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G.Mate Yopy YP3700

By Lisa Gade, Editor in Chief, posted August 19, 2003

Looking for a PDA that runs Linux? Now US buyer's have a choice besides the Sharp Zaurus SL-5600, and it's the Yopy YP3700 from G.Mate. The Yopy runs Linupy™, which is a port of Linux tailored to PDAs. G.Mate, a Korean company, has been making Yopy PDAs for several years, but the 3700 is the first model available to the US market. The Yopy is a relatively compact unit that's thicker than most other PDAs on the market.

Yoppy YP3700
G.Mate Yoppy side view

 

Like Palm and Pocket PC PDAs, the Yopy offers PIM (contacts, calendar, tasks) applications and software that allows you to view and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. It includes an MP3 player and a voice recorder, and comes with a USB sync cradle.

While most PDAs come with USB drivers that are installed when you install the companion desktop syncing and PIM applications, the Yopy works a little differently. First you'll install the desktop application which allows you to sync your PIM data back and forth. Then you'll plug the cradle into a USB port on your PC and put the Yopy in its cradle. You must turn on the Yopy after it's been placed in the cradle so your PC can recognize it. The Windows new hardware wizard will ask you for a driver and you must have the Yopy CD in the drive so you can specify the Yopy driver which will be installed as a network card interface. This will create a new network connection in your Networking and Dialup Connections group on the PC and you'll follow the printed manual to configure IP address info appropriately. To install applications on the Yopy, you'll use a web browser to open up an FTP connection to the Yopy. Compared to other PDAs, including the Zaurus, this isn't terribly straight-forward or user-friendly.

The desktop software and driver are for Windows only. According to the manual, the desktop must be running Windows 2000 or Windows XP. We tested it on Windows 2000. What about Linux desktop support? Since the Yopy runs IP over USB, there may be hope, at least for file transfer. According to the folks representing Yopy in the US: "The Linux usbnet driver has support for the Yopy beginning with kernel 2.4.20 (e.g. RedHat 9)."

Horsepower

The Yopy 3700 has a StrongARM 206 MHz processor and a roomy 128 megs of RAM. Approximately 79 megs were available on our unit to store programs and data, and an additional 22 megs were available for backup storage. The unit felt suitably fast in all tasks, even when several programs were running. The Yopy has a flash upgradeable OS and comes with a program that allows you to update the OS. It has 32 megs of flash ROM.

 

 

 

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Display and Multimedia

The Yopy 3700 has a 3.5" 65,000 color TFT LCD that's viewable indoors and outdoors. When using the Yopy outdoors on a sunny day, you'll need to tilt the PDA to find the best viewing angle. The display is very sharp and colors are nicely saturated. The resolution is 240 x 320 pixels, same as a Pocket PC. You can adjust screen brightness using a slider, and specify whether the display will dim and when to save power on battery and AC.

For you MP3 fans, there's a stereo headphone jack and an MP3 player. The MP3 player is GQmpeg and is open source. You can play MP3s through the built-in speaker or headphones connected to the standard 3.5mm stereo mini jack. The sound quality is very good.

The built-in speaker faces forward and is located above the keyboard. The mic is located on the lower left, below the keyboard area. The Yopy comes with a recorder application and offers AGC (automatic gain control) via a control panel setting. The voice recorder saves recordings in WAV format, and has settings that allow you to specify maximum file size and recording timeout. It supports GSM 6.10 and ADPCM formats. There isn't an option to specify that recordings be saved to a storage card, but you can use the File Manager to move recordings to a card once you've finished a recording.

Keyboard and Controls

The Yopy has an integrated thumb-type keyboard. It has a standard QWERTY keyboard layout with a dedicated number row (yay!). It has a caps lock button and a function key that you'll use to enter punctuation. The keys are made of hard plastic finished in silver to match the casing and offer good tactile feedback. The keys are rectangular and are tall and narrow, which doesn't make for the easiest typing experience. Keys that are narrow but radially slanted, or are wider but short make for easier typing.

For you d-pad fans, the Yopy has a 4 way directional pad located above the keyboard on the left side. It's large and easy to use, however pressing straight down on the d-pad doesn't do anything. Instead you'll press the OK, Action or End buttons located to the right of the d-pad to launch programs, select items and etcetera.

Software

The 3700 comes with standard PIM apps and a desktop program called MyPIMS that syncs to the PIM applications on the Yopy. It doesn't sync to other applications such as MS Outlook. It has a Schedule application that supports repeat events and has very nice month, week and year views as well as day view. The Contacts application is full-featured and supports home and work address, email address, web page, several telephone numbers, fax numbers and cell phone numbers as well as a notes screen for each contact. The Tasks app allows you to mark tasks as completed/not completed, assign start and due dates, set an alarm for a task, give it a priority (1 through 3) and assign it a category. You'll also get a Memo application and a Diary application. You can backup all of your PIM data to the backup area of memory using the included PIMS Backup application. Of course, data synced to your Windows desktop can also be restored to the Yopy should a disaster happen.

