G.Mate YOPY YP-3700 Linux PDA Quick Look

by Reads (7,326)

The YOPY YP-3700 is a new flip-top PDA based around the StrongARM SA-1110 CPU and running a version of Linux. Rumours of a new YOPY release in the US have been circulating for more than a year, but this device is now available through SDG Systems along with a slightly lower spec version called the YP-3500 (the main differences are a smaller battery in the 3500 and no CF slot). The 3500 and 3700 models are currently priced at $449 and $499 respectively.

We’ve got a YP-3700 to review; before giving it the full work out, here are some first impressions.

The hardware specs of the 3700 are:

  • 240×320 65000 colour display
  • 128 MB SDRAM, 32 MB ROM
  • Built-in QWERTY keyboard
  • Infra-Red (IrDA) port
  • Compact Flash (CF-II) and Secure Digital (SD, also called MMC)
  • Speaker and Microphone
  • 3.5mm audio out jack
  • 2300 mAh (non-removable) battery

…And the software includes:

  • Personal Information Manager (PIM) suite
  • MP3 player, Sound recorder
  • Office applications
  • Games including DOOM (on the CD)
  • File manager, Text editor, etc…

That 2300 mAh battery is one of, if not the most capacious in a PDA. Hopefully this translates into serious on-the-road life for the YOPY. The device has about the same width and height as a standard PDA but is a lot deeper (thicker). The 3.5″ screen is normally protected but flips up like the latest Game Boy models; this also turns the device on if it was off before. Below is a picture of the open YP-3700.

This device is geeky, and I mean Battlestar Galactica geeky. Aside from the overall retro-futuristic design (“twenty years ago this is what the future looked like”) and the peculiar 10-by-5 button silver keyboard, there’s the rainbow coloured LEDs on the front cover. If you close the YP-3700 without putting it in standby mode, these eight LEDs flicker in sequence from left to right and back, twice, letting you know that your YOPY is happy and that technology is your friend. It’s cute, it’s silly, and everyone I’ve shown it to loved it. Maybe we are ready for that Buck Rogers future we thought would never arrive.

In Use

The keyboard takes a little getting used to but it has a good range of characters and pretty solid tactile feedback. I was expecting to have trouble hitting the right keys (I can easily cover 12 keys at a time with my thumb) but really it’s just a matter of practice.

The most surprising aspect of this device is the Operating System (OS) and the Graphical User Interface (GUI), which seems to be a very good port of an X Windows type GUI such as Gnome under linux. In functional terms, this means that the windows can be moved, re-ordered, rolled up and down and resized just as if this were a desktop machine. The default font is quite large, and you can;t fit much on the screen, but it’s all configurable in the Settings menu. From the linux perspective this device feels a lot more “linuxy” than my Sharp Zaurus SL-5600. The YOPY is proud to be running linux, that’s for sure. Here are two screenshots:

   

This quick look will be expanded into a full review once I’ve had a chance to really put the YP-3700 through its paces. Oh yes, and read the manual.

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