By Lisa Gade, Editor in Chief, posted August
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.
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)."
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
List price is $499 in the US.
color LCD, 65,536 colors, Screen Size Diag: 3.5",
Resolution: 240 x 320