The first Netbook running Google's Android operating system is expected to be available in the next three months and cost about $250, according to a Computerworld report.
The Alpha 680, as the laptop is known as, is going through final testing at Guangzhou Skytone Transmission Technologies, Skytone co-founder Nixon White told the site.
The Netbook uses a 533MHz ARM 11 CPU and sports a 7-inch LCD screen, keyboard, touchpad, and built-in Wi-Fi, according to the report. However, the Alpha 680's 2-cell battery will last only two to four hours while surfing the Internet, much lower than the expected 12 hours.
Android is a Linux-based operating system originally designed for cell phones, but now experts are predicting that the open-source operating system could be used on other devices, such as the emerging low-cost laptops known as Netbooks. In fact, market research firm Ovum recently predicted that Android-powered Netbooks will emerge in 2009, as manufacturers attempt to drive the price of Netbooks to around $200 or less.
Hewlett-Packard is also reportedly considering using Android on its low-cost Netbooks, though an executive declined to say for certain whether HP plans to sell Android devices. Asustek Computer has already said it is considering using Android, and Dell is also considering the software for its upcoming smartphone.
Linux-based software such as Android is attractive because it is free, while Microsoft charges a hefty licensing fee for the Windows operating system. In order to hit super low price points, manufacturers need to cut costs wherever they can and that means ditching Microsoft's Windows software.