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Report: MSI to Unveil Android Netbook in June

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 9 comments

It looks like MSI might be ready to join the Android party.

Yesterday we wrote about Skytone’s one hundred dollar Android netbook. While a lot of you seemed really keen on the device (mostly because you wanted to experiment with Android or a netbook and $100 didn’t seem like too high a price to pay for that opportunity), we weren’t exactly bowled over by the first device running Google’s Android OS.

Today rumors say MSI plans to showcase an Android-based netbook at Computex 2009, meaning we could see a higher quality machine with Android come June. According to DigiTimes (citing a Chinese-language Economic Daily News report), MSI is also aiming to gain orders from global PC vendors, so we could see a whole host of Android netbooks in the not too distant future.

While there are no specs available as of now, we’re hoping for something along the lines of MSI’s recently announced Wind U100 Plus, which packs a 10-inch (1,024x600) display, Intel’s 1.66GHz Atom N280, up to 2 GB of RAM, 160 GB hard drive, 3 USB ports, a 4-in-1 multicard reader, VGA output, WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR and the ubiquitous webcam. That would give us a chance to see how Android handles typical netbook hardware differently from Windows XP or Linux.

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  • -1 Hide
    nerdherd , April 23, 2009 3:40 PM
    Although this is pretty much the same kind of netbook we've been seeing for a while now it would still be nice if it comes with a significant price reduction because of Android. All my experience with Google products has been very positive so I'd be interested to see what Android could do on this kind of netbook too.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 23, 2009 3:40 PM
    again the same mininotebook specs, if they would only sell it cheaper!
    I'm not willing to pay $300 for that!
    That's what I payed my EeePc nearly 1,5 years ago.

    Perhaps an ARM based Linux design would be great. But I prefer larger screen resolution. 1024x600 is too small for my taste.
    cramp a 720P screen in a 9 or 10" device;power it with a good ARM processor (single or dual core), and a high capacity battery, as well as 2GB or SoDimm Ram,and a video processor that can decode 720P video, and you got the device I was looking for 1 year ago!
    If it would exist today, hopefully priced around $200-$300 it would sell.
    But the Atom notebook specs leave a bitter aftertaste with many due to the powerdemanding Intel GMA chipset.
  • -1 Hide
    fuser , April 23, 2009 8:56 PM
    I don't know how much cheaper it will be than the XP netbooks, since MS only gets $15 in licensing fees from that setup.

    I'll be interested in reading the first reviews. I'm still holding out for a nice Android phone.
  • -1 Hide
    industrial_zman , April 24, 2009 4:38 AM
    Isn't Android Google's distro of Linux? Just like Mac OS X is Apple's BSD distro. So how is it really different than running your own Linux netbook other than running your cool exclusive Android applets? I've tweaked a few netbooks in the last few years with LFS and Gentoo to get the most performance from them.

    personally the direction I want to see from the netbooks is to completely get rid of the keyboard all together, make it a touchscreen with a LED backlight or OLED screen, basically turn them into an overgrown PDA that can run everyday apps. Give us 720P at least for streaming web videos, I know Epson has a 7" 1080P display; this can't be that hard. I want more than 2GB of RAM in my hand for multitasking. also get off of the atom platform, I have seen arm processors run circles around these chips, anyone play with Marvell's 1GHz arm?. but if you want to stay with the x86 arch for Windows, then support nVidia with ION for either Intel Atom or one of VIA's chips.
  • -1 Hide
    neiroatopelcc , April 24, 2009 8:07 AM
    industrial_zmanIsn't Android Google's distro of Linux? Just like Mac OS X is Apple's BSD distro. So how is it really different than running your own Linux netbook other than running your cool exclusive Android applets? I've tweaked a few netbooks in the last few years with LFS and Gentoo to get the most performance from them. personally the direction I want to see from the netbooks is to completely get rid of the keyboard all together, make it a touchscreen with a LED backlight or OLED screen, basically turn them into an overgrown PDA that can run everyday apps. Give us 720P at least for streaming web videos, I know Epson has a 7" 1080P display; this can't be that hard. I want more than 2GB of RAM in my hand for multitasking. also get off of the atom platform, I have seen arm processors run circles around these chips, anyone play with Marvell's 1GHz arm?. but if you want to stay with the x86 arch for Windows, then support nVidia with ION for either Intel Atom or one of VIA's chips.



