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First Android/ARM Netbook To Cost $250, Maker Says 92

ericatcw writes "There was a flurry of excitement earlier this week when the first Google Android netbook, the Skytone Alpha 680, was spotted by Slashdotters. Now, Computerworld has scored an exclusive interview with Skytone's co-founder. Among many tidbits, he reveals that the Alpha 680 builds upon the success of last year's $180 Alpha 400, which shipped 100,000 units, mostly in Europe under names such as Elonex OneT; that the new Alpha 680 will weigh 1.5 pounds, 25% less than the first Eee 701 netbook; that its ARM11 chip (basically the same as the one used in the iPhone) can handle YouTube video; and that he hopes to have Chinese manufacturing partners producing the $250 Alpha 680 within 3 months."
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First Android/ARM Netbook To Cost $250, Maker Says

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  • by Finallyjoined!!! ( 1158431 ) on Saturday April 25, 2009 @03:26PM (#27715273)
    First past the post with the same sort of spec., but at $100, will rule the world.

    Well, not actually Rule the world but sell a shed load :-).
    • by cheftw ( 996831 )

      isn't that what the X0 OLPC sells for?

      oh wait

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Thinboy00 ( 1190815 )

      Well, not actually Rule the world but sell a shed load :-).

      What color shed? [wikipedia.org]

    • I agree. $250 sounds like a good price point for a Tegra-based netbook. Can't wait to start developing on one of those.
    • Yes, the buy it now price for a new/refurbished "ASUS 701 EEE PC NETBOOK 7" 900MHZ 512MB RAM 4G WHITE" is about ~$230 USD including shipping on ebay . From the european website linked by the story, the big advantage of the Alpha is that it is *very* light, at 650g. However the Eeepc was revolutionary in that it was both small and cheap. It seems that unless you have very small fingers you'd be better served by the larger, more powerful and slightly cheaper Eeepc, than this yet to be released product.
  • Mac OS X ?

    Most of the of the Atom based NetBooks run Leopard quite well. Not perfectly but well enough to be used as cheap MacBook Air alternative.

    I know the answer is 'No', MacOS X is x86 only these days with the PPC line being almost obsolete.

    • In all honesty, it could be a fun project to try and hack iPhone OS or whatever they call it onto one of these.

      To the best of my knowledge the iPhone and iPod Touch are ARM-based.

      • by Ilgaz ( 86384 )

        iPhone OS is OS X with Apple engineers rm -rf 'ed some parts, a lot of them. Eventually, they will merge to a single OS but it is a bit needless to spare time. Nokia on the other hand, compiled Symbian Foundation OS and have run it on a netbook. Is it interesting technologically? Yes... But still needless :)

        • by suyashs ( 645036 )
          I don't think they'll merge the two variants. Rather, I think after there's a transition to touchscreens for most/all Apple devices, they'll just make the iPhone OS default and run older apps in a "mouse/keyboard" compatibility mode. Of course, this is probably quite a few years down the line. I'm sure there will also be some back and forth in features between the desktop OS and the mobile OS (as you're already seeing with the new auto-correct features in Snow Leopard).
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Ilgaz ( 86384 )

            I watch Apple cleaning up resources (languages), releasing single architecture OS (Snow Leopard) and there are some reports of massively shrink Mail.app etc. in OS betas. As they (and you) sure know there is ZERO performance enhancement of cleaning languages, removing architectures whatever windows switchers may think :)... I mean, Apple seems to do a huge spring cleaning lately.

            I don't say they will put plain OS X to a phone, it will be still modified of course... At the core level though, Developers may s

            • I watch Apple cleaning up resources (languages), releasing single architecture OS (Snow Leopard) and there are some reports of massively shrink Mail.app etc. in OS betas. As they (and you) sure know there is ZERO performance enhancement of cleaning languages, removing architectures whatever windows switchers may think :)... I mean, Apple seems to do a huge spring cleaning lately.

