Hitachi unveils Crusoe/Linux tablet

Hitachi unveils Crusoe/Linux tablet

Hitachi has unveiled a new tablet-type Internet appliance based on Transmeta's Crusoe microprocessor and the Linux operating system that also features support for wireless networking.

The Flora-ie 55mi, which went on sale in Japan last week, has at its heart a Crusoe TM3200 microprocessor running at 400MHz and the Midori Linux operating system. A companion keyboard and mouse are available, although the device can also be controlled via the 10.4-inch TFT (thin film transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display) touch panel.

The built-in modem supports the IEEE 802.11b wireless networking standard and speeds of up to 11Mbps, although no base station is provided. Users will have to also buy a 802.11b-based home networking system or modem adapter with wireless support to connect to the Internet.

Other features of the machine, which Hitachi is promoting as something that can be carried around for use anywhere in the home or office, include between 64MB and 192MB of memory, and CompactFlash and PC Card slots. The machines will be built to order and Hitachi quotes a basic price of 152,800 yen ($2465).

Hitachi puts battery life at about three hours on a standard battery and six hours on an extended-life battery.

This combination of a low-powered microprocessor, such as Crusoe or one of several competitors, and a lightweight operating system, such as Linux or Windows CE, is becoming a popular choice for tablet Internet appliance designers.

Earlier this year, South Korea's LG Electronics announced development of a similar device, the Digital iPad, which is based on a StrongARM processor and Linux. Samsung introduced its IZZI Web.

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