Dual-screen UMPC/handheld game system

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jongscx
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Dual-screen UMPC/handheld game system

Post by jongscx » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:47 pm

Ok, I've had this idea mulling around for a really long time, and then I saw some commercial versions of it pop up a few months ago and kicked myself for not patenting it >.<

Anyway, here was the essence of the idea.
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Low-power umpc/"net-top". Useful for browsing the web and reading RSS feeds/twitter, updating statuses, e-mail. Doing emulations and watching movies.
Small form-factor, around that of a hand-held game system. Allows for lugging around, putting into (large) pockets or small bags.
Dual screens with one or both being touch-enabled in an over-under (think DS) configuration
--The upper screen however slides under the top screen, NOT a clam-shell, but once out is hinged
--machine is still functional with only one screen
Analog joysticks/pads as well as D-pad and buttons on front face, on either side of the main screen.
Key entry is done by either handwriting recognition, OSK(on-screen keyboard, preferrably switchable between traditional QWERTY, Stylus-entry, and thumb-entry (little quarter-circle shaped keyboard on lower left and right corners of screen))
Connectivity-wise
-Integrated 802.11N, bluetooth, and cellular modem
-USB 2.0 host AND connectivity as portable storage device(syncing)
-GPS capability

And if there's room,
-SD/MMC slot
-front-facing webcam
-integrated adjustable stand
-4-8hr battery-life for light-duty web-browsing, 2-4 hrs for continuous gaming, with cheap, detachable battery system (for buying and carrying spares), Thinking camcorder OR rechargable AA-cells
---------------------------------------------------
What I'm looking for then are ideas on what hardware to use.
I've had the Asus-EEE 900 line in mind as they have the portablity and size, but I'm not sure if they can deliver the performance I'm looking for. I might also be able to reuse case components, etc. The other possibility was building from a mATX mobo, but I would need a second video card to support dual screens.

Any suggestions on a screen to use? I've seen 800x600 9" VGA screens on e-bay running for around $300-500. Is this the best I could do you think?

Best construction method for the case. Would I be able to use a strong enough plastic if I chose to go the vacu-form route?

Lastly, the slider/hinge? I could not find anything! even remotely usable... I really need the most help on this one.

Inputs, are they complex enough to justify shoving an arduino in there or should I just find a mini wired x-box controller?
WARNING: any semblance of validity, or quite simply, a coherent point from this author is most likely purely coincidental and must be taken with utmost scrutiny. We are not responsible for any stupidity we have caused.

Thank you

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eagle5953
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Re: Dual-screen UMPC/handheld game system

Post by eagle5953 » Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:49 pm

jongscx wrote:Low-power umpc/"net-top". Useful for browsing the web and reading RSS feeds/twitter, updating statuses, e-mail. Doing emulations and watching movies.
Small form-factor, around that of a hand-held game system. Allows for lugging around, putting into (large) pockets or small bags.
Dual screens with one or both being touch-enabled in an over-under (think DS) configuration
--The upper screen however slides under the top screen, NOT a clam-shell, but once out is hinged
--machine is still functional with only one screen
Analog joysticks/pads as well as D-pad and buttons on front face, on either side of the main screen.
Key entry is done by either handwriting recognition, OSK(on-screen keyboard, preferrably switchable between traditional QWERTY, Stylus-entry, and thumb-entry (little quarter-circle shaped keyboard on lower left and right corners of screen))
Connectivity-wise
-Integrated 802.11N, bluetooth, and cellular modem
-USB 2.0 host AND connectivity as portable storage device(syncing)
-GPS capability

