The DAT500 – An odd, but intriguing bit of tech

Posted on September 27, 2010

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Quick disclaimer: I have not got my hands on one of these, so it may all be vapourware. However, the modest specs and clunky design makes me feel that it could well exist at a reasonable (for business hw) price.

From http://www.4p-online.com/4p/dat500.html

DAT500 is a robust ALL IN ONE palmtop pen based computer designed for outdoor operation that in the same body encloses all the peripherals requested for mobile computing applications.
The rechargeable and fast replaceable battery and the automatic power saving features allow a long battery autonomy for every kind of application.

The wide range of accessories offers the best configuration to suit every in-field usage.

The x86 compatible architecture offers an easy and standard programming environment.

A couple of things sprang out at me on reading the product page:

  • Linux-friendly – not just in terms of it running it natively, but also mentioned as potential host OS (as UNIX)
  • x86 architecture – I’m guessing a Geode chip inside the handheld
  • Odd and unusual builtin HW peripherals including: magnetic card reader, Smartcard r/w-er, thermal/impact printer, barcode reader, 2 x PCMCIA interfaces with a basic (mono?) touchscreen – a set of HW you don’t see everyday. Linux support is not explicitly noted, but I would assume driver support based on the marketing. To not have the support there, would cause too many support complaints!

I might keep an eye out on ebay for one of these devices as I don’t think they are being sold anymore (assumption based on dated product page, not on actual, you know, research.)

I’d really appreciate comments from anyone who has tried to hack/run one of these or even if they have spotted them being used in the wild. They certainly are uhm… visually arresting 😉

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Posted in: opinion, play