FLOGGER OF EXPENSIVE PRINTER INK, HP has joined Acer by putting Google's Linux-based Android operating system on a netbook.
Branded as a Compaq device, HP's Airlife 100 netbook is powered by the same Qualcomm Snapdragon ARM processor that's found in a number of recently released smartphones including Google's Nexus One.
In fact the main differences between the two devices seem to be the screen size and the almost full-size keyboard on the HP unit.
The HP Airlife 100 has a 10.1-inch screen with a 16GB SSD bolstered by an SD card slot. This sort of back-to-basics netbook specification is livened up by integrated WiFi, 3G and GPS. It's the 3G connectivity that has led to HP partnering with Telefonica to provide wireless access.
Undoubtedly Android is an impressive smartphone OS, but it received a lukewarm response in its first outing as a netbook OS in Acer's D250 netbook. Complaints about it being too lightweight even as a netbook OS might carry some weight, but the upshot of such a nimble system is its impressive battery life. HP quotes 12 hours of active use for the Airlife 100 with up to 10 days battery life in standby.
Sadly HP has yet to incorporate the Android OS into its line of Ipaq devices. Its latest, announced on the eve of Mobile World Congress and named Glisten is, depressingly, shipping with Windows Mobile 6.5.
HP has confirmed that the Airlife will be coming to the UK through O2 fairly soon, although no firm date has been announced yet. Pricing has also not been announced, but we do expect this netbook will be available with competitive data tariffs. µ
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