Pegatron has been showing off pre-production prototypes of its upcoming smartbook prototype with an ARM processor for a while. But IT Pro Portal has some of the first photos I’ve seen o the prototype hanging out next to the popular Asus Eee PC 1005HA. And in terms of size, there’s no contest: The Pegatron smartbook is thinner and lighter, weighing just about 1.87 pounds.
The Pegatron protype also has a smaller display and keyboard than the Asus netbook (both have 1024 x 600 pixel displays, but the Pegatron smartbook has an 8.9 inch screen compared with the 1005HA’s 10.2 inch display). And the Pegatron has just a 2 cell, 4400mAh battery, but because of the computer’s low power 800MHz Freescale i.MX515 processor, Pegatron says the computer can squeeze out about 8 hours of battery life, which is comparable to the Eee PC 1005HA.
The Pegatron smartbook supports 2D and 3D graphics as well as 720p video playback.
On the other hand, the ARM-based processor is a bit slower than your typical Intel Atom chip, and I’ll be curious to see how it handles real-world tasks like opening multiple web browser tabs while listening to music or watching Flash video. And since Windows XP, Vista, and 7 don’t support ARM processors, the smartbook will have to run Linux, Google Android, Windows CE, or another supported operating system. Of course, if Pegatron can actually bring the prototype to market for the promised $200 or less, I think a lot of people might be willing to overlook any flaws. And if telecoms bundle the smartbook with 3G service plans, you might even be able to pick up one of these little guys for free, much the way you can get a free cellphone when you sign up for a long term service contract today.