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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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  • 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?

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Sinning (1433953)
      Why port Android to x86 when you can just run Android apps in Ubuntu?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        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).
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Daengbo (523424)

          "Frankly speaking, the first question, I would like to apologize that, if you look at Asus booth we've decided not to display this product," he said. "I think you may have seen the devices on Qualcomm's booth but actually, I think this is a company decision so far we would not like to show this device. That's what I can tell you so far. I would like to apologize for that." -- http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9133813 [computerworld.com]

          Asus didn't actually want to show off the hardware, though, which I think is a strange thing indeed since the tech industry seems quite excited about the product and it looked ready to ship.

          When asked about rumors that Asustek faced pressure from Microsoft and Intel over the use of Android and Snapdragon in the Eee PC, Tsang said "no, pressure, none."

          Intel spokesman Nick Jacobs said, "our customers are always free to make the choices they want," and declined further comment on "rumors and speculation."

          Unless, of course, you are a netbook manufacturer which wants to put a dual-core Atom in your product. Intel has promised to "penalize" manufacturers that do that.

          Obviously, I don't believe a thing coming out of their mouths.

      • Overhead (Score:2, Interesting)

        by eldavojohn (898314) *

        Why port Android to x86 when you can just run Android apps in Ubuntu?

        Like I said in my post:

        but it looks like I'm left to emulating it (pretty much not an option considering the overhead).

        I tried doing this on a P4 with 2 gigs of DDR RAM a while ago in Ubuntu 8.04 if I recall correctly. It was slow as hell.

        I don't know if the SDK has since matured since then but I was trying to do their tutorial examples and I would experience really bad startup times ... like waiting minutes for everything to initialize. Sometimes it would bomb out before making it to the applications screen in the emulator. Maybe it was memory pagination? Anyway, I also assume the emulation st

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Sinning (1433953)
          Sorry for the confusion, I was referring more to this. [arstechnica.com]

          Rather than running the Android SDK emulator.

          It looks to be a much more promising alternative to emulating the entire android OS.
    • by DomNF15 (1529309)
      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 Locutus (9039) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:24AM (#28181847)

        there should be no need for supporting "mobile broadband cards" with the universal 3G radio built into the Smartbooks. Unless they are misusing the term universal. The only difference between a netbook and a Smartbook is that the Smartbooks have the 3G radio builtin and the software to use it.

        I think Qualcomm has a hit here.

        LoB

        • by DomNF15 (1529309)
          Universal is laughable in this context, especially in the USA. If the radio works with GSM carriers like AT&T, then it won't work on Verizon and Sprint's EVDO network, and vice versa. Even among GSM carriers the carrier frequencies may vary (which is why you need a "quad band" phone if you want it to work everywhere in the world).

          I think I'll take my chances with a Netbook/OS that supports multiple cards, instead of being locked into one carrier's service/device/app store etc. If you think they'll
          • by Thumper_SVX (239525) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @12:17PM (#28184595) Homepage

            But Qualcomm's Gobi chipset [qualcomm.com] purportedly supports EV-DO and HSPA in a single chipset, thus it's at least technically possible that they have done exactly as they say. It even includes GPS... so long as you have room for all the antennae (dead space behind the screen for example) then it should be a non-issue to make it into a truly "multi-radio" machine.

            Hmm... wonder if Apple's been talking to Qualcomm for the next gen iPhone... ;)

          • According to the IDG article [computerworld.com] they are specifically claiming that it will work on all frequencies used around the world. Not sure how they plan to do that, but that's the claim.

            But that doesn't really matter, because you'll see that Asus is already backing off from Qualcom's announcement and claiming [pcworld.com], "no, no, we haven't been pressured by MS or Intel not to release this device that would be an obvious hit." Man a device that can run for 8-9 hours with 3G connectivity? Sign me up. The only thing I'd want m
            • by Belial6 (794905)
              Seriously, Give me enough unmetered bandwidth and a client to run VNC and RDP along with 8-9 hours of battery life, and I would be their in a heartbeat. At that point, I don't much care if it is running Windows, Linux, or AROS. Of course being able to play audio and video would sweeten the deal a bit.
    • 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?

