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The $45 Windows Laptop 299

Posted by samzenpus
from the on-the-cheap dept.
YokimaSun writes "The search for a cheap laptop has brought us news from India of a $10 laptop (which later turned out to be a hundred dollars). Today PC Gaming News has details of a laptop which is selling for a measly 45 dollars, what do you get for that, you get a netbook running windows embedded compact 7, 128 megs of ram, a via8505 processor and a 7 inch screen capable of 800x480 pixels resolution." I'm still waiting for my under $50 Macbook.
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The $45 Windows Laptop

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  • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Monday June 18, 2012 @10:49AM (#40359173)

    "I'm still waiting for my under $50 Macbook."

    What is the point of this kind of trolling in article summaries, really?

    • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Monday June 18, 2012 @11:12AM (#40359415)

      "I'm still waiting for my under $50 Macbook."

      You'd have better luck waiting for Duke Nuke- ...er..wait.. guess we can't use that one anymore.

    • by jythie (914043)
      It shows group affiliation, which means people who agree with the original poster will be more likely to see the summary favorably and comment.

      Nothing says 'I am part of the group' then demonstrating 'see, I hate the same things all the other cool kids hate! Lets go push some nerds in the mud!'
    • by Trepidity (597)

      My guess: There wasn't enough meat to the blurb otherwise, so the editor posting it had to come up with something to flesh it out, and it's tough work to come up with something clever on the spot. :)

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      A woosh to you, sir. I get $10 computers all the time, in fact people usually give them away as they're too underpowered to run a modern OS; I use them for spare parts. I just "fixed" an old ThinkPad that had been given to a Felbers bartender by removing the admin password, drank for free all day when I brought it back.

      You're likely to get a far better used computer for $40 than a new $40 computer. I seriously doubt one of these $40 computers will run Win7 or Ubuntu 11. That was the joke you missed.

    • by Applekid (993327)

      With the kind of specs they show for the $45 netbook, what would be the point of either one of them?

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      "I'm still waiting for my under $50 Macbook."

      What is the point of this kind of trolling in article summaries, really?

      Really, you have a point. But the pedantic in me points out that $50 macbooks are a reality, free macbooks even. The disposable Apple culture, where significant numbers of people absolutely must have the next incremental improvement, coupled with common consumable parts that are not user replaceable, has created a brisk used market, for people willing to invest in the tools, scout out parts suppliers, and learn the procedures, that is actually quite affordable. It has kept me busy, replacing screens, aud

  • by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Monday June 18, 2012 @10:49AM (#40359175)

    Professionals can now work on the go ... a boost with the 128 MB RAM memory

    Exactly what professional can work with such little RAM?
    I don't even think you could connect to a VM properly with that...

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      if you'd like ssh terminals in every room of your house, this is a pretty affordable way to do it.

      these things were 100 bucks a while ago minimum. I guess you could get something beefier with 100 bucks now.

    • Re:Lol... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hobarrera (2008506) on Monday June 18, 2012 @10:56AM (#40359259) Homepage

      I think you're just trolling. Why would you need more than 128MB to connect to a VM, that'd be a simple dumb terminal... I'm pretty sure dumb terminals at that resolution can run just fine with those specs.

    • RDP/VNC/X11 could all run fine on that, past that 128mb wont even load a modern web browser displaying a moderately complex web page.

    • by 1s44c (552956)

      Professionals can now work on the go ... a boost with the 128 MB RAM memory

      Exactly what professional can work with such little RAM?

      I don't even think you could connect to a VM properly with that...

      I've run databases, web servers, mail servers all on a Linux machine with less RAM. With the right tuning it should be possible to get something usable on there.

      Of course RAM is cheap so why not just add a little more?

      • I've run databases, web servers, mail servers all on a Linux machine with less RAM.

        But did you run a GUI, or go headless? The latter isn't always possible on Windows.

          Of course RAM is cheap so why not just add a little more?

        RAM cards may be cheap, but how do you add RAM slots?

