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

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the little-big-boy dept.

Portables 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 post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27715233)

written on my Alpha 0

Looks cool, however it is too pricey. (2, Interesting)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 5 years ago | (#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 :-).

Re:Looks cool, however it is too pricey. (1)

cheftw (996831) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715307)

isn't that what the X0 OLPC sells for?

oh wait

Re:Looks cool, however it is too pricey. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27716589)

And make in excess of ten thousand dollars!

Re:Looks cool, however it is too pricey. (2, Funny)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 5 years ago | (#27718085)

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

What color shed? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Looks cool, however it is too pricey. (1)

s_p_oneil (795792) | more than 5 years ago | (#27720651)

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 vastly more power Eee 701 is cheaper. (1)

spaceturtle (687994) | more than 5 years ago | (#27720711)

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.

Re:Looks cool, however it is too pricey. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27720839)

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

I think you fail to appreciate what phase 2 of Google's plan will be ... :-)

But can it run ... (1)

sodul (833177) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715345)

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.

Re:But can it run ... (1)

corychristison (951993) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715489)

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.

Re:But can it run ... (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715793)

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 :)

Re:But can it run ... (1)

suyashs (645036) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715993)

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:But can it run ... (2, Interesting)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716289)

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 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. You know, like "Write once run anywhere as long as its Apple". It was what I expected right at the first iPhone announcement but I was too naive and early thinking for such thing it seems.

Re:But can it run ... (1)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27719277)

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 exactly what is currently offered. Though the API does also show some signs of a general cleanup and a move to a newer base, which imply that this is the basis of OS X going forward, not the OS X we see on the desktop, most of the core functionality is exactly the same, and only some functionality is omitted. Given the way that Apple have proceed with Mobile OS X as more of an evolution of OS X rather than a branch, a more likely scenario is (as the grandparent noted), that the APIs in Mobile OS X will replace traditional OS X over time. This will become more and more likely if the installed base of the mobile OS grows to dwarf that of the desktop, and becomes a bigger revenue stream for Apple.

Re:But can it run ... (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715763)

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:But can it run ... (2, Interesting)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716425)

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 running top of Mach which can be coded with a weird C language variant. The OS itself is object.

Re:But can it run ... (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716829)

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.

Real victim is OS X Server (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27720187)

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 them make it run on generic hardware, it is a server". Funny is, it becomes victim of own qualities since you can happily run Mac OS X Server on a G4 Mini and can even play 3d games on it. It is not something showing "#login" on boot.

As a Nokia/Sony Ericsson user, I better say one thing. If an OS/App can be converted to ARM without missing functionality, it can run on anything. Lets also ask one question to ourselves, for the future. Does Apple have to use Mach? FreeBSD? If you look at their releases for Windows lately (not the scandal iTunes), you may start wondering what can Apple become in the future. I am not saying Mach/FreeBSD is bad or anything, I am just saying they still have options even on kernel level.

OS X itself is interesting but its roots (NeXT) is way more interesting for showing light for the future.

Re:Real victim is OS X Server (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#27720997)

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 applications (most of them from open source). In many ways OSX is less of a server than A/UX was. Also we know Apple was never really into servers given how long they ran a variant of AIX on certain powerpc systems to provide services to Mac clients.

I think it can be summed up in this, servers are not sexy, therefor Apple has little interest. I suspect OSX Server exists mainly to help a bunch of workstations in an office environment. Although I will be the first to admit that the Apple XSan offering does disprove my point somewhat.

Re:But can it run ... (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 5 years ago | (#27719719)

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

Re:But can it run ... (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 5 years ago | (#27720167)

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.

Love my G1, not sure about a netbook (4, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715379)

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)?

Re:Love my G1, not sure about a netbook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27715473)

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

I can't imagine finding a computer for sale without Bluetooth support, so I don't see why not.

Re:Love my G1, not sure about a netbook (1)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715961)

I think the bigger issue here is:

phone calls (via GSM or VoIP)

Why bother with a separate cell phone when you're by your netbook all the time, be it on your desk or in a carrying case or backpack?