              Well, perhaps there are no direct performance improvements, but there are huge gains in support time, testing time, developer time, and disk space in trimming down the APIs and architectures supported. It makes a lot of sense and the only reason not to do it is that third party software houses hate it, because it means more work for them. For Apple it has a lot of upsides and only one downside (a bit of time spent deciding what to cut).

              At the core level though, Developers may see something like "really stripped down OS X but still OS X", something they can use exact same core and just have to write different GUI.

              Presumably you haven't looked in depth at the iPhone SDK, as this is exa

    • So the problem lies with Mac OS X not supporting as many architectures are Linux or Windows Mobile? Complain to Apple, not Slashdot about that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ilgaz ( 86384 )

        Funny is people missing the fact that Apple themselves choose not to support the hardware, OS X code is massively portable, the sub-system sharing the same roots does run on Windows/Linux right now as GNUStep.

        Apple could release a "OS X on mysterious x86 killer CPU" as early as next month and I wouldn't be surprised at all. Sadly, for political/financial reasons, it wouldn't happen but still, they can do it.

        Hopefully people will just see this fact, I mean what OS X really is. It is not just Cocoa on FreeBSD

        • Don't get me wrong, I'm trilled that a Unix has gone mainstream, in no small part due to Apple. I just think, and history tends to agree with me, that Apple can't be prodded to support hardware that they didn't produce themselves. Nor do they create hardware until they are good and ready to come up with some sort of Apple angle to selling it.

          • I wondered around in XServe/OSX server sites and could download/run some of client apps and I felt sorry for the server line. It is the first "server" anyone can really manage, almost like a "toy" but a serious Unix server at core level.

            Why wouldn't companies adopt it except Mac only ones? It is tied to hardware, even Mainframe users doesn't like such thing and they choose J2EE because of it.

            Besides the client, it is the saddest part of OS X is the server variant. For one second, you think like "Well, let t

            • Being tied to hardware hasn't stopped Sun from selling servers. For a long time their Sparc-based systems were extremely popular. And most new solaris systems are still from Sun, but x86-64 based.

              But OSX Server is no where near an enterprise experience compared to Solaris. And I think the services, software and the industry's perception has a lot to do with Apple not hitting it big in the server market.

              The kernel for server and desktop is the same, and the main difference is it comes with a few extra applic

      • by Lennie ( 16154 )

        What architecture are you missing in this case ? The iPhone has the same CPU as the ARM-netbooks.

      • Ah yes the heresy of 'complaining' (he wasn't really) about Apple on slashdot. We can complain about M$ of SCO or IBM or Oracle or [fill in the blank]...but heaven FORBID anyone say anything negative about Apple.

  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Saturday April 25, 2009 @03:37PM (#27715379) Homepage Journal

    I love my G1 and go over 5GB a month on T-Mobile's 3G plan. It works very well in most cities I visit. It makes me MUCH more productive and saves me a ton of time and even money (ShopSavvy actually saved me about $300 last month!).

    I also have an Acer Aspire One netbook (paid $170 for it new by luck) and I love it, too. I rigged an AT&T 3G card into it, and it works just fine with XP. Monitor resolution is a bit off for some sites, but it handles everything great -- and I love the extended battery life.

    An Android netbook? I'd buy one, only to try to get more developers to make apps I really need and can use. If Google can make Google Docs work on an Android netbook, I'd buy 8 (two for me, and 6 for the rest of my staff who can use them). I don't need much more than Google Apps right now (we use many apps daily). The downside of the G1 is the lack of Google Docs working properly (you can view, you can't edit).

    I see no purpose to use XP/Mac very much. I hate Apple, but I was a huge Newton MessagePad fan, and I would consider a huge iPhone -- if I had a big enough screen and a stylus. Somehow, I doubt it will. I prefer my G1 touchscreen to my iPhone (unused now) screen. I also _need_ the built in keyboard.

    I wonder if some netbooks will have the option to use a Bluetooth headset to make phone calls (via GSM or VoIP)?

    • If the display has the right capabilities, this could be a bargain: Laptop + mobile email + Skype VOIP + eBook reader.

      It's high time someone put out a netbook with a really high resolution display with reflective mode, like the one on the original OLPC.

