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Qualcomm Demos Eee PC Running Android OS 125

Posted by timothy
from the parallel-convergence dept.
angry tapir writes "Qualcomm has showed off a version of Asustek Computer's Eee PC based on its Snapdragon processor at the Computex exhibition, including one running Google's Android operating system. The new laptop — which Qualcomm calls a smartbook — is thinner and lighter than current members of Asustek's Eee PC netbook lineup because the 1GHz Snapdragon processor that it uses does not require a heat sink or a cooling fan."
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Qualcomm Demos Eee PC Running Android OS

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:07AM (#28180847) Journal

    The new laptop -- which Qualcomm calls a smartbook -- is thinner and lighter than current members of Asustek's Eee PC netbook lineup because the 1GHz Snapdragon processor that it uses does not require a heat sink or a cooling fan.

    Yes, of course, because of an important point in the article:

    Qualcomm's Snapdragon includes a 1GHz Arm processor core, a 600MHz digital-signal processor and hardware video codecs. Currently, Asustek's Eee PC line of netbooks relies on Intel processors, in particular the low-cost, low-power Atom chip, which has an x86 processor core.

    Which makes complete sense, because of its low power consumption you're going to see less heat and longer battery life (why do you think OLPC moved to it [slashdot.org]). And for those of you skeptical of the speed:

    When the first Snapdragon-based devices hit the market later this year, they will have a 1GHz Arm processor core but that will increase to 1.3GHz next year, with the release of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8650A, Pineda said.

    Every single eee PC available (with Atom processors) on the market is x86, to my knowledge.

    This headline really got my hopes up as I just bout an eee PC 1000HE last weekend and have it dual booting to Windows XP & Easy Peasy Ubuntu. I love it. It's totally replaced my 5 year old laptop. I was hoping this meant I could partition out some space for Android but it looks like I'm left to emulating it (pretty much not an option considering the overhead). Maybe Google just doesn't see a point of porting Android to x86 since it's probably pretty dependent on the power efficiency of ARM?

    Pare away the heat sink and all that junk, add super small RAM and flash storage and ... hand held computers (like the article notes from Toshiba). Microsoft better not be resting on its laurels and should either be beefing up Windows Mobile or porting Windows 7 to ARM ... or they're going to miss out big time again.

    Has anyone found anything on how Android applications dependent on cell phone-ish hardware (like GPS location and the like) will be handled inside a device like the eee PC?

  • by DomNF15 (1529309) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:15AM (#28180931)
    I am less concerned with the OS than with the increased battery life/less weight in a device like this. As long as the OS supports mobile broadband cards from the major wireless carriers and some basic apps like web browsing and an office suite, I'd be happy.
  • by notarockstar1979 (1521239) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:20AM (#28180979) Journal
    You're missing the point. This isn't so that you can run Android apps, it's showing off a piece of hardware. The OS is beside the point (although I think Android is a good choice to show off the processor but that's more of a personal preference).
  • by Vu1turEMaN (1270774) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @08:55AM (#28181381)

    Its easier for Microsoft to just buy a company that has an ARM-compatible OS then to actually develop one. Just throw an XP theme on it and everyone will start using it like MS was saving this for the right moment.

    "Skinning is easier than Winning" - someone on the winamp forums complaining about no new features being added in a while

  • by Taxman415a (863020) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:24AM (#28181839) Homepage Journal

    See the thing is that the sort of memory you get in a cellphone is a lot slower than the stuff you get in a desktop because the power budget is so much less. If you want to run desktop applications or emulate an x86 that will really bite you.

    All interesting information you added, but for a netbook platform where the battery is an order of magnitude larger than a cellphone, what makes you think they can't put in a different memory controller with a wider bus to run regular sodimms? You'd still get all the power savings from the lower power chip and no active cooling, but without the performance hit you refer to.

  • by riflemann (190895) <riflemann@bb.cTE ... t minus caffeine> on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:30AM (#28181969)

    There are ~3500 android apps out there now, virtually every one of them written assuming HTC Dream hardware.

    It will be very interesting to see how they all cope when run on emerging hardware with vastly different characteristics and screens to the opening device.

    My own Android game [google.com] is not exempt and will need better adaptability (yeah, hypocrite).

  • by ChaoticCoyote (195677) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @10:39AM (#28183193) Homepage

    Android uses Linux, but isn't Linux (no standard libraries, for example).

    Android uses Java, but it isn't standard Java nor is it compatible with most Java apps.

    Android is open source, except for certain fiddly-bits they keep private.

    This is not the competition for Windows we've been looking for.

  • by horza (87255) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @11:06AM (#28183615) Homepage

    Why would you want to hobble an ARM processor by trying to run x86 cruft on it? A 1GHz ARM processor will blow away an equivalent x86 when running apps natively. If I was running desktop apps on a netbook I wouldn't even want something as heavy as OpenOffice, let alone a monolith like MS Office, I would want something like Abiword but with the OO import/export filters. As bert64 says, there is a wealth of Linux apps, and with Ubuntu netbook-friendly version coming you can bet their repository will fill quickly with ARM versions of all the apps.

    Phillip.

Dennis Ritchie is twice as bright as Steve Jobs, and only half wrong. -- Jim Gettys

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