Augen’s $99 Android netbook available at KMart

As we discovered yesterday, KMart is starting to get into the Android mobile device business. The company is starting to sell a $150 Android tablet from Augen, and while most stores don’t seem to have any units in stock yet a handful are already selling the tablet and more are expected to get it by this weekend.

Folks who have headed to KMart locations hunting for the Augen GenTouch78 tablet may not be having much success yet, but one reader wrote in to let us know that he did find a $99 Android netbook from Augen at his local store. And he’s not the only one. Android Guys has a few photos of the netbook, and Engadget’s Joanna Stern went and plunked down some cash to take one home.

As you’d expect from any $99 laptop, this little guy isn’t exactly a looker… or a performer. The Augen GenBook 74 has a 400MHz CPU, a 7 inch, 800 x 480 pixel display, 128MB of memory, and runs Android 1.6.

Joanna reports that the machine feels very slow, and that while the netbook ships with an Android Market app, it doesn’t seem to actually install any apps. That said, the GenBook 74 does come with a web browser, Gmail app, Google Maps, and a handful of other useful apps, which ain’t bad for $99.

Honestly, this thing looks like every Android mini-laptop I’ve seen at CES over the last two years. I suppose it’s nice to see them actually start showing up in US retail shops. But it’d be even nicer if they were running a newer version of Android, had faster processors, or at least a working version of the Android Market — although you should be able to install Android apps manually if you can track down the APK installer files you’re looking for.

You can find more details at Engadget and you can check out Joanna’s hands-on video after the break.

  • peterkirn

    I still say, these things could wind up be a hacker's dream. Held up against, uh, a real netbook or tablet, yes, it looks downright awful. But compared to buying a $100 or $150 protoboard and suffering through configuring bootloaders for hours… that's another story. The Hack-a-day/Make crowd (erm, me, in other words) can still do some damage with this.

    Even having said that, though, I'm working out which is the one to buy; I'd rather have a tablet form factor.

    I can still get one for the price I might waste on a couple of mediocre summer blockbusters and popcorn.

  • tsog

    Make it faster and put ubuntu on it. Something like the sharp netwalkers but with touch-typable keyboards.

  • Anon

    Put Lubuntu (version for ARM) on it. Does a Lubuntu version for ARM exist? As that boot in less than 100MB RAM. Unit needs at least 256MB RAM to be any good for much of anything these days.
    Puppy Linux. Or CrunchBang Linux might be worth trying on this?

  • Claudio

    Maybe a Debian/ARM base installation and build up from there? LXDE or Fluxbox might do well on this especially with such little RAM.

  • iQuack

    Seems you get what you pay for.
    A computer for $99 in today's world is expected to be crap and this thing qualifies.

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

    It looks like it could be what OLPC was aiming for; a sub $100 computer. At $99 with those realizing its limitations, it should – some what – well. It could be some ones – one being the verry young – first computer (better than those toy pc's with a 1 or 2 inch screen).

    IMO; I think it has potential.

  • Capt. Olaf

    While a $99 price may be appealing, a brief internet search will reveal dozens of capable, but used, real laptops for a similar price. eBay offers Apple iBooks and Powerbooks, Dell Insperions, and IBM and Toshiba laptops at under $200. These are capable machines with years of life left in them that will run most current operating systems. Sure, they don't have all the bells and whistles of the latest models but they are light years ahead of the Augen Android effort.

  • Anon

    Is RAM or Flash storage upgradeable by user (slot)?
    If so, then can mod this maybe? Speed is all about RAM and speed of Flash.

  • JBL71

    Something for your grandmother…

  • Annelovetopray

    I have gave to me for a b-day gift I don’t know how to work it LOL!!!!!

  • Patrick Quake

    If you really dig hard enough. You can find an even better unit worth $100-150 bucks that would blow the Augen out the water. Even the Raspberry Pi a $25 dollar computer has up to 512 memory.