Here Come the Devices!

As predicted, 2001 shapes up as “The Year of Linux in Devices”.
The Galleo Mobile Multimedia Communicator

Galleo (http://www.galleo.com/) [see the July/August 2001 issue of our sister publication, Embedded Linux Journal, for further details on the Galleo] recently announced a Linux-based Mobile Multimedia Communicator. Like several other newly-announced handheld computers with wireless connectivity, the device combines the functions of a PDA, web appliance and cellular phone. Galleo's device comes with software that supports cellular phone communication, internet access, web browsing, PIM applications, multimedia (MP3 player, streaming video), games and personalized content, plus IPSec-compliant VPN network security.

Galleo's Mobile Multimedia Communicator combines the functions of a PDA, web appliance and cellular phone.

According to Galleo product manager Yovav Meydad, patent-pending cellular communication technology delivers an “always on, always connected” data communication capability that represents “a credible alternative to WAP” and “gives the end user the same [web browsing] experience [as on a desktop PC] while he is on the move”. “Fit-to-page” software with zoom/pan functions allows viewing standard web pages on the unit's landscape-mode quarter VGA display. Another aid to using unmodified on-line content and services is an included Java Virtual Machine.

A full-featured web browser supports HTTP 1.1, HTML 4.0, XML 1.0, JavaScript, SSL, TLS, RSA, VPN, Personal Java 1.2 JVM and display of PNG, GIF and JPEG images. MP3 player, media player and video-streaming functions are also included, as are a full PIM suite including functions for e-mail, calendar, tasks, contacts, notes and data synchronization.

The user interface supports pen and touch input using a stylus with software that provides handwriting recognition and an on-screen keyboard, plus a few hard keys. A built-in joystick is intended to support gaming and simplify web site navigation.

Inside there's a 206MHz Intel StrongARM SA-1110 system-on-chip processor equipped with 32MB system RAM and 16MB of nonvolatile Flash disk. Its display is a bright, full-color, 320 × 240 pixel TFT LCD. The unit provides input/output interfaces for RS-232 serial, USB, infrared (IrDA) and stereo audio (for headphones/MP3 connection). There is also a pair of expansion slots for additional memory and secure data cards. A built-in cellular telephone module supports dualband GSM, GPRS, TriCodec and fax/data transmission at 14.4 kbps. Galleo plans to support CDPD for the North American market but plans to introduce the device first in Europe, where GSM and GPRS are making their initial appearance.

Rick Lehrbaum (rick@linuxdevices.com) created the LinuxDevices.com “embedded Linux portal”, which is now part of the ZDNet Linux Resource Center. Rick has worked in the field of embedded systems since 1979. He cofounded Ampro Computers, founded the PC/104 Consortium and was instrumental in creating and launching the Embedded Linux Consortium.

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