Yes, you could use Skype-Out or any of its competitor, but if you can tether 3G to your laptop over a phone, why not use voice through what is basically a microphone-less and speaker-less mobile? The network allows it, BTW. Stick the SIM card from your aircard into a phone, and enjoy overage charges on any voice minutes you use.

Also, since he says he uses it for his business, I'd be willing to bet AT&T has more professional plans and options than Skype.

Skype so far only provide binaries for intel based (2, Informative)

kandresen (712861) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716761)

Skype so far does not support anything but 32 bit Intel based linux distributions. This is one of those things again where you want a open source alternative.

Adobe flash have the same problem - I cannot run neither Skype or Adobe flash on my ppc based mac mini running Ubuntu 9.04. That said, flash work fine for Youtube using Gnash/Gstreamer or Swfdec. But these does not support the full Flash 9/10 functionality... Youtube works apparently flawlessly, but other sites may not work as well. Netbook providers will likely have a hard time to get Skype provide additional binaries for Skype. Flash they can deal with by supporting Gnash, Swfdec, or convince Adobe to provide additional binaries (good luck)...

Re:Skype so far only provide binaries for intel ba (1)

chibiace (898665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27717831)

there is skype for the nokia n8xx which is arm.

Re:Skype so far only provide binaries for intel ba (2, Informative)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27718429)

> Skype so far does not support anything but 32 bit Intel based linux distributions.

Skype already supports the Nokia Maemo platform. Maemo is Linux with a mutant Gtk/GNOME stack. So if there is a major OEM wanting Skype on a Linux/ARM based netbook it will be there.

> Adobe flash have the same problem - I cannot run neither Skype or Adobe flash on my ppc based mac

Adobe doesn't care about PPC anymore but they care about ARM. They have a full Flash solution for Linux/ARM, again probably because Nokia needed it for their tablets. Adobe, despite being banned from the iPhone, doesn't plan on being left out of the smartphone marketplace. They just don't make it a free download, they charge money for the ARM port. If lots of netbooks show up and folks start running generic Linux distros on them it will be interesting to see if Adobe adds free ARM binaries to their repositories, especially with Gnash nipping at their heels.

I would be reluctant to use ARM until it is free. (1)

spaceturtle (687994) | more than 5 years ago | (#27720821)

it will be interesting to see if Adobe adds free ARM binaries to their repositories, especially with Gnash nipping at their heels.

I found it annoying that my symbian based smart phone can't run most of the free (as in beer or speech) software that I take for granted. It left me feeling that they should have used a decent OS with decent software (e.g. Linux). I would be reluctant to use an ARM processor until the software I want is availiable on similar terms to the Intel based versions.

Re:I would be reluctant to use ARM until it is fre (1)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | more than 5 years ago | (#27722597)

Then you're in luck... it's coming.

I recently bought myself a BeagleBoard [beagleboard.org] setup and have had great fun and great luck running Angstrom and Ubuntu on an ARM platform. At the moment I'm playing with putting a Gentoo distribution on it, and while compiles are slow (come on, it's only a 500/600Mhz CPU) I think it's quite possible to build out a very free, open setup that is actually usable.

My plan with my board is to develop a car PC. Yeah, I know... how 2001 of me... but it's not because I want a PC in my car necessarily, but I want to play with embedded type tech in an harsh environment and all the integration that requires. It sounds like fun to me because... well... I'm a geek.

ARM is free. Just as any platform that Linux supports is free. In fact, the ARM architecture is far more free than x86 because you can choose so many different manufacturers for your ARM CPU. The BeagleBoard happens to use a really sweet TI ARM CPU that has an integrated DSP and rudimentary (though impressive) 3D acceleration. All this in a silent, fanless board that integrates most of the hardware you'd ever need from a project.

Yeah, there are some bad points... like the fact that you can't use much non-free software because it's just not available... but why would you want to? The free alternatives are more than acceptable and actually quite fun to play with. Hell, on my Gentoo desktop at home (built originally with a 2005.x install) I don't think I've used anything but free and open software in years.