      Likewise, has anyone found anything on how iPhone OS applications dependent on cell phone-ish hardware (like GPS location and the like) will be handled inside a device like the iPod Touch?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by PhilHibbs (4537)

        Navigation apps aren't directly dependent on the GPS hardware, they are dependent on the Location API which will still return a position based on cell tower triangulation. I can't comment on "and the like" as that's a bit of a broad question, but in general they will all be calling API functions that I guess will return a default or error value if the hardware doesn't support it.

        • by Dog-Cow (21281)

          The iPod Touch supports the Location API. I forget what is returned if no information is available, but I imagine it's the same as is done for the iPhone when GPS is turned off and you are not in a service area.

          Both the Touch and the iPhone will use Wifi AP location information, if available (as a fallback in the case of the iPhone).

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      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).

      OLPC was formerly using Geode LX, which while not a speed demon by ANY stretch is very low-power. TDP for the CPU+Chipset is under 10 watts.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Vu1turEMaN (1270774)

      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 pseudonomous (1389971) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:11AM (#28181623)

        Microsoft already has Operating Systems that will run on the Arm architecture, Windows Mobile / WinCE, but I don't see what benefit you would get from using them, both taking your suggestion or using Windows Mobile would still leave an operating system that might look vaguely familiar, but still doesn't act quite like users would expect, that doesn't run much in the terms of familiar applications. I would think that, like with the Linux-based acer and msi netbooks, you would get a very high return rate on something like this.

        • From the company-with-a-thousand-different-versions-of-the-same-thing, I would guess that they would buy a company that is developing an ARM OS and create a new WinCE-based solution to be a netbook OS.

          You could also consider that they would buy a company that would be developing a way to run an x86 OS (like Windows 7 Starter Edition) through ARM instead of porting it. There are a number of small groups and companies working on instruction comparison engines that would do such a thing for system-level applic

          • Again, I see them not actually caring about developing something for ARM if they have the possibility to buy a solution.

            What solution? As far as desktop OSs go, there are only 9 Linux and BSD distributions [wikipedia.org] that support it. Plus the iPhone's version of OS X. Where are they going to buy a solution from?

            • Microsoft has multiple ways to implement a Windows OS on an ARM-powered netbook, so that would be the solution that they are seeking. Most likely, they would be buying a development team to work on the specific netbook OS rather than have their phone crew from WinMo work on it.

        • The problem with windows ce/mobile is that it's advertised as being windows when it really isn't.. This creates the expectation of compatibility with desktop windows. The mobile versions of windows however are not compatible at all, either at the binary or source level (and most apps don't even come with source), such that there are very few available apps...
          An arm version of linux on the other hand really is linux, and has 99% of the same applications available for it, since in most cases it's just a case of a recompile.

          • F-u-d. WinMobile is API-compatible with Windows, so "all you need is a recompile" - except for the fact that the screen and input devices are totally different!

            In C# I do lots of my U/I development using the same source code with a 320x200 WinForms app and then compile and run the same source on PPC.

          • For Linux: yes. For android: no. The android OS is significantly different from a 'normal' linux distro. It runs a linux kernel, but the userland looks totally different. Android is java a very long way down, which means you have to rewrite your app. Not just in Java, but to Androids model of doing things.

      • by Locutus (9039) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:48AM (#28182277)

        you do not know Microsoft. They live and breath by Windows and the Windows APIs and that product is why they still exist. It would be a very small fraction of todays company that would promote the use of another OS instead of Windows. The Windows OS brings in most of their profits and the extents they go to protect that marketshare should be an indicator of how tied to it they are.
         

        You'll see them making offers companies can't refuse and dumping billions into stopping the move to Linux before you'll see an MS Linux. They'll push Windows Mobile onto this platform or even port XP to ARM before there's an MS Linux or any MS nonWindows OS. IMO.
         

