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The Skytone Alpha 680 is expected to be the first commercially available netbook to use the Google Android operating system instead of Windows or a fuller featured Linux distribution. And based on a series of demo videos posted to YouTube, I’m a bit underwhelmed. Not that I was expecting much.

There are a lot of people talking about how Google Android could revolutionize the netbook space. But you know how it would do that? By making mini-laptops more like cellphones. If that means 3G connectivity, quick boot speeds, and batteries that last for days, that’s great. But we’re already seeing netbooks that sell for under $400 while allowing you to run virtually any Windows or Linux applications you’d like, so I’m not sure I see the appeal of a stripped down computer that costs as much as $250 anyway.

As you can see in the videos below, Google Android is quite responsive on a netbook with an ARM CPU and 7 inch touchscreen display like the Alpha 680. But you can only run one application at a time. And you’re limited to running the mobile versions of applications including web browsers and Skype designed to run on Google Android. In time, the developer community could port more applications like OpenOffice.org to run on Android, but right now I just don’t see many advantages to Android over a fuller fledged OS like Ubuntu.

Anyway, check out the videos after the break yourself and let us know what you think in the comments.

via Netbook News.de


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9 replies on “First look at the Skytone Alpha 680 with Google Android – Video”

  1. I think I will as the speed is quite good.

    Anyway a gphone cost much more than this with a smaller screen.

    Using Android on netbook is a good start

  2. It’s obvious that the OS simply isn’t ready for this kind of use yet. One would hope that other, more well established companies that are working on this stuff would improve thing. I’ll pass.

  3. only benefits i can see is the gamepad like controls on the sides of the screen, and that the screen is a swivel.

    those are features your hard pressed to find on netbooks in that price range.

  4. You can get an Aspire One for a bit over $250 form newegg, you would be stupid to get this poorly made, slow, cellphone OS running device.

    1. A bit over $250 as in $350.

      I agree though that at $250 with the low spec features this unit offers that it isn’t much of a deal. EIther cut the price some more or add stuff. Give it an 8.9″ screen and 256MB RAM and I’d think about it. Add a touchscreen and it would seal the deal.

      Keep the weight under a kilo with enough battery for all day computing and I’d pay more, a light netbook with all day power is a whole new breed of animal, it doesn’t have to be super cheap.

      Just because it ships with Android doesn’t mean it has to stay. It runs Linux, Andriod just hides it, somebody will post instructions to get Ubuntu or something going on it. The company webpage shows a model 600 that is the same hardware with normal Linux on it anyway.

  5. Looks pretty crappy to me. I’d rather pick up a cheapo eee 900 for around $160 and add a $60 touch screen from fidohub than buy this thing.

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