Re:Love my G1, not sure about a netbook (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 5 years ago | (#27719939)

Why bother with a separate cell phone when you're by your netbook all the time, be it on your desk or in a carrying case or backpack?

So. how long does your netbook battery last?

Netbook + eBook reader (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715505)

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 (somewhat) the same range of capability. With the high res reflective display, it would even be better for some functions.

Touch Book (4, Interesting)

hax0r_this (1073148) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Love my G1, not sure about a netbook (1)

finity (535067) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715849)

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...

Re:Love my G1, not sure about a netbook (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716011)

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 both the laptop and the iPhone.

Re:Love my G1, not sure about a netbook (1)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716431)

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 are still running up big landline bills when they have adsl or cable modems. For 12.50 I get free landline calling over voip for 90 days (the 12.50 covers chargable calls and once my 90 days are up). there is no limits no minutes package its brilliant.

heres something else the mobile providers don't want people to know.

sudo su
ifconfig eth0 up"
ifconfig eth0 192.168.2.1
echo "1" > /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward
iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o wlan0 -s 192.168.2.0/24 -j MASQUERADE
iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -i wlan0 -p tcp --dport 3074 -j DNAT --to-destination 192.168.2.2
iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -i wlan0 -p udp -m multiport --dports 88,3074 -j DNAT --to-destination 192.168.2.2
iptables -A FORWARD -i wlan0 -d 192.168.2.2 -p tcp --dport 3074 -j ACCEPT
iptables -A FORWARD -i wlan0 -d 192.168.2.2 -p udp -m multiport --dports 88,3074 -j ACCEPT

wlan0 is your wireless connection if it was ppp0 it'd be your 3g or hspda modem.
192.168.2.1 is your ethernet port on your netbook
192.168.2.2 is the address given to a pc or even the wan port of a router.

only problem is it puts the netbook outside of the rest of your lan being the gate way with ppp0 as the internet access it should be possible to get wlan0 assigned an address on the lan side as well and be both a gateway and a lan client.
anyone going to show me how to do that :)

Re:Love my G1, not sure about a netbook (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#27718079)

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?

Re:Love my G1, not sure about a netbook (1)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728765)

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 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.

Re:Love my G1, not sure about a netbook (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#27728947)

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.

Agreed.

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 might not be available from launch, if ever.

Tinfoil hat (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715397)

... 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.

The return of the Thinkpad Z50? (1)

niko9 (315647) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715455)

I came across this article at Windows for Devices earlier today: http://74.125.93.132/search?q=cache:PKmZMViNa2MJ:www.windowsfordevices.com/news/NS9375883682.html+thinkpad+arm+netbook&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us [74.125.93.132]

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 true all day capability.

Lenovo with an ARM cpu on a Thinkpad? Nah, it'll never happen... And I understand this even though my profession has nothing to do with the computers.

Re:The return of the Thinkpad Z50? (1)

jgardia (985157) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715741)

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...

Re:The return of the Thinkpad Z50? (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716225)

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.

I dream not of a netbook... (5, Interesting)

slyn (1111419) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:I dream not of a netbook... (1)

Vu1turEMaN (1270774) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716113)

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

Re:I dream not of a netbook... (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 5 years ago | (#27717177)

Good luck getting linux running on that nVidia hardware.

whats wrong with a thinkpad? (1)

eean (177028) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716151)

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.

Re:I dream not of a netbook... (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716443)

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 admittedly not the same type as the iPhone. (works best with stylus)

The big negative for you would be no 3G. You need an external dongle to do that. I think these things [huawei.com] were verified to work.

ARM Ubuntu does run on the Pandora prototypes, but they're putting lots of effort into modifying the Angstrom distro to suit the device. It seems to be pretty user friendly and run fast enough, so most of us early adopters will probably just use that.

The big thing where it nails your desires is power consumption. (300+ hours in standby) They've stated it should last months in standby, if their dev boards are anything to go on, while your battery is still relatively new.

