I would actually agree with Jon on that point. There's nothing that QUITE covers everything Earl's looking to address. Soldering a vario&gps into a nook touch that's been rooted to get android access...that's not bad. But the 2m radio, solar charging, having speakers and audio out, and don't forget bluetooth...getting all of that into a single device is still something that excites me.
The no-longer-produced kobo mini is what I'm running for my gofly, and I used it for about 6 months before that as a dedicated e-ink reader. It's actually a great size both as a pocketable book, and as a flight deck instrument.
If they're going into a complete redesign, it's possible that we may get new tech. Faster CPU with the same power consumption as previous generations? Some more RAM? Yes please. I'm a bit wary about the modular design. It's the kind of thing that has a possibility to be amazing...but is also very easy to screw up. Either via a clunky form factor, or under-engineered connections.
Jon's obviously taken on a HUGE project, and it's been more than he expected. I still hold that he's trying to build the device that he would want for backcountry use, and I'll keep waiting in the hopes that he can pull it off. If nothing else, he's certainly shown tenacity.