Asus isn’t the only company working on a device that packs a whole computer into a slightly chunky keyboard. NorhTec, makers of the low cost, low-power Gecko EduBook netbook plan to bring a new device called the Gecko Surfboard to market.

The Surfboard uses a low power x86-compatible system-on-a-chip that combines processor, graphics and memory functions. All told, the computer uses just 5 watts of power and runs cool enough to operate without a fan. NohrTec says the computer is about the size of a typical computer keyboard, although it looks a little thick to me.

The computer will be able to run Windows XP, Linux, or Windows CE.

Unlike the Eee Keyboard, the Gecko Surfboard is not meant for use as a multimedia device. It doesn’t have an HDMI output and probably can’t handle HD video playback very well. Instead, it’s designed as a low power, low cost primary computer. It has a VGA output for a monitor and composite jacks for plugging in a TV if a monitor isn’t available. It also has Ethernet, headphone, mic, and USB ports for plugging in a mouse and other peripherals, as well as a good old fashioned serial port.

You also get 512MB of RAM and two SDHC slots for removable and/or semi-permanent storage. There’s also room for a 2.5 inch HDD inside the keyboard if you want to go that route.

The $99 model won’t include WiFi, but you can add 802.11b/g and/or 3G WiFi for a fee.

via SlashGear

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16 replies on “NorhTec launches Gecko Surfboard: A $99 computer-in-a-keyboard”

  1. Being quite affordable at $99, I think it will do well. It reminds me of my TI-99/4A. It was basicly a ‘pc in a keyboard’. At $99, it would be worth checking out.

    I wonder if they will use the Geiko gecko as a mascot or spokes-person … I mean spokes-lizard? 🙂

    1. Almost as hot as my Sinclair ZX Spectrum, from which it appears to be a direct ancestor!

  2. Everything looks kinda ok on this thing, but I hate VGA on an LCD monitor. It is time to abandon it for DVI.

    1. I think DVI is going out as a standard. VGA is still around, or HDMI. DVI offered some theoretical advantage, but nothing tangible except another plug to buy new cables for.

      I wouldn’t hold my breath for this product. The EduBook got a lot of attention, but that was months ago, and it is still not for sale.

      1. Edubook is shipping now… I have heard via an email from their CEO, it just that NOW that they are filling some big orders from educational buyers for some countries that want something LOW PRICE and with a little more umph than UMPC XO-1 – So, Edubook with big orders at about $140 is attracting attention. If you want to order one, email them, they got a terrible web site with no way to buy “store-like” at all.

  3. I think the company name is spelled Norhtec…

    I am waiting for their 10.1 screen netbook and if it runs on AA battery, and hope that they use Pixel Qi screen (that is IF the Pixel Qi screen is priced low enough to hit the low price device market RUNNING, vs priced for the slow to move more expensive stuff)?

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