Qualcomm shows Eee PC running Android OS

Qualcomm expects the first Snapdragon laptops to hit the market by the end of this year

Qualcomm showed off a previously unannounced version of Asustek Computer's Eee PC based on its Snapdragon processor at the Computex exhibition on Monday, including one running Google's Android operating system.

The new laptop -- which Qualcomm calls a smartbook -- is thinner and lighter than current members of Asustek's Eee PC netbook lineup because the 1GHz Snapdragon processor that it uses does not require a heat sink or a cooling fan, said Hank Robinson, vice president of business development at Qualcomm.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon includes a 1GHz Arm processor core, a 600MHz digital-signal processor and hardware video codecs. Currently, Asustek's Eee PC line of netbooks relies on Intel processors, in particular the low-cost, low-power Atom chip, which has an x86 processor core.

Qualcomm withheld detailed specifications of the laptop at Asustek's request, but the machine has a 10-inch screen, a built-in webcam and includes a universal 3G radio that supports all UMTS and CDMA networks on all frequencies used around the world, Robinson said. With the cellular capability activated, the laptops should run for eight to 10 hours on battery, he said.

The two Snapdragon-based Eee PCs on display at Qualcomm's booth at the Computex exhibition in Taipei were both running Linux, one running Android and the other running Xandros. They were displayed alongside another prototype from contract manufacturer Compal Electronics, which was also running Android.

Pricing and availability of the Snapdragon-based Eee PC was not available, but Qualcomm expects the first laptops based on the processor to hit markets later this year.

Besides Asustek, Toshiba has disclosed its plans to release a Snapdragon-based handheld computer.

Acer, LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics also plan to release devices based on Snapdragon, said Luis Pineda, senior vice president of marketing and product management at Qualcomm. In all, 15 different companies have so far produced designs for 40 devices based on the chips, he said.

When the first Snapdragon-based devices hit the market later this year, they will have a 1GHz Arm processor core but that will increase to 1.3GHz next year, with the release of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8650A, Pineda said.

The 8650A, which will consume less power than its predecessor, will start shipping in sample quantities at the end of this year, he said.

Tags computexqualcommAndroideee pcnetbooks

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Sumner Lemon

IDG News Service




bit of a mystery

this market, for very small, very portable, limited-function tabletish thingies is a bit of a mystery. for instance, Nokia has delivered a series of moderately successful tablet/pda-ish devices (also arm-based.) how does this segment infringe on smartphones (net/smartbook + bt earpiece >= phone + notebook?).

part of the answer is whether users mind being in a bit of a walled garden. being arm limits the availability of apps (unlike an atom pc, where anything x86 will run.) further, including phone components sounds good, but probably also ties the device to the damned anal-retentive cell companies (long-term contracts, bundles of crap you don't want, and naturally, limited control of what's actually installed on the device...)



only a mystery if you don't understand the market

ARM-based platforms use substantially less power than Intel's best power sippers. People want long run time without the added weight of super-sized batteries. Being wireless but constantly being chained to an AC outlet is an oxymoron. As more and more services shift online, the netbook (or smartbook) shows its strengths.

The Android platform opens up alot in terms of extricating oneself from the cell phone carriers.



Not really a walled garden

Everything that's open source will available on ARM pretty soon if not already. If these devices take off, you'll see MS come into the market late, but depressingly successfully with some special version of Windows.



Some special version of windows

Not really special: windows mobile runs on ARM does it not?

As to depressingly successfully: probably. But alternatives like Android have to win on merit, not by being the plucky underdog.



Hard to program

These ARM beasts are really hard to develop for, unless you go in with embedded programming mindset. If you use something like Qtopia and know about DSP programming for all your cryptography, codecs, etc.. you'll be fine, but if you think you can dump PERL, Python, PHP or even JavaScript on this thing and have it scream, you are in for a brutal surprise. It's likely why Intel divested itself of its StrongARM architecture and focused on ATOM in the first place. Interesting that they got StrongARM from DEC (DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION) as part of the lawsuit settlement for misappropriating the technology in their Alpha chip into the Pentium line (thus killing MIPS, PowerPC, Motorola 88000 and their own 432 architecture, plus the Alpha, all in one fell swoop --since it's all about the software isn't it).



Original ARM OS

I still use the original ARM OS ;@) RISC OS



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