested in. I guess that's an improvement, right?

A sheet of paper is an ink-lined plane. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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