      Put Android on one with a bundle for 3G, and this could be the poor man's iPhone/Macbook Air. Where the rich man would have the two devices (iPhone and Air) the frugal one would have one device intermediate in size between the two, but capable of covering (s

    • Touch Book (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hax0r_this ( 1073148 ) on Saturday April 25, 2009 @04:08PM (#27715663)
      You might be interested in the Touch Book [alwaysinnovating.com] from Always Innovating. At this point they're only taking pre-orders, but it definitely looks pretty neat. The keyboard is optional and detachable, so its not really "built in", but it gives you a good compromise between netbook and tablet, and its ARM based and cheap. I'm sure people will have Android going on it within days of release, as its basically a Beagle Board (which Android already runs on) with a touchscreen.
    • by finity ( 535067 )

      I wish they'd announce when the next gen HTC device is coming out in America. I've been looking forward to purchasing an Android phone through T-Mobile for a little while but hoped to wait for the next gen. Recently I've been thinking that QWERTY keyboard might be nice, especially with the option of a soft-keyboard supposedly coming out in May.

      Does anybody know when Google Docs will get working on Android? Surely they're working on it...

    • I use the same Motorola bluetooth ear borg piece for Skype on my PowerBook as I do with my iPhone. Works fine. Now if Skype Mobile on my iPhone could use the headset I'd be ready to go.

      I was looking at noise cancelling head phones for Skype and good wired set of headphones was $60. (Or the only ones not sold out at the store I was looking at) I had put off getting one of those borgish ear pieces, but if I was going to spend the money, why not spend $80, get a good Bluetooth one that I could use with bot

    • I wonder if some netbooks will have the option to use a Bluetooth headset to make phone calls (via GSM or VoIP)?

      only the ones with usb sockets :)

      certainly with linux netbooks there is a full bluetooth stack, ekiga is a voip application or there is skype as well (really not that great compared to a good voip app to be honest).

      Technically theres no reason why you couldnt be using 3g or Hspda for voip except the mobile service providers make a lot more selling you voice calls and texts and will try to prevent you doing this.

      with wifi and ethernet there is nothing stopping you at all.

      It's really quite crazy that people a

      • certainly with linux netbooks there is a full bluetooth stack, ekiga is a voip application or there is skype as well (really not that great compared to a good voip app to be honest).

        Skype on ARM?

        • whoops my mistake (forgot about arm), but there are skype versions on windows mobile (arm processor) and I'm pretty sure my other mobile isn't running windows mobile and has skype built in.

          So yes there are arm versions of skype and linux versions of skype, on the nokia810 there is skype and linux, with maemo http://maemo.org/ [maemo.org] jaunty also seems to be running on the 810 to a reasonable extent, but not complete. Sound isn't working for example.

          It seems likely that Skype will be made available once the platfor

          • It seems likely that Skype will be made available once the platform is widely available. For Skype the money is to be made by providing people with the service and they seem to be extremely willing to provide that service on any platform that can support it.


            I am in the group of people paying to use Skype on my Intel Linux laptop, so I agree that Skype specifically will likely hurry to provide service to Android/ARM.

            It is just an issue with flash, Skype, and other closed source applications that they

  • ... he hopes to have Chinese manufacturing partners producing the $250 Alpha 680 within 3 months.

    Tinfoil hat time!

    Or can I upgrade to Magneto's hat? I heard it stops world dominating machines.

  • I came across this article at Windows for Devices earlier today: []

    Lenovo? Considering a Thinkpad Netbook? I'm typing this on a Thinkpad X40 running Debian; 2.4 lbs of full size keys goodness. I won't consider another machine without its keyboard or Trackpoint. But I can only drool at the thought of am X series type Thinkpad with and ARM based CPU and

    • by jgardia ( 985157 )
      I changed my x40 for a x61 tablet with the high resolution screen, and wow! an amazing machine. Now I have to buy a new computer (my phd pays me one) and I have no idea which one to choose...
    • I love the trackpoint (AKA "clit"). One of the most practical inventions in computer input devices.

