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Portables Operating Systems Software Hardware

First Android-Based Netbook, Set-Top Box 114

An anonymous reader writes "China based Skytone famous for making skype headsets have brought out a $100 device, the Alpha-680 netbook running Google Android for its OS. The device has Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB ports and an SD card slot. After watching the video though, I get a feeling that the boot time is somewhat long. IMO good enough for browsing." Also on the Android front, ruphus13 points out what the maker claims is the first "fully realized" non-mobile Android device (though I think there were some other non-mobile gadgets on diplay at CES), a set-top box from Motorola based on Android. According to the linked post, it's "capable of playing DVDs and CDs, transferring music and video to a mobile device, and ripping and storing files" and "will have a full-featured Chrome-like browser."
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First Android-Based Netbook, Set-Top Box

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  • Anemic for 100 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CSFFlame ( 761318 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @02:48PM (#27664793)
    $100 isn't very much. As low spec as that is, it's very good for $100. I don't know why they were bashing it so much.
  • Android Java (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pleappleappleap ( 1182301 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @02:55PM (#27664913) Homepage

    I'd be much more impressed with android if there was a full JRE available.

  • not a netbook (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @02:56PM (#27664929) Homepage

    MacOS, Linux, and Windows have enough apps that they can be considered full-blown operating systems. Android is absolutely not in the same league. It's closer to phone firmware than to PC operating systems.

    This is just a glorified phone, at least for now.

  • by oo7tushar ( 311912 ) <> on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @03:06PM (#27665095) Homepage

    I'm actually wanting one if it's around $100. It would be perfect for showing simple stats or doing very basic quick commands. Could even write a custom application quickly.

    I'm not anywhere close to disappointed by the specs as the author of the article is.

  • by TheNarrator ( 200498 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @03:07PM (#27665103)

    Geez... The reviewer was criticizing this netbook saying that this thing was "low-end" and a glorified cellphone. Well I have no idea what kinds of cellphone you can get with a QWERTY keyboard, an RJ45 Jack, USB, 3G, Wifi an SD card slot and an 800x600 screen for $100.

  • Re:not a netbook (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @03:11PM (#27665169)

    Well at one point any of those OSes that mentioned had less features and functionality than Android does currently, where do you draw the line between OS and "glorified phone"?

  • I'm a developer, (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pleappleappleap ( 1182301 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @03:12PM (#27665181) Homepage

    so rather than having to go through the rigmarole of developing for this tiny set of Java classes, I'd much rather just develop for the Java SE and ME APIs with which I am already familiar.

    One of my favorite features of Java is its cross-platform compatibility.

  • by dreemernj ( 859414 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @03:15PM (#27665231) Homepage Journal
    I was thinking the same. And maybe I'm showing my age, but I know I can use a laptop very productively if it has up to 256MB RAM and 4 gigs of storage. It'll never be a powerhouse, but for $100 bucks I'd be happy with one.
  • Compare to TiVo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @03:23PM (#27665361) Homepage Journal

    Given that android is a Linux kernel, that would mean that all of these devices are going to make their (kernel) source available right?

    TiVo makes its kernel source code available, but is it useful?

  • Re:not a netbook (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thornburg ( 264444 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @03:32PM (#27665491)

    MacOS, Linux, and Windows have enough apps that they can be considered full-blown operating systems.

    So the iPhone is a full computer? It does run a version of MacOS, and it has tons of apps...

    What about Windows Mobile devices?

    I don't think either "number of apps" or "mac os/linux/windows" is the identifier for "computer" versus "appliance/phone/etc".

    Also, the need to draw a line between the two is rapidly disappearing.

    Welcome to the Great Convergance. AI controlled machines will take over the world and eliminate the human race in 3...2...

  • Re:not a netbook (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @03:40PM (#27665625) Homepage

    Well if you want to have mobile phones and netbooks as separate categories, there must be a distinction. And my definition would be that netbooks have all the functionality one would expect from a desktop PC.

    Windows mobile and iPhone do not have anywhere near that functionality. Have you ever tried using the spreadsheet app on WM6? A toy.

  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @03:51PM (#27665787) Homepage Journal

    The "reviewer" was the usual ignorant and opinionated "technology columnist". Saying stupid things is practically part of his job description.

  • by tennesseejim ( 1294164 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @03:57PM (#27665899)
    Is there anyone actually selling one of these netbooks? Or is it just vaporware?
  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @04:10PM (#27666081) Homepage Journal

    Please. Java SE may not be the Windows killer Sun used to claim it was, but there are still a lot of people running Java GUI apps, especially in enterprise applications. And not "legacy" apps either. It's a simple way to create simple client programs that you can deploy over the web. It will never replace native apps for most purposes, but it still has a big role.

    The absence of a JRE would all seem to relate to the confusion over what kind of device Android is really meant for. Google seems to have targeted at cell phones and PDA-style devices. In that context, not supporting Java SE makes sense. But once you start deploying Android on netbooks....

  • Re:not a netbook (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Polumna ( 1141165 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @04:23PM (#27666249)
    How about this for a distinction: I can't imagine trying to talk into a device with a 7" screen.

    Indeed, using a spreadsheet app is mostly a futility on WM6. I can speak from experience on that. Why? Because putting a spreadsheet on a 3" screen is ridiculous. Not because of anything else. My phone has multiple TIMES the processing power and memory of the first computer I used a spreadsheet app on. If I had a VGA output and a mouse input on my phone, there is no reason it couldn't run a port of Excel 97.

    I had a good friend in college (2-3 years ago) who ran around with a 233 Mhz PII, just because he could. It worked fine. He kept some data from our projects on it, even. By comparison to this android device, what would you say it is now? An underpowered netbook? A sub-netbook? A glorified phone? It certainly wouldn't run any modern desktop software either. If it changed categories at some point during its what... 9 year life, when was it? When did it become a netbook? When did it drop to glorified phone?

    Labels are a convenience, so people can talk about roughly the same thing. Sometimes they can be used in arguments for fun or flamebait. They are irrelevant. A device is what it is and is defined by what it is intended to do, nothing else. Arguing about it like it's super important with strict, yet still inherently arbitrary, definitions is an exercise in futility... much like running a spreadsheet app in WM6.

"Truth never comes into the world but like a bastard, to the ignominy of him that brought her birth." -- Milton