Qi Hardware launches NanoNote

March 16, 2010 // 2:01 p.m.

Tags: #ben-nanonote #developer #hack #hacker #linux #nanonote #openmoko #openwrt #qi #qi-hardware #ultraportable

Ex-OpenMoko employees have started their own company, and their first product is sure to turn heads: an ultra-portable, ultra-hackable Linux-based handheld.

The Qi Hardware 本 NanoNote - also known as the Ben NanoNote, and pictured over on Engadget - is a Linux-based palmtop with QWERTY keyboard designed to be hacked into anything your heart desires: a media player, a note-taking tool, a Wikipedia reader, an RSS aggregator, or whatever you can imagine.

While the size - with its teeny-tiny 3" display and pocket-friendly 126g weight - is pretty impressive, the specifications of the first model are likely to limit your options somewhat: the NanoNote is equipped with a 320x240 display, a 336MHz XBurst JZ4720 processor, 32MB of RAM, and an internal storage of 2GB of flash - although this can be upgraded via a microSD slot. Sadly - and this could be the killer - the device is lacking any network option, making it an offline-only gadget - although the official European distributor claims SDIO support.

While the power might be lacking, the flexibility is certainly there: designed to boot from USB, the NanoNote comes with a bare-bones Linux distribution originally developed for routers as standard, but Qi Hardware is keen for developers to replace it with their own, custom software to better tailor the device to their particular requirements.

The NanoNote is available now for $99 (£66) from the company's official shop.

Can you think of the killer app for a cheap, low-powered device such as this, or will the lack of wireless networking render it almost completely useless in a world populated with near-ubiquitous smartphones? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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