Agenda VR3

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An Agenda VR3, in "clear" color, on its docking stand

The Agenda VR3 was the name of the first "pure Linux" Personal Digital Assistant (PDA),[1] released in May 2001 by Agenda Computing, Inc. of Irvine, California.[2] The Linux Documentation Project considers the VR3 to be a "true Linux PDA" because the manufacturers installed Linux-based operating systems on them by default.[3]

History[edit]

The VR3 was unveiled at LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in August 2000[4] by Agenda Computing, which was at the time "a wholly owned subsidiary of the publicly traded electronics manufacturing giant, Kessel International Holdings, based in Hong Kong." A developer model, the VR3d, was available by December.[5]

By late 2001, the VR3's price dropped from $249 to $119 at some US retailers, which caused some to wonder whether the promised VR5 (a color handheld) was to be released, or Agenda Computing was closing shop.[6]

In April 2002, after the demise of Agenda Computing,[7] the Softfield Vr3 became available from Softfield Technologies of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[8] As of July 2008, the device is still available from SoftField.[9]

Hardware[edit]

The VR3 was 4.5"x3.0"x0.8". It included a 2.25"x3.25", 160x240 pixel, monochrome, backlit LCD touchscreen. It utilized a 66MHz MIPS CPU with 8MB of RAM and 16MB of built-in Flash memory for storage.

For input, it included push buttons for actions (such as Page-Up and Down, and Left and Right), stylus-activated power on/off, on-screen hard buttons for launching applications and a built-in microphone jack.

It also included a notification buzzer, an LED notification light, an IrDA port and an RS232 port. It was powered by two AAA batteries, and connected to PCs via an RS232 cable, or a docking station that the cable connected to. Both contained a button for activating sync software.

Software[edit]

The VR3 came with a 2.4.0 version of the Linux kernel, XFree86, the Rxvt terminal emulator, the Bash shell,[10] and a user interface based on the FLTK GUI library.[11] It included on-screen keyboard and handwriting recognition software, a number of personal information management (PIM) applications (including an expense tracker, e-mail, to-do list, contacts list, and schedule), games, and other tools.

It is possible to telnet, FTP[12] and make remote X connections to the device.

Numerous applications were created by third-party developers, with the Agenda Software Repository listing nearly 200 titles by the end of 2003.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ""Agenda's agenda -- a Linux-based "Open PDA""". Archived from the original on 2008-05-13., LinuxDevices.com, retrieved July 17, 2008
  2. ^ "Agenda begins delivering its VR3 Linux-PDAs (finally!)". Archived from the original on 2008-10-07., LinuxDevices.com, retrieved July 17, 2008
  3. ^ "Linux on the Road".
  4. ^ "Linux-based PDA unveiled at LinuxWorld". Archived from the original on 2008-07-09., LinuxDevices.com, retrieved July 17, 2008
  5. ^ "Linux on the Agenda VR3", TuxMobil, retrieved July 18, 2008
  6. ^ "Agenda VR3 $119 at Fry's" Archived October 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Linux Users' Group of Davis mailing list post
  7. ^ "What's up with Agenda and the VR3 Linux PDA?". Archived from the original on 2008-07-08., LinuxDevices.com, retrieved July 17, 2008
  8. ^ "Agenda VR3 compatible Linux PDA to sell for $105". Archived from the original on 2008-05-11., LinuxDevices.com, retrieved July 17, 2008
  9. ^ "VR3 Linux PDA Specifications" page at Softfield.com, retrieved July 18, 2008
  10. ^ "Review: Agenda VR3 Linux powered PDA" Archived 2008-06-29 at the Wayback Machine., LinuxMedNews, retrieved July 18, 2008
  11. ^ "A developer's perspective on Agenda's VR3 Linux PDA". Archived from the original on 2008-05-11., LinuxDevices.com, retrieved July 18, 2008
  12. ^ "Linux palmtop revolution on its way", Linux.com, retrieved July 18, 2008
  13. ^ Agenda Software Repository at agendawiki.com, retrieved via [Internet Archive#Wayback Machine|the Internet Archive Wayback Machine]