My Zaurus c760 is nice ARM based palmtop. I use it for testing miscellaneous things during my work days.

It was device where I hacked some Python based applications to fit in 10 megabytes of flash (it was fully working console system with Python and those apps). I test Ångström and Poky on it, tested different combinations of software etc…

But it shows age — batteries (950mAh and 1700mAh ones) started to lose capacity (one of them gives less then 60%) so sooner or later this device will stop booting (as battery is needed to boot even on AC).

But how to replace this device? There are lot of ARM palmtops in a world but most of it lack one or more features which c7x0 has:

  • ARMv5t instruction set
  • Linux support
  • VGA screen
  • working keyboard
  • 128MB flash
  • 64MB RAM

Due to first one all devices powered by Samsung S3Cxxxx processor can be ignored. Most of today WindowsMobile powered devices lack VGA screen (not to mention that they also usually lack Linux support). But at least those ones are available in normal shops in Poland.

I already considered few options but each of them has minuses:

  • other Zaurus (but they are few years old technologically)
  • HTC Universal (hard to get in good state, still boots from WinCE instead of flash)
  • Finnish tablet N810 (impossible to buy in Poland and lack any warranty/service)

In worst situation I will slowly switch to using QEmu ARM emulation instead of real device.

How to replace Zaurus PDA?
        

28 thoughts on “How to replace Zaurus PDA?

  • 7th January 2008 at 14:50
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    Imrahil: if I would buy N810 it will be in USA shops. It is cheaper there then in Europe.

    And I only once had something to do in service handled by that Finnish company — my 6310i required firmware upgrade.

  • 7th January 2008 at 15:04
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    Maybe just purchase few more batteries? They are still sold in some e-shops. Another option would be to hack some existing battery to fit the zaurii battery interface.

  • 7th January 2008 at 14:37
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    N800/N810 bought in EU has European guarantee in force in Poland. But level of service in Poland is an another story 🙂

  • 7th January 2008 at 15:41
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    Also, just for the note, trisoft.de/yoss.de still sell batteries at ~100 EUR.

  • 7th January 2008 at 15:54
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    Dmitry: I looked at price of Zaurus batteries already. Amazon has them for ~15 USD (small and big ones).

    But Amazon also has N810 for 470 USD which is tempting price…

  • 7th January 2008 at 16:17
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    Don’t worry about batteries. My collie still boots, and still has plenty of battery life with adjusted thresholds.

    …and btw it even boots without battery, at least with my hacked kernels.

  • 7th January 2008 at 21:49
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    The HP iPAQ hx4700 PDA meets all of your requirements except for the keyboard, and since the device is several years old (2004, I think) it can be had pretty cheap from eBay, etc. I used to have one myself.

    It has a VGA screen and a 624 MHz XScale PXA27x processor (which is ARMv5TE, I believe). It also has Bluetooth (and WiFi), so you could probably get a BT keyboard to work under Angstrom, though I never got around to trying.

  • 8th January 2008 at 00:32
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    Clarke ‘Quicksand’ Wixon:

    For me a bluetooth keyboard works quite nice on hx4700. But I haven’t done something with it except testing.

  • 8th January 2008 at 02:05
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    What about the Pandora? It is not out yet but there is a lot of excitement about it in the GP2X community… More on: http://pandora.bluwiki.org/

  • 8th January 2008 at 02:28
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    This is the same exact situation that I found myself in. I had a Zaurus SL-C760 for almost 2 years with pdaXrom 1.1beta1 on it and I loved it before it died on me. I had full apps: Abiword, SciTe, Firefox 1.5, gftp, Gnumeric, nmap, xmms, inkscape, gimp, xpdf, x48 (HP 48GX emu), ethereal, vncviewer/rdc and more. All of this fit in about 100MBs of space leaving 19MBs free on the built in 128MB flash. What I liked was being able to use it as a micro-laptop and being able to open Word, Excel and PDF files as well as draw with Inkscape/GIMP and do some light website work with gftp and SciTe storing docs on th SD and using the CF for net access. As far as media playback, that was lacking as it has a straight ARM CPU and not a SOaC. I used a video iPod for that.

    All I could think about for a replacement was one of these three: 1. Buy another Zaurus. The C1000 is reasonably cheap. 2. Buy an EEE PC. 3. Buy a Nokia N810.

    1. The one thing that I didn’t like with pdaXrom was that development is limited and some apps haven’t been updated in a long time. No good media playback.
    2. EEE pc is too big compared to these. It is a great device though.
    3. The Maemo platform is foreign to me and not a lot of apps.

    After taking some time with a friends N800 with OS2008 on it I actually really liked it. Also Nokia has and official SDK for it unlike Sharp. The interface makes sense for a tablet experience and the media converter is great for videos. The GPS mapping is great too. I have almost replaced all of the functionality I had with pdaXrom on C760. Although it’s nothing compared to the flexibility of what I had before.

    I have an N810 and am happy with it. I got for US$407 from buy.com so that was even better.

  • 8th January 2008 at 12:08
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    Clarke: hx4700 lacks keyboard and thats why I did not even thought about it. I often have rootfs without any networking…

    Alexander: currently Pandora is only mockups and technical details. Let they release it first. But it is very interesting device indeed.

    Carlo/Imrahil: I am thinking about N810 but there is small problem with it. During year with 770 tablet I feel that it is not so usable device — but it is mainly due to lack of any CPU power. Many people say that N8x0 are much better in usage then 770 but it is hard decision to spend those few hundred of USD/EUR to buy another gadget which can end as less usable then any of current owned ones.

  • 8th January 2008 at 12:38
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    I think the natural choice is the HTC Universal.

    It’s easy to get the device in good shape on eBay for less than $400. It should be easy enough to fix the g3 driver for it.

