Alpha 680 netbook running the Android OS has been released. The Alpha 680 is intended to be a budget netbook with a target price of $250; for that, though, you'll at least get a touchscreen. Unfortunately the touchscreen is pretty much the start and end of any decent specs, with the rest of the Alpha 680's abilities being seriously underwhelming. An ARM11 533MHz processor, 1GB of storage (4GB max) and just 128MB of RAM (256MB max) are disappointing even in netbook circles, hence Android running on the 680 pretty much as it does on a G1. The videos also demonstrate the problem with putting what's right now a mobile OS onto a larger device, without reworking to suit the bigger display. The Skytone's touchscreen may only be 7-inches, but Android still looks comically spread out. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSo3icNEBNE[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQUcoQgs2IM[/youtube] [via netbooknews.de]
HTC Magic to land, with what's expected to be a May 5th launch on Vodafone UK, this week has been all about alternative devices from the standard Android smartphone. We kicked off with a video demo of a hacked-together Android netbook, only to find the real thing - or at least the promise of it - in the shape of the Skytone Alpha 680 later. Based on an ARM11 processor, the Alpha 680's specs might have trouble blowing the skin off of custard, but it's enough to run Android "fairly well" including some YouTube viewing. In fact the only real disappointment could be the price: early rumors led us to believe that Skytone were aiming for $100 sticker, a figure new information from the company's co-founder has proved inaccurate. The Alpha 680 will actually come in at around $250, with Skytone's target audience being emerging markets. If you'd rather a more pocketable device, and don't mind giving up the QWERTY keyboard, then Routon's P730 and P760 might fill a niche. The compact MIDs are currently seeing distributors, with the promise of Android to sweeten the deal. Finally, what's tipped as Samsung's first Android handset, the I7500, has broken cover. Bearing an AMOLED touchscreen and the usual UMTS/GPS/WiFi connectivity of Android handsets we've seen already, the I7500 is apparently headed to O2 Germany in June.
early tipped price for the Skytone Alpha 680 Android netbook is one example. While initial predictions put the Alpha 680's sticker at the $100 mark, in actual fact the ARM-based netbook will come in at around $250 if Skytone's development goes to plan. According to Skytone co-founder Nixon Wu, the Alpha 680 will measure roughly 8.5 x 6.0 x 1.2 inches and tip the scales at 1.5lbs; that's smaller than the original ASUS Eee PC 701. Unlike the Eee, it will use a 533MHz ARM11 processor rather than an Intel chip, paired with a 7-inch 800 x 480 display, 128MB of RAM and 1GB of storage. Wu claims the minimal specs cope with Android "fairly well", with YouTube videos "playing fine". The promise of cross-platform applications will take some time to fulfill, however, as Wu admits that 20-percent of the software currently in the Android Market are incompatible with the Alpha 680. Wu has also confirmed that pre-installed software will be minimal, and that battery life from the compact 2-cell pack will suffice for 2-4hrs of surfing over WiFi. Skytone's expectation is that the cost of the Alpha 680 will drop as production ramps up, which will come as good news to the company's target audience. Developing countries and emerging markets are where Skytone expects to shift the most units, for whom "watching TV over the internet is not the most urgent thing" Wu highlighted. Already Skytone has received "300 inquiries from different countries", the executive claims. More Skytone Alpha 680 Android netbook images here.
Android-based MIDs to an Android netbook, the first budget ultraportable to adopt Google's open-source OS looks to be the Skytone Alpha 680. A convertible netbook with a 7-inch 800 x 480 display, ARM11 533MHz processor and mere 1GB of onboard storage, the Alpha 680's selling point looks set to be its price, suggested as just $100. For that you get a "capacitive touchpad", which we're assuming means the trackpad below the keyboard rather than the netbook's display itself. Other specs include WiFi, 128MB of DDR2 RAM (expandable to a heady 256MB) and two USB 2.0 ports. 3G is another option, but there's no telling whether it's integrated or merely plugs into one of those USB ports. The hardware won't blow anybody away, but if Skytone can bring the Alpha 680 to market then they'll likely find at least a few buyers. We'd wager this is a product in desperate search of a distributor, however, so don't hold your breath. [gallery] [via UMPC Fever]