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7-inch Android Netbook From GNB

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the zehr-zehr-nett-aus dept.

Portables 150

An anonymous reader writes "Netbooknews.com has scored a video of a 7-inch Google Android netbook from a company called GNB during Computex. The device is powered by a Freescale iMX31 CPU. The design might not be to everyone's taste, but it could turn out to be a super cheap Android netbook."

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Some information would be nice. (4, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248531)

You know, maybe a description of the spec, a couple of decent photos, that sort of thing...

Re:Some information would be nice. (5, Interesting)

hotfireball (948064) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248543)

Definitely not super-thin. BTW, why I need Android (roughly saying, a limited Linux) on my netbook if there is a regular Linux?..

Re:Some information would be nice. (4, Informative)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248591)

Unless you just want to stick to VIM (or emacs), a 7 inch screen screws up a lot of user interfaces. My eeePC has dialog boxes in pre-loaded software that can't be "OK'd" because the buttons are off the screen. :(

Re:Some information would be nice. (5, Informative)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248841)

In most of the window managers I have used, if you hold alt, dragging anywhere on a window moves the window.

Having the OK buttons off the screen is a very bad design, but it can be worked around.

Re:Some information would be nice. (0)

Daemonax (1204296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248989)

I have found with Gnome though at least, that you can't push a window up past the top of the screen, which has on one occassion been a huge pain when a massive unresizeable window opened with the next button at the bottom and off the screen. You can though of course use alt + a suitable letter to activate the buttons usually, but that requires knowing the correct char.

Re:Some information would be nice. (2, Informative)

Tranzistors (1180307) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249057)

Try what parent advised. It works under GNOME. Just grab by bottom of the window.

Re:Some information would be nice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28249095)

which can't really always happen . I had a vm ubuntu to play around with reconstructor in virtualbox and until i installed virtualbox's guest additions and got a higher resolution i couldn't move around the interface - i couldn't reach the bottom of the reconstructor window.

Re:Some information would be nice. (-1, Troll)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249173)

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

BREATHE

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

How can he grab the bottom of the window if the bottom of the window is off the screen and he can't even see the "OK" button?

Re:Some information would be nice. (2, Informative)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249247)

How about you read posts, think about what they are trying to tell you and then, maybe, post a reply?

In any windowsmanager I know you can hold down the ALT key, and drag the windows by drag-clicking ANYWHERE within the window.
GPs tip to click the bottom didn't mean the exact bottom of the window, but rather the lower part of the windows (so that you have enough space to move the window far enough up.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249611)

Doesn't work in Gnome (Compiz window manager) on Ubuntu 9.4. Top of window cannot go off the top of the screen.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

SleepingWaterBear (1152169) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249881)

True, but it works fine without Compiz (Metacity I guess). I doubt that a 7" netbook has the hardware to support compositing anyway, so Compiz would be a really particularly bad choice for window manager on this device.

Re:Some information would be nice. (2, Informative)

FrankieBaby1986 (1035596) | more than 5 years ago | (#28250043)

CompizConfig settings manager has a plugin called "move window" which provides window movement. You can set mouse and keyboard shortcuts to move windows, as well as choose to "Constain y".

Re:Some information would be nice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28250287)

Why are you using Compiz on a 7" screen?

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

Insanity Defense (1232008) | more than 5 years ago | (#28250031)

In any windowsmanager I know you can hold down the ALT key, and drag the windows by drag-clicking ANYWHERE within the window.

Thanks. That is a trick I didn't know. It doesn't (at least on my system) work with maximized windows but does with non maximized ones.

Re:Some information would be nice. (2, Informative)

erikina (1112587) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249307)

Damn it. If only I didn't burn my mod points being constructive, I could have so much fun abusing the mod system on this stupidity.

By starting the drag from the bottom of the visible screen you have more room to drag it up before your mouse hits the top of the screen.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

hidden (135234) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249367)

Actually, there's no stupidity here. In gnome (at least on debian) the default is to stop when the top of the window hits the top of the screen. Regardless of how you are manipulating the window/where your mouse is/whatever. Of course, I think there's some obscure gconf option to change the behavior.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

erikina (1112587) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249395)

Even so, his criticism isn't valid. I use KDE/KWin so don't have this problem, but some posts below me say this is an issue with compiz (as opposed to the default window manager, metacity).

