Internet Compatibility Tests & Conclusions
|Test Notes and Observations|
Unfortunately, we had some problems getting into our Hotmail account
with the AquaPad. I'm not 100% sure if this is a problem with Mozilla, or
because Microsoft just doesn't like Linux, but we were unable to log in at
all, and with both versions of Midori/ Mozilla.
This site is a good place to test out the multimedia capabilities of the
AquaPad and the Crusoe processor in general. We were able to load up the
film trailers and watch them at default size without any issues or
problems on the part of the webpad. The streaming video feed played out
smoothly, and the sound quality through the embedded speaker was clear,
albeit poor. Sound quality via the headphones was excellent.
||Real Audio, Flash 5
Okay so this site is pretty much doing the same thing as film.com, but as it streams
much longer files (in some cases 90minutes) so it is good indication of
the Crusoe processor. Additionally, the mainpage has an embedded Flash
5 animation with background sound, and with the updated Mozilla browser it
displayed perfectly. During the extended playback of a full concert, the
flow of data over the 11Mbps WLAN connection remained constant and the
Crusoe processor could be seen to adjust its speed proportionately,
handling the task without breaking a sweat.
Shockwave is not natively supported by Mozilla so we were unable to
view the multimedia side of this website. We were prompted to download the
Gzip plugin, but since the OS resides in flash this doesn't quite work
The AquaPad was unable to interact with the Java features on this
page, but was able to view them without any problems.
HTML, CFM, ASP, etc.
The AquaPad displayed all these types of webpages which we expressly tested
(ie. we didn't test every single type of web programming) without
any problems whatsoever.
We have presented a lot of information about a
relatively simple device, and as there are not really any mobile devices on the
market, we have largely been comparing the AquaPad against computing solutions
consumers are likely to be using such as notebooks and desktops. In that regard, the
Midori Linux based AquaPad has its limitations, but they are not unworkable. As
a mobile platform to browse the web the AquaPad functions well - most
major websites that deliver content, or news, are built using the most
widely acceptable programing. With the exception of Hotmail, we had no difficulties
exploring CNN, or TransmetaZone for example.
Multimedia or artistic websites that make
use of Java or Shockwave present a hurdle for the AquaPad, so that
is something to be aware of. However,
support for RealAudio applications like streaming audio or video,
and Flash5 is superb, so I guess it's a bit of a trade off.
With its 500MHz Crusoe processor, the AquaPad
seemed well equipped to handle the variety of tasks we threw at it, and users who have never used Linux before will
be comforted by the Windows-like user interface. The screen size is good for most
of the websites on the web at the moment, but as webpages
move away from the 800x600 pixel screen support to the larger and more common 1024x768 resolutions,
the AquaPad may find itself outsized. For the moment, this is not a problem however.
Probably the neatest thing about the AquaPad
was its ability to remotely update the OS over the internet. Battery life is good at
just over 3 hours for average web surfing, but placing the DC power port
(along with the USB and headphone jacks) behind the small door was
awkward. I personally would have preferred to see these ports in a recessed area or along
one edge protected by rubberized covers than the fold-down hard plastic port cover used.
unit is comfortable
to hold, and the magnesium alloy casing offers a tough alternative to
what would otherwise be plastic. I especially like the little spot to hold the stylus, and
found the on screen keyboard acceptable in terms of speed for entering in URL addresses.
Memory is one area I
think FIC could improve upon. Including a Compact Flash card with the AquaPad would
be one step in the right direction, but perhaps switching out the
OS's CF card for an IBM microdrive would be even better, even with Linux. FIC tell
us that the versions with Windows 98/ME/2000 make us of an internal microdrive however.
While we used the AquaPad extensively for web surfing and
streaming audio playback during our evaluation, the problems gaining access into
Hotmail limited its use to us a mobile platform for email. An integrated email
client would be an interesting addition for the device to support, especially if
the memory card was included.
There really is no one line summary that we can make about the AquaPad because
its uses are so varied and depend on what each individual user requires. In terms
of surfing, 80% of websites we tested it on had no problems and the
pages were displayed correctly. Audio quality through the speaker was so so,
but via the headphones excellent. The LCD panel was easy to read and bright
enough for an office environment, and the touch screen is quite user friendly once
you get accustomed to it. Whether or not the AquaPad is right
for you, and your intended applications is up to you, but FIC definitely have something interesting
here with this little blue magnesium device, and it is sure to turn heads!
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