Eee PC running Android seen at Computex - Updated
An ASUS Eee PC prototype with a Snapdragon chip-set and running the open source Android operating system has been sighted at Computex Taipei, the Taiwan trade show. Qualcomm refers to designs using the ARM based Snapdragon chip-set as 'smartbooks' and expects to see Snapdragon based smartbook devices available in Autumn 2009. The chip-set/smartbook specification lists 3G connectivity, Wi-Fi, 3D graphics, Bluetooth and GPS among its defining features.
The ASUS Eee PC prototype was, according to TweakTown, running a 1GHz version of the Qualcomm processor, did not require a fan for cooling and was capable of playing 720p HD video. However it was a prototype, so whether ASUS will decide to produce such a device is still unknown. The Snapdragon QSD8x50 chipset used in the prototype is capable of running a number of Linux based operating systems as well as Android and Windows Mobile.
Faster 1.3Ghz Snapdragon chip-sets with enhanced graphics and better 3G connectivity, with even lower power consumption, have also been announced for the end of the year. It appears that the combination of Android's open source availability, along with a range of ARM based chip-sets is fuelling manufacturers interest in developing, at least prototypes.
Update - According to Techworld, ASUSTeK executives have now said the Eee running Android project is on the back burner, pointing out that the unit was on show at the Qualcomm stand and not something that ASUSTeK were showing. Johnathan Tsang, ASUSTeK's vice chairman said "For the time being this project is not a priority because our engineering resources are limited".