The Pepper Pad is Pepper Computer’s offering to the portable wireless market. The really tricky part is defining what it actually does. So it has a 20GB hard drive, is Wi-Fi enabled, an 8.4″ display capable of 800 x 600 resolution, is able to surf the internet, browse media files and control Hi-Fi and home theatre equipment via infrared. Given that it runs the Linux based Monte Vista CEEE 3.1 operating system perhaps the question should be “what can’t it do?”
The collection of mini-keyboard buttons, scroll wheel, game-pad style directional pad and touch screen gives it a design like a giant handheld console, but it’s unclear whether there will be any games made for it other than some probably underwhelming flash games that ship with it. The sizeable 20GB hard drive makes this a good platform for storing media files and it can browse networked computer files wirelessly, or take it on the move for Wi-Fi roaming. Plus there’s a version of AOL messenger that comes included. It has a neat rugged, water-proof design that looks like you could probably chuck it around without too much risk and has the usual headphone socket, intergrated mîcrophone.
I like that fact that there’s no clear purpose to the Pepper Pad’s functionality – is it a media player? Or is it an internet browser? Surely the odd keyboard layout doesn’t make it much of a word processor. This is coupled with a Linux operating system that means any owner, schooled in Linux programming, will be able to adapt its functionality to their own will much more easily than if it had come with a Windows based OS. Its not quite a laptop and its not quite a personal organiser, but it is very cool. Hopefully, in a spirit akin PSP hacking, intrepid owners will take to testing the limits of this inventive device. It is currently shipping from Amazon for $799.99 which seems pretty reasonable for its functionality but there’s no indication of it officially coming to these shores yet.