      Also, I'm quite fond of clits, as well, to be honest.

  • by slyn ( 1111419 ) <ozzietheowl@gmail.com> on Saturday April 25, 2009 @04:08PM (#27715665)

    ... nor of a notebook.

    What I would like to see is a laptop with whatever the most powerful ARM processor is, a power efficient discrete GPU (ala the iPhone/iTouch), a 120 gig OCZ vertex, a 10" OLED screen, and a built in 3G dongle, all running on the recently ported to ARM Ubuntu 9.04.

    Something that I can use as a "real" laptop, not one of those tiny 4" abominations with squeezed keyboard thats hard for anyone but children to type on. However I don't want it to be my workhorse machine. I can build a desktop for 1k with enough processing power to hack the matrix. I can build a laptop for 3k that would be roughly equal. I don't want that. I want something that will last 300+ hours asleep and get 24 hours of web browsing out in the middle of nowhere (assuming I have a cell signal). I want something I can keep a bunch of movies or tv seasons and my music library on, not something with an anemic SDHC card that I have to switch out everytime I want to watch something new. Something I can play simple games on for the duration of my 12 hour flight to wherever without having to plug myself in the whole time.

    THAT i would LOVE to drop 1k++ on. Netbooks/notebooks now can have that in processing power but are not nearly there in power efficiency. Realize the ARM/power efficiency revolution is coming in relation to MID's, gimme some quality linux ARM ports, and enjoy watching me stumble over myself while I throw money at your products.

    • wait til a high-end tegra comes out then....

    • Their ultramobiles are small and powerful and expensive (with relatively long battery life).

      Browsing the web on an ARM is a bit of slow going.

      I look forward to the new ARM netbooks and their reviews. The low cost is really half the point though.

    • The Pandora [openpandora.org] has some of what you desire.

      It's got a powerful Arm Cortex-A8 with an efficient GPU, faster than the iPhone one. No SSD, but it has dual-SDHC, giving you up to 64GB of space.

      Only a 4.3 "anemic" LCD, but it is high resolution(fine for webpages) and high quality(it was selected because there was no OLED equivalent as far as resolution, power consumption, lifespan, etc.) An OLED would still be superior in direct sunlight, but I think they made a good choice. It's also has a touchscreen, though admi

    • by Anonymous Coward

      has a processor running at phone speeds when on battery and desktop speeds when powered, has 2G of RAM and 32G of SSD, a touchscreen and some form of bastardized keyboard, and an industry standard, high speed docking interface as well as the ability to run X. With wifi/bluetooth/3G/4G of course.

      That way I can carry around my phone and chuck my laptop and dock it with any laptop/desktop/thin client supporting the industry standard docking device.

      Once docked, I can either use it as a network disk, use it's p

  • FTFA: "On the downside, the Alpha 680 won't ship installed with many local apps, though users can easily buy and download apps from the Android Market." Is that the only way to get new software? It has usb/wifi capabilities, but what runs on the android platform? Can you get oo.org, for example? I might be missing something here, so somebody hit me with a +5 (informative) response!
    • What you are missing is that Android is "linux-based", not linux and it's on a new chip; either of these mean apps have to be ported.

      On the other hand, thanks to their population, the Chinese have more super-programmers than America has programmers. We should see the apps coming at a high rate of knots.

    • by Gislan ( 722120 )
      Android does not use X window, so OO.org or any other X application will not run "natively". It's still linux, so you can install X.org and run it on other display if proper drivers are available or do what some G1 owners do and install vncviewer on android and connect to local vncserver with normal X session running.
      • by eean ( 177028 )

        At that point you might as well wipe it and install Ubuntu. Which you can probably do fairly easily.

  • As far as I understand, purpose of a Netbook is having Windows or Linux with a huge set of software selection/support (thanks to x86) instead of a Smart device.

    Nokia and ARM are doing some similar mistake too. When you have a netbook, you expect _complete_ set of selection/possibilities, same as a PC but you just gotta be sane when selecting your options.

