As I suspected, ASUS has opened up the market of ultral-mobile laptops when they began selling their eeePCs with Linux installed. Now, Emtec (BASF), yes the folks who make recording media, are going to be selling their own tiny laptop. And they're going to be using Mandriva Linux as the operating system.
According to this article, Emtec is making something very similar to the ASUS eeePC, called Gdium - a very peculiar name.
Launching in September of this year, the Gdium will be a little bit larger than the eeePC (which I think is a bit a downer), but will be housing a 10" monitor, "up to" a 32GB internal SDHC hard drive, Wi-Fi, webcam and a number of USB ports. Fortunately, though, the article also says that a smaller version of the UMPC will be available later on, sporting an 8.9" monitor - which I like, as the small form-factor of the eeePC has really grown on me and I'd like to see these UMPCs stay as small as possible.
Best of all, the Gdium will be using a specially engineered version of Mandriva as it's OS.
But what's really interesting is how it's going to use Mandriva. From what I can tell, it will be making use of something similar to Mandriva's Flash product - Mandriva's USB mobile OS. Instead of installing the OS on the Gdium's internal SD card, it will be on a USB stick, which the user plugs in into a recessed port on the front of the PC, under the keyboard and touch pad.
It says that each user will have their own USB device, which will house the mobile OS. Sounds like Mandriva Flash to me. And this is a pretty interesting way for Emtec to approach things. Because, what this means is, if you happen to want to temporarily use a full-sized desktop PC, you can unplug your OS and files from the Gdium and boot the entire kit-and-kaboodle on another PC.
The quoted price is 399 euros (640 CAD) for the 10" model. Hopefully, when the smaller model becomes available the price will come down a bit.
Although I see myself using my eeePC (with Mandriva installed) for quite some time, I'd be quite willing to support Emtec and their Mandriva system if the opportunity arose.
I wish them all the success - and kudos to Mandriva. It's about time a manufacturer realizes what they have to offer.
More information on the Gdium can be found here: www.gdium.com/description