        LoB

        • I misstated my reply...I meant that they would buy a company that is developing specifically for ARM and have them rework their current ARM-compatible OS into something usable on a netbook.

          I just don't predict them making any real effort to develop something on their own for an ARM-powered laptop/netbook without buying some outside help.

          • I messed up again. I meant that they would buy the outside company to rework WinCE for netbook/laptop use instead of doing it themselves.

      • by schon (31600)

        Its easier for Microsoft to just buy a company that has an ARM-compatible OS then to actually develop one.

        I'm confused by this statement. Why would they develop an ARM-compatable OS if they'd already bought one?

        Wouldn't they just use the one they bought instead?

        In any event, I find it hard to believe that MS's programmers would have such a hard time programming for ARM that they'd need an existing software base to copy from.

        • MS always has WinCE, which is ARM compatible. My statement is that if they wanted to adopt it for netbooks, they would simply buy a company that is in the process of developing an ARM OS and have them work on a netbook version of WinCE.

          I'm basically saying that MS has no interest on their own to develop an ARM OS specifically for netbooks unless they can find a company that is considering doing the same and then buying them out. They would need a whole new team of people for the specific task, and instead o

          • by Patch86 (1465427)

            Incidentally, WinCE is already being sold on netbooks. Pretty rarely, but it still happens. http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=257308&source=1 [maplin.co.uk]

            The rarity is probably more down to the rarity of ARM netbooks than anything else. WinCE is a pile of poo as is, but if the market for it was there then I'm sure MS would pour the money into it.

            Still not sure why you'd pick it over the alternatives, though.

      • by sgt scrub (869860)

        Like Dos.

      • by Patch86 (1465427)

        MS already has an ARM OS, and it'd be relatively easy for them to make any of their OS's the base for a new ARM OS.

        The reason they don't pursue it with gusto is because Windows on ARM lacks the one thing that makes Window worth using: the extensive software library. No programmes compiled to run on i86 Windows will run on ARM Windows.

        Why else would anyone pick Windows over the competition, if not for the almost universal compatibility and endless back catalogue? Windows on ARM would be competing on a level

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, that's not the important point at all...at least not the most important point.

      1. Android is "free" (unlike XP or Vista or Windows 7 or even Ubuntu on ARM)
      2. ARM is considerably cheaper than Intel processors
      3. Longer battery life from power consumption benefits (obviously a nice bonus but the big guns are going for a cheaper way to make netbooks)

      I work for one of the companies that is making software for these new devices and Asus is going to bring out netbook based devices as well. Oh there is Android f

    • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:01AM (#28181461)

      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.

      People keep saying this sort of thing, but I really don't see it being viable. A Snapdragon is probably going to end up being at best the same speed as an Atom for native code. Windows 7 is probably quite portable and from the tests I've done on the Beta on Atoms might run quite okish on an 1Ghz Snapdragon if it were ported. Even there we're talking about a 1Ghz in order core with a memory controller designed for cellphone SDRAM. High performance desktop memory is really different to the stuff used in cellphones - the buses are narrower and slower. Here's are the details for an Atom

      http://processorfinder.intel.com/details.aspx?sSpec=SLB73 [intel.com]

      Note the bus speed, 533Mhz and the cache size, 512KB. By desktop standards the Atom is slow. Most Arm systems run memory much slower than this and have less cache. Look at the Snapdragon based Toshiba L01

      http://pdadb.net/index.php?m=specs&id=1855&view=1&c=toshiba_l01 [pdadb.net]

      It uses "mobile DDR SDRAM". I don't know the clock speed, but look at this

      http://www.eetasia.com/ART_8800457078_499486_NP_197bb814.HTM [eetasia.com]
      Hynix claims 'fastest' 512Mbit mobile DDR SDRAM with a 185Mhz clock speed.

      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.

      Once you get past the OS it gets worse. Office is probably less portable than Windows and Office 200x runs terribly on an Atom and would be worse on Snapdragon given the lower performance memory. Most Windows applications will not be ported and will run even worse in emulation - a Snapdragon emulating x86 will be unusably slow.

