Peek Presents Challenge: Linux on Peek

Jul 11, 2009

Peek presents the community a challenge to get Linux running on their small handhelds, without much fanfare.

Specifications for the challenge are few, just a blog entry from July 7 sent to the community asking "Which One of You Can Get Linux Working on the Peek?" After a few links to ARM and Linux, Dan Morel of the Peek team writes, "So armed with this new fountain of information I'm hoping one or more of you out there in the world can get Linux running on the Peek. Feel free to post here on how far you get." And further: "And here's the deal, if one of you does make it happen you can have a little mini-consulting gig with us to tell us how you did it and how we could build a Mobile Linux Peek."

In one of the blog responses, "Matt" writes, "The possibilities are indeed intriguing from a Linux point-of-view: This would be the cheapest Linux device I know about, and it has a screen, keyboard, and GSM." Another response came from a Pandora developer on the Gentoo project, although the issue has not yet been raised in the Pandora blogs.

At $20, the Peek Classic is a 3.8-ounce mobile mini-device with display and keyboard for emailing. The processor is an AMR7 from TI at 104 MHz, currently running on the homegrown Peekux OS. The Quarter Video Graphics Array (QVGA) display is 320 x 240 pixels and 8 MB of memory is standard. Data flow is by GPRS/GSM. The device is about as big as a normal mobile phone, but flatter and wider. The Peek Pronto enhanced edition costs $60, but can handle five instead of two email accounts. Pronto can also process PDF and DOC formats, although it's available only in black. The monthly email service cost is $15, with support for Gmail, Yahoo and others.

Not only does the New York firm present the challenge but also itself with a wink of the eye. Their Peekononics website offers some guidance on how to save mobile service costs over those of the popular providers. Their employees and testimonials are called "Peeksters." Simplicity is written all over the product: its birth came about when founder Amol Sarva needed a simple email device for his wife before the arrival of their first child.

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