The Skytone Alpha 680 may be one of the first netbooks announced that will run the Google Android operating system. But I’m certainly hoping it’s not the cheapest. Skytone co-founder Nixon Wu tells ComputerWorld that the netbook will cost at about $250.

And that would have been a fine price a year or two ago. But today you can pick up a netbook like the Dell Vostro A90 or older Acer Aspire One or Asus Eee PC models with 8.9 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel displays, 1.6GHz Intel Atom processors, 1GB of RAM, up to 160GB hard drives, and Windows XP or Linux, for under $300.

That makes the idea of buying a netbook with a 7 inch, 800 x 480 pixel display, 128MB of RAM, and 1 to 4GB of flash storage with a 533MHz ARM11 CPU for $250 a bit less reasonable.

On the bright side, the Skytone Alpha 680 is small and light, weighing about 1.5 pounds and measuring 8.5″ x 6″ x 1.2″.

Of course, netbook prices tend to fall pretty quickly. While the Alpha 680 is expected to debut for around $250, there’s nothing to stop the price from dropping once Skytone finds a few distribution partners and ramps up production.

via Slashdot

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11 replies on “Would you pay $250 for an underpowered Google Android netbook?”

  1. No. It comes down to the fact that I need a full OS. If this was a DAP, Phone, or MID then android would be fine. Those devices don’t have the hardware or form factor to be considered a full fledged PC. I can accept shortcomings there.

    A netbook on the other hand is a fully functional PC. I want it to be able to do everything a laptop can do. If I am out somewhere and I need to troubleshoot a network connection, I know I whip out my netbook and get the job done with standard tools. i don’t want to have to worry about how to get things working on Android.

    Leave limited lite OSs to limited lite devices. Don’t start making me carry around a full sized netbook with limited functionality.

  2. They missed the boat with these. A year ago would have been the latest they should have released these. With netbooks easily had for $250 they’ll have to settle with charging under $200 and likely more around $150 if they even want to be in the market. With trashy displays and keyboards they’ll be lucky to get $150 for these.

    1. For my $250 it would have to have more than android to make the sell.
      I’m thinking 6+ hour life and smaller (and perhaps gimmicky) form factor. If they are going with an arm it should last a long time. You can get a good used Sharp Zaurus PDA for $250 right now that would compare.

  3. Nope. I’d happily pay $250 for one with a 1024×600 display, 256MB of RAM and a Cortex-A8 if it had the kind of battery life I think one could expect from such a beast. But the first thing I’d do would be to install a more typical Linux OS on it.

    Oh, and it should have a pointing stick instead of a trackpad (I think that’s true of every <14" laptop, but it's especially obvious for the smallest devices). That teeny trackpad and the buttons to either side of it don't look like a joy to use.

  4. Years ago I had a few of the WindowsCE handheld/Laptop devices and liked them for taking notes, etc. I imagine this would be even better with a cloud like computing environment which Google has already in place. However, unless current netbook/laptop prices boom I would not pay $250.

    Funny though, I might be more willing to pay more for such a device if bundled with a smaller handheld and a 3g/4g plan. Thought might be enticing.

  5. the price is ok if the the underpowered system has a better battery life. remember the palmos was run on an underclocked cpu that gave a fantastic battery life. 7″ screen is fine for web browsing and light usage. i like them small. i liked the nokia tablets. the real problem with them was that when it came to displaying pdfs the 64mb wasn’t able to render the pages properly. 7″ might be a little small for that but it would depend on the reolution on that 7″ screen. it would be border line. it would definitely need a sd card slot so that it could have a large card put in it. 8 or 16gb.

    but yeah i could see myself buying one. but then i’ve bought pretty much every other device out there. 🙂

    psion, palm, zaurus, visor, nokia, iphone, eeepc, olpc, aspire one.

  6. It’s not the price nor the OS. It’s the screen resolution. I had my expierences with 800 x 480 on a Nokia N800. It calls itself ‘internet tablet’ but frankly, this resolution is way too small for a vast majority of web pages. The typical netbook resolution of 1024 x 600 is wide enough for most sites. So, even for 99$, I wouldn’t spend money on such a device. It’s just not fit for the main task of a mobile device like that: web browsing. If it’s just chatting or e-mail you want to do, there are other devices your mobile phone provider will offer you for free.

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