  • by hackula (2596247) on Monday June 18, 2012 @10:49AM (#40359185)
    Go on craigslist and pick up one for 0-50 dollars. It will be no speed demon, but should be plenty to run a light weight distro or XP.
    • Not very useful, if your plan is to make a Beowulf cluster.

      It will be a while before a sub-$50 computer is truly available. When I say available, I mean that I can order 300 of them now, and they'll be shipped today.

      The closest is the Raspberry Pi computers off Ebay. They go for about $80 (even though they are frequently referred to as $25 or $35 computers). Unfortunately, $80 is more than $50, and there are not 300+ of them available on Ebay.

      • by JDG1980 (2438906)

        It will be a while before a sub-$50 computer is truly available.

        Intel could probably do it with the Atom if they wanted to, but for some reason they continue positioning Atom-based platforms as if they were competitive with Bobcat, which they clearly aren't. Where they might be able to stand out is by making a single-board x86 PC that includes 1GB or so of soldered-in DDR SDRAM, and ~40GB of solid state storage also on-board.

      • by hackula (2596247)
        Did you read what I posted? What I am saying is that you can literally go onto craigslist right at this moment and find loads of 50 dollar computers that you can go and buy and hook into your Beowulf cluster this afternoon; no Raspberry Pi required. 50 dollar computers already exist in abundance on the used market. Raspberry Pi is cool, but it is still nowhere near the best value. The best value is your stupid neighbor, cousin, uncle, friend's old PC who just bought a new MBP when their old HP's power supp
        • You can find lots of various computers on Craigslist. I will not argue that point. I will argue that they will not be identical, though, and building a beowulf cluster from such machines is all but impossible. Even the trouble of contacting hundreds of craigslist sellers and meeting them in person would push the cost well above $50 each (considering time as money).

          But, I have to admit, I did not RTFA well enough. If you follow the trail of links, you finally arrive here [ebay.com] I've removed the part of the URL

        • Value of the Pi isn't in the processor, it's in the video decoder and HDMI driver.

          Only point in a Raspberry cluster is if you have a "wall of monitors" app.

        • by Rinikusu (28164)

          There's an oft repeated phrase that comes to mind: "It's only Free if you don't value your time". Spend a few hours learning one configuration and then deploying to 300 identical machines vs. spending a few dollars to obtain 300 junkers off of ebay/craigslist that now require refurbishing, formatting, checking to see what distro will support each hardware configuration, etc etc etc. I've been down this road and it sucks.

  • Netbook...800x480 pixels resolution.

    I feel like I haven't horizontal scrolled in ages.

  • This will be awful (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 18, 2012 @10:54AM (#40359227)

    The VIA8505 SoC is a AWFUL chip. I have a tablet based one of these running Android and it SUCKS.

  • by mykepredko (40154) on Monday June 18, 2012 @10:55AM (#40359235) Homepage

    This is an eBay sale of a discontinued netbook.

    As somebody pointed out, if you wanted a $50 netbook, they can look on Craigslist or eBay themselves.

    Nothing new or interesting here,

    myke

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Monday June 18, 2012 @10:55AM (#40359247)
    Someone should probably tell Intel; Their legal dept might be interested.
  • by julesh (229690) on Monday June 18, 2012 @10:57AM (#40359267)

    ... but isn't Windows 7 Embedded Compact the new name for what used to be called (much more appropriately) WinCE?

    In other words, this is an almost-useless piece of junk that runs a nearly dead operating system that is being dropped by MS in its next version.

    I bought something very similar in the UK for about £30 a couple of years ago. It was useless then, it'll be useless now.

  • by Dan East (318230) on Monday June 18, 2012 @10:58AM (#40359285) Homepage Journal

    Cheap mobile devices like these (including cheap portable DVD players) save money by skimping on batteries and going with NiMH instead of Lithium Ion. I would be surprised if this netbook could run for two hours off of its batteries.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Lumpy (12016)

      Why cant they skimp more and make it a feature. use 6 AA batteries. LET the buyer go out and get his own batteries. That way it adds a significant amount of useful to the thing. Plus all the survivalist nuts would be all over it.

