A Web pad running the free Linux operating system was demonstrated for the first time by South Korean hardware manufacturer LG at the CeBIT computer fair in Hanover, Germany this week. The Linux operating system kernel, developed by volunteer programmers and distributed for free over the internet, means that LG will not be tied to a third part proprietary software maker, company representatives said.
The device was demonstrated running on the latest version of the Linux kernel, 2.4. The Digital iPad, first unveiled in January, is aimed at home users wanting Internet access and multimedia thrills without all the bells and whistles of a conventional PC.
The iPad comes with an Integrated Web browser and Linux-based MP3 and MPEG4 players and can connect to the Internet over a wireless 802.11lb LAN that reaches up to 100 metres, according to the company. A spokesman for LG at CeBIT said that the product may come with other connectivity solutions, however, including possibly a "PDA style slot" for mobile phones.
LG's iPad is powered by a 206Mhz Intel SA-1110 processor and an in-built 64 SDRAM module. It offers some expandability with a slot for flash memory cards and PCMCIA cards. To operate the devices, users are given a stylus and the pad comes with handwriting recognition for English and Korean.
The popularity of Web pads, once considered the ideal solution for home Internet use, has waned in recent months with 3Com pulling development of its Internet Appliance, Audrey. LG has not been put off by this and still plans to start shipping the Pad in Korea in the first half of 2002.
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