      Of course maybe ARM will do a Jazelle style extension where common x86 instructions are turned into ARM ones via an extra pipeline stage. I think that would mean a Snapdragon chip would run x86 code say 90% as fast as an Atom at the same clockspeed. Still a 1Ghz Atom is not a quick chip.

      • 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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Thumper_SVX (239525)

          I can tell you that my BeagleBoard [beagleboard.org] setup runs phenomenally fast on a 500/600Mhz ARM chip and 256MB of RAM. It's more than acceptable for 99.9% of all the apps I've thrown at it... be it basic web browsing, or even more complex stuff like GPS. It's silent, it's slick... and in fact the only weak point in my opinion is its reliance on SD cards for storage since they're SLOW. However, given its interfaces there's no reason you couldn't build something to interface to SATA or at least mini IDE interfaces... and

          • Yeah I'm really tempted to get one of those, but the major drawback to me is that they take so little RAM. If it could take 2 GB or so, then it would be really compelling. I realize that would kill it's power efficiency, but it would still be less than a tenth of what my current P4 desktop draws and probably in the same range of performance. But 256 makes a full Gnome dekstop with all the goodies that come with that less feasible, and I really like Gnome for the accessibility framework it has.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Hal_Porter (817932)

          As far as I can tell they didn't do that with Snapdragon. It's a fast chip by Arm standards, but the memory subsystem is very similar to their previous chips. Then again that's probably because they're interested in selling chips for cellphones rather than notebooks.

          Now Snapdragon is great for the cellphones but and I don't see why they should start to build chips for the netbook market where Arm is competing at a massive disadvantage.

          The problem is a 2+Ghz, possibly out of order, Arm chip with fast busses,

          • Also good points, but the smart phone market is probably only moving up in processor performance desired too, at least for a segment of it. With a higher performing but still very low power draw ARM chip in a mobile computing platform it could be game changing. While some people have smart phones, it really could open up computing to the next several hundred million people if done right. 45 engineer years or tens of millions doesn't sound out of order to stay ahead of that type of opportunity.
      • by mhall119 (1035984)

        Most Windows applications will not be ported and will run even worse in emulation - a Snapdragon emulating x86 will be unusably slow.

        This doesn't get said enough. Microsoft could run WinMobile on these, or even port Win7 to ARM, but without the vast ecosystems of Win32/x86 applications and drivers it will be useless.

        I expect that they will put their money into boosting development for WinMobile, as it already has an ARM-capable ecosystem, and probably pushing more pure .Net applications that would be portable across both architectures.

        Still, they will be the underdog in the ARM race, and they're not known for speed and flexibility in th

        • by Locutus (9039)

          just like the iPhone is useless because it doesn't run Windows, just like the iPod is useless because it doesn't run Windows and just like a LinuxPC is useless because it doesn't run Windows.

          They could dump more into Windows Mobile but don't you think over $15 billion lost on that product in over 10 years is enough to show they suck at software development? I saw a guy the other day almost throw his phone and yes, it was Windows Mobile he was frustrated with. Companies who spend more on developing a

          • I can only guess that some people call MS a "marketing company first and foremost" because they don't want to admit that it might just produce products that a lot of people want or like.

            Which is the best example of MS's excellent marketing skills? Was it the hit slogan "Where do you want to go today?" or the popular and long-running "Gates and Seinfeld" ads?

            Seriously, MS spends a higher percentage on R&D than Apple and Steve Jobs has been at least an order of magnitude more effective promoting Apple tha

            • Microsoft's best 'marketing slogan' was never heard by end users. "Pay for Windows on every box, and we'll give it to you really cheap".

              • I'm not sure if that's really considered marketing or not. Of course, Apple's version is "Charge customers what we tell you and we'll let you sell them."

