An article called What This Gadget Can Do Is Up to You really caught my eye today when it appeared on The New York Times website. This article describes the Neuros OSD Media Center, a sleek looking video recorder that looks like it could have quite a few immediate applications. What makes it most unique is the fact that its software is built on a number Open Source applications and the MPEG4 video standard. The article begins as follows:
“HACKERS, welcome! Here are detailed circuit diagrams of our products — modify them as you wish.”
That’s not an announcement you’ll find on the Web sites of most consumer electronics manufacturers, who tend to keep information on the innards of their machines as private as possible.
The Neuros OSD reminds me in some respects of the Nokia N800 and N810 Internet Tablets. These are all devices built on Open Source foundations that take a defiantly different approach to meeting customer needs in their space.
I've started talking about hacking the N800 here on Operation Gadget, and honestly hacking is the big attraction of these devices. I'd probably prefer Apple devices for day-to-day use, but I'd learn more from owning and trying to use a Nokia Internet Tablet and the Neuros video recorder.
Just like my friend Lionel is considering using a Nokia N800 as an alternative e-book reader to an Amazon Kindle, I think some people will be looking hard at a Neuros OSD Media Center as an alternative to an AppleTV.