The Yopy also comes with a Paint program, terminal application (of course, this is Linux!), a File Manager, Package Manager, Wallpaper app, calculator, WiFi configuration utility, a web browser (Dillo) and an email client (Sylpheed) that supports POP3, IMAP4 and even NNTP.

The user interface on the Yopy looks similar to a Linux GUI desktop plus a Pocket PC taskbar at the bottom. You'll access all programs using the start menu, which looks and operates similarly to Linux and Windows desktops. There are no folder or application icon views such as those you'll find on other PDAs. The taskbar has small icons that activate handwriting recognition, show battery charge, bring up the volume controls and give you info about any storage cards you have inserted in the Yopy's expansion slots.

The Yopy 3700 comes with HancomMobileOffice, which is a strong application suite also included with the Sharp Zaurus PDAs. It allows you to work with Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents. It's labeled as Yopy Office on the Yopy's applications menu. While the Yopy Office programs are listed on the menu, they're only shortcuts, and you'll need to install the application suite itself from the CDROM using FTP and a web browser as mentioned earlier. A manual for HancomMobileOffice is provided on the CDROM.

Unfortunately, there aren't many 3rd party programs available for Linupy, the Yopy's version of Linux. Zaurus programs will not run on the Yopy. If you're a handy UNIX coder, then you could compile your own applications for Yopy using the many open source applications as your starting point.

Handwriting Recognition

If you'd rather use handwriting recognition instead of the built-in hardware keyboard, you can use the Yopy's handwriting input system, which offers many features that would take too long to cover here. Instead, visit www.yopy.com to view the user's guide online to read about the the different input features Yopy offers. The primary handwriting recognition input method resembles Palm's Graffiti and works fairly well, though the delay after it recognizes a character is noticeably longer compared to other PDAs and that can make inputting text slow. There's also another method which allows you to write an entire word at a time, but I found this to be less reliable.

Expandability and Networking

There are two expansion slots: 1 MMC (not SD) and one type II CF slot compatible with type I and type II cards. The Yopy comes with networking utilities and a configuration application for WiFi cards, however none of the cards we tested (D-Link, Socket, Intel Pro Wireless and Ambicom) worked out of the box with the Yopy. According to the folks who handle the Yopy, the Linksys WCF12 is compatible, but you'll need to edit some config files. Details can be found in this discussion forum. They also say that the Zaurus Linux driver available on Killefix.de could be recompiled to work with Yopy.

Battery and Cradle

The 3700 has a 2300 mAh Lithium Polymer battery that is not user-replaceable. That's a very large capacity battery! It ran in excess of 5 hours per charge. The cradle, pictured above, has a USB connector and you'll plug the charger into the cradle to charge the Yopy.

Conclusion

The Yopy is a portable, though thick PDA. It offers the power of Linux. It has plenty of memory and can play MP3 music as well as record voice notes. Speed is reasonably good, even when a few applications are running and the battery runtimes are good. Cons: Unfortunately there aren't many applications available for Linupy OS, which means you'll either need to be happy with the provided applications or be ready to compile your own Linupy apps. Getting the unit syncing isn't very turnkey or friendly and may be overwhelming for novices. The unit can't sync with Outlook, it only syncs with the included MyPIMS application. Handwriting recognition is mediocre, but you do get an integrated hardware keyboard.

List price is $499 in the US.

 

Specs:

Display: TFT color LCD, 65,536 colors, Screen Size Diag: 3.5", Resolution: 240 x 320

Battery: 2300mAh Li-ion Polymer Battery.

Performance: StrongARM 206 MHz processor, 32 MB Flash ROM, 128 MB RAM

Operating System: Linupy™ X window System.

Size: 69 × 103 × 24.7mm. 4" x 3 3/4 x 1 1/16th. Weight: 200g / 7 oz..

Audio: Built in speaker, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone jack. Voice Recorder and MP3 included.

Software: Linupy™ Linux-based operating system.
PIMS: (Task, Schedule, Contact, Notepad, Diary, PIMS Backup), Multimedia (MP3 Player, Recorder, Painter)
YOPY Office: (Text Edit, YOPY Word, YOPY Sheet, YOPY Viewer)
Games: (Sokoban, Solitaire, Freecell, Xrick, Doom)
Utilities: (Package Manager, Wallpaper, Xterm, Calculator, IrDA)
Network: (Web Browser, E-mail)
File Manager
Desktop Software: MyPIMS (Desktop Connection, PIMS & File Transfer). OS Upgrader application.

Expansion: MMC slot, CF card slot (TYPE II), IR port

 

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