            • by Locutus (9039)

              it is because their standard business methods are to use marketing tactics to win market share. dah. They leverage OEM deals to force OEMs to exclude non-Windows products, they leverage sales channels to exclude non-Windows products, they pay for "research" so often flawed and twisted it's obvious flaws are found on day one of the release, they have multi million dollar accounts to be used to keep large public accounts from bringing in OSS, they publish general FUD about the competition. I can go on and on

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Bert64 (520050)

        This is why Linux really stands to benefit...
        Even if windows were ported to arm, all of the applications would still need to be ported by their respective vendors, many of which wouldn't bother, or would release a castrated "mobile" version instead..

        Most commercial vendors won't port to a platform unless there is a sufficient market for it, and most customers won't buy a product unless there is already sufficient software availability.. A catch 22 that's already killed Itanium.

        Linux on the other hand, is al

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by horza (87255)

        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 quic

        • You're right, but X86 emulation still has a place in the mix (to the extent that running x86 win32 binaries matters - a lot to some people).

          And x86 emulation doesn't mean you need to emulate the entire win32 api along with the application binary. As soon as the emulator makes any kind of system call, it can emulate that call in native code. Your average app probably spends 80% of its time in system calls, so emulation done that way works remarkably well (I assume that's how Apple's Rosetta works). Certai

        • by bhtooefr (649901)

          The parent may not want to run x86 cruft, but the mass market wants to run Windows apps.

          This means x86 cruft.

      • by PRMan (959735)

        Windows 2000 runs pretty snappy on an Atom processor.

        I'm using it because Office doesn't come with MSDN anymore.

      • It's worth noting that the ARM architecture has a different instruction set, which does a better job of not straining the memory. Often you can do things one byte at a time, or do multiple one byte things in a single clock.

        ARM CPUs are usually packed with tons of registers(way more than x86), so short functions can be blazing fast, and not require cache or memory thrashing.

        But these ways of reducing memory bandwidth consumption are counteracted by having everything share memory. GPU, Co-Processor, CPU, LCD,

      • by sgt scrub (869860)

        I didn't think anyone was equating the devices to full blown laptops. Does anyone really want to work on a document on that small of a device? I'd have to be really jones'n to make an edit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

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

      That is correct, but I can't imagine why it's relevant. Did you mean to distinguish them from x86-64 or IA64? Or are you saying that all Atom-powered Eee's are not powered by ARM processors? That seems to be a vacuous truth.

      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.

      If the Netburst architecture taught us anything, it was that clock speed isn't everything.

      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?

      Why would this would be any different than how it's handled in any other linux-based OS?

      You seem excited by the thought of a handheld computer. I have to ask, why do you want one? I don't think ther

    • by bzzfzz (1542813)

      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?

      Well, the Android developers' kit includes emulation software so you can punch in whatever coordinates you like for testing, and there are plenty of cheap, small GPS modules [wikipedia.org] on the market. I would imagine that application compatibility problems will manifest in other areas, like display size and performance, since software developers who initially targeted the G1 have not had an opportunity to test on unrelated devices until recently.

    • by rickb928 (945187)

      "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?"

      Um, applications dependent on cellphone-ish hardware would probably not be installed on a device like the eeePC. Who needs SMS when you don't have cell service?

      Of course, a dialer would be cool if you implement UMA. Which would be cool on my G1. So I should root my G1 and install Ubuntu? Works for me. Right after I get the Cupcake s

    • 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.

      Even if Microsoft were to port Windows to ARM, they would still lose. Windows on ARM has the same perceived disadvantage as Linux: it won't run the existing catalog of Windows x86 applications. Microsoft cheated its way into the netbook market by strongarming Asus and others into bulking up their netbooks until they were basically under

      • "Microsoft cheated its way into the netbook market by strongarming Asus and others into bulking up their netbooks until they were basically underpowered laptops that were barely good enough to run Windows XP."

        By "strongarming", do you mean paying them? Or perhaps offering an OS that runs programs people are familiar with?

        Be honest, if you could choose to get the profits from an XP-based netbook vs. the profits from a Linux-based netbook, which would you choose?

      • by bhtooefr (649901)

        Microsoft is big enough to push a migration to ARM, though. If Apple can pull it off, Microsoft sure as hell can.

        Just push out a silent update to Visual Studio that makes an ARM/IA32/AMD64 fat binary by default.

