We’re digging deep into the vault for the next entry in the Liliputing 2012 Holiday Giveaway. The NorhTec Gecko Edubook is a netbook with an 8.9 inch display, a low power keyboard and a nifty trick up its sleeve: It runs on AA batteries.

That makes it easy to replace the batteries if they die without relying on a proprietary battery. In fact, the whole laptop was designed to modular and easy to replace. You can pop out the CPU module and replace or upgrade it, or unplug the WiFi dongle tucked away in the case and swap it out for any other USB peripherals that you can fit in there.

Norhtec Gecko Edubook

NorhTec sent me a demo unit to test a few years ago, and I hung onto it for a while to see if the company ever got around to releasing a CPU upgrade. Since that never happened, I figure it’s time to clear the Edubook off my desk and send it to a Liliputing reader.

To enter this contest, please read the rules below. But first, let’s talk about what you’re trying to win.

About the Edubook

The Edubook has a 1024 x 600 pixel display and can use an internal SD card or 2.5 inch hard drive for storage. It has a relativelytiny touchpad and keyboard, but features a good range of input and output ports including 3 USB ports, Ethernet, VGA, and mic and audio jacks.

The netbook has a 1 GHz Xcore86 processor that uses just 1.2 watts of power. I’ve tested this laptop with Windows XP, WattOS Linux, and Puppy Linux. While it can run Windows, it feels pretty sluggish. It runs much better with Puppy or other light-weight Linux operating systems optimized for low-end hardware.

You can find support for NorhTec’s Xcore86 products at the DeviceOnChip website, including details on supported operating systems and drivers in the forums.

This particular unit comes with 3 different 8GB SD cards. One has Windows XP preloaded (but no activation key), one has WattOS (if I remember correctly), and the other has Puppy Linux.

While Windows XP might be more versatile for many users, Puppy is blazing fast on this netbook, while Windows is… freezing slow? I don’t know, what’s the opposite of blazing fast? Either way, Windows is kind of painful to use on this little computer but Puppy runs quite nicely.

Adding a hard drive might help a bit… the 8GB SD card Windows is running from has pretty low read and write speeds.

You should also be able to install almost any operating system you like. This contest is aimed at folks who are willing to tinker a bit.

The demo unit I’m giving away came with 8 rechargeable Ni-MH AA batteries… but apparently they died sometime in the last few years. The laptop still runs fine when plugged in, but you may need to supply your own batteries if you want to use it on the go.

How to win: Leave a comment by 5:00AM Eastern, 12/10/2012

This contest is only open to residents of the continental US. International shipping is expensive, so if you’re not in the US, you might want to wait until we’re ready to give away the MK802 III which comes in a small box and which we can afford to ship.

If you are in the States, just leave a comment before 5:00AM Eastern time, December 10th, 2012 and make sure you’re cool with the following:

  • Please leave only one comment. If you leave more than one, all of your entries get thrown out.
  • One winner will be randomly chosen from all valid entries.
  • You have 48 hours to respond after you receive notification that you’ve won. If I don’t hear back by then, I’ll pick another winner.
  • If you’ve won anything else from Liliputing in the past 30 days, please don’t enter again… we’ll just toss out your entry.
  • Writers for Liliputing, as well as their friend and family members are prohibited from winning.

Please make sure we have a way to contact you. If you login to leave a comment with your email address, Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, that should do the trick.

Thanks again to NorhTec for providing us with this demo unit, and for agreeing to give it away to as part of our 2012 Holiday Giveaway!



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176 replies on “Liliputing NorhTec Gecko Edubook netbook giveaway”

  1. This unit would be great to have for our non-profit to use for accounting. Did it have the XP OS on it that comes with it too? There should be a new CPU out in the early part of next year… don’t know if that release will be plug-in-compatible with this older unit?

  2. Neat! I had an old Apple 1400cs I converted to run off rechargeable AA batteries. Too bad about the lack of CPU upgrades.