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

Raumkraut (518382) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249467)

If the window is already at the top of the screen, and you initiate a move action via the window-decoration context menu (right click on the border, or alt+space), you can move windows beyond the top of the screen - provided you don't first move the window downward.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249625)

This does work on Compiz/Gnome/Ubuntu 9.4, but it requires the user to know the alt+space option, or to know that window borders have context menus.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249561)

Well, then Ubuntu's default GNOME configuration must be different from Debian's, despite the former being based on the latter, because I can move a window so that the top of the window is past the the top of the screen.

Ditto for Red Hat/Fedora. All KDE and XFCE implementations I've used allow this as well.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28249245)

The bottom of the window?? Are you retarded? "Guys, I can't get click anything in the bottom of this window." "My advice to you: click something in the bottom of the window. thxbai you need not pay me."

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249593)

No, this doesn't work - never mind that if the OK button is off the screen, then you can't "grab by bottom of the window" anyway.

Gnome appears to force windows to not be taken off the top of the screen, meaning you can never get to the Okay buttons at the bottom. I suggest adding some titlebar buttons for dialog-style windows, with "OK", "Cancel" on them for netbooks, where the user can opt to enable them (presumably in a GUI panel with the OK button on the screen).

However the real solution (that is still non-ideal) is to have a bigger virtual X desktop - I don't know if this is possible with Compiz accelerated desktops, but it was easy back in the 2D days.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249637)

Until recently (Intrepid?) it didn't work - the window manager would definitely refuse to hide the title bar off screen. You could draw the window all you wanted down, left, right, but up - nope, the title bar must remain visible.

My workaround was adding extra workspace row below. Horrible experience.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

EponymousCustard (1442693) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249133)

I have found with Gnome though at least, that you can't push a window up past the top of the screen, which has on one ..

there is a way you can turn this off with a simple gconf command check the http://wiki.eeeuser.com/ [eeeuser.com] for details

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249213)

Unfortunately, some of them try to be "helpful" and prevent you from moving the window title above the top of the screen.

Just use Fluxbox (0)

A12m0v (1315511) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249281)

GNOME is awful!

Re:Some information would be nice. (4, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248917)

Unless you just want to stick to VIM (or emacs), a 7 inch screen screws up a lot of user interfaces.

Or possibly you mean switch away from vim or emacs? ;-)

Seriously, I'd think that in a lot of cases, a small screen is actually more appropriate. Whenever I see someone using Outlook in full screen on a giant monitor, or using their browser in the same manner, I have to chuckle at the absurdity of it. You figure the ideal width of 74 characters or so for maximum readability and comprehension, but the latest and greatests in technology brings us mile-wide sentences?

Or, as this is a tech site, how useful is it when trying to troubleshoot a system where the BIOS setup, boot messages and everything else appears in giant poster-sized fonts? No one's arms are long enough for that nonsense.

I don't know what kind of person is representative of the netbook market, but I'd think that the majority of the great unwashed masses expect their computers to function like an appliance. A netbook seems to meet that requirement. So if checking email and browsing the web is all most people do, how big a screen do they really need?

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249077)

Is that width (74 characters) really ideal or just some relic of old printers' limitations or some such?

Hunting for the next line (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249223)

Is that width (74 characters) really ideal or just some relic of old printers' limitations or some such?

There's a reason that even with today's digital typesetting, printed newspapers have five or six columns of text and not one column running across the whole page. On a reasonably-wide column (30em to 40em, or 60 to 80 characters), your eyes can find the next line while your brain is processing the last words on the current line. Otherwise, hunting for the next line interrupts your train of thought.

Re:Hunting for the next line (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249335)

On a reasonably-wide column (30em to 40em, or 60 to 80 characters), your eyes can find the next line while your brain is processing the last words on the current line. Otherwise, hunting for the next line interrupts your train of thought.

Actually, with a reasonably narrow column, an experienced reader can take a line at a single glance, and read through a column without moving their eyes sideways.