    I own a Nokia 9300 (current upgrade is E90) and it runs Symbian which runs perfectly for my needs. Why should I want Linux on it? Why wouldn't I have a x86

    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Informative)

      by TeknoHog ( 164938 ) on Saturday April 25, 2009 @05:02PM (#27716021) Homepage Journal

      As far as I understand, purpose of a Netbook is having Windows or Linux with a huge set of software selection/support (thanks to x86) instead of a Smart device.

      This really only applies to Windows. The huge selection of Linux software is open source. Opera is the odd one out, being closed source for Linux.

      I'm running Linux on x86, x86-64, PPC and ARM, and thanks to open source I can run pretty much any software I want on any of these platforms. I'm running the same things on embedded appliances, desktops/laptops and supercomputers. Of course, some things are not practical on the embedded ones. But this just means I can choose the platform on actual technical merits like memory and CPU speed, rather than the availability of closed binaries.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      As far as I understand, purpose of a Netbook is having Windows or Linux with a huge set of software selection/support (thanks to x86) instead of a Smart device.

      Actually, that's exactly NOT the purpose of a netbook. A netbook (as its name implies) is suited for browsing the net and doing the occasional wordprocessing and perhaps even spreadsheet. Skype and some IM software, and a few games - but that's it for a netbook. Noone expects more from it. So, the Linux for ARM apps available are more than sufficient for the kind of use-case that a netbook is targeting.

      By the way, the Nokia 9300 is a very nice smartphone! I'm a big fan of it - the later devices have, sadly

      • by Ilgaz ( 86384 )

        Yes but remember, Skype does code the very same client (or a bit stripped) for Netbook. They don't need to do anything except coding a light client, it is still x86/Windows or Linux/Qt , whatever they use.

        You seem like knowing the Symbian scene. There is _still_ no official Symbian S60 client for Skype. Fring and some others became de-facto standard. Skype releasing this fast for iPhone also shows the Apple's excellence in developer relations and perhaps XCode's easiness. Still using Skype as example, I wil

      • Actually, that's exactly NOT the purpose of a netbook. A netbook (as its name implies) is suited for browsing the net and doing the occasional wordprocessing and perhaps even spreadsheet. Skype and some IM software, and a few games - but that's it for a netbook. Noone expects more from it.
        Afaict there are two groups of people buying netbooks. Those who do just want a machine for the handfull of tasks you metion and those who want a cheap and ultraportable but still general-purpose machine.

        Just because softw

    • by Bert64 ( 520050 )

      Well, a Linux based netbook running on ARM would have 99% of the same applications as an x86 one, since open source apps can (and usually already have) be recompiled to run on any cpu linux can run on.

  • http://www.dealigg.com/story-HP-Mini-1110NR-Netbook-with-Mobile-Internet-Experience [dealigg.com] Here's one running HP's ubuntu for $250 available today. It has a 1.6 ghz atom, not a 533 mhz ARM CPU. It has a 9" LCD with 1024x600, not a 7" with 800x480. It has 512 MB of RAM, not 128MB to 256MB. It has an 8GB SSD, not 1GB to 4GB. What does the Skytone offer over this? A different free OS, 1 lb less to the weight, and a little bit smaller size? I am not impressed. I will however look forward to the real ARM Cortex A8
    • And it burns > 10 watts. You missed the point. ARM can run under 1 watt.
      • That Skytone machine still only has 2 to 4 hours of battery life. That's what the HP gets too according to this article. http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=4818 [notebookreview.com] The HP's CPU, northbridge, and southbridge don't burn > 10 W unless you're running the CPU, graphics core, audio core, memory, and SSD at nearly 100% access. The skytone has a 2 Cell battery, the HP has a 3 Cell. Clearly the HP is only using up about 50% more power on an average load. And at max load, who cares if the SoC is using u
        • Let's throw the display out:

          Beagle Board: Max power consumption @ 2W

          http://www.h-online.com/news/TI-launches-the-open-source-Beagle-Board-for-Lb75--/111204 [h-online.com]

          Atom with Chipset: TDP @ 11W

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverthorne_(CPU) [wikipedia.org]

          Also, the number of cells just determines the voltage, not the capacity. Size matters. So I don't think comparing 2 cells to 3 cells means much. So no, it's not clear that the HP is using only 50% more power.

