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Hands-on with Intel's Ruby handheld PC

Peter Rojas
Peter Rojas|October 21, 2005 8:40 AM
Intel Ruby

We kicked it at Intel's Destination Innovation event yesterday afternoon, and while most of what we saw there wasn't Engadget material — we couldn't care less about yet another way to sort through our digital photos — getting our hands on the Ruby, a concept design for a PDA-sized PC that can run Windows XP (or Vista…), made it all worth while. (The funny thing is that we didn't know this was an Intel prototype when we first stumbled upon the Ruby back in April.)

Intel Ruby

The one we played with was a little scuffed up (not by us, we swear), but James Song from Intel?s Systems Technology Lab schooled us on some of the Ruby?s features, like 8 hours of battery life, built-in wireless, a QWERTY keyboard, a low-voltage Pentium processor, the ability to automatically change screen orientation when you rotate the device (not sure how well that?d work in practice, but it?s an interesting prospect), and an active digitizer display so you can run Windows XP Tablet PC Edition on it (or whatever the Vista equivalent will be). They?re also thinking about developing a stripped down Linux-based OS to run on Ruby, but it wasn?t clear how far along they might be on that.

Intel Ruby
Anyway, you probably already have a firm sense of whether or not you?d ever want to get down with a device this size, but Song says that Intel (which obviously has no plans to build the device themselves) is already seeing interest in the reference design from several manufacturers and that we should hopefully see the first devices based on the Ruby platform in a couple of years or so.