Re:Hunting for the next line (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249391)

... printed newspapers have five or six columns of text and not one column running across the whole page

God help us when that "dying industry" is replaced with on-line content. As it is now, I mostly dump pages I'm interested in reading using lynx, and while that's hardly ideal, it'll do until the dust settles in the Kindle arena.

IIRC, there was a UK newspaper that offered a feature that would display the article in multi-column format in a new window. Immensely readable, but the extra clicks made it annoying.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249007)

Vim on such a machine can be very nice though. Most of the use I get from my Nokia 770 is running Vim. I can fit it and a folding keyboard in a couple of pockets, and I've then got a machine I can write articles on wherever I happen to be.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

MSittig (246604) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249049)

Taekwindow [sourceforge.net] can solve that problem on Windows.

Re:Some information would be nice. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28248609)

Because sometimes less is more.

Re:Some information would be nice. (2, Interesting)

zlogic (892404) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248687)

Android is optimized for small screens and low-powered devices, with no unwanted background processes.
Have you tried running Ubuntu (non-netbook edition) on a 10.2" screen at 1024x600 screen? Most apps simply don't fit on the screen, alt+mouse_drag only moves windows down, not up, meaning jumping through a lot of hoops simply to press OK in a dialog because it is below the screen.

Re:Some information would be nice. (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248715)

can't you just turn the computer upside down and shake it till the button is visible?

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

tygerstripes (832644) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249069)

Etch-a-sketch was the netbook's logical precursor, now you come to mention it...

Plus, if it's an Acer, shaking it would probably cause it to reboot anyway :-)

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

Nikker (749551) | more than 5 years ago | (#28250281)

That's not a bug! It's a feature!

Re:Some information would be nice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28249167)

It's a netbook not an iPhone, so that shaking and turning probably wouldn't work.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

FordPrefect276709 (1346539) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249425)

you could if it was a mac...

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

Dacotah (710798) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249711)

can't you just turn the computer upside down and shake it till the button is visible?

I tried that, but my screen disappeared.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 5 years ago | (#28250047)

You shook it too hard. ALL the bit came out. Now you have to find them and put them back. I recommend tweezers, they are very small.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 5 years ago | (#28250541)

can't you just turn the computer upside down and shake it till the button is visible?

Won't that erase the image on the screen!?!? That's what it did on my first laptop.

Re:Some information would be nice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28248721)

Unwanted background processes is what I want most.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248727)

Ubuntu works okay for me on my eeepc 701, but I can see the advantage of running android to the average computer user.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249025)

Android is optimized for small screens and low-powered devices, with no unwanted background processes.
Have you tried running Ubuntu (non-netbook edition) on a 10.2" screen at 1024x600 screen?

FWIW I ran Mandrake with KDE on a Sony PictureBook C1XD (it was a pre Crusoe model, with a 400MHz PII) at 1024x480 for quite a while. Worked fine. Even back then (from 2000 to 2004 maybe, I didn't have to resize or drag around that many dialogs. The machine is still around. I have to update it (it has to boot from a floppy though, stupid hardware design) one of these days. I'm sure it'll still do fine with current software (well maybe not with digiKam or Blender).

All in all the dialogs in the X11 environments are much better behaved than the ones in Windows. I never could understand why the Windows ones couldn't be resized (those horizontal scroll bars all over the place irritate me to no end whenever I have to use that system).

Most apps simply don't fit on the screen, alt+mouse_drag only moves windows down, not up, meaning jumping through a lot of hoops simply to press OK in a dialog because it is below the screen.

Alt-Mouse1 (usually, depends on your setup in your window manager, I bind it to left-window key on full keyboards) moves the window in whatever direction you move the mouse, down, up, even to the sides ! Typically you can click anywhere in a window and drag the window from there.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

zlogic (892404) | more than 5 years ago | (#28250353)

In Ubuntu either Gnome or Compiz doesn't allow the window's title to be moved higher than the upper gnome-panel, even with Alt-Mouse1.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

sensei moreh (868829) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249261)

I run Ubuntu (non-netbook edition) on my Acer Aspire One with its 8.9" 1024x600 screen. Many apps fit, some don't, alt+mouse_drag works in both directions (required a GConf tweak to make it work with Compiz, but it worked as expected with Metacity). That being said, more pixels would be greatly appreciated

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249947)

If you want to run ubuntu on a netbook specifically an aspireone but a lot applies to netbooks in general
may i recommend this page. https://help.ubuntu.com/community/AspireOne [ubuntu.com]
There are similar pages but if your Netbook hasn't got a page you can easily start one contribute the bits you know and others will add the bits you don't.