        • by niteice (793961)
          Apple had the advantage of inheriting NeXT's already architecture-independent API, and all of their new code respected that. Unfortunately, Win32 is *mostly* source-compatible between architectures but not entirely - it's only recently that you start seeing explicit type sizes such as UINT32 instead of just UINT - you still often have to guess what that will be on your target architecture.

          Apple also inherited the Mach-O format, which encapsulates code for different architectures into a single binary - core
    • by radarsat1 (786772)

      Anyone else interested in the fact that it has an embedded DSP? I wonder what else that could be used for... hard real-time audio processing, for example?
      I wonder how much it is exposed to the system and through connectors..

    • by LionMage (318500)

      Even more impressive, the next generation Snapdragon [qctconnect.com] (the QSD8672) is dual core, running at 1.5 GHz. I'd really like to get my hands on a netbook running that device!

      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?

      Well, based on what I've been able to glean from the site linked in my previous paragraph, and a few other tidbits scattered elsewhere on the web, it looks as though this Sn

  • With their position at the top of the information world, and now branching out more and more everyday with products like android, and their new ebook venture, we're going to get to the point where google powers or integrates with just about everything. I both welcome this as their quality is usually top notch, and fear this as it means a potential breach of privacy by a private company that really no one will be able to stop...
  • That is going to be a an issue for any netbook. This with the android store could really make an interesting system.
    Some people will say that it is just a big smart phone but there is no need to limit it to just smart phone like applications.

  • The ultimate, nerdy, but very very useful boy-toy.

    I have the EEE 701 and I love it except for the smallish screen and too short battery life (can squeeze out 3-4 hrs by dimming the screen but that's it). 8-10 hrs sounds quite OK to me, getting usable. And built-in 3G radio: ultimate connectivity.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I don't think the phrase "boy-toy" means what you think it means.
  • by dvh.tosomja (1235032) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:00AM (#28181457)

    Does it run windows?

  • by snydeq (1272828) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:19AM (#28181737)
    Asustek appears to have already scuttled this project [infoworld.com], calling the technology 'not mature' and disavowing any pressure from Microsoft and Intel over the use of Android and Snapdragon in the Eee PC.

    Of course, the Android-based Eee was demonstrated by Qualcomm, not Asustek. Yet, Asustek's distancing itself from the machine while competitors like Acer are announcing Android plans [infoworld.com] is a little bit intriguing.
    • by Locutus (9039) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @10:17AM (#28182831)

      probably under contract with Microsoft. You know, the fine print that keeps showing up after 20 years of company lawyers being surprised by Microsoft's tactics. The funny thing about lawyers, each one thinks _they_ are smarter than the other lawyers and keep signing deals with Microsoft thinking they're getting away with something.
       

      It was obvious to me that they signed a deal with the devil when the next gen eEEPC's shipped. They used the 50/50 rule to say they ship 50% Linux systems and 50% Windows systems and that's why there were no Linux netbooks on store shelves. They boosted the hardware so Windows would run but then boosted the hardware more for the Linux versions and charged more for Linux. These are all signs of a "special" deal with Microsoft and they seem to be locked into this deal at the expense of the ARM systems. After all, if they can't ship Linux, how can they ship a viable ARM based system? So, ASUS can't play in this ARM netbook or Smartbook game and all they can do is try to put it down in an attempt to limit it's value and growth with marketing speak.
       

        So ASUS is out of the netbook/Smartbook game until their contract with Microsoft ends as far as I'm concerned. Windows is just not efficient enough to make a compelling small device OS.
       

      LoB

      • by CAIMLAS (41445)

        After all, if they can't ship Linux, how can they ship a viable ARM based system?

        I thiink you've got that backwards. They can't ship ARM systems because they have to ship Windows (say, at 50% total systems shipped, or w/e the deal is). They can't afford to do two entirely different architectures, and the product diversification would confuse consumers, so they don't.

