Can't Resist Linux

march 31, 2002

Well, I picked up a Sharp Zaurus SL-5500 today. Yes, it's another PDA, but this one is special. It's a Linux-based one (based on Lineo's Embedix). I had some trouble at first getting the thing to sync up with my Outlook, but after a re-install of everything -- I actually think that it was because of how I had the USB plugged in (into a hub off of a hub) -- the thing works great syncing up.

Now, unlike my previous Linux PDA experience with the Agenda Computing's AgendaVR3 the Zaurus actually works. What is the best about it is that it actually syncs up with a PC! Wow, what a concept. Those Agenda guys didn't even think about. There are other things to like though. The Zaurus is based on the 206MHz StrongARM SA-1110 chip (the same chip used in the current crop of PocketPC 2002 machines like the Compaq iPaqs). Whereas the early to market AgendaVR3 was based on the 66MHz NEC VR4181 MIPS chip. The difference in speed is very noticeable. Another thing that I like better about the Zaurus is that it has 64MB of onboard RAM! Cool! That is 4x the RAM in the AgendaVR3. Oh, and did I mention the color screen? Yup, got a nice color screen -- which beats the pants off of the low contrast 16-shade on the AgendaVR3. There is also two slots for expandability -- one CompactFlash (type I and II) and one SD slot. And the coolest thing about the Zaurus, which is the hidden keyboard. This is not just in comparison to the AgendaVR3, but to all PDAs on the market currently. There is a spiffy keyboard hidden under the applications buttons. You have to visit the site to see the pictures of the keyboard.

The drawback? Ouch, price. Expensive PDA, especially when compared to the last price that I saw the AgendaVR3 at. I'm not sure if AgendaComputing is around anymore. The latest news on their website is dated somewhere in March, 2001. But, it's OK, because the Sharp Zaurus is what all Linux PDAs should strive for.