NorhTec is preparing to launch a new netbook that stands out from the crowd in a number of ways. First, the Gecko EduBook (PDF link) will feature a low power 1GHz Xcore86 CPU that can run Windows XP while using just 1.2 watts of power (although by default it will come with Ubuntu Netbook Remix). Second, this laptop doesn’t use a standard battery pack. Instead, it runs on 8 AA batteries, providing between 4 and 6 hours of run time with NiMH or Lithium Ion batteries. If you happen to run out of juice while you’re away from a charger, you can always just pop in some standard alkaline batteries off-the-shelf NiMH batteries.
The EduBook also features a modular design, with the CPU and RAM on a replaceable module that you can upgrade to give the computer new life — assuming Norhtec eventually releases an upgrade.
The netbook will have an 8.9 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display and use either a 2.5″ hard disk or an internal SD card for storage. The EduBook has an internal USB socket that wireless carriers (or hackers) can use to connect accessories including 3G modems, GPS, or Bluetooth modules. There are also 3 external USB ports and an SD card reader.
The laptop is available with 256MB, 512MB, or 1GB of RAM. NorhTec says the base configuration could start as low as $200.
I hadn’t thought of NorhTec for a while, until Engadget posted about the Geck EduBook this morning. The original NorhTec Gecko was one of the first netbooks to hit the market in early 2008, back when there was actually a little diversity in the netbook space. The original Gecko has a 7 inch, 800 480 pixel display, a 1GHz VIA C7-M CPU, and ran Linpus Linux Lite. It had just 256MB of RAM and 1GB of flash storage, which didn’t exactly make the machine a powerhouse.
You can watch a video overview of the new NorhTec Gecko EduBook after the break. You can also find more details in the Liliputing Product Database.