        • by Locutus (9039)

          I might go with the idea that they "can't afford to do two entirely different architectures" but that bit about product diversification is bull. They boosted the hardware performance of the original EeePC to support Windows but instead of just selling that same hardware with Linux on it, they changed the hardware for the Linux models and then sold the Linux systems at more cost than the Windows versions. This too was probably a contract thing with Microsoft but the kicker is they allowed a contract requirin

  • by riflemann (190895) <riflemann AT bb DOT cactii DOT net> 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 bsDaemon (87307) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @09:33AM (#28182027)

    I just bought an EeePC last Thursday because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and because I determined that there was a niche to fill between my Toshiba (which is always hooked up to an external monitor, speakers, mouse, graphics tablet and all sorts of other things), and my BlackBerry Storm.I got it at best buy, and so of course all I really had for an option was Windows XP, and I'm not sure how it'd really do with Linux (I suppose if they've been selling Linux versions the hardware should all be compatible, but I spend enough time fussing with Linux on the servers at work to really want to do Linux of FreeBSD for a hobby anymore). I'm actually typing this on it now.

    I have yet to really play with Android, even though one of my coworkers has a G1, I just haven't really felt the urge to take it for a spin. The idea of having a "phone" OS on a "computer" seems a tad bit odd to me, but I suppose its just the opposite of the deal with the stripped-down OSX on the iPhone, which I have messed with a bit (I just don't feel like switching to AT&T or I'd probably pick one up... the only thing my Storm really has going for it is the tactile feedback to the depressible touch screen).

    Is there anything particularly special about Android over any other Linux distribution, other than the Google name, that makes it well suited for this type of application? From what I've read, it seems to be just a Linux kernel combined with Java phone crap and not really anything particularly special, though as I must admit, I've not really been following it too closely.

  • If Asus ever decided to come out with a smart-phone they could call it the eeePhone and advertise it as "three 'e's are better than one 'i'" Of course, then they could easily be trumped by the ieeePhone...

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Tuesday June 02, 2009 @10:01AM (#28182529)

    As far as modern day handheld computers go, I have to say that the Asus EEE induced second coming of the Netbook [wordpress.com] and its liklings [computermu...oningen.nl] has had extremley positive side effects on the market in the last two years.

    Portability? Check.
    Openess and flexibility of plattform? Check.
    Price? Check.
    Versatility? Check.

    However, there is just one more thing I want before I can say they are on par with the mid-nineties PC handhelds that where available back then and could easyly keep up with their big desktop brothers in terms of getting the job done: Battery Uptime and/or easy replacement of battery.

    Let me explain: The HP 200LX [gmxhome.de], Sharp PC 3000, 3100 and its non-name rebrands ran on AA cells. And while the off-grid uptime was a meager 3,5 hours at max, you could easyly replace them with rechargeables or - in an emergency - with fresh AA cells from the next gas station or convenience store.
    I want that kind of battery time or convenience from todays handhelds aswell. If convenience is not an option, I want the same uptime I could get from my old Palm m105 with folding keyboard attached or from the original Psion Netbook: 40 hours. ... On the Palm that uptime came from 3 or 4 AAA cells btw - but that's another story.

    Substancially increased battery uptime without outlandish pricing - then handhelds are back in the game for me. It would be about time.

    My 2 cents.

    • by sznupi (719324)

      ...the Asus EEE induced second coming of the Netbook and its liklings...

      Wasn't it really induced by OLPC XO-1? Have we forgotten about it already?

  • 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.

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

      Your unlikely to find an effective competitor to Windows that meets your criteria.

      Google doesn't avoid using standard Java or standard Linux in Android for spurious reasons. They want to minimize resources and maximize performance in a constrained environment.

      The typical consumer is oblivious to Linux standard libraries or Java portability. From a business perspective these issues are only relevant to the extent that they produce value for the

  • For Android OS to really take off an alternate window manager (native, non-Dalvik/Java-based) is required that would allow applications to run in native mode, even if Google don't support it.
  • I want it NOW! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    So when can I get my snapdragon powered mini-itx motherboard? It would make an ideal media centre.

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov

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