    You answer your own question really. You've spent years tweaing the os to work like you want. With google or apple, people rely on someone who knows more than they do about making it work simple and painless. That's always what I'd go for if I didn't know what to do myself - though I'd obviously not pick apple.
  • -1 Hide
    industrial_zman , April 24, 2009 3:22 PM
    neiroatopelccYou answer your own question really. You've spent years tweaing the os to work like you want. With google or apple, people rely on someone who knows more than they do about making it work simple and painless. That's always what I'd go for if I didn't know what to do myself - though I'd obviously not pick apple.


    the point I was making is that in the article the last line:
    Jane McEntegartThat would give us a chance to see how Android handles typical netbook hardware differently from Windows XP or Linux.


    if Android is running a Linux kernel, then how can it be any different as in handling hardware? the differences can only be what runs on top of the kernel not the kernel itself which access the hardware. Yes I do know that Android can be recompiled on virtually any OS and have it run ontop, I've actually compiled and ran it on an HTC 8950 with a Windows Mobile 6.0 kernel underlying as well as an old Sharp Zarus SL-5500 with OpenBSD kernel. but every pure Android machine I've encounter, both in preproduction and post has had the Linux kernel.
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    WheelsOfConfusion , April 24, 2009 6:06 PM
    industrial_zmanthe point I was making is that in the article the last line:if Android is running a Linux kernel, then how can it be any different as in handling hardware?

    It may have the Linux kernel, but it's built and executed differently (for example, no X.org for graphics) and operates on a different model from traditional Linux server or desktop OSes. You can't even run normal Linux applications on it, and it's not easy to port them over. Because it's so radically different than other Linux distros, it's "not really" a Linux distribution.
  • -1 Hide
    industrial_zman , April 25, 2009 3:47 PM
    [dom]WheelsOfConfusion[/dom]It may have the Linux kernel, but it's built and executed differently (for example, no X.org for graphics) and operates on a different model from traditional Linux server or desktop OSes. You can't even run normal Linux applications on it, and it's not easy to port them over. Because it's so radically different than other Linux distros, it's "not really" a Linux distribution.

    hmmm lets see how hard it is to port and application. oh wait x11 was ported to the android platform already: http://hackaday.com/2009/02/22/x11-on-android/

    Typically they do use a more stripped down kernel for Andriod a flavor of BusyBox Linux, just like in most home entertainment equipment and mobile devices around the world. The manufacture may harden the kernel to make it harder to have access to the command line or complete access as root. after you have obtained access to root, you may port any applications for that arch in and out at will. typical Linux geek would strip out the stock Linux kernel to add their own build so they are not limited by the manufacture's kernel.

    And in your infinite wisdom and logic, WheelsOfConfusion, since Apple's Mac OS X is radically different from other BSD distros, that would make Mac OS X not really a BSD distro? come on, Linux is Linux and BSD is BSD anyway you slice it even if you take off the name Linux or BSD.
  • -1 Hide
    WheelsOfConfusion , April 25, 2009 6:26 PM
    industrial_zmanhmmm lets see how hard it is to port and application. oh wait x11 was ported to the android platform already: http://hackaday.com/2009/02/22/x11-on-android/

    That's cool. It doesn't change the fact that Android itself is significantly different in execution and business model from other Linux distros, regardless of how much you can hack it after-the-fact.

    industrial_zmanAnd in your infinite wisdom and logic, WheelsOfConfusion...

    In my infinite wisdom and logic, I can often used context clues and inference to glean meanings that are not strictly literal, such as the use of "Linux" in the article to represent "typical Linux distributions" rather than "anything using the Linux kernel." I understand that this ethereal distinction can be a tad beyond mere mortals such as yourself, however, so I won't hold it against you. I'm gracious like that.