It's been a few months now since COMDEX 2000 played itself out. While the
Vegas parties are long since over we here at TransmetaZone still seem to have a
tone of Transmeta info to sift through (and little time to accomplish the
task). However, before the mass of unique Crusoe-based devices become
old-hat we'll try to mention something about all of them.
For instance this little Web Pad is put out by FIC, who are better known for
their motherboards then for internet appliances. Never the less, their
Crusoe-based device has gone through several variations, including the original
FIC 3200, which was canceled sometime late last year in favour of the WebPad
formfactor. Previously, FIC was set to introduce a giant PDA-like device.
We can't argue that the Aqua 3400 isn't slick and worth getting, but the
contradiction of having a USB keyboard plug into a webpad was not lost on us
either. The overlap of interfaces is a perplexing situation... the Aqua
3400 has a touch sensitive screen which enables an onscreen keyboard to be used
by an individual to input data into the device. Yet, a seemingly redundant
laptop-esque keyboard is also available, serving the exact same purpose. Why is
Is the Aqua meant to be a two-part laptop, a single screen web-pad...
or both? At first glance the latter would seem to be the case, but in reality
it's simply a situation of new technology integrating with old. Apart from the
odd bank machine, slot machine, and special-purpose device, no mainstream
commercial electronics really use touch screen technology to any significant
extent. Why not? Well, as nifty as the technology is, it just hasn't cought on
much with the average consumer.
Let's face it people are used to keyboards too much. Typewriters are the
familiar touchstone of the older generations, and newer generations were raised
on video games basing their game controls on a keyboard. Touch screens are
still relatively alien - the stuff of Star Trek episodes +using Roddenberry's
In the future they may become the defacto standard, but for the moment they
remain a curiosity. This is not to say we wouldn't be exceedingly interested to
see the Aqua 3400 widely available on the retail market however... it's just
that with all 'new' technologies, it's usually the 3rd or 4th iteration that
makes the big impression in the consumers psyche...