It looks like HP is about to become the first major PC maker to bring an ARM-based smartbook running Google Android to market. Engadget reports that the Compaq Airlife 100 should be available in Spain in mid-May through wireless carreir Telefonica Movistar.
The smartbook will run 229 Euros up front, plus 48 Euros per month for wireless service. (There’s a cheaper monthly plan, but it drives up the initial cost of the Airlife 100).
If you don’t happen to live in Europe, here’s a quick conversion for you. The device costs about $300 and service runs about $63/month. But it’s not clear how much the Airlife 100 will actually run if and when it’s available in the States. Engadget says there are currently no plans to offer the smartbook on this side of the pond.
The Compaq Airlife 100 features a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a 10 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display, and a case design that’s awfully reminiscent of a typical HP netbook. The company first started showing off a prototype at CES in January, and last week an official spec sheet showed up.
While the $300 price tag might seem a bit steep when you can pick up a Windows 7 netbook for about the same price, it’s worth pointing out that the smartbook has WiFi, 3G, and GPS capabilities, a low power processor that should provide excellent battery life, and always-on internet access allowing you to receive notifications for incoming emails, instant messages, or other communications even when the screen is off. Basically, it’s a smartphone in a netbook case — and smartphones with similar hardware (such as the Google Nexus One), sell for $500 or more without a contract. Of course, the Airlife will be available with a contract, which you would think would lower the price a bit more…