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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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  • by mweather ( 1089505 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @03:27PM (#27665425)
    For the size, yiou could probably easily make a smartphone with those features. They're expensive because they're small.
  • Teaching tool (Score:2, Interesting)

    by oh2 ( 520684 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @04:03PM (#27665987) Homepage Journal
    A tablet like this one would be a very useful teaching tool. As a teacher I see many potential uses for it and with a low cost it might actually be able to pry loose the money for one per kid. oh, the possibilities. Its going to be a few interesting months ahead when the ARM netbooks start to appear...
  • by Medievalist ( 16032 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @05:25PM (#27667233)

    He drove the price of a basic laptop down to $100 just like he said he would.

    What was it Ghandi said? First they mock you, then they fight you, then you win?

  • not anemic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by yog ( 19073 ) * on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @05:45PM (#27667523) Homepage Journal

    $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.

    Agreed, the blogger makes some rather opinionated statements but misses the forest for the trees in this case.

    It's a good trend that low cost hardware manufacturers are getting into the netbook game and featuring systems like Android. Backed by a mega corporation and open sourced, Android is bound to keep getting better. I think it's going to give the iPhone a run for its money eventually.

    As for netbooks, it seems like a good idea for some purposes--a handy little sub laptop. If it works with Skype--and given that the manufacturer makes Skype headsets, and Android does support Skype, you would expect it to--it would be a sweet travel laptop to replace the brick (albeit, a fun Ubuntu brick but still rather hot and energy hungry).

    I'm just a little worried about the origin of the hardware. I've bought several gadgets direct from Chinese resellers or factory sites via Ebay, and I've been underwhelmed by their quality.

    For example, recently I got a little 4 gig MP3 player that turned out to have terrible firmware, a nonstandard headset jack, a very poor battery, crappy UI, and just plain didn't work very well. I later got a Sansa MP3 player that was approximately the same price but much, much better engineered. This pattern has played out several times.

    I think the Chinese copycat manufacturers have some good ideas but their execution, especially their engineering, is nowhere close to American, Japanese, or Korean standards. It's ironic because they make great products when they are spec'd by Americans (e.g., the iPod family and millions of other things), but on their own they seem not to pay the same close attention to detail. Or else, could it be that I've just had bad luck? But I don't think so, or we'd be seeing more Chinese-branded products on local store shelves. Sooner or later, of course, like the Japanese, they'll get it right, and they'll blow the foreign manufacturers out of the water, but not yet.

    In the meantime I think I would tend to trust a unit that was designed by Apple, or Google, or some Taiwanese or American manufacturer rather than one of these homegrown models.

  • by Eccles ( 932 ) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @06:19PM (#27668047) Journal

    I want a car PC. GPS/Nav, ~7" screen, music, bluetooth for my cell, rear-view cam, voice recognition, browser if possible (at least if near Wi-Fi, ideally with 3G if my phone supports it), more. For $100, this might serve as a good basis for it.

    I'm not looking to compile code on it, play FPSes, etc., so the specs don't have to be impressive.

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM