First Android Netbook Actually Costs $250

As the first device running Android, it was guaranteed to get us excited. However, world and dog were all too quick to point out that it wasn’t exactly impressive. That said, for $100, it wasn’t too bad. At the very least, your hundred bucks would get you an Android-based netbook you could tinker with and not feel like you were wasting money you didn’t have.

Over the weekend, a new price started to get around and it seems that the rumored pricetag of just $100 was too good to be true -- about $150 too good. That’s right, according to an in-depth interview with Skytone over on Computerworld, the device will be more like $250. Nixon Wu, Skytone's co-founder said that as volume ramps up, the company hopes for that price to drop. Let’s not mince words, $150 is a big jump, so where did that first figure come from?

It's hard to say. As far as we can tell, the company was aiming to make a $100 netbook, but didn't quite get there. Wu says that the company took direction from Wal-Mart, which pointed them in the direction of the low-cost PC business back in 2006.

"They were looking for ways to build a $100 PC. We had expertise in porting Linux to embedded systems, and so they found us," Wu told Computerworld. "At the end of the day, we couldn't meet Wal-Mart's target, but we continued on this path anyway."

Alright, so it’s 2.5 times the price, you say, but are there any more let downs in store? Well, yeah. The Alpha 680 is definitely ultra-portable. Weighing in at about 1.5 lbs and measuring 8.5 inches long, 6 inches wide and 1.2 inches thick it’s smaller than the EeePC. Last week’s reports of an 800 x 480 7-inch LCD, 128 MB DDR2 (up to 256 MB Optional), 1 GB SSD (up to 4 GB Optional), WiFi and an ARM11 533 MHz 32-bit CPU were true. The part about the touchscreen wasn’t, it seems. While the 680 is not a tablet computer (despite what the pictures on Skytone's website tell us), the Alpha 700, a 1024 x 600 8.9-inch PC with a 500 MHz MIPS processor, and 2 GB SSD drive, is. The tablet will cost between $200 and $250, said Wu.

At the end of the day, this sounds like a bum deal. The only reason we can see anyone paying $250 for an ARM power, 800 x 480 7-inch netbook, with 128 MB DDR2 and a 1 GB SSD is if they really can’t wait to get their hands on Android to mess around with the OS. That aside, I’d invest the extra cash and get an Eee PC or an Aspire One (or less cash in the case of a Mini 9). What do you guys think? All things considered, would you pay $250 for this piece of kit?

  • Xpyrofuryx
    I'd much rather pay an extra $100 and get the mini-powerhouse Eee PC 1000HE
  • smk4664
    If the Tablet was $250 dollars, then I would buy one. I believe that is the cheapest tablet out there, and my tablet is not very portable.
  • ik242
    I have no need for such device but that does not mean someone else won't. in my case, i'm after computing power and high resolution displays. i am quite disappointed that common machines are using only 1280x800 pixels. one has to fork some serious dough for 1920x1200 - or at least settle for 17" or greater "mobile" computer.
  • I'd buy it for $100, but IMHO, it'd be way better to get a real notebook used, or a TurionX2/ATI-780g based notebook in the $500-600 range if possible. That thing makes no sense at $250.
  • If I can get the all day battery life promised? Sure, I'd buy one in a heartbeat and install Debian Arm on it. All I need is a cheap, long lasting Internet device to get on the web and ssh to my home machine.
  • downix
    Depends on the battery. If it fulfils the potential of 5+ hours on a charge, then it would fit my needs for a decent price point.
  • unlicensedhitman
    This has to be the carpest of all the netbooks.
  • thejerk
    Jane :)All things considered, would you pay $250 for this piece of shit?
    Edited for accuracy... and, no way.
  • mitch074
    I think the most expensive part of that notebook isn't its component set.

    It's the platform. Hello, guys! ARM notebook! It's no Intel, no Via, no AMD, no Nvidia! It's all new! It had to be drawn from scratch! Let's say, each unit is worth $90 in hardware, and first shipment is considered to be 50 000 units, would it be impossible to consider development costs to be around $8M?

    Now, if there is much demand, and 500 000 units ship? Those $8M won't increase any more - they'll be split among all those units. That will make $40/unit, so it would mean a sales tag of $130. Maybe not $100 - and even then, one may wonder about the economies of scales in ordering 500 000 ARM ships and screens and such, and manufacturing costs (less units shipping dead).

    So, no, $100 isn't impossible.
  • city_zen
    xpyrofuryxNo.I'd much rather pay an extra $100 and get the mini-powerhouse Eee PC 1000HE
    Sorry but "Eee PC 1000HE" (Intel Atom 1.66 GHz) and "mini-powerhouse" do not belong in the same sentence