Report: Dell roadmap for 2005, early 2006
Brighthand claims to have inside information on Dell’s plans for the next year. Their report states that Dell will discontinue the Axim X30 within approximately the next month, but will retain the X50 line until mid-2006. It goes on to claim that Dell will debut a multimedia and gaming oriented unit with a built-in hard drive later this year, and a cellular-wireless device that will replace the X50 in the middle of next year.
While Brighthand doesn’t specify, their source for this information is likely a message posted to an Axim-oriented forum in the latter half of 2004 by an individual who claimed to have seen a copy of Dell’s roadmap for handhelds. I’m doubtful about how reliable this information is, which is one of the reasons that we didn’t publish it first. Dell would be foolish to stop production of the X30 line, since they don’t have anything as similarly dominant in the low-cost market. It’s possible that Dell would consider building a multimedia player or cellular device, but it would tend to lean away from the strengths that they’ve played to in the X30 and X50 lines–the flexibility of a no-gimmicks device that can do many things equally well.
In any event, we should soon see how valid the information is by how Dell treats the X30 line. There have been no other reports or indications that Dell has been considering ending the X30.
ROM update for Axim X50, X50v models
Dell has released a new ROM update, version A03, for Axim X50 and X50v handhelds. Among the listed improvements for both models over version A02:
- Improved the compatibility with certain CF cards
- Improved the power management within the CompactFlash driver
- Improved the WLAN driver for the unrecognized card issue
- Improved Bluetooth memory management
- Enhanced the processor speed scheme (Auto) for better balance between performance and battery life
- Improved the compatibility of Bluetooth FTP
- Make the wireless button driver more robust
- Improved the compatibility of Switcher Bar application
- Enhanced the compatibility of Data Backup utility
- Enhanced the WEP key security
- Updated the Funk Odyssey client
The following points are specific to the X50v:
- Improved the frequency change mechanism of 2700G
- Fixed issue when pausing live streaming video
- Updated 2700G display driver
The documention states that you can restore your system from a backup after the upgrade, however certain functions–specifically, double-press of the wireless button to toggle on/off–may be restored to their original state.
According to user reports, the update cures issues some were having with wireless modules not activating properly, as well as speed improvements.
Developer ports PocketPC version of Freecraft
A daring developer somewhere in the Ukraine, known only as n0p, has created a PocketPC port of the open source program Strategus, and its derivative, Wargus. Strategus and Wargus are the names for the project formerly known as Freecraft, an open-source strategy game engine that duplicates the gameplay of classic RTS game Warcraft II. The PocketPC build fully supports both QVGA and VGA devices. The only significant catch, other than a lack of sound, is that to run the game, you have to have an original Warcraft II CD to copy files from.
Huzzah. Now all I need is Pocket Alpha Centauri, and I’ll be able to be completely unproductive anywhere I go.