Linux handheld unveiled

www.infoworld.com |  Hardware

AGENDA COMPUTING, IN Irvine, Calif., revealed its handheld PC based on Linux Tuesday to the open-source programming community at the LinuxWorld trade show, in San Jose, Calif.

The demonstration of the Agenda VR3 hopefully will serve as a signal flare to attract Linux software developers before the product hits the market at the Comdex trade show in October, said Roger Richards, president of Agenda.

"We wanted to introduce this to the open source community. We believe we have months of time for this community to modify the thousands of Linux applications on PCs to work with the VR3," Richards said. "We believe that this handheld has the hardware and memory that [Linux] applications will need in the future."

The Agenda VR3 4 oz. portable computer uses a 2.25-by-3.25-inch (160-by-240-pixel) grayscale liquid crystal display screen and a 66MHz processor. It comes with 8MB of RAM and from 2 to 8MB of flash memory, depending on the model. A 33.6Kbps modem is optional. The VR3 ranges in price from $149 to $249.

Although the VR3 comes with its own productivity suite, the current paucity of Linux software for handheld PCs makes its initial usefulness an issue, but the future bright, said Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at market researcher IDC. "It really revolves around what applications they want to package with the device," he said, noting that the easily modifiable operating system will lend itself better toward new applications than to porting Windows programs onto a handheld.

Agenda's Web site accepts pre-registration orders for the VR3, indicating it will be available in October.

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