To remove the y constraint (allowing you to move your windows up and not just down) enter this in a terminal

gconftool-2 --set /apps/compiz/plugins/move/allscreens/options/constrain_y --type bool 0

Theres a couple of other things that can help right click the menu bars top and bottom and add the show hide buttons sometimes thats just enough to make buttons visible.

you could also perhaps rotate the screen into portrait mode (not that useful as a work around).

For long term improvements please file a bug report, the developers may be quite unaware that they have made an unusable ui for netbook users and may not realise there is an issue.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

jhol13 (1087781) | more than 5 years ago | (#28250443)

My advice: Create four (virtual) desktops in 2x2. Then you can "easily-ish" get to "OK" by alt + down arrow.

I agree, it is horrible mistake in Gnome not to be able to use 1024x600 as in every case I have seen the window could trivially be e.g. 700x500 without any loss in usability.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

nem75 (952737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248733)

Because a netbook is a limited notebook?

Re:Some information would be nice. (2, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249537)

Trust me: 7 inches doesn't mean much if you don't have the girth to go with it.

Re:Some information would be nice. (5, Informative)

angryphase (766302) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248835)

  • CPU: 533MHz Freescale i.MX31 ARM-based processor
  • Operating System: Google Android
  • Display: 800 x 480 pixel touchscreen (Sascha says it's not glossy, but you can see a fair bit of glare in the video)
  • RAM: 256MB
  • Storage: Up to 8GB SSD
  • I/O: 3 USB ports, mic, headphone, and 4-in-1 card reader
  • Weight: 680 grams, or about 1.5 pounds

See working video of it here [liliputing.com]

Re:Some information would be nice. (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249059)

Note that the i.MX3 series is very old (in CPU terms). The current generation, the i.MX5, is based on the Cortex A8 and is a very nice chip capable of, among other things, running Flash and encoding H.264 in real time. The i.MX3 is an older generation (there was no i.MX4) based on an ARM11 core. It does have the VFP (vector / floating point) coprocessor, but does not support the NEON SIMD instruction set. It is likely to be significantly slower than a 600MHz A8 as found in something like the OMAP3, and a lot slower than the 1GHz A8 found in the i.MX5. The i.MX3 didn't have an on-die GPU, so this may be using a simple frame buffer while most A8 SoCs (OMAP3, i.MX5, etc) include an OpenGL 2.0 ES-compatible GPU.

The A8 is currently in the process of being superseded by the Cortex A9, which includes a slightly improved pipeline, out-of-order execution, and support for up to 4 cores on a single die. ARM started licensing it a year ago, and SoCs based on the core (e.g. nVidia's Tegra) are beginning to appear.

Re:Some information would be nice. (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249679)

As a proof of concept this device is neat, but as pointed out it needs to be thinner (looks like some of the ports are keeping it thick, so move the screen hinge forward with the ports behind taking up the base+lid width) and use the more up to date ARM SoC.

Or you could take the internals of the Palm Pre which outspec this device, and use that instead.

More info from video. (2, Informative)

spaceturtle (687994) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249727)

Also has an Ethernet port. Estimated run time of 2.5 hours. Apparently will also come in 2GB SSD, 128MiB ram options.

Re:Some information would be nice. (0)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249269)

It looks like it's not capable of running a webserver.

I wonder (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28248553)

do you have to pay the SCO license fee for Linux for that one, too ?

Anonymous Coward (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28248593)

Check out the video on the site, they're covering all the specs in it

SLASHDOTTED? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28248611)

For how slow the website is running I'm guessing it's running from one of the devices.

Ultra Small Resolution (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28248613)

I evaluated a freescale board for a major computer manufacture and we ended up deciding not to go with it. Sure its a fast ARM chip and the video processor supports multimedia acceleration but the resolution is tiny. The max resolution when we looked at it was 1024x768(I beleive this was it, we needed much higher). So don't except to be able to hook these things up to an external monitor unless they go with a different video card.

