ASUS Demos Android Netbook Powered by Qualcomm


Sorry to borrow a line from “The Matrix”, but do you hear that sound? That is the sound of inevitability, and it’s currently being heard in Taipei, Taiwan, at this year’s Computex show. Actually, it’s being seen and heard right now on a prototype ASUS Eee PC: Google Android (s GOOG) running on a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon (s QCOM) chipset.

I said in December that this marriage was a logical fit for a non-WinTel netbook, and I still believe that’s true. Even more so now that I’ve seen just a few seconds of such a demo. The Android environment appears to run spritely on the Qualcomm CPU, which offers fluid 720p video playback support. The chip under the hood is fanless and consumes far less energy than today’s Intel Atom (s INTC) netbook. Fans of software applications on netbooks aren’t likely to be impressed since the Android Marketplace doesn’t compete with the traditional software market. But people wanting to use the ‘net all day just might be happy with such a beast.

Debates on software vs. web clients aside, you can’t dispute what Qualcomm has to offer in its ARM-based Snapdragon platform: connectivity options, low-power consumption, and enough “oomph” to offer a pleasant portable computing experience. Its newest addition to the Snapdragon family offers a clock speed of 1.3GHz, support for CDMA and UMTS 3G, WXGA display output, an enhanced 3D graphics core, and integrated GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 2.1.

The only question I have left is: How much will an Android netbook powered by Qualcomm cost? We just saw the Qualcomm smartbook concept debut last week, a smaller version of the ASUS device, and early reports had that device pegged at a $300 to $500 price tag. That’s too high if a consumer is expected to give up the vast amount of X86 software available. Besides, we’re essentially talking about the guts of a high-end smartphone in a notebook form factor. My take: These devices can’t exceed $250 in price for any chance at mainstream adoption.


Desktop Security

I don’t think the issue is whether you want to use an Android machine, I certainly do, and would be happy to leave the Office bloatware behind.

This issue is that all of your partners, resellers, customers, vendors use MS Office, and you need to exchange documents with them. If somebody sends you and Excel file, you need to open it and read it. I think we need to bridge that gap still. Then I will buy.


Hi there, nice site with good info. I really like coming back here often. There’s only one thing that annoys me and that is the misfunctioning of comment posting. I usually get to 500 error page, and have to do the post twice.


One thing I find odd. If you read tech sites people complain about the lack of “x86” software… except people don’t use software anymore. They use the web. People care about Flash, VoIP, video chat, and social network sites like Facebook.

The only drawback I could see would be casual games, but since many many new casual games are Flash based they wouldn’t be too hard to port over, if you would even call that porting. More like just checking to see if it works right and changing the controls to work with each device.


>> lack of “x86″ software… except people don’t use software anymore.<<
Agree with Jeff. Do you need MS Office on a pumped up smart phone (as this, in essence, is)? Software is migrating online (witness all the apps available through google). I think there is a market for this product (and other like it) depending on the price point. I'd say $300. An apple ipod touch starts at $200. This is a step above that so I'd pay more … but not probably no more than $100 extra.


You were wrong then as you are now :) It is going to be a minor passing chapter that no one will remember in a year from now.

That said please please pretty please – try to get your “spies” to get us some info on the Android goodies that Archos is planning for June 11th.


No fan. I like that. Pity this one wasn’t set up with a touch-screen interface. That’s what really interests me.


kevin i think you made point. but compared to high end smartphones like htc (and their price range) some marketing people might yet be tempted to “think” in the wrong direction ….


I have to agree if they want to be in the mainstream market the prices should be at least $199.99. They can offer the devices at $250.00 with some kind of rebate.

Comments are closed.