GPD Plans to Revive the Handheld PC Form Factor with the WIN (Cherry Trail CPU, Windows 10)

GPD Plans to Revive the Handheld PC Form Factor with the WIN (Cherry Trail CPU, Windows 10) e-Reading Hardware Around the turn of the millennium, HP and a few other PC makers were developing pocketable laptops like the Sharp Zauru SL-C760, HP 360LX, or NEC MobilePro 900C. The devices ran either a mobile version of Windows or Linux, and usually sported small keyboards with screens smaller than can be found on your average phablet.

That form factor fell out of favor about 2005 (although a handful of new models have been released over the years, including a gaming PC and  an Android convertible).

Now Chinese device maker GPD is making their bid to revive the handheld PC form factor with the WIN, a $300 HPC running Windows 10 on an Intel Z8500 CPU.

The WIN sports a 5.5" 1280 x 720 resolution display, and it's backed up by a 1.4GHz Intel Cherry Trail CPU with 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage, Wifi, and Bluetooth.

It also has a microSD card slot, USB and HDMI ports, a 6Ah battery, mic, speaker, and headphone jack as well as a tiny keyboard, double joysticks, and a d-pad:

GPD Plans to Revive the Handheld PC Form Factor with the WIN (Cherry Trail CPU, Windows 10) e-Reading Hardware

As you can see from the joysticks, the WIN is being targeted both as a gaming handheld and a PC (almost as if last year's GPD XD had an affair with a Bluetooth keyboard), but there'a also already serious questions being raised about its gaming abilities.

One reviewer has documented problems with the WIN's Cherry Trail CPU. It's already been used in a number of small devices like the WIN, and they all share a problem with heat dissipation which causes the CPU to throttle itself down as it begins to overheat.

That's going to be a problem when playing games, but less so when using the WIN for other PC uses, which means that this could be the new HPC some of us have been wanting ever since devices like the HP Jornada 720 started getting rare and expensive.

If the keyboard is usable, this could be a ideal take anywhere writing tool, it would kinda be a better version of the Freewrite, that $500, five-pound retro word processor which many have heard about but few have seen.

GDP is about 7 days away from finishing an Indiegogo campaign to fund the WIN, and they've already exceeded their goal by a factor of three, so this device is going to be made

Would you buy one?

found via Liliputing, Teleread

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

17 Comments

  1. Vsoco19 April, 2016

    It’s a strange device, but I think it would be useful for me!

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder19 April, 2016

      If I knew of a skin for Windows 10 which fits a screen that small, I might be interested. Win 10 desktop just can’t cut it on a 5.5″ screen.

      Reply
      1. fjtorres19 April, 2016

        What about the Win 8 GUI?
        That and tweaking screen metrics to 150% ought to do the trick.
        Or you could get a jeweler’s loupe. 😉

        I used to work off a Toshiba Libretto in that size range in the Win98 era. Quite workable once you tweaked the metrics.

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder19 April, 2016

          Earlier versions of Windows were less busy, so they were more usable on small screens.

          P.S. I think I still have a Libretto. Weird design, but fairly usable.

          Reply
          1. fjtorres19 April, 2016

            The thumbstick next to the screen was inspired.
            Left plenty of space for a good enough keyboard.

          2. Nate Hoffelder19 April, 2016

            It was weird, but it did work wonderfully, yes.

  2. Thomas19 April, 2016

    It looks like someone saw a Pandora/Pyra and thought, “How can we crap this up?” The answer, of course, was to use Windows instead of Linux.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder19 April, 2016

      Ah, Pandora. I knew about it but couldn’t remember the name.

      Wow, you’re right! This is a Pandora knockoff, only with a crappier keyboard!

      Edit: And it costs over twice as much!

      Reply
      1. fjtorres20 April, 2016

        Intel processor vs ARM.
        That alone makes a difference.
        Given the low volume that probably accounts for most of the price differential.

        Reply
  3. beachwanderer20 April, 2016

    Note: Did a quick search for the – Pyra / Pandora – homepage (https://pyra-handheld.com/boards/pages/pyra/). Found that they have a notice there that they will be showing a Pyra prototype unit at Leipzig, Germany on Sat., April 30 2016 at the Long Night of ComputerGames (http://www.schreibfabrik.de/spielenacht/) at Leipzig University of Applied Sciences.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder20 April, 2016

      Thanks for the heads uP!

      Reply
  4. KS Augustin20 April, 2016

    Ah, Zaurus, I knew thee well. Unfortunately, I have long fingernails and am a touch typist, so this one isn’t for me…but I’m still waiting on my Freewrite. Will let you know when it arrives, Nate!

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder20 April, 2016

      I never had a Zaurus (Linux wasn’t my thing, and they were expensive in the US) but I did appreciate the design.

      Reply
  5. Dk22 April, 2016

    Small screen but I think there is a market for small laptops. Maybe with 9 inch screens. Some of the people who buy tablets would have more use from a small laptop. Especially windows users. Touch screens don’t do well for all uses. But this is too small…

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder22 April, 2016

      Not a 9″ screen, I don’t think.

      When it comes to small laptops, the dividing line is whether it fits in a pocket. A 9″ screen won’t fit, and in fact a laptop with a 7″ won’t fit either. That puts the 9″ and 7″ laptops in the same group as 11″ and larger laptops. In this group weight and thickness matters more than screen size, which is why we have 11″ Chromebooks rather than 9″ Chromebooks.

      Those Chromebooks are basically the same idea that you propose, only with a better screen size. They have a smaller footprint than your average textbook, but still have screens and keyboards large enough to be useful.

      Reply
  6. Kiga22 April, 2016

    This is a Pyra/Pandora knockoff, Pyra is the successor of Pandora and is already at prototype stage. Plus it have a lot more features including an upgradable cpu.
    https://www.pyra-handheld.com/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder22 April, 2016

      Yes, although the Pandora wasn’t even the first device to have that form factor in the past five years. It drew from earlier designs.

      Reply

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