Under load you can expect at least 10 hours battery life. (This would be watching vids or playing games/emus) No guarantees for 24 hours when web browsing, but for music at least 24 hours is expected. One of the creators said they already have aggressive power management built into the kernel, so it should downclock for light usage tasks to save watts.

Best yet, the cost is only $340 USD, and they'll toss in another 4000mAh Li-Po battery for a meagre $30.

It fits about 60-80% of what you want, if you're willing to get over the screen size. Look into it.

Re:I dream not of a netbook... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27716555)

http://blog.laptopmag.com/hands-on-with-nvidia-tegra-netbook-prototype

I want the reverse, a phone sized device that (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27717569)

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 processor via X or VNC, and if needed use it's network connectivity via tethering.

software? (1)

district (1470335) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715735)

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!

Re:software? (1)

thethibs (882667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715801)

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.

Re:software? (1)

Gislan (722120) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715821)

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.

Re:software? (1)

eean (177028) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716155)

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

I don't get it (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715769)

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/Atom netbook and run Opera on it for instance instead of begging some vendor to support it? If I have a netbook, I just hit opera.com , pick windows (or linux) x86 version and install it. Opera is just an example, you can pick any software you like although I suggest Opera for such configurations. Why? Because they are the company who could ship working browser for Nokia 7650 having 2 MB (yes, MB) of disk space :)

Google with their billions of dollars and extremely talented developers can play around but it is _your_ experience at the end.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27715823)

You don't get it because it's stupid. This whole Android on everything is probably the biggest threat to the spread of Linux since it's going to ensure everyone who isn't using a phone or some other tiny gadget has a shitty experience which will be blamed on Linux.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27715845)

Dear AC, if you give up flame mode and try to understand my concern, I am meaning exactly that.

Why beg to Adobe for "Android Flash" while a perfectly supported x86/Linux latest version exists? Why travel back 10 years? Because some Google execs are bored and wants to show off in expense of wasted image of whatever tech they use?

Re:I don't get it (4, Informative)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716021)

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:I don't get it (2, Insightful)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716255)

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, a bit too many bugs for my taste.

Re:I don't get it (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716361)

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 will mail that very same company and say I am running an ARM powered netbook which runs Android and ask for support.

One big reason what makes ordinary people buy netbook is the promise of very same apps, just on smaller screen and less speed. I know a guy who was interested in netbooks and just 4-5 hours ago, as a PPC G5/OS X user, I told the guy "Buy the Windows variant and 1GB RAM one". Why? Because guy hasn't used anything except Windows in his life and he also owns iPhone. I know why he is considering a netbook.

Re:I don't get it (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 5 years ago | (#27725145)

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 software is specialised doesn't nessacerally mean it needs a high res screen or a fast processor or even a lot of storage (though some of the higher end netbooks actually have plenty of storage anyway)

Re:I don't get it (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716313)

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.

Re:I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27716725)

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.

*Almost* but not quite right. Don't thank x86 for anything under Linux! I've run a FULL Linux desktop on x86, x86-64, PowerPC, PA-RISC, SPARC, and Alpha. There is NOT some lack of packages for any of them! The PowerPC, when I was on vacation my workmates stuck a Mac into my work computer's case, and got Ubuntu so identically configured it took me 4 hours to realize it wasn't the PC I had been using (I didn't figure it out until I rebooted and heard that Mac startup sound.) There's also "good" debian ports for MIPS and ARM, and "second-class" ports for S390 and M68k, among others.

          A *VAST* majority of Linux software is available for nearly all platforms since it's open source. My big one I missed was Flash (gnash doesn't cut it yet..), but for ARM at least Adobe *does* have Flash for Linux on it I think. Most closed-source apps for Linux are I think quite portable too, essentialy just a rebuild, so if ARM netbooks catch on it wouldn't be long before skype, googleearth, etc. show up on it.

          Any, and I mean ANY, scarcity of packages on this netbook is all up to it being Android-based.

