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Android netbook runs on new ARM9 CPU

Feb 3, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

China-based HiVision is readying an Android-based “PWS700CA” netbook with a 600MHz Rockchip ARM9 processor and a 7-inch, WVGA touchscreen, and according to one preview, it's likely to sell for under $100. HiVision also recently introduced a Linux-based “PWS700B” netbook, as well as an “EB-0600S” e-reader, says the company.

The PWS700CA is one of several OEM-focused netbooks that have emerged from China that use low-cost ARM9 processors rather than the typical ARM11 or ARM Cortex-A8 platforms. This is the first one we know of that definitively runs Android, as opposed to Linux or Windows CE, although Menq's Windows CE-based EasyPC E790 was said to be capable of running Android, according to a video review several months ago on Techvideoblog by video blogger Charbax.
 

HiVision's Android-based PWS700CA

Charbax also recently previewed the PWS700CA, this time on ARMdevices.net. The reviewer, who seems to specialize in the "plonk" of the netbook world, found the HiVision to be worthy of the under $100 pricetag he is forecasting. He notes that the PWS700CA running Android offers a much superior browsing experience to other bargain-basement netbooks he has tested running Linux or Windows CE. (The link to his review, including text and video, may be found at the end of the story.) 

The PWS700CA uses China-based Rockchip's RK2808 processor (pictured), which is billed as an ARM926-based multimedia processor that primarily targets Android and Windows CE smartphones. The RK2808 is said to support mobile-TV formats including CMMB and DVB-T, and a T-DMB demodulator is under development. The processor, which started shipping late last year, offers a CMOS sensor with both still-image and digital video functions, as well as support for touch input and GPS.


PWS700CA, closed

Beyond the Rockchip processor itself, there is not much to say about the PWS700CA. Equipped with 128MB SDRAM and 1GB of flash, the netbook offers an SD card socket for expansion, says HiVision. The 7-inch, 800 x 480 touchscreen is matched with a keyboard and touchpad, and the netbook depends solely on WiFi for communications. Other features on the 22.9-ounce netbook are said to include a USB 2.0 port, audio ports, and a 2500mAh battery with a mere 1.5 hours between charges.


Side view of the PWS700CA

Specifications listed for the HiVision PWS700CA include:

  • Processor — Rockchip RK2808 (ARM926) @ 600MHz
  • Memory — 128MB SDRAM
  • Flash — 1GB flash; 1 x SD card socket
  • Display — 7-inch TFT touchscreen (800 x 480)
  • Input — Standard 80-key keyboard; touchpad
  • WiFi — 802.11b/g
  • USB — 1 x USB 2.0 Host port
  • Video — Supports AVI, Svid, DIVX, MPEG-4, RMVB at up to 720p
  • Audio — 1 x mic; 2 x speakers
  • Software:
    • Web browser with Flash
    • Email, IM
    • Media players
    • PDF viewer
    • Games
    • Image sharing
    • "Quicuoffice,apk" install tools
  • Battery — Lithium 2500mAh battery; 1.5 hours battery life
  • Weight — 22.9 oz (650 g) including battery
  • Operating system — Android

PWS700B netbook

We last checked in on Shenzhen China-based HiVision in September to follow-up on a rumored, Linux-based MIPS-based "mini-Note" netbook that was said to be targeting an under $100 consumer pricetag. The netbook wasn't mentioned on the site at the time, nor did HiVision respond to our queries, but the mini-Note appears to be one and the same as the new PWS700B model now posted on the site. (Meanwhile, several Linux- and Via C7-M-based "NB0x" netbooks have disappeared from the site, although HiVision still promotes several Windows CE-based netbooks, MIDs, and digital picture frames.)

Linux-based PWS700B

The PWS700B runs Linux on a 400MHz "XBurst" processor, which is presumably the Ingenic Jz4740 Multimedia Application Processor. The Jz4740, often referred to simply as an XBurst SoC, was used in two other low cost, Linux-based netbooks that shipped in 2008: the Bestlink Alpha 400 and the 3K RazorBook 400.

Like the Android-based PWS700CA, the PWS700B offers 128MB SDRAM, but it supplies twice the flash, with 2GB, expandable via an SD slot. The netbook also shares the PWS700CA's 7-inch 800 x 480 TFT display, as well as an 80-key keyboard and touchpad. In addition to 802.11b/g WiFi, a 3G dongle is said to be available for one of the two USB 2.0 ports. Other features are said to include audio, speakers, an earphone/line-in socket, and a three-hour 1800mAh battery.

EB-0600s e-reader

HiVision offers a Linux-based e-book reader called the EB-0600s that runs Linux 2.6 on an unnamed ARM9 processor. The e-reader offers 64MB SDRAM, and an SD/MMC slot that can hold up to 8GB of flash memory, says HiVision. The EB-0600s incorporates the typical 6-inch, 800 x 600 E Ink display with 16 grayscale levels.

Linux-based EB-0600s e-reader

Other hardware features include a USB slave port to charge the 1200mAh battery, 3.5mm audio jack, page forward/back keys, and 10 multifunction keys, says the company. The device is said to support numerous e-book formats including PDF and EPUB, and can play MP3 audio or display multiple image formats. Multi-language support is also said to be available.

Availability

HiVision did not offer pricing or availability information on any of its products, which target OEM customers. The Android-based PWS700CA page may be found here. The review by Charbax on ARMDevices.net may be found here.

More information on the Linux-based HiVision PWS700B netbook may be found here.

The Linux-based HiVision EB-0600S e-reader page may be found here.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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