Trinity, the folks who have been pushing the notion of a Linux-based handheld audio studio for some time now, have launched a full product today. It’s called the Indamixx Mobile DAW, and it’s a full software studio running on Samsung’s Q1 Ultra (formerly known as an Ultra Mobile PC). In fact, it might more accurate to say that it’s multiple DAWs, as you have various, full-blown software choices you can use pre-optimized on a handheld computer.
For anyone unimpressed by people tapping on iPhones and such, this is the real thing. Software includes, among other things:
- Just-added special version of EnergyXT, the increasingly-popular music production tool (as pictured here)
- Ardour, the powerful, open-source DAW software
- Hydrogen drum machine, Seq24 sequencer, Ardour audio editor
- Powerful Linux tools: LADSPA and VST effects support, synth and sound tools, and utilities
You also get tools like Skype and Pidgin, plus the usual Linux Internet apps, so I could imagine this would be a really powerful tool to have with you in world travels. Find wifi, call whomever you like.
It’s all about form factor. Some people will, naturally, be perfectly happy with a no-compromises laptop. But for people who prefer a handheld machine that could fit easily atop a keyboard or music stand, this finally gives you some real power – and a full-blown Linux OS. (The addition of EnergyXT to me is really the killer app.)
The hardware features:
- 7”, 1024×600 screen and VGA output
- 802.11g wifi and Ethernet
- 40 GB hard drive (not sure about real-world track count on that; I’ll try to find out)
- 2 USB 2.0 ports, so you could use this with a MIDI or audio interface
- Touch screen and physical keys, plus an 8-way joystick
- 1G RAM expandable to 2GB, reasonably speedy (very much so for a mobile device) Intel processor
Cost: US$999 as a special intro offer through 8/31 or until supplies are gone.
Whether or not you’re running out to buy one of these, I think the message to developers is clear. You can no longer assume the traditional computer and mouse is the target platform. With touch capabilities in Windows 7 and likely on Mac OS, with killer apps on everything from the iPhone to the DS, the growth of Linux laptops like the Eee, and touch and mobile interfaces everywhere, the potential diversity of computing is finally being realized. That means UI design will increasingly have to accommodate alternative modes of control (like touch), scale to different screen sizes (including higher resolutions as well as lower ones), and think about mobile. And Linux – already capable of emulating Windows well enough to run many music apps, and ready to host VSTs – could have a new window of opportunity. The change may not happen immediately, but smart developers will be prepared for whatever direction their customers may take.