Re:I don't get it (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 5 years ago | (#27725225)

Most closed-source apps for Linux are I think quite portable too, essentialy just a rebuild
If opensource apps are anything to go by I wouldn't be so sure. Many architectures have gotchas and code that has only ever been built on x86 may well not port cleanly. The only reason most common FOSS software is as portable as it is is due to the efforts of porters for the likes of debian who understand theese issues and fix them.

For example on x86 unaligned accesses will work as expected (though they are slow), on some other architectures they will either result in a "bus error" or worse silent curruption.

Another gotcha is va_list handling. Different architectures handle it in different ways resulting in different outcomes when code breaks the rules.

Computational power and battery life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27715825)

The price alone isn't a great selling point. I've purchased an Acer Aspire One ZG5 for 180 euros which, with it's 1GB of RAM and Intel Atom N270 processor, doesn't leave much room for an even less powered machine to compete. So where can we get some factual figures on the computational power and battery life of those toys?

Far Superior $250 Linux Netbook (1)

mikedep333 (1432269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716055)

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 Systems running at 1 Ghz or higher with 512MB of RAM and Ubuntu for the same price.

Re:Far Superior $250 Linux Netbook (1)

randallman (605329) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716109)

And it burns > 10 watts. You missed the point. ARM can run under 1 watt.

Re:Far Superior $250 Linux Netbook (1)

mikedep333 (1432269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716229)

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 up only 1 watt when the rest of the system uses up probably about 10?

Re:Far Superior $250 Linux Netbook (1)

randallman (605329) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716485)

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) video and doesn't burn my lap (or hands). So I imagine a laptop with a much larger battery than my n800 and a faster, but still power efficient processer (cortex-A8) would run nicely and last a very long time (10 hours +).

 

Re:Far Superior $250 Linux Netbook (1)

mikedep333 (1432269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716851)

"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 power consumption/TDP? 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. I had a Nokia N800 and sold it. I had to transcode most DVD quality videos to play them smoothly even with mplayer. The web browsing was slow, even after the diablo update. The web browser was not full featured as I did not have things like the firefox places menu. I had to launch a 3rd party app to watch youtube smoothly. Flash heavy sites were especially painful, and a faster flash plugin can only help so much. And my Eee 901 with an atom has yet to burn my lap, and I can't possibly imagine it burning my hands.

I look forward to the next generation Nokia Internet Tablets with hardware accelerated video, a faster ARM core, and a more advanced web browser though. I especially eagerly look forward to the Cortex A8 powered netbooks. A 2 to 3 W max SoC in exchange for much more power, including HD video capabilities, is very much welcome.

But putting PDA-like guts in a netbook (with a tiny battery and a screen that is smaller than the case) only makes sense if you are selling it for less than $200. It only makes it a little bit more green. When a $200 to $250 Cortex A8 netbook with 10+ hours of battery life comes out in 3 to 5 months, I will likely buy one. I'll embrace both Ubuntu and Android on it.

But as for this Skytone, simply put, this isn't the Android we're looking for. Move along.

Re:Far Superior $250 Linux Netbook (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27718117)

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.

Wut?

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.

Re:Far Superior $250 Linux Netbook (1)

mikedep333 (1432269) | more than 5 years ago | (#27718499)

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

Still, I found out about some limitations of the beagle board.
http://elinux.org/BeagleBoard
"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 itself) and 1 GB of ram can run Windows or desktop (K)Ubuntu. It has wi-fi, an LED screen, a keyboard, etc. I can use it as my secondary computer when I have a desktop and servers. The beagle board is the kind of device you would want to put an embedded entertainment device where a 500-600 mhz CPU with 128MB of RAM is sufficient and you want powerful 3d and video. I'm sure it's SoC will do well in the Pandora (which has the 256MB version.)

Still, the Skytone has a last-gen ARM SoC (ARM11) and tries to use it for netbook rather than multimedia purposes. Yet it costs the same price as the atom netbook. I still think the advantages (size, weight, little less overall typical power, different free OS) it has over the HP Atom netbook or far outweighed by its disadvantages (CPU, RAM, storage, screen.)