  3. A laptop that runs on AA batteries, YES PLEASE!!! I will load slitaz and use it every day.

  4. My first tinkering was with a Commodore 64 – that’s 64K for non-history buffs – so playing with any minicomputer would be a blast. Retiring after a career stuck with Microsoft, it would be fun to play with any other OS.,,

  5. Wow, for once, a laptop that doesn’t rely on proprietary batteries. They should build more of these.

  6. that computer would certaintly fun to tinker with, if it does not work out i will donate it to one of my customers kids who would need it more than me for xmas or new years

  7. Funny enough, I’ve got a spare 40gb laptop drive laying around I could pop in, get a decent Linux flavor up and running, and then donate to my local community center.

  8. This is one of the most quirky laptops I have seen in a while. should be a blast to mess with!

  9. This would be a great machine for a low budget college student I am related to. Put me on the giveaway list please. 🙂

  10. This thing will strike up conversation, I like it. It has a cheap cool factor to it. Let me win!!

  11. Always had my eye on this little guy. Too bad they never developed it into a viable product.

  12. My 5th grader uses Google Docs at school. This would be a fine machine for him to do his work at home. Maybe ChromeOS will work on this box.

  13. I kept waiting for an improved version of this unit to enter the scene, since I love the idea of using AA batteries for power.

  14. What an interesting device. I could let my kids use this for learning.

  15. This looks perfect for tinkering. Then I can pass my current tester on to my wife or son…

  16. I would love to have to take along to Ghana where it would be very useful if there is a power shortage.

  17. That’s quite a reliable piece of notebook. It qould be great to have it. P.s. i’ll pay shipping cost!

  18. Please enter me in the give away. Retired on social security this hits my target price point – free

  19. I, too, thought the battery idea was great, the modularity even better – but only if they would issues new modules. Time has show that they don’t. Too bad. I’ll give it to the neighbor kids. (if I win, which I doubt.)

  20. Wow! First time to read a computer that runs on AA batteries. I could finally have a dedicated Internet computer with this device.

  21. I would love this!!! Puppy Linux rocks and who wouldn’t want a netbook that doesn’t require a proprietary battery. Send it my way…

  22. Looks like it should be given away…with all of our technology, one would want more than AA.

  23. Definitely a very interesting netbook. I’ve been trying to find a laptop or notebook with Linux, but have wanted something that was inexpensive, like the NorhTec Gecko Edubook.

  24. like i said i can never win any thing but here I try again,,,tnx for the opportunity

  25. It would be nice to win once, just so I can find out if I’m entering the drawing correctly.

  26. That reminds me — I need to buy more AA batteries, anyway!
    This looks useful for the kids. Has anyone looked for these on eBay?

  27. I would love to have this one—reminds me of my old Dell Mini 9. That had a lot of snap-in replacement capabilities as well.

  28. It’s a shame they never released a replacement CPU module – I thought that was a brilliant idea.

  29. I will date myself here, but my TRS-80 Model 100 was a great machine mainly due to the fact that AA battery use meant that I never had to find a place to plug it in. Since most disaster scene logistics officers ensure that pallets of AA batteries are available, having this machine would ensure that I can continue to communicate even if there is no AC power.

  30. That is a fascinating machine. I’ve wondered why they didn’t standardize on replaceable batteries by now. Even if AA batteries are lower voltage, they’re smaller than the usual 18650 cells that are used in most run of the mill laptops. Great little machine for Linux, I’d love to see first hand how it manages with Debian instead of Puppy.

  31. I love puppy linux…this would great to have. This little guy looks and reads very interesting..Count me in

  32. OMG, “stylishly geeky”? AA batteries?? It’s adorable. yes please…

  33. Hello! I love this, and tried to get one at one point (but NorhTec was out of stock at the time). Amazing that now I might have another chance!

  34. I would give this PC a loving home – ideal for my struggling home business. I cannot afford to upgrade from my 10 year old laptop.

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