Sharp SL-C1000

Gizmodo has a pointer to a review of the Sharp SL-C3000 PDA. I have been playing with the very similar SL-C1000. The main difference between them, apart from the price, is that the SL-C1000 exchanges the hard disc for some flash memory.

What’s hot? Well, the screen is stunning. A 640×480 screen, but in a PDA size. It also swivels so you can use it as a regular PDA or as a very, very small laptop. Running the terminal application (not included, but easy to find online) really shows how good the screen is; the text is tiny, but still very clear.

The keyboard is also surprisingly good for its size. Having played with the thumb-board on the older SL-5500 units a bit, which was a last resort thing, the SL-C1000 one is a joy to use. Sure, you’re not going to want to write a book using it (or even a long email), but for the kinds of thing you might find yourself doing with a PDA it is great.

Oh, and it is Linux based of course, with Trolltech‘s Qtopia graphical environment. This is great for those of us that write our own apps, or want to use open source apps. You can even upgrade the kernel. There is information on Sharp’s website explaining how to rebuild the kernel image [Google translation] and then program it onto the unit safely.

On the not so hot side is the lack of built in Wi-Fi. I don’t care so much about Bluetooth being missing, though I suspect I might if I had more things that supported it (currently only my PowerBook has Bluetooth support). Wi-Fi though I do think is essential, especially in something that is so close to being a laptop! To compensate a little, it does support my Linksys WCF12 card, so I have wireless, albeit external.

The other big down side is that Sharp are not selling it here in the US, so it defaults to Japanese. Most of the conversion back to English is simple, but I still have a few things left over in Japanese. I would love this to be a fully supported platform over here too.

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