Introduction: Weekly Project: the $250 Tablet PC and a Project Gone Horribly Awry
Tablet PCs are hot. In early 2007, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and MacWorld Expo in San Francisco, no less than three landmark tablets made their public debut:
- Flybook A33i - an 8.9-inch foldable touch screen computer by Holbe Dialogue Europe; $2,670 (approx)
- Model 02 - the 60Gb hard drive ultramobile PC by OQO; $1,850
- ModBook - a Mac tablet by Axiotron; $2,279
At first glance the stumbling block that prevents a vintage Stylistic 1000 from becoming a useable modern Tablet PC might seem to be a hardware issue--lack of styli, rechargeable batteries, memory, and hard drives. Not so; all of these issues can be successfully resolved.
The real trick in making a Stylistic 1000 work like a modern Tablet PC is trying to get an operating system to boot. Take your pick: Linux, Windows, DOS, and even Mac each OS attempt is fraught with failure.
And therein lies the tale--a tale of a project gone horribly awry.
Step 1: How to Create a $250 Tablet PC
Time: Days to Weeks
Cost: $217.77 w/o option
Difficulty: Maybe impossible
- (1) Fujitsu Stylistic 1000; HSC Electronic Supply #20791; $29.95
- (1) stylus; FinePoint Innovations # KCP6; $75
- (1) battery; Batteryspace.com #NB-LAP03; $79.95
- (1) memory; MemoryTen #FMW3EM16; $19.95
- (1) CompactFlash ATA/PCMCIA adapter & CompactFlash memory card; Amazon.com SanDisk SDDR-64-768 Compact Flash to PC Card Adapter; $12.92
- 512Mb CompactFlash card; Amazon.com SanDisk 512 MB CompactFlash Card, SDCFB-512-A10; $9.99
- PS/2 keyboard; salvaged
Step 2: Buy a Fujitsu Stylistic 1000
- FMW2430M Transmissive monochrome LCD; $39
- FMW2430F Transflective monochrome LCD; $39
- FMW2430S DSTN Color LCD; $65
NOTE: Surplus Sales of Nebraska sells a 16Mb DRAM expansion memory card (#FMWEM16; 95-0676-00). This card will NOT fit the Stylistic 1000 PCMCIA slot. According to Bob Grinnell of Surplus Sales of Nebraska, these cards fit a "separate slot" on older Stylistics not the Stylistic 1000.
NOTE 2: Surplus Sales of Nebraska claims that a local IT "expert" was able to load both Windows (sic) and Linux (sic) on the Stylistic 1000.
Step 3: Buy a Stylus
Not just any stylus will work with the Stylistic 1000. This Tablet PC uses an active electromagnetic digitizing technology designed by Mutoh in 1995. Today FinePoint Innovations sells a stylus that will work with the Stylistic 1000. The KCP6 (P/N 10977-0034E) is a sleek, battery-powered pen that will fit smoothly inside the stylus storage bay of the Stylistic 1000.
Step 4: Buy a Battery
Don't bother trying to find a Fujitsu rechargeable battery that will actually fit the Stylistic 1000. Instead use an external 16V battery from batteryspace.com. This battery comes with an adapter connector that will fit the external power input jack of the Stylistic 1000.
House the external battery inside the Stylistic 1000 battery compartment with hook and loop fasteners and plug the battery's connector into the Tablet PC's power input jack. Insulate the Stylistic 1000's battery contacts from accidentally touching the metal box of the external 16V battery. The computer will behave just like its been plugged into an external AC power supply--without the power brick and lacking the tether of an AC power cord.
Step 5: Buy a Memory Module
A 16Mb memory module for the Stylistic 1000 can be purchased from MemoryTen (aka MemoryX). The 16MB Fujitsu Stylistic 1000 72pin SODIMM module is installed inside the computer and provides the maximum amount of RAM that can be addressed by the BIOS (e.g., 24Mb).
Step 6: Prepare a CompactFlash Drive
- Operating system not found
- Invalid partition table
- Disk error
- BG-Rescue Linux
- Damn Small Linux
- FUSION PC 3.0
- IBM PC-DOS 6.22
- MS-DOS 6.22
- MS Windows 95
- MS Windows 2000
UPDATE: This is a work in progress and new information will be added as soon as results can be verified.
Step 7: Or, Buy a PenCentra 130, Instead
If you're still looking for a surplus steal in Tablet PCs, consider the Fujitsu PenCentra 130. For less than $120 from HSC, this handheld PC comes with Windows CE embedded in ROM, stylus, battery, memory, dock, keyboard, and carrying case. Don't expect to load Windows CE applications and games on this PenCentra 130, though. The embedded OS is very finicky, but this sampling of Windows CE-MIPS-formatted products should get you started: Bubblets and Tascal Registry Editor. Also, a recent HPC:Factor forum posting by HSC suggests that the memory module might not be available anymore.