The good news about all these arm manufactures coming out with netbooks is they really try to support the Linux community and are actively submitting patches.

Re:Ultra Small Resolution (2, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249295)

I wouldn't call it "ultra small" resolution. The latest from eeePC in the economical range is the 1000HE and according to amazon, this 10" has 1024x600 res, worse than this with 3 more inches.

I believe Dell's offering has better res but not sure. (Of course, it could be bigger too, defeating the purpose.)

BTW, wtf is with slashdot and the random bars in my browser?

Chorme? (1)

lowtek77 (896266) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249531)

Are you using Chrome? I just noticed them running through the comments as well--very annoying.

Re:Ultra Small Resolution (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249695)

These modern ARM SoCs could also be aimed at 1080p media devices, so they should start supporting 1920x1080 with HDMI soon. That means that even high-resolution netbooks with 1366x768 widescreen displays (HP2140HD) would be supported.

Re:Ultra Small Resolution (1)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249565)

Fucking hell. 1024x768 is "Ultra small resolution"?

The cpu is relatively slow, most users in this range run only one app full-screen at any one time and 1024x768 is perfectly fine on a 15-21" monitor.

Don't get all pixel-snobby here, or I'll be forced to mention my mis-spent youth programming Coco II games and the oddball CGA resolutions like 160x100 - which, coincidentally, is about the resolution of my basic Samsung phone at present.

So I'll do you a deal - once your phone is routinely capable of 1024x768 on its display, that's when you can call 1024x768 "Ultra small resolution"

(kids these days. geez. :-p)

Servers on netbooks? (3, Funny)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248617)

It looks like they're running their server on a netbook as well - Slashdot has brought it to its knees with only a few comments on the topic so far :)

Re:Servers on netbooks? (2, Informative)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248641)

And just as he says that, after a minute of sitting and loading, the page finally appears! Oh well, I'm sure it'll be true soon enough :D

In case it does happen, the video is on YouTube at http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/2ZlKnubPUbk&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x3a3a3a&color2=0x999999&hd=1 [youtube-nocookie.com]

GNB = ? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28248637)

Goliath National Bank?

Site slow (4, Informative)

boiert (934539) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248639)

Better link the youtube video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZlKnubPUbk [youtube.com]

Runs only two and half hours (2, Interesting)

Vuojo (1547799) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248735)

No thanks. I would expect at least 10 hours of battery life from a netbook running an ARM processor.

GNB - Goliath National Bank? (-1, Offtopic)

dvh.tosomja (1235032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248657)

No thanks.

Windows Key? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28248737)

Anyone noticed the Windows Key on it ? :D

You killed the android server hosting the website! (1)

jsse (254124) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248771)

But it doesn't matter. The story was just a Youtube Video [youtube.com] embedded in it and the following one-line message:

The Google Android powered GL-750 from GNB is a 7-inch netbook that's powered by a Freescale iMX31 processor.

OK, saw it and my likes and dislikes are: (4, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248793)

First of all, it's a real netbook, with keyboard and touchpad (I wish it had the nipple, but ok) and all the connectors one can find on a number of (intel-based) netbooks. So this is good - this is the first real ARM-based netbook I have seen so far.

I like the weight - 650g! Amazingly light.

But battery consumption is not good. It will work for 2.5 hours on one charge. That's pathetic.

Re:OK, saw it and my likes and dislikes are: (1)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248893)

I wish it had the nipple

Don't we all [youtube.com]

Re:OK, saw it and my likes and dislikes are: (1)

Ren.Tamek (898017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249683)

I agree there. Once I saw the battery life, it was end of discussion about the device for me. 5 hours battery during full use is my absolute minimum for a portable device like this, anything else is borderline pointless.

Re:OK, saw it and my likes and dislikes are: (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 5 years ago | (#28250121)

But battery consumption is not good. It will work for 2.5 hours on one charge.

That's amazingly bad! I thought Freescale = ARM (= low power), but maybe not.

Yesterday's article about the range of ARM based netbooks at Computex mentioned battery life of 8-12 hours, so this isn't even remotely in the ballpark.

