Realm Announces K9 Device at Linux World Boston


I was on hand for the announcement of the new Blackdog, dubbed K9, at Linux World in Boston....

Since they announced the specs at the show I thought it wouldn't hurt to post them here. This is from the flyer given out at Linux World:

  • 400MHz Power PC processor
  • 128MB RAM
  • 1 GB Flash Storage
  • USB 2.0
  • BioMetric Scanner
  • Organic Light-emitting diode (OLED) 96x64 black/white, 1.1 Inch display, 4-bit grayscale
  • Bluetooth Enabled
  • VoIP Enabled
  • Remote storage through VPN
  • Secure remote access for up to 5 PCs


At the show Rick confirmed a model with 256 MB of RAM and 2 GB of flash will also be available (we told him that most of geek types would likely go for the model with more RAM and more Flash - I know I will).

Myself and several others (Mike, Jeff, Roy) and several thousand other Linux fans had a chance to put our hands on the new device during the show - here are my impressions:
  • New slightly rubberized case - kind of stealth looking - instantly inspires gadget lust. Does not fall apart if you drop it.
  • Inside the card is shock mounted as well.
  • Thinner (height) and slimmer (width) than the current model, much better made.
  • Oh and yes, there is a "hole" for using a paperclip to invoke the boot loader. No more of the put right usb plug in, pull your plug out, do the hokey-pokey mumbo jumbo to invoke the boot loader! Good Job Realm.


No MMC card slot in the new device. (more on this in a bit)

The new device uses a 60 pin, ruggedized cable - lots of room for custom IO solutions - including the use of MMC cards. Realm will not be supplying pre-made cables, other than the USB versions, but will provide full specs and sources for purchase of raw components for making your own cables. I am sure some enterprising folks will provide one with an MMC card slot attached.

From a software standpoint this unit is much nicer. A full Gnome desktop is displayed (say goodbye to the ugly launcher!). Firefox starts in about 5 - 7 seconds. Yes firefox is pre-loaded. And I think they mentioned Open Office might also be installed - can one of the other attendees confirm this?

Much nicer startup screens and such. The "bypass" stuff is gone.

I was also told, but have not verified, that it will work on Windows 2000 boxes.

As for the "official name", the data sheet that was handed out says "The Realm K9 Ultra-Mobile Server".

Stay tuned for info on availablity.
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