I was taking a look at The Open Sourcerer website and was pleased to read that The Open Learning Centre has been working with a household name hardware manufacturer and a well known high-street retailer to deliver an innovative product to the consumer market.
The webbook is manufactured by the UK electronics company Elonex and is being sold exclusively by The Carphone Warehouse.
The webbook is a high specification UMPC that has a 1.6Ghz Via C7 processor (x86), 512Mb of RAM and [currently] an 80G HDD. The screen has a very usable 1024×600 resolution and it has the usual assortment of USB, LAN and an SD socket, plus built in WiFi too.
The really cool thing about the webbook is the software. The webbook comes pre-loaded with Ubuntu 8.04.1, Hardy Heron, and some new software written especially for this application that delivers broadband connectivity over 3G Mobile networks.
With Ubuntu you get pretty much everything you will ever need included right out-of-the-box. You don’t need to go out and pay several hundred pounds to get legal copies of a word-processor, spreadsheet and email client. The webbook comes pre-installed with the fantastic OpenOffice.org applications suite and the Evolution mail and calendaring client. Web browsing is provided by the most excellent Firefox 3 and there are many more high quality and fully functional applications provided on the hard disk. A couple of examples are The Gimp for photo editing and Pidgin for Instant Messaging. Of course you also have access to Ubuntu’s on-line software repository where there are literally thousands of other programs and applications to choose from. And they are all free and are not “demo” or limited functionality versions either. Open Source gives you freedom, not restrictions.
At the moment the laptops are available in-store, and are going to be on the website shortly. I might have to go shopping tomorrow….