The SmartQ

Leonard sent over a must-have inclusion to my Small but powerful devices that run your code roundup, the SmartQ 5 (dealextreme link, please heed my warning about at least 30 day ship times.)

I’ll fill in the chart later this week. Still not sure if I’ll get one on order as nothing I have in my project queue needs a touchscreen. But the specs/price coefficient looks amazing: 800×480 touchscreen (4.3" diagonal), 667MHz ARM11, 128MB RAM, sound out and mic in (the mic is under debate, but a couple of people claim to have used it… worst case you hook a $9 USB mic in there), USB host and slave, Wifi & bluetooth (!), 1GB Flash built in w/ SD card slot, battery, boots into linux… for $151 shipped to the US. That’s cheaper than an iPod touch and you don’t have to deal with the OS That Hates You (OS X Mobile.)

Downsides Zagat style: performance is often “spotty” .. there is no “dedicated GPU or graphics SoC” .. the touchscreen is “annoying” .. you get what “you pay for.” (But really, you can’t pay for much less than this.)

There’s also the 7" screen SmartQ 7 which seems to be the same specs as the 5 except the screen. Long review of that here. Seems to go for $220 or so. The only relatively reasonable importer I could find.

At this point I am sighing in retrospect a bit at The DSP Music Syndicate (a club where I proudly claim membership) – we made beautiful sounds using Ethan’s SynDevKit on a board that cost the Media Lab roughly $400 each and we had to surface mount solder each one (a process that took many hours, which really made drowning one in concrete a bit excessive.) Now I can import a few of these for the same price; writing music for it is easier, there’s a gorgeous display, other people can have them too. It was really only a few years ago.

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