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28 April 2009, 10:20

ARM netbook with Android undercuts Atom models

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Many manufacturers have now joined the Open Handset Alliance to cooperate on developing Android; an operating system originally tailored to mobile phones, with a practical browser and a lot of applications. The obvious next move is to adapt it for netbooks as well. reports that Skytone, a previously unknown Chinese manufacturer, has just announced an Android netbook with an ARM processor that is to cost around $250. The first prototypes of the Alpha 680 are due to appear in June, and production models in the autumn. Whether the netbook will be available in Europe is not yet known, because the firm's founder, Nixon Wu, has his eye primarily on African and Asian markets.

The Alpha 680 has a 800 × 480-pixel seven-inch display. The ARM11 processor runs at 533 MHz and comes with either 128 or 256 MB of RAM. It has a 1 - 4 GB SSD instead of a hard disk, and a slot for a memory card. USB, LAN and WLAN are included in the basic configuration, and a Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) module can be installed. The casing measures 21.5 cm × 15 cm and is 3 cm thick. According to Wu, the prototypes weigh just under 700 grams and have a battery life of two to four hours. He says Android runs very well, it has no problem with, for example, playing YouTube Flash videos and it runs around eighty per cent of the applications currently on the Android market.

Other manufacturers,such as HP, Dell, Archos and Asus, are also thinking about equipping their netbooks with Android, but Freescale will be presenting ARM netbooks running Xandros Linux.



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