Hackaday Retro Edition: Pen Computing

Although we’re well past the heyday of ‘pen computing’, and seemingly into a retro revival with laptops and tablets that come with Wacom styluses and digitizers, this doesn’t mean the pen computers of old weren’t useful. While they were mostly used for industrial applications, they were useful and some of the first practical applications of touch screen displays.

[Jason] got his hand on one of these ruggedized handheld PCs – specifically, an Itronix T5200. This three-pound mini notebook runs Windows CE Handheld PC Edition 3.01. The specs include a 74MHz RISC processor, 16 MB of RAM, 16MB of Flash, and a 7.3 inch monochrome touch screen with 640×240 resolution. It’s odd and old: when closed, it’s over two inches thick. You’ll be hard pressed to find a modern laptop that thick. [Jason]’s hardware is a pre-production version.

Unlike a lot of retro submissions that have somehow managed to pull up the Hackaday Retro Edition on old hardware, this machine actually has a browser. It’s old, it’s clunky, but it works. There are three options for getting this old computer up on the Internet – either IrDA, an RJ11 modem port, or RS232. [Jason] didn’t tell us which port he used to load up the retro edition, but he did send in a few pictures. You can check those out below.

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Augen E-Go booting Linux

The Augen E-Go is billed as a Netbook that ships with Windows CE. [Moogle] got it to boot the Linux kernel after a bit of hardware snooping. He found a UART connector on the main board and discovered that if you tie the enable pin to ground you can send an ARM bootloader to the device during boot up. His past experience hacking the Didj and the Explorer helped him recognize the processor used in the Augen. This lead to using a zimage from the Didj to boot the Linux kernel. So far the process halts at a kernel panic, but that’s because he hasn’t built the image with a file system for the device yet.

If the E-Go ends up playing nicely with Linux, [Moogle] may have found a suitable replacement for the Zipit.

Update: Looks like we’ve got the wrong version of the E-Go pictured above (and linked below). Check out [Moogle’s] comment for model numbers.

[Augen photo credit: Newegg.com]

More functional GPS in minutes

[Sparky] notified us of his hack to allow interaction with the core of an Aldi GO Cruise 4300 GPS Windows CE OS. All that’s required is a few programs and registry edits to the GPS, which anyone can accomplish within a few minutes. But we suggest you go slow and double-check your work; nobody wants a bricked system. After you’re done you can run such great programs like the one [Sparky] suggest for 4WD enthusiasts, Ozi Explorer.

Android ported to Meizu M8

meizu-m8-runs-android

[Evow04] has been working hard to run Android on a Meizu M8 smartphone and we’re beginning to enjoy the fruits of his labor. The Meizu M8 is a Chinese cell phone very similar in appearance and hardware to the iPhone. The factory firmware runs Windows CE 6 but there is no official support for Android. It looks like [Evow04’s] upgrade method is fairly easy; copy an IMG and BIN file to the root of the phone, backup the Windows CE portion, and then use the upgrade mode to flash the two files.

We’re pretty impressed with Android, especially the potential that it represents. Having another device that runs the OS is a good thing but at $350-$400 this isn’t any cheaper than just buying an Android phone.