And if there's room,
-SD/MMC slot
-front-facing webcam
-integrated adjustable stand
-4-8hr battery-life for light-duty web-browsing, 2-4 hrs for continuous gaming, with cheap, detachable battery system (for buying and carrying spares), Thinking camcorder OR rechargable AA-cells
Like you said, this has been done. The Pandora console does almost all of this as you describe, and at a good deal lower cost than you or I could do, even without factoring in labor. Further, it would be smaller and lighter too.
jongscx wrote:What I'm looking for then are ideas on what hardware to use.
I've had the Asus-EEE 900 line in mind as they have the portablity and size, but I'm not sure if they can deliver the performance I'm looking for. I might also be able to reuse case components, etc. The other possibility was building from a mATX mobo, but I would need a second video card to support dual screens.
If you do insist on doing this yourself, yes, the Asus netbooks would be a good starting platform. They are very small, relatively inexpensive, and have been hacked to death (you can find a walkthrough for almost anything). Micro ATX boards are small for computer motherboards, but they are by no means small. And a discrete graphics card? Your portable would be approaching at least 3 inches thick by that point. Plus, you'd be drawing double the power for the screens.
jongscx wrote:Any suggestions on a screen to use? I've seen 800x600 9" VGA screens on e-bay running for around $300-500. Is this the best I could do you think?
Dude, what exactly are you trying for? You said you wanted the final size to be "around that of a hand-held game system," yet you want dual 9" screens? This is not 'portable' material. Plus, two 9" screens would draw so much power that the battery size and weight would be huge. It CAN be done, but it would be the approximate size of a VCR. Forget putting it in any pocket.

In short, you need to re-evaluate what it is that you want here. Your plans are calling for a full-featured PC, but you want the final size a good deal smaller; these are incompatible, mutually-exclusive designs.

Therefore, you need to narrow down what is most important in your portable.

Image

Decide which features are most important to you, and go from there. Good luck.

jongscx
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Re: Dual-screen UMPC/handheld game system

Post by jongscx » Wed Feb 11, 2009 12:33 am

Well, you're right. Hand-held is not the best way to describe this.

Ergonomics-wise, I'm going for the EEE held like a DS. It's definitely not going to be pocketable, and as for 9" screen, I had meant 7"... (I bought the 9" and was thinking of that while typing >.<)

I did have the pandora in mind for a while, guess I'll just wait for it then.

However, I am still looking for the screen and the slider... Are there any good touchscreen vendors that people here have used? What about USB GPS brands/models that are compact?
WARNING: any semblance of validity, or quite simply, a coherent point from this author is most likely purely coincidental and must be taken with utmost scrutiny. We are not responsible for any stupidity we have caused.

Thank you

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Re: Dual-screen UMPC/handheld game system

Post by XCVG » Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:14 am

Although the N10 has a 10 inch screen, it also has a Geforce 9300. Use that.

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Re: Dual-screen UMPC/handheld game system

Post by eagle5953 » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:34 am

jongscx wrote:Well, you're right. Hand-held is not the best way to describe this.

Ergonomics-wise, I'm going for the EEE held like a DS. It's definitely not going to be pocketable, and as for 9" screen, I had meant 7"... (I bought the 9" and was thinking of that while typing >.<)
Not sure how you can hold an EEE like a DS. It certainly can be done, but i'd be kind of heavy to do that for any length of time.
jongscx wrote:I did have the pandora in mind for a while, guess I'll just wait for it then.
You are planning on getting a Pandora AND building this? I'm confused...
jongscx wrote:However, I am still looking for the screen and the slider... Are there any good touchscreen vendors that people here have used? What about USB GPS brands/models that are compact?
The slider for the screen would likely have to be custom-made.

I would suggest a MIMO secondary screen (google it). I haven't used it myself, but it has gotten very favorable reviews. They are 7 inch screens, and the touchscreen variant runs about $200. They only need USB (no external power source).

Internalizing GPS into EEEs tend to have difficulty with reception, so read up on that before you start working or buying anything.

Perhaps rather than using a slider, you could do this: take out the keyboard (you don't need it for playing games anyway) and put the 7" touchscreen there. That also minimizes the number of changes you need to make - plus, it'd look like the DS, too! For any typing, you can use the on-screen keyboard that comes built in with windows.

Hope that helps.

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