What do you get when you build a smartbook using the Android OS without touch support? The Toshiba AC100 smartbook. The AC100 is a thin, 10-inch notebook running Android 2.1; it’s intended to be an always-connected device with long battery life. Toshiba is touting 8 hours of runtime and seven days of standby on a single charge.
Toshiba has created a special Android interface shell to focus on social networking and web work. There are special widgets for Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to get users online and connecting with friends on the go. It’s not clear how well this shell will work given that Android is designed from the ground up to be operated by touch, yet Toshiba made the unusual decision to forgo a touchscreen on the AC100. The system must be controlled using the touchpad and mouse buttons, which is more in line with Windows netbooks.
Another strange design choice by Toshiba is the inclusion of Opera Mobile as the default web browser. The stock webkit-based Android browser is very good, but perhaps Toshiba recognized the lack of touch on the AC100 made Opera a better choice.
A good design choice is the Nvidia Tegra chipset powering the AC100. This makes 1080p video a reality, so the smartbook should be a nice multimedia machine.
Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): To Win In the Mobile Market, Focus On Consumers