Re:Far Superior $250 Linux Netbook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27716129)

Actually 7" is a fair bit closer to being pocketable and therefore useful.
Whereas 9" will be eternally less useful than a 12" laptop, but usually if you can carry one along, then you can also accomodate the other.

I just want something like the HTC minicomputers at netbook price :-(

Apples and Oranges (2, Insightful)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 5 years ago | (#27717071)

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? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27716133)

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?

Re:Why Android? (1)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 5 years ago | (#27717363)

<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:Why Android? (2, Insightful)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 5 years ago | (#27717731)

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.

It misses the target somewhat (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716195)

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 debacle of this charming but mis-priced little computer.

Why would I want android on a PC? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27716209)

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.

Re:Why would I want android on a PC? (4, Interesting)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716691)

Could one just slap Debian ARM on this instead?

Re:Why would I want android on a PC? (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27718177)

> 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 us who are feeling a throbing in the loins for long and strong penguin ARM action will finally get satisfaction from at least one of the promised netbooks. I don't really want a super cheap machine, I want small, light and all day battery. My ideal machine would have the 8.9 display from an eeePC 900 in a smaller, lighter ARM powered body. Give it at least 256MB RAM (512MB would be perfect) and at least 8GB of flash.

But while I might not want to carry around the super cheap machine I would be looking to gift a few to the grandkids so I do want to see how low they can go and still be usable

Look at the specs, people. This ain't a netbook. (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 5 years ago | (#27716773)

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.

sub-par specs (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27717129)

"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 hard disk and it will still cost much less than a comparable x86, have far longer battery life and I will be very happy.

While I am at it, perhaps I can convince Sun to build a Mac mini-style SPARC T2 box... One can dream, but at least now there is a different guy at the helm...

Atom not large part of high spec machine (1)

spaceturtle (687994) | more than 5 years ago | (#27721031)

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 at a machine with decent specs, 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.

[1] http://techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/article/HONSHI/20080529/152586/ [nikkeibp.co.jp]
[2] http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/36795/118/ [tgdaily.com]
[3] http://www.planetomni.com/MSLCD_SHRP_lc-10a2ubp_DTL.shtml [planetomni.com]

Re:Atom not large part of high spec machine (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27723137)

"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.

Not just windows proof. (1)

spaceturtle (687994) | more than 5 years ago | (#27732683)

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't be switching to MIPS just to ensure that nobody will install anything windows-y on the machine I am using.

What caught my attention in TFA (1)

voss (52565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27717923)

"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.

x86 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27718691)

The reason I am interested in netbooks is because they are x86. If it isn't x86 I am not going to buy it, because what I want is a computer not a phone, neither a PDA. I want a real x86 so that I can do assembly on it without emulators.

Re:x86 (1)

Douglas Goodall (992917) | more than 5 years ago | (#27725429)

I thought I was one of the last holdouts for assembly, but I must ask... Just what do you want to do today in assembly that is not more easily done in C. The C code generators have been better than hand coding for over a decade. Only once in a blue moon can you actually benefit from a hand optimized routine. With millions of bytes of ram, is it really a compactness of code issue?

Comparisons (1)

SEE (7681) | more than 5 years ago | (#27719329)

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 weight and no cost savings.

Low speed Atom is more interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27719653)

Now you can get 1.6Ghz Atom under the 200 euros. Microsoft worked together with Intel to optimize Windows 7 on the Atom platform. It performs 10 to 30% faster than XP. If GCC would have some Atom optimalisations this would be better. With multiboot between OSX, Ubuntu and Windows 7, Windows feels a lot more responsive.

I can run an ASUS EEE 901 for more than 8 hours playing divx video (auto power management, half brightness) on a single charge.

It is not expected that ARM is more energy efficient with current complex software and usage patterns. Not every application is available for ARM.

More reason that I use my X31 & Nokia 9500... (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 5 years ago | (#27720465)

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.

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