98DollarNetbook sells… $98 dollar netbooks

For the last few years I’ve been seeing cheap netbooks make appearances at trade shows. They typically have tiny keyboards, 7 inch displays, ARM-based processors and either Windows CE or Linux. They’re not for everyone. But they are dirt cheap.

The only problem is that most of these mini-laptops aren’t available to the general public in the US. The ones I see at trade shows are OEM products that Chinese manufacturers are trying to market to international distributors.

Well, a company called ITA Computers is taking them up on the offer and selling a 7 inch mini-laptop for just $98. You can order one at the cleverly-titled 98dollarnetbook.com web site. Here’s what you can get for less than $100:

  • CPU: 300MHz VIA 8500 32-bit ARM-based processor
  • Display: 7 inch, 800 x 480 pixels
  • OS: Windows CE 6.0
  • Storage: 2GB flash storage
  • Memory: 128MB
  • I/O: 3 USB ports, SDHC card slot, mic, headphone jacks
  • Connectivity: Ethernet, 802.11a/b/g
  • Battery: 2 cell, 1800mAh (2 hours battery life)
  • Dimensions: 8.4″ x 5.6″ x 1.2″
  • Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Color options: Black, White, Pink, Red, Green

Sure, the $98 isn’t all that impressive in the specs department. But what did you expect? It only costs $98!

Interestingly, the folks at ITA tell me that these netbooks come from the same OEM as the Delstar netbook that K-Mart was selling for $120 during Black Friday.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/DavidRon David Ron

    This looks like the Belco Alpha 400. There is a website dedicated to it that also links off to the wonderful 3MX distribution of Linux. With that image, you get a complete Linux install with Firefox 2.x, Sylpheed (offline mail with IMAP/POP support), a secure shell, web server, HTTP Server, etc.
    http://www.littlelinuxlaptop.com/3mx-4-0/

    Down side: the machine doesn't really handle AJAX web pages well (I change the browser ID string to pretend to be an iPhone to get the mobile version of sites) and it doesn't do hybernation/sleep. With only about 2 hours of battery life, it almost makes a better server than netbook.

  • Hans

    This looks like the one they have on Ebay. It would be nice if they would offer the same thing in a tablet (or iPad type thing) with Android on it.

  • zdanee

    The CPU is seriously lacking, with a not-so-much-more-expensive-528MHz-something this could run an Ubuntu or Android and be a hit, but with WinCE6 this is just a joke even for 98$.

  • Guest

    yeah … there were tonnes of this on eBay and sells for less than $98.

  • some other guy

    From their “Terms of Use” page:

    “You may not create a link to this website from another website or document without ITA Computers’s prior written consent.”

    Good luck with that!

  • animatio

    there is a lot of good software for wince 5/6 around …… also freeware

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.gosnell David Gosnell

    This is the same old same old… One day someone will release a budget netbook that isn't a rebadge of this one that's been round the block about 100 times already. No idea if the 3K Razorbook was the first incarnation of it, but probably the first one to pop up on here.

    Amusing aside: just visible in the photo, the sleep button in between Ctrl and Alt. Now, with keys that tiny, you're never going to turn it off by mistake now are you? Hmmm.

  • http://www.cargiant.co.uk/cars/usedcars.asp used car

    Considering the OS and processor, an iPod touch would be far more useful and more responsive. The Ipod touch is gonna cost ya twice (and more) the price of this netbook, and the touch has a tiny screen and no keyboard. Why would someone who is in the market for a very, very cheap netbook, buy the iPod touch instead of this $98 dollar netbooks? “The 300mhz ARM chip is really, really slow and Windows CE is a mobile platform for PDAs and phones. “ The 300 Mhz ARM chip is just fine for Windows CE.

  • Anon

    Only problem is that without AA battery, then where do you find replacement battery (so unit ends up being electronics trash, and becomes pollution killing people and the environment).

    The Nortech Gecko Edubook with AA battery should be sold via an outlet with a better store than it has (Amazon or someone). It should also use the Pixel Qi screen (the 10.1 inch model is due out this quarter), or at least offer Pixel Qi for those that would want it. AND with the savings then add a RunCore SSD for the speed.

    When testing the Gecko Edubook on this site before, the only testing lacking was testing using a fast RunCore Pro IV SSD (available in 16 GB PATA format).

  • http://home.comcast.net/~tomleem/ BigGoofyGuy

    It looks like what the OLPC was trying to do but doing a little bit more succesfully. They achieved the 'below $100' price yet have a keyboard that is way more practical.
    http://laptop.org/en/

  • ossi

    I really agree that they should make something new. Something like new cortex a9 inside with slightly bigger battery and less ugly case and smaller bezel might make it work.

  • Guest

    I doubt any of the ones on eBay would include a 1 yr warranty though

  • guest

    The sleep button is in red because you have to hold the Fn key in the bottom left and press that sleep button for it to put the computer in sleep mode – it just acts as a Windows key when you don't press Fn and brings up the start menu.

  • John Morris

    Can't get get a penguin anymore on a $98 machine? Just how long is Microsoft planning to give away product to squash competition?

  • ricord

    Always the same problem!Why not AA cells?

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  • http://www.netbookfiles.com/ Netbookfiles.com

    Is it the same device? You are sure right! It looks a lot alike.

  • Mike

    Any luck with the ARM/WIN CE mini's for linux/other hacks?

  • ab

    yall should put out some info on how you shipping takes

  • ab

    do you know how long its takes to get a smart book from this 98 dollar netbook site

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  • Missy

    I have one of these and the battery is bad, I can’t seem to find where to get another battery… any of you have a suggestion? Thanks!