True netbook (3, Insightful)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248797)

Nice to see another "proper" netbook being brought to market - 7" devices are what started the ball rolling. Ultra-portability combined with a cheap price is what defines a netbook. The term has become so diluted that it's being applied to 12" machines, and machines which cost as much as a traditional laptop.

Re:True netbook (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249123)

That's what defines a netbook for you. Everybody seems to have his/her own definition of what a netbook is. For me it's any laptop that's less than $500 and less than 15".

Re:True netbook (1)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249177)

I agree, everyone seems to define it however they like. But the original definition was useful, it told a potential buyer something about the product in a single word.

To me, what you define as a netbook is simply a cheap laptop. :)

Re:True netbook (1)

nyctopterus (717502) | more than 5 years ago | (#28250321)

Wow, that's a pretty strange definition. Almost pointless I'd say. An old G3 Powerbook [wikipedia.org] would qualify--and let me tell you, they ain't no netbook.

I would define it something more like: an ultraportable laptop designed to maximize portability by using cheaper components rather than more expensive ones.

Goliath National Bank (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28248809)

GNB = Goliath National Bank?

Pondering on power consumption... (4, Interesting)

commlinx (1068272) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248877)

I've done quite a bit of work on ARM processors without an operating system and limited work using ARM9 devices with a Gentoo based distro and something I've wondered is if under Linux there's a way to conveniently enable low-power mode essentially putting the processor to sleep while allowing certain peripherals to remain running? An obvious example would be leaving the LCD controller running to display an e-book page while the CPU was in sleep mode or running at a low clock rate until a button is pressed. I know how to do that when programming most ARM CPUs natively, but are there any attempts out there to standardize some low power behaviour for the kernel?

It could really help some of these devices that are no doubt often used for a single task at a time. Perhaps it could even be in the form of some sort of system call that allowed a process to request the minimum slice of CPU time per second and wake-up latency required per task and the scheduler could determine the required clock frequency and possible sleep time required to fulfil the requirements of every process. Just seems to me it could be a way to extend the battery life and take advantange of some of the amazing low-power modes of newer ARM cores in a standard manner.

I've got one already... (4, Interesting)

Pembers (250842) | more than 5 years ago | (#28248907)

...or something very much like it.

It's called a CnMBook. Have a look at this page [194.150.201.35] . (Yeah, I know - bare IP address looks suspicious. I don't think the manufacturer's quite got the hang of this Internet thing. Google is your friend if you don't trust me.) It's sold under a lot of different names.

The specs are similar to the gadget on show here. Mine has a slower CPU, less memory and no touch screen. Battery life is 2.5-3 hours. The OS is a heavily-customised Debian. I love the small size and low weight. I can fit it into my coat pocket. The screen is nice and clear. The keyboard is reasonable, but is prone to registering phantom keystrokes - running vi is therefore not recommended. I don't know if it's just mine that does this, or if it's a design flaw.

The main app I run on it is a text editor. It's a bit slow for anything else.

I paid £139 for mine just before Christmas. I bought it from Maplin, who are now selling them off for £99 - probably because they were evasive about it not running Windows. They now have a Windows CE version of it, which has "Windows CE" in the product name.

Re:I've got one already... (1)

Aggrajag (716041) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249041)

Very interesting looking device and they also offer all source code on their website.

It seems you have the MIPS version of the device, I wonder if the ARM based is any
different (faster etc.) as they don't seem the provide complete specs for the actual
CPUs they use.

Re:I've got one already... (3, Informative)

Pembers (250842) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249265)

Yeah, they might not understand the Internet, but they understand their obligations under the GPL :-)

The CPU in mine is a 400MHz MIPS clone. No idea how that compares with an x86 or ARM device. It has 128MB of RAM and 2GB of on-board flash. It has an SD slot and 3 USB sockets, so you could plug 4GB into each of those, for a (rather unwieldy) 16GB of additional storage.

It takes about 2 minutes to boot into an X desktop. More annoying is that it doesn't have a suspend or hibernate mode - or if it does, I haven't found it. It has a key with "Zzz" written on it, but this just switches off the screen backlight. Still, it does what I bought it for.

Re:I've got one already... (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249845)

It's called a CnMBook.

