As we gain more ability in the personal computing world we get better and faster devices. With that, the number of devices we own continues to increase. For me personally, I own a mobile device, laptop, and a desktop computer. Out of the three, the laptop gets used the least. It is only in need when I am away from the desktop and my mobile can't do whatever the task at hand. That being said, many of us nerds like to keep our computing experience a certain way. When everything is familiar, we can enter the flow of productivity easier and stay in it longer.
When we switch between computer environments can pull anyone out of the flow. This is true with how the keyboard feels, how we hold the device, and different operating systems. It is a mess, and that is why I do my best to have the exact experience on both my desktop and laptop. The same operating system, the same window manager, and the same color scheme. This end goal takes a lot of time and effort and it is not perfect. There are things that don't work quite the same between computers and small tweaks have are always needed. This takes even more time when we should be productive.
Then there is the amount of trash we produce in electronic waste. The number is large and we may never slow down the technological progress to limit our waste. On top of that, it seems as if the manufacturers are purposely ignoring the most up-to-date parts in favor of cheaper alternatives. Causing us to need a new device every few years. There are reports floating around the web that Apple plans out a device's obsolescence, so the user is forced to buy a new one. Talk about lame and untrustworthy. Just another reason I'll never buy an Apple product.
I would love to see the day where my mobile, laptop, and desktop are all the same core piece that gets plugged into different shells. The same experience on every machine we own and even those we don't. Imagine being able to eject the core of your friend's computer, slide in your core and everything is identical to your home experience. Need to borrow a phone to call home? Have your friend remove their core, slide in yours, and its your information that shows on the screen. We need to rethink how we compute and challenge the consumerist idea of buying a new device every two years.
This is why I am intrigued with the credit card sized EOMA68 computer. It is thicker than a credit card but the other two dimensions are close. The first point mentioned on their CrowdSupply page is that is will make your computer much cheaper to fix. There will not be a repair that is too expensive and forces you to buy a new computer when you don't need or want to. This is just the surface of what computers like this can bring us.
Image from EOMA68's CrowdSupply Page
About the EOMA68
The card itself is $65 USD this is the core of the computer so you will need to get either the laptop or mini desktop to house it in. Their mini desktop housing is $55 USD and you need to supply your own keyboard, mouse, and monitor. The laptop housing is an all in one unit as you would expect and it starts at $450 USD. These are reasonable prices since it may end up being the only shell you will need again. Read what they have to say about the "EOMA68 Standard" computer:
The goal of this project is to introduce the idea of being ethically responsible for both the ecological and the financial resources required to design, manufacture, acquire and maintain our personal computing devices. This campaign therefore introduces the world’s first devices built around the EOMA68 standard, a freely-accessible royalty-free, unencumbered hardware standard formulated and tested over the last five years around the ultra-simple philosophy of “just plug it in: it will work.”
Us nerds are suckers for all things free and open source. The project is in the works to have the next batch (as of November 29, 2017) of these computers fit the Free Software Foundation's rules for endorsement. This means that the EOMA68 can be a free and open source computer in its entity from the start. Freedom is a big deal to many computer users in this day and age. The choice to make this project one hundred percent free (as in freedom) will only bring in more potential users.
The EOMA68 is designed to be:
Truly Free: Everything is freely licensed
Modular: Use the same Computer Card across many devices
Money-saving: Upgrade by replacing Computer Cards, not the whole device
Long-lived: Designed to be relevant and useful for at least a decade, if not longer
Ecologically Responsible: Keeps parts out of landfill by repurposing them
This sounds ambitious but I see them pulling it off. They already raised enough money on CrowdSource to develop the devices with some already in use. The libre, or FOSS, version is up for sale now and will be shipping out in six months. This seems like a long wait and I expect them to speed up the process as time progresses.
Image from EOMA68's CrowdSupply Page
Specifications for the libre model:
Compliant with the EOMA68 Specification
A20 Dual-Core ARM Cortex A7, 1.2 GHz
2 GB RAM
8 GB NAND
Micro-HDMI Interface (for 2nd monitor)
Micro-USB-OTG (bi-directional power)
Micro-SD Card Slot
Pre-installed with Parabola GNU/Linux-libre Operating System
Respects Your Freedom (RYF) Certification from the Free Software Foundation (currently in progress with no known blockers - a full refund will be available if certification is for some reason not granted)
These specs are respectable for a computer its size. They could be better and there is no way you will play the newest computer game on the market. This is not a big deal since most computer users don't even play games let alone the newest ones. With 8GB of storage space you will need an external hard drive to keep most of your data and keep your most used files on the EOMA68.
To see more of the EOMA68 and all it's housing options head over to the CrowdSource page. If you have the cash pick up some stuff or drop them a small donation to help keep the project running.
Thanks for reading!
If you have any questions please ask and I will do my best to get you the answer.