          My n800 with an ARM at 400 mhz runs a full browser, plays mpeg4 (dsp) v

          • "Let's throw the display out"?

            Whether we're talking about a netbook, a nettop, or a beagle board, how can you do web browsing and video with out a display? If you can point me to any LCD monitors that I can hook up to a beagle board with power consumption along the lines of 2 Watts, I'd very much appreciate it. The lowest power one I could find was on newegg was 23 W max (a 15" HP.) I haven't crawled the web for a 15" LED display, but I imagine they must be expensive.

            And what's the point in comparing max po
            • by karnal ( 22275 )

              When an atom netbook is at max power consumption, it is playing a sophisticated game like Rise of Nations or a movie at higher than DVD quality. Your beagle board or N800 can't do that.


              Heise online UK saw the Beagle Board demonstrated at the LUGRadio Live event, where it was demonstrated running 720P HD video and desktop effects, which were designed to show the power of the graphics processor and DSP, above and beyond the 600MHz ARM processor all integrated into the single chip OMAP35 embedded processor

              • Oh, sorry, I was confusing it with the ARM SoC on the iPhone.

                Still, I found out about some limitations of the beagle board.
                "ARM Cortex-A8 processor is currently clocked at 500MHz"
                "At 600MHz OMAP35x is considered to be 'overdrive' and it does not have the same life expectancy"

                It also only supports resolutions upto 720P or 1024x768.

                Still, you can't compare the beagle board and an atom netbook. The atom netbook with its 1.6 ghz atom (600mw average power consumption for the CPU itse
    • A netbook is whatever marketing/journalists decide to call it any given week.

      This "Android netbook" isn't one. It's a wifi-capable smartphone without the phone capability, i.e. a Mobile Internet Device.

      MID Competitors: Nokia N810, Sony Mylo.

      Slapping Android on it makes it new and shiny. Whatever! :)

  • Why Android? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    What exactly is so exciting about a netbook running Android? What's the advantage compared to running a "real" Linux system on it, such as the ARM version of Debian?

    • <fanboy mode="Google">Dude, because it's from GOOGLE! ZOMG PONIES! SQEEEE!</fanboy>

      Honestly, I can't see why I'd ever buy a netbook machine and have it crippled with some non-open OS.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by obarthelemy ( 160321 )

      Linux is consistently failing to grab much desktop market share, in spite of MS's numerous goof ups. Android seems to be yet another credible attempt to achieve that (big name backer, supposedly sleek interface, noob-friendly...), so anything "Android" is exciting.

  • While I won't dismiss this product offhand (the low weight and low power consumption are two very good features), I feel that US$250 is just a bit too much for this product, and will cause it's doom. The only people that I predict will go for it, are the same that bought its predecessor, and only a subset of that group, at that. That's way too few to guarantee the viability of this ARM-based notebook.

    I just hope other potential manufacturers of ARM-based notebooks won't be discouraged by the upcoming debacl

  • by Anonymous Coward

    As far as an OS is concerned, Android is deliberately crippled. Yes, even Google will kowtow to the mobile operators and cripple the OS. Not to mention, without modifications, you cannot run native code on the thing. You have to write them in Java.

    That's somewhat tolerable for a mobile phone. But why the hell would I want a laptop that can only run Java and a few built-in apps? If you want to come out with an ARM netbook, that's fine. Just let me run C apps on it.

    • by colinrichardday ( 768814 ) <colin.day.6@hotmail.com> on Saturday April 25, 2009 @06:34PM (#27716691)

      Could one just slap Debian ARM on this instead?

      • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) *

        > Could one just slap Debian ARM on this instead?
        Android is being hyped because Linux is for icky nerds while Android is full of Google VC Attractibg Goodness! Seriously, go look at Skytone's webpage and you will find a model 680 with Android and a model 600 with Linux with little other difference. Both models even have the swivel display.