      • by chispito (1870390)

        Why cant they skimp more and make it a feature. use 6 AA batteries. LET the buyer go out and get his own batteries. That way it adds a significant amount of useful to the thing. Plus all the survivalist nuts would be all over it.

        Because if there's one thing you need to survive, it's a crappy laptop.

  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Monday June 18, 2012 @11:03AM (#40359333)

    I've got a "laptop" that's about 2 1/2 x 4 inches or so, runs Android, and doubles as a phone... Wait... It *IS* a phone!

  • by Fallingwater (1465567) on Monday June 18, 2012 @11:04AM (#40359339)

    WonderMedia WMwhatever processors are INCREDIBLY slow. I have a tablet powered by a WM8650, which is the improved version of he WM8505 the article talks about, and you're always waiting on the CPU to slowly do its thing - both on Android and Debian. It also has 256 megs of RAM, which is about a fourth of what you need for proper general computing nowadays. And this one has even less.
    The WM8505 might be ok for embedded stuff, but as a CPU for general computing, especially with such little RAM and *especially* if it's running Windows, it's really worse than nothing - at least with nothing you go do something else, instead of twiddling your fingers while you wait for the damn thing to display a webpage or something.

  • by wvmarle (1070040) on Monday June 18, 2012 @11:05AM (#40359341)

    Interesting, and inbelievably cheap - not just becasue of the Windows license fee; no idea how much they pay for that. It's Windows CE so linking to the normal Win7 retail prices doesn't make sense.

    OS: Windows CE. Never worked with that, no idea on the interface. Should include a browser, assume IE. But what version for WinCE?

    Storage: not mentioned. Is this a "true" netbook as in can only do web browsing and web apps? Price could imply no local storage indeed, other than for the embedded OS. The ebay [ebay.com] listing has no details at all. They are selling, shipping US only.

    Install other OS? Well if no external storage, good luck with that.

    Install applications? No mention about this. No external storage could be an issue there.

    Form factor looks like the EEEPC 701 series, that's not too bad. It has a higher screen resolution. I like the overall idea. I'm still regularly using that EEEPC, almost exclusively for web browsing. It's sitting on the dining table, quick to grab, small enough to not be in the way too much, light enough to move around with one hand.

  • by GerbilSoft (761537) on Monday June 18, 2012 @11:07AM (#40359363)
    From the article:

    Powered by a Pentium processor

    Processsor Type: VIA 8505

    Not only did they get the company wrong, it's not even x86 architecture. VIA 8505 is ARM-based. This isn't even including the fact that it runs Windows CE (aka Windows Embedded Compact), so standard Win32 programs wouldn't run on it, even if compiled for ARM.

  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Monday June 18, 2012 @11:19AM (#40359489)

    I saw this same (or very similar) model on sale at the local CVS. One reason it's so cheap is that it doesn't run "Windows" in any meaningful sense. It runs an embedded-system OS that is called Windows, but isn't compatible with any existing Windows software. (Look for much more of this kind of confusion with the upcoming WinRT for ARM.) Furthermore, since this netbook doesn't have an x86 processor, it can't run the real version of Windows.

    • by Rogue Haggis Landing (1230830) on Monday June 18, 2012 @11:45AM (#40359749)

      I saw this same (or very similar) model on sale at the local CVS.

      I'm pretty sure this is the Sylvania netbook that appeared in 2010 for $99 at CVS [informationweek.com]. Reviewers were not kind about it, but the novelty of buying a $99 computer at a drug store was sort of fun. It's no surprise that 21 months later it's dropped under $50.

      These little craptops have always intrigued me, and it's just a matter of time before someone puts out one in the under-$100 range that's not entirely terrible. There's this guy [ebay.com] that is available new from lots of ebay sites (I chose this one at random and am not endorsing it). It runs Android 2.2 and sports 256 mb of RAM. I haven't seen any kind words about it and from the specs it's likely still terrible, but you're starting to approach something respectable. It's not that far from being a 7" version of the Efika MX SmartBook [genesi-usa.com], which isn't a world beater by any stretch, but which is light and fanless and runs Linux and sort of harks back to what was fun about early netbook.

