The TurboLinux Wizpy, a multimedia media player that contains a PC-bootable version of the Linux operating system, will go on sale worldwide this month.
TurboLinux designed the device based on its own distribution of Linux and will target the same market overseas as it has done in Japan: early adopters who are curious about using Linux but either don't want to or can't install the operating system.
"With Windows Vista just coming out people are thinking about changing their operating system but many are not sure they want to upgrade to Vista," said Noriaki Fukuyasu, director of TurboLinux's international business division, in an interview.
The Wizpy allows users to carry a complete Linux desktop in their pocket. When plugged into a PC's USB port the user is given the opportunity to boot-up the Linux system that resides in the Wizpy's memory. User settings, passwords and bookmarks can be stored inside the Wizpy, with the desktop set up to the user's preference so that no matter what PC is used to host the Wizpy, the user gets their familiar desktop.
The device also doubles as a multimedia player but in this aspect it isn't very different from others on the market. It has a 1.7-inch OLED (organic light emitting diode) color screen and keypad on the front. Within is software to play music in Ogg, MP3 and Windows Media Audio formats, and to show XviD and MPEG4 video files and JPEG images. It can also record sound to MP3 files and display text files, and has an FM radio.
The diminutive player will first be launched in nations where English is the primary language: the U.K., U.S., Canada, Australia, India and Singapore; and be followed with non-English language versions either late in 2007 or in early 2008. The device itself already has a multilingual on-screen display, but the bootable version of Linux included inside needs to be translated into other languages prior to wider availability.
In Japan two versions of the Wizpy are available, differentiated by the 2G bytes or 4G bytes of memory they contain. TurboLinux will offer only the 4G-byte version overseas. It will be priced at the local equivalent of the Japanese price, which is YEN 33,800 ($US278).
The Wizpy will be available in North America through Source One Network, in South Asia through eSys Information Technologies, and in the rest of Asia and Oceania through Ferosys. A distribution agreement for the U.K. is under negotiation.