Most major PC makers may have left the netbook market for dead. But Chinese vendors have continued cranking out cheap mini-laptops with 10 inch or smaller displays. Some models run Windows, but many of the cheapest feature inexpensive ARM chips and run Android or Windows CE.

But it looks like some slightly more powerful models could be on the way.

Allwinner netbooks

Chinese site Padhz spotted details for a few new Android laptops powered by Allwinner A20 and Allwinner A31 chips.

The A20 is an ARM Cortex-7 dual-core chip with Mali-400 graphics, while the A31 is a Cortex-A7 quad-core processor with PowerVR SGX 544 graphics.

Both chips should offer significantly better performance than the single-core VIA WM8850 chips that are so popular with Chinese makers of Android netbooks these days.

According to Padhz, these new devices will come in two sizes. The N101-A has a 10.1 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display, an Allwinner A20 chip, 1GB of RAM, up to 32GB of storage, WiFi, HDMI, and Ethernet. It should get up to 7.5 hours of battery life and it runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.

The N70-A and N70-B both have 13.3 inch displays, but the A model has an Allwinner A20 chip and 1GB of RAM, while the B has an Allwinner A31 quad-core CPU and 2GB of RAM.

For some reason the larger models have smaller batteries which top out at around 5.5 hours of run time.

Allwinner Netbooks

Most devices that ship with Allwinner processors are tablets and Android TV boxes. These are among the first netbooks sporting the company’s new dual-core and quad-core chips. Unfortunately I haven’t seen any details about the release date or price.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen an Android netbook with an Allwinner processor. But up until now, most models had featured slower Allwinner A10 ARM Cortex-A8 single core chips.

 

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18 replies on “Android netbooks with Allwinner dual, quad-core processors”

  1. Allwinner processor is so lousy, I had an android tv score the same as a old galaxy s, it comes with 1G RAM some more.

  2. Dunno, kinda BIG, don’t ya think? The N70 is way bigger than the Thinkpad X200s I’m using right now so you are leaving netbook territory behind. The pricing better be really good and we still don’t know what the display quality is going to be like.

    And without an option for a desktop OS (Ubuntu, Debian, whatever) it will be a no sale for me.

  3. Why are these notebooks not available with Ubuntu? That would be a much better choice for an OS. While Android is great for phones, it is not well suited for tablets or netbooks.

    If it had Ubuntu, I could run a full office application like LibreOffice or Calligra, use a regular browser (Firefox, Chromium), connect whatever HW and basically use it for productive work.

    I hope the Ubuntu with Android Linux core will be finished soon. That should enable installing it on these devices.

    1. Because none of the SOC vendors support anything but old snapshots of android for their drivers. And the chinese SOC guys seem to care more about pushing out the next hardware instead of making the current hardware sell.

      1. You pretty much nailed it.
        There isn’t any fast money in Ubuntu yet for these manufacturers.

    1. You mean move java to a 2nd class citizen on android and encourage more native type development? I agree!

  4. Would be better with a Rockchip A9. Also I don’t even want to imagine how bad those screens are.

    1. What is also amazing is how fast these super-cheap netbooks have grown from being garbage to something that looks to be actually usable for something, as opposed to the “Windows CE” (read counterfeit and won’t run any applications) and early Android models.
      Kind of cool!

      1. Yes, the time is approaching rapidly when people who bought x86 netbooks will consider these ARM netbooks viable.

        1. They still need to be able to easily run desktop OS, so far even Ubuntu isn’t widely available yet.

          But once they get past that hurdle, then sure… People don’t really care what’s running under the hood as long as it still does what they want it to do…

  5. The second rise of the netbook (this time with ARM processors and Android).

    The 70B model is the most interesting one (quad-core, 13″, 2GB DDR3). It is a pity that the battery is so small, they should sell one with a 10hr battery.

    If cheap enough, the 70B could be a contender to the Chromebooks and the upcoming brand-name Androidbooks.

    1. It might be quad core but the architecture is cortex-a7 which is very slow.

      A quad core cortex-a7 will be much slower than even dual core cortex-a9 processor which is 2 years old.

      Only advantage with a7 is its more power efficient.

      1. The performance difference between A9 and A7 is much smaller than you write and you are completely wrong on the dual/quad comparisson.

        The rough IPC weights:

        A9=2.5
        A8=2.0
        A7=1.9

        So the A7 is only ~22% slower than the A9.

        Consequently, the brute force of a quad-core A7 will be 156% of the dual A9 at the same clock speed.

        Naturally, single(ish) threaded scenarios will profit from the higher IPC of the A9 but multi-threaded scenarios (modern browsers with tabs) will profit from the quad A7.

        Also, the Allwinner A31 has other advantages. It is a little known fact that it has an fifth, nvidia-style power saving core which is further optimized for power saving (even though the A7 is already a power-optimised design).

        Apart from the PowerVR GPU I think it is a good low-cost SOC solution. I would have put the Mali-T604 into it but alas, the license for the PowerVR was probably much cheaper.

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