That looks like a rebadged SkyTone Alpha 400 [wikipedia.org] , a.k.a. the World's Cheapest Laptop (it hit the news here a while back). There's about a dozen different products based on it for sale.

They look fascinating, and at some point I want to get one. I can think of lots of things to do with one, from using it as a cheap web browsing appliance to a lightweight mini server to a serial console to an automation computer. Plus, MIPS is cool. Skytone appear to be working on successor models to the 400, but they have ARM processors.

Re:I've got one already... (1)

Pembers (250842) | more than 5 years ago | (#28250305)

Yes, that's the one. It's sold under so many different names that I have no idea which is the real one and which are just symlinks.

Re:I've got one already... (1)

subbyUK (922488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249979)

Even at £100 looks like a waste of money. 128 ram and 2 gig?? For the same price you could pick up a old school eeepc. 7", 512, 8 gig. Mine runs Jaunty + XP, and can run Autocad 2009 (it's fine once its been loaded into RAM) runs great with 2 gig ram upgade. About the earlier ALT+dragging window advice, that saved me a few times. Worth mentioning there is a compiz fusion setting that overrides it, constrain X/Y axis or something. If Alt-dragging won't let you drag past the top of the screen it might be worth checking this setting. Anyhoo, lee :D

I fear... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249065)

... we have to go trough the whole miniaturization race again, that already happened with phones.

Remember when phones got smaller, and smaller, and lighter, and lighter.
Until people were unable to use them anymore.
It was even parodied. For example in the movie "Dodgeball", where a main character owned a phone that was roughly this size: http://www.unwiredview.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/mds-mobile-projector.jpg [unwiredview.com]

Then the phones got bigger again. Even bigger PDAs came out. Etc.

A full qwertz keyboard only makes sense, if the keys are at least as wide, as the distance between your fingers. And then still, it's a real pain to type on them, unless the halves are split by an angle, and positioned correctly.

Luckily, I'm working on a nice thing, that might end the need for keyboards. (No, I can't give you details. Cry me a river. :P)

Re:I fear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28249149)

But look what this resulted in. Some of these smartphones are barely the size of your hand, and are running windows mobile OS platforms with word processing and browsers. The iPhone has damn near everything on it. The products that result from the miniaturization race are able to take advantage of the techniques that are developed to shrink these devices to make a normal size device that much more powerful. There is nothing wrong with this aspect of the development cycle.

Re:I fear... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249331)

A full qwertz keyboard only makes sense if you're German

Fixed that for you ;-)

if the keys are at least as wide, as the distance between your fingers.

If you're a crappy typist like me, hunt and peck works even on an undersized keyboard. As a former Psion 3 & 5 user, I speak from experience.

Re:I fear... (1)

Ender_Stonebender (60900) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249529)

And an AZERTY keyboard makes sense if you're...um, French, I think. Or live in a French-speaking country.

Hunt & peck works surprisingly well for a large number of people. Most people I know don't touch-type but achieve reasonable typing speeds. Even with thumb-typing on a cell phone with fully keyboard, a reasonable speed can be achieved without much effort as long as the layout is one you are familiar with.

Re:I fear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28249835)

Are you sure it wasn't Zoolander [imdb.com] ? (Which is, incidentally, one of the finest comedies of the last decade.)

Re:I fear... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28250055)

How do you misspell a word like Qwerty? Did you post to slashdot on your cellphone or something?

7-Inch Android Netbook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28249125)

I suppose I'm the only one who thought of a little robot with a netbook.

Carte di credito (0)

Carte di credito (1571879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28249193)

That controller is able to limit the current to the motor too, which is nice, and all you have to do is plug it into your computer or laptop and you can program everything. The best feature is to limit the amps to the motor at least to test it out and set it gradually higher and higher to determine how much the motor can take without getting too hot under abuse. Hmmm one of these is rated at 7000 watts, for the price of 3 its about 450 dollars, but you get 21000 watts, the etek is about half that. Now thats value! lo Carte di credito [carte-di-c...online.com]

Nobody noticed this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28250137)

It's running Android, but it's got a windows button in the bottom left of the keyboard...

Just what we need... (1)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 5 years ago | (#28250233)

...more competition from another 7 inch robotic device. Like we geeks don't have enough problems getting dates.
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