Monday, April 27, 2009
WORLD'S FIRST ANDROID NETBOOK / LAPTOP IS ALPHA (ALPHA-680)
AN ALL-NEW ALPHA -- IT'S Android! -- World's first. And it's under $250
One hopes this new Alpha will be picked up the by major wireless service providers like AT&T and Verizon as a giveaway to promote their services. It is certainly a coup for the Alpha's manufacturer to be the first to offer a cheap Android mini-laptop (some will call it a netbook) and gives them a good shot at the mass market via AT&T, etc. (All of this is while we wait for $100 laptops sold on pegboards at CVS and Walgreens -- the real goal.)
See it at manufacturer's website: http://www.skytone.net.cn/en/products.php?bigclass=4&smallclass=15&show_type=1
This is big, after about 3 months of slow news: The first computer based on the Android operating system will be an Alpha from Guangzhou Skytone Transmission Technologies Co., the actual maker of most if not all of the Alpha 400s we are blogging about. It will be called the Alpha 680. The meaning of "680" is unclear, since the speed is speced at 533 MHz rather than 680 MHz. The prototype will be out in June 2009 and the Alpha will be on the market in August.
Contact Ian Wu at Skytone.
The Android is an open-source OS developed by Google and later the Open Handset Alliance (cellphone manufacturers) based on the Linux kernal. Netbooks based on it have been eagerly and widely awaited -- so, again, this is important.
An Alpha apparently will be the first. And it is basically all-Chinese -- again a serious omen. Think about it: all-Chinese.
Like the Apple iPhone and many other smartphones, the Alpha 680 uses an ARM processor, which is much cheaper than the Intel Atom CPU used in so-called netbooks, which range mostly from $300-$600.
The processor will be Chinese made -- an important trend in the world of computers -- and an ARM 11 type probably from Ingenics. This is really an almost all-Chinese effort (except for the OS): the CPU (probably Ingenic), factory, and even the brand owner Skytone are all Chinese.
The mainstream computer publication Computer World says that some computer industry analysts think that the combination of an ARM processor and Android OS could open an era of sub-$200 netbooks.
These people routinely fail to mention the Alpha 400, which already sells for $169 or less. Also, the Razorbook Model 3K-RZ400-4GB-WIN model -- with an ARM Ingenic 400MHz processor, 7" 800x480 widescreen LCD, 128MB RAM, 4GB Solid-State Disk (SSD) drive, 802.11b/g -- already is available for $147.99. The press misses these things routinely.
The specs of the Alpha 680 Android mini-laptop are: 7-inches, 800 x 480 LCD. 128 MB RAM, 1 GB SSD storage, Wi-Fi, and full applications software (word processor, PDF viewer, etc. -- not just a "netbook" for the Internet). The system is about the same size and weight as the Alpha 400. Battery time: 4 hours.
See here: http://www.skytone.net.cn/en/products.php?bigclass=4&smallclass=15&show_type=1