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First Android Netbook Costs Just $100

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 33 comments

Here it is, the first Android netbook.

We’ve been waiting for Android to hit a device that’s anything but a mobile phone for a while now, but more specifically, we’ve been waiting for an Android-powered netbook. Figuring such a device would make some kind of splash, the first low cost notebook/tablet running Google’s open source OS nearly slipped by us unnoticed.

China-based Skytone this week added the Alpha 680 to its website and presents itself as 7-inch ARM powered, Android netbook that also doubles as a tablet. Specs-wise, it’s not all that impressive, but then again, netbooks aren’t supposed to be impressive machines. You’re looking at a 800x480 7-inch LCD, 128 MB DDR2 (up to 256 MB Optional), 1 GB SSD (up to 4 GB Optional), an ARM11 533 MHz 32bit CPU as well as a capacitive touchscreen.

Judging from the pictures, it also comes in some pretty garish colors, including yellow. While there’s no price on the website (or shipping date for that matter), rumor has it this will cost just $100, which is more than alright for a very low-end netbook.

Check out the Skytone website for more pictures. 

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  • 2 Hide
    Shadow703793 , April 22, 2009 4:51 PM
    Ok, good. Now will we be able to run a different Linux distro for it? :D 
    This would make a great project Netbook that you could hack and make a photoframe,etc.
  • 9 Hide
    JMcEntegart , April 22, 2009 4:57 PM
    Shadow703793Ok, good. Now will we be able to run a different Linux distro for it? This would make a great project Netbook that you could hack and make a photoframe,etc.


    That's what every manufacturer wants to hear, "Man, I would hack this laptop and turn it into a MEAN picture frame!"
  • 0 Hide
    barturtle , April 22, 2009 5:08 PM
    Hmmm....my Dell Axiom X3i with a 400mhz ARM (XScale) 64MB Ram, 3.5"screen cost >$350...more speed, more memory, added storage, bigger screen and a built in keyboard for $100...I could go for that. I got a ton of work done on my X3i (including taking notes in class with the folding keyboard add-on)...now show me some GPS love for it and I'm sold.
  • 1 Hide
    nerdherd , April 22, 2009 5:08 PM
    Haha, seriously...but for $100 I'd be willing to try a lot of things with this netbook, especially considering that it's a tablet netbook! Wait, I just looked at the website and it doesn't say anything about being a tablet, or having a touch screen besides the fact that it has a rotating screen. Is that enough to assume that it does have a touchscreen? I'd say by the looks of the controls on the front it won't be a touchscreen. Maybe I'm just skeptical of a $100 netbook with a touchscreen though...but you can always hope, right?
  • -2 Hide
    bustapr , April 22, 2009 5:08 PM
    Well, what fits in 1gb ssd? Is 553mhz and 128mb supposed to be fast? Does 800x480 look good? NO! I think they stopped making these things many, many years ago. Its true that a netbook isn't supposed to be anything impressive, but something like wouldn,t have been impressive at all 10 years ago. For me, it ain't worth $100, not even with a new unseen OS(on pc) like Android.
  • 0 Hide
    JMcEntegart , April 22, 2009 5:16 PM
    nerdherdHaha, seriously...but for $100 I'd be willing to try a lot of things with this netbook, especially considering that it's a tablet netbook! Wait, I just looked at the website and it doesn't say anything about being a tablet, or having a touch screen besides the fact that it has a rotating screen. Is that enough to assume that it does have a touchscreen? I'd say by the looks of the controls on the front it won't be a touchscreen. Maybe I'm just skeptical of a $100 netbook with a touchscreen though...but you can always hope, right?


    The specs page (right at the bottom) lists a capacitive TouchPad. :) 
  • 1 Hide
    jghidotti , April 22, 2009 5:19 PM
    According to their site, it comes with a "Better" instead of a "Battery"! I have to get one now.
  • 1 Hide
    nerdherd , April 22, 2009 5:19 PM
    JMcEntegartThe specs page (right at the bottom) lists a capacitive TouchPad.


    Yes but that refers to the MOUSE TouchPad aka a trackpad, not the screen.

  • 0 Hide
    mforce2 , April 22, 2009 5:22 PM
    I like this one. Who cares if the specs are low end , there are plenty of Linux distros and software that will run just fine on this thing. Check out something like DSL Linux or Puppy Linux.
    Besides I'm thinking you can get even full featured Linux distros working on this by using some external storage ( fast 8 GB USB stick is like 10 $ ) and the RAM at 256 MB should do.
    It's great that it's Android powered I mean it's cool but other than that I find it pretty useless. Maybe Android is OK for phones but in a laptop I'd rather have a Linux distro with some decent software.
  • 1 Hide
    LoboBrancoTimido , April 22, 2009 5:48 PM
    JMcEntegartThat's what every manufacturer wants to hear, "Man, I would hack this laptop and turn it into a MEAN picture frame!"


    I love DIY and that just sounds wrong, people do what them want, comments like that only show that you don't know your readers.
  • 0 Hide
    NaNoSoLdIeR , April 22, 2009 6:09 PM
    If it's well marketed I think it will have a bit of impact in the netbook market because if you think what netbooks were born to do this one will do it just fine. I myself wouldn't buy it because my needs are a bit more specific. But i'm with barturtle on the GPS that with a 3G internet connection would be wonderous, it could be marketed as a car nettop XD
  • 0 Hide
    barturtle , April 22, 2009 6:26 PM
    nerdherdYes but that refers to the MOUSE TouchPad aka a trackpad, not the screen.



    It does show a pen on the "zoom in" page...I can totally deal with a tablet netbook with a pen (like a do on my tablet laptop and my Wacom desktop)
  • 0 Hide
    christop , April 22, 2009 7:01 PM
    This is cool.. I want one just for hell of it...
  • 2 Hide
    sublifer , April 22, 2009 7:01 PM
    JMcEntegartThe specs page (right at the bottom) lists a capacitive TouchPad.

    TouchPad =? Touchscreen? Its okay Jane... a lot of us have read into things when we wanted something really bad. Mistakes happen.
  • 0 Hide
    hillarymakesmecry , April 22, 2009 7:31 PM
    Heck I'd be willing to buy it for $100 and use it as a garage computer.
  • 0 Hide
    tayb , April 22, 2009 7:58 PM
    Feels like I'm back in 1998. At least it isn't 3 inches thick.
  • 1 Hide
    jhansonxi , April 22, 2009 8:05 PM
    At $100 bundling becomes a reality. If Windows 7 was ported to ARM and the specs of this device increased a bit, it would be conceivable that in a retail box of Windows 7 you could find a "free netbook".
  • 0 Hide
    tipoo , April 22, 2009 9:49 PM
    Awesome. I've been waiting for some ultra cheap ARM based netbooks.
  • 0 Hide
    cruiseoveride , April 22, 2009 10:47 PM
    ARMs are only good when it comes down to power consumption
  • -2 Hide
    jsloan , April 22, 2009 10:59 PM
    sounds like crap, 7", god one laptop per child, toy thingy, has better hardware and bigger screen ;-)
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