    • by KiloByte (825081)

      this netbook doesn't have an x86 processor, it can't run the real version of Windows

      So try this: install Debian (if on Android or Maemo, possibly in a chroot), grab the new multiarchized versions of wine that just hit unstable, install qemu-user. Way too slow for modern bloatware, but you can run 95/98 era software adequately.

  • by davydagger (2566757) on Monday June 18, 2012 @11:55AM (#40359841)
    and utter crap. ARM class CPU is locked to windows CE. the specs if I recall are a 350mhz cpu, 128 mb of ram, 4-8 Gb storage, USB 1.1, and a useless 800x480 display. Utterly worthless. I tried researching instructions for installing linux, not easy. All for trash grade hardware. If you did want a slick arm based netbook try: https://www.genesi-usa.com/ [genesi-usa.com]
  • by Blaskowicz (634489) on Monday June 18, 2012 @11:58AM (#40359887)

    a friend got a "netbook" with the same hardware, windows CE 6.0. a "Tec T-book". All software outdated, very few of it (wordpad, calculator and that's all), no apparent way to install software - you can browse web archives for old PDA software meant to run on resolutions below 320x240, but what to do with it?

    then, the CPU is too slow for smooth playback of SD divx. you can probably play mp3, but on a lame version of windows media player, I prefer a winamp clone. Internet Explorer on it is like browsing with a 486 under windows 3.1. There's was a youtube app! but it was broken, hard-wired to how youtube was a few years ago, it couldn't load or display anything.

    it's a total rip off and my friend had paid 79 euros for this. but interestingly, it has better connectivity that a macbook air : three USB, two audio jacks, SD and ethernet! purportedly you can install Android 1.x on it. too bad my buddy got it stolen, I would have tried to do it, and install busybox or something. it can be interesting for a machine only used to ssh in other machines.

    now the best about it : it's incredibly light, solid state and fanless. its keyboard and LCD are standard quality - because they are no factories making terrible versions of them. so the display, helped by its small size looked excellent. So, it was both the worst computer ever and had something to it! I noticed a remotely similar computer : Efila MX smartbook, it's 189 euros but has 10", 800MHz ARM cortex, 3G modem, 512MB memory, 16GB flash, good keyboard. It looks awesome and thin, but you lose the ethernet port which is a tragedy.

  • And the price will come down another $10-20...
  • "...selling for a measly 45 dollars, what do you get for that, you get a netbook running windows embedded compact 7, 128 megs of ram, a via8505 processor and a 7 inch screen capable of 800x480 pixels resolution." I'm still waiting for my under $50 Macbook.

    You're still waiting for a $50 Macbook? I'm still waiting for anyone to actually call that $45 mess a functional computer. 128 megs of RAM would hardly run the (very necessary) anti-virus software for Windows.

    • by Teun (17872)
      This thing can't run malware for the life of it, there's just not enough RAM :)
  • Alibaba is filled with cheap tablets and they're actually not that bad, many boasting 1.2GHZ ARM processors, 512-1024MB RAM, 4+GB storage. They don't run Windows but they run Android 4.0 or Ubuntu at 800x400. Buy a $10 leather case and keyboard and you essentially have a laptop with a 4 hour battery life.
  • by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Monday June 18, 2012 @12:19PM (#40360147)

    Nobody would consider this heap a laptop.

    It looks like they took the guts of a 7" tablet, moved the touchscreen to a touchpad, added a crap keyboard and Win7 Embedded(lol), and sold it for as little as physically possible.

    128MB ram is abysmal. You can't get anything done with that, and even my Firefox routinely goes above that by almost double when working with a lot of sites at once, or streaming video, or using any sort of complex web app.

    Good luck with that, bros. I'm not getting one.

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