Linux, as we’ve been stressing all week, is not just for desktops. Linux works in all sorts of ways on all sorts of devices. Embedded Linux is a popular choice with many manufacturers to keep development costs down on new hardware. It’s also good for portable devices with open architectures because if you know desktop Linux, you know portable Linux.
Peter highlighted a handful of cool mobile devices running Linux, and here are a few more cool devices running different versions of the OS, including a forerunner to KITT.
KITT must run on Linux, right?
Belkin WiFi Skype phone
Belkin has a WiFi-connected Skype phone that we’ve been digging for awhile now. Did you know that it runs Linux? It does! Powered by Linux, it uses Skype’s own VoIP system to make voice calls over any WiFi hotspot.
It’s not the best Skype phone out there, but it’s inexpensive (you can find them for under $100 now) and works quite well.
The Sony Mylo 2 is a niche product that we neither love nor hate. It’s one device that we must give a qualified “meh” to. Looking very much like a Helio Ocean, the Mylo is a communications device with WiFi and VoIP built-in, as well as a usable QWERTY keyboard. It runs the same Qtopia-based flavor of Linux as the Belkin phone above. It also runs the NetFron Web browser customized with multimedia and Flash elements.
TI’s new security cams
Texas Insruments and Aptina have put together these very inexpensive Linux-based IP security cameras. Each one runs Linux via a RISC/DSP system on a chip. It can record and transmit live video at up to 720p and should cost less than $150 a unit when they ship later this year.
No WiFi, but the cameras are equipped with an Ethernet port that connects them to your network and provides their power. Pretty slick.
We’ve heard of the DARPA Challenge, a road race for autonomous vehicles through the Californian dessert for cash and prizes, and we love it. Stanford University’s entrant, which won the race, was called Stanley, a Subaru SUB modified with lots of radar, ground-sensing, and optical gear, all running Linux.
While cars running Linux aren’t common yet, they could be in the future. The OS is suited well to the kinds of tasks someone driving might need — directions, music, environment, and even motor and drive operations, as Stanley demonstrates.
We love the Chumby. We’re not sure what category it really fits into, but like the Mylo above, it’s a WiFi-enabled portable, well, thing. It’s not for newbies to Linux, but besides powerful it’s also fun, something not usually ascribed to Linux devices.
The Chumby is a fully open and customizable hardware platform. You make your chumby your own, and it loves you for it.