Cooperative for a tablet?


I stumbled onto a post about android which provides a contrarian view on the ‘fragmentation of android’. Most pundits are pointing out how fragmented the android platform has become and how that is a weakness when compared to the unified front of iOS. The android app market has also been dubbed ‘The Wild West’ of app stores. Of course whether you view the fragmentation/wild west nature of android as a net gain or loss is up to where you sit on the consumer ladder.

I am familiar with Neuros Technology because I purchased their first audio player way back when it was a giant brick that looked like it was designed in a ’70s disco club. While the thing was hideous, it worked and it was open. Open to the point where a community formed around it for a while. I believe it is now officially part of the internet’s great bitbucket.

My point that I am slowly getting to is that I have dealt with these people before and I have high respect for them.

If you haven’t clicked over and spent time reading that post, please do. I hope you will come to similar conclusions as I have. Don’t worry I will wait.

(cue hold music)

Pretty awesome insight wasn’t it? I love it when people share their experiences from deep in the trenches of some opaque industrial mud pit. It saves me the pain and sweat of stumbling around in the dark.

Slightly More Background

I want an iPad. Well, not really. I want my phone to have a larger screen. But I want it to fit in my pocket too. I also don’t want to deal with Apple. While I know lots of people who love them and my son uses an iMac, I can’t bring myself to buy into DRM hell, no matter how sweet the siren song.

Things I would like from a tablet-ish thing:

  • sync time with ntp, (not require communication to a mothership.)
  • get accurate wifi information
  • be able to install stupid things my son or I hack up
  • irrevocably break it, then boot from a SD card
  • run emacs
  • ssh into the device and have that be useful
  • have all the cool almost useful abilities of a tablet
    • pass it over to wife on couch
    • read stuff in random places
    • do misc time wasting tasks
    • check communications (im,email,etc…) without having to boot laptop

Basically, I want a sane linux distro on a tabletish thing that doesn’t suck. Maemo is a great example of what I want. I have yet to try Meego so I can’t comment on that. iirc, they switched to rpm.

Less Background, More Point

I want to start a loose knit cooperative that will build/custom order a tablet from one of these electronics shops over seas. Since they apparently have very flexible designs and relatively low costs.

I know about the utter failure of the Crunchpad. However, the key difference here is that this will not be a business. More of a pool money together, create a spec via some complicated voting mechanism, get the minimal order quantities, etc…

This is a very unfinished thought and I am not in familiar territory.

I think this could be successful. More so than the other open hardware designs. Because the goal is not to sell as many units as possible. The goal is to buy as few units as possible to get the minimal order of the hardware design shop overseas.

If anyone decides to run with this, please let me know.