Aigo P8860 reviewed: Hackable, admirable, but perhaps not buyable

Aigo's P8860 has been one of the more interesting mobile internet devices (MIDs) we've been keeping track of, not least because it actually managed to move out of prototype stage and into the hands of buyers.  The 800MHz Atom powered ultraportable has a 4.8-inch touchscreen and slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and runs a specially tweaked version of Linux intended to make mobile computing straightforward; Jenn at Pocketables has been putting the P8860 through its paces, and while there's plenty to recommend it, there are also a few big questions left over at the end.

First the good: it's light, stops creaking after a couple of days use, and has reasonable battery life.  Jenn managed 3hrs of web-browsing and online video streaming with brightness set at medium.  It's also highly hackable, both in terms of hardware and software, and we've already seen an internal 3G HSDPA mod.

On the downside, without tweaking, it can feel only three-quarters finished.  Bluetooth and WiFi were occasionally temperamental, the web browser can end up taking up a fifth of the display once the taskbar, tab row and horizontal scroll bar grab their share.  In the end, though, it's the perennial MID problem that sets the P8860 on shaky ground: people will admire it for its compactness, for fitting a full (albeit low-power) computer in such a small chassis, but it's a big step encouraging them to move up from a smartphone, say, to a relatively expensive mobile device like the Aigo.