    The keyboard is a nice size, and it’s still being produced. The screen swivels and rotates, and like the other hardware you list the device is being used by others and supported in Angstrom.

    Give it a shot. (-:

  • 8th January 2008 at 23:27
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    Yeah. Amazon still has EA-BL06. Unluky for me, but EA-BL09 is sold out 🙁

    And about gettign another model… I would also prefer hx4700. It’s not that I dislike nokia or n810, but 4700 is known-good device.

  • 8th January 2008 at 23:46
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    Dmitry: n8x0 is also known-good device and as hx4700 has few binary parts which can not be distributed officially (wifi module on n8x0, wifi firmware on hx4700).

    n810 gives keyboard and possibility to run ARMv6 code… But I am still not decided.

  • 9th January 2008 at 11:11
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    The n810 keyboard isn’t that great since the number are under Fn control, has no Tab key and has too little clearance for my thumbs on the top row. And it has a &$@&@# german qwertz layout! But still, it’s better than nothing, and really, really like having (working!) gps builtin.

  • 9th January 2008 at 15:21
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    Marcin,

    the N800 is beeing sold at a discount price here in Germany. Except the keyboard and the built – in GPS module it has the same specs as the N810. I have bought one and upgraded it to the new OS2008. Its amazingly fast, runs about 5 hours with one charge and has fanstastic apps (mozilla, skype, gizmo, canola …) out of the box. If you want, you may install the GPE PIM apps, too. Though I am still running GPE on my good old iPaq3950 for everyday use, I will migrate to N800 eventually. B.t.w., for typing I amusing a Nokia Bt keyboard.

    Greetings from Germany, Jan

  • 9th January 2008 at 15:25
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    Consider N800. Its cheaper (~ 230 Euros here in Germany), has got stereo speakers in the front panel and basically the same as N810. Due to the big screen, sw keyboard works better than on my ol’ iPaq, and BT keyboard from Nokia works as well.

  • 9th January 2008 at 16:36
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    Jan: as I wrote before — hardware keyboard is a must. I will not always have GUI other then plain console…

    Koen: crap ;( I will have to wait then until I will be able to play a bit with someone’s n810 and check does this keyboard is usable.

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  • 15th January 2008 at 12:50
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    If you have the money, I would definitely go for the N810: Nokia has proven to be serious about their commitment to linux, and the community around Maemo is very healthy. I would buy one if only they weren’t so damn expensive.

    I understand your feelings about the hardware keyboard: it’s just about the only thing that kept me away from the relatively cheap N770/N800 and the Neo1973.

    The people I know who own a nokia internet tablet are all very happy about it.

  • 29th January 2008 at 14:19
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    Hi, Marcin… Hmmmm… The problem – I think – is not really your worry about the Zaurus but more a wish to get yourself a new toy… and how to get the motivation to shell out the money and exchange your Z for another gadget.

    Otherwise there are great sources of batteries (like Amazon you mentioned above, and Ebay – decent quality and decent prices). As far as the Z is concerned… you could buy a couple of Z C-1000 for about the same price (or less) than the N810. At least what I did and there’s nothing wrong with the C-1000. s

    Let us know if you decide to go for the N810… s I bet you will get many offers to sell your Z… Even from me…

    /Z

  • 29th January 2008 at 14:44
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    Ziemowit: getting new toy is one thing. As I wrote in yesterday post about N810 I am also in situation when I lack hardware capable of testing software which I build for customers (no ARMv6 support on Zaurus).

    Buying Zaurus SL-C1000 (akita) was never an option for me. Second generation clamshells are just too thick for me (I had SL-C3000 for few months) to keep them in hand.

    And now when my N810 is somewhere in Poznań (according to DHL delivery tracking service) I do not plan to sell my c760 Zaurus. Few reasons:

    1. I got it donated so I will rather donate it then sell.
    2. I like to test something from time to time on Zaurus.
  • 29th January 2008 at 14:56
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    OK, didn’t know about that difference between the c760 and c1000. Myself, I have gone the way from Pocket PC of different shapes and makes to 5500 to 5600 and – finally to C1000, although my trusted 5500 is still my main calender…

    Having said that I’ll try to lay my hands on a 760 then… s And they are quite scarce on Ebay…

  • 29th January 2008 at 22:13
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    Ziemowit: I use my cellphone (SonyEricsson k750i) as calendar, address book, notes and todos.

    Do you still have a 5600 Zaurus (codename: “poodle”)? If yes then please check does it is PXA250 or PXA255 based.

  • 30th January 2008 at 21:05
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    I just got one now. And I really want to play with. But it seem there are problems with the open Zaurus project maintenance. I will not drop because it is a device capable of some automations required by me. Only if I could found a functional mirror for the existing packages since the existing: ewi546.ewi.utwente.nl/mirror/www.openzaurus.org/official/unstable/3.5.4/ doesn’t seem to work any more. Maybe someone here can point me out.

  • 31st January 2008 at 10:58
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    Sandor: You have to switch to other mirror as EWI was removed from mirrors list. Best is using “http://feeds.openzaurus.org/” I think.

    You are also use 3.5.4 so probably collie (SL-5500). Consider switching to “Hentges” version of OpenZaurus.

  • 31st January 2008 at 19:59
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    Thank you. You are right, I am using collie SL-5500 a very old unit, with a very death battery, but constantly powered externally it is doing the job even if sometimes a i have some difficulties booting the unit. Regarding the Nokia N810, today I played with one. It is ok, it is jut feel right in your hand, very well built, and some nice facilities long battery life, etc. Downside is the GPS, for my taste is under acceptable, and i noticed some slowness in some console based applications, but nothing exagerated.

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