updated 08:40 am EDT, Fri October 30, 2009
ASUS chief confirms sub-$200 Android PC
ASUS chief Jerry Shen at an investor conference late yesterday said his company should have an Android-based smartbook on shelves by early 2010. Reversing earlier doubts about a market for such a system, Shen says a portable based on Qualcomm's Snapdragon chip and the Google mobile OS should be the first "secret weapon" for the company and will likely cost just $185. The price is roughly half what most builders charge for an Atom-running netbook.
Specifications aren't available, but smartbooks will typically have 1GHz or faster processors and a relatively light amount of RAM and permanent storage as they depend almost exclusively on Linux-based operating systems like Android that have a light footprint.
Launching a smartbook is a blow to Intel, which currently has near-total control of the netbook category through the Atom chip and is rumored to have forced ASUS to hide a smartbook prototype at Computex in June. The smartbook category sits just below the netbook in price but may offer much of the same performance through a highly-optimized ARM architecture as well as the low overhead compared to Windows XP or Windows 7. [image via Shanzai]