        Again, these are still vaporware at the moment and one or both versions could get axed before actual delivery begins. With luck though, by the end of the year all of

  • 128MB RAM, 1GB solid state. 7" 800 x 480 533 MHz. How that qualifies as a netbook, I'm totally mystified...

    "Internet appliance" springs to mind. Its closest competitor is Nokia's N810 Internet Tablet. The main difference is replacing Maemo with Android.

  • "The Alpha 680 will have a 7-inch LCD screen at 800 x 480 pixels, 128 MB of DDR2 RAM"

    I would love to have an ARM-based netbook for my programming work (mostly Python/Django under emacs) with the added geek-bonus of being Windows-proof, but, while a 600x1024 screen is a bare minimum, the lower-end 480x800 is absolutely useless. It's just an oversized iPod with a keyboard and without Apple's aura.

    Get me an ARM-based netbook with 768x1300+ screen (if using PixelQi's tech, better), 2 gigs of RAM plus a real har

    • I am not convinced that switching to a MIPS CPU would make that much difference. An entry level Atom CPU starts at $20 or $45 including chipset [2], so the price of an atom is smallish even in a comparison to the price of the $250 netbook. Depending on the atom in question, the atom may take up to 2.5 watts at 100% CPU usage, about as much as a single desktop DIMM of ram, much less than the 28W a 10" monitor could draw [3]. A low power atom would draw just 0.65 watt [2]. It seems that one you start looking

      • by rbanffy ( 584143 )

        "you'll want to spend a few extra dollars and a couple of extra watts (up to 1W idle [1]) to get an Atom that has double [1] the performance of the fastest ARM11 based CPU."

        I would go with another ARM11 core for a smaller power bugdet than an Atom. Going x86 would take away the fun of being Windows-proof. We need diverse computers with different characteristics. Evolution thrives on diversity. This boring x86-only world has gone on for too long.

        • YMMV, but I find the atom processors barely powerful enough to run the applications I use (e.g. Firefox). So I wouldn't want to switch to something slower without a big benefit. Also MIPS CPUs can't access words that are not aligned to a 4 byte boundary, which leads to hitting bugs on a MIPS you wouldn't worry about on a x86. So it isn't just windows that would have troubles... this would be an advantage if you want to test that your software runs on other types of CPU, but a pain otherwise. In short, I won
  • There's a direct link on TFA pointing to a british distributor that sells that laptop like for 175 US$... ÂÂ??

    http://shop.elonex.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=193 [elonex.com]

    That's almost a toy-price...

  • "The Alpha 300 is a $99 net-top PC that is half the size of the 680 and meant to be connected to a television set. It also runs a MIPS processor, a low-cost, low-power chip similar to ARM. Wu envisions the Alpha 300 being used at home by users who would control the 300 with a TV remote control and use it to surf the Web during commercial breaks. "

    Now if you included an option for a wireless keyboard you might have something.

  • They're talking 922 grams, "7-inch LCD screen at 800 x 480 pixels, 128 MB of DDR2 RAM (expandable to 256 MB, a 1 GB solid-state disk drive (expandable to 4 GB)" and a "2-cell battery will last between two and four hours" for $250.

    I can at this moment get a Vostro A90 for $250, 1070 grams, with 8.9-inch 1024 x 600 screen, 1 GB RAM, 16 GB hard drive, a four-cell battery with the same 2-to-4-hour battery life, running a full Linux distro.

    That's a lot of capability to lose for less than a third of a pound in we

  • and that he hopes to have Chinese manufacturing partners producing the $250 Alpha 680 within 3 months."

    Cut rate design, cut-rate components, and no EDGE/EVDO/3G.

    If I want a netbook, I'll opt for a E90 or one of the recent HTC qwerty phones to replace my 9500. The HTC one can do Android, the E90 does Series 60 quite well.

    If I want a relatively slim and small "full-size" machine, I'll go for a Thinkpad of some sort. At least those havent gone cut-rate.

Were there fewer fools, knaves would starve. - Anonymous