Companion devices come in all shapes and sizes, from big-screen smartphones through tablets to netbooks and ultraportables, but Toshiba is hoping that by borrowing a little of each they'll find a gap in the market. The Toshiba AC100 looks like a netbook but runs Android, an OS we're more familiar with on smartphones or, more recently, tablets. The company reckons a traditional keyboard and NVIDIA's Tegra 2 processor should make the AC100 the best multimedia, browsing and communication ultraportable around, but is Android being asked to do more than it's currently capable of? Check out the full SlashGear review after the cut.
Friday's news that open-source tinkerers had managed to get Ubuntu 10.10 up and running on Toshiba's hitherto-Android AC100 smartbook raised a few eyebrows, but the usability of the hack was significantly scuppered by the fact it wouldn't load past the boot screen. That's been ironed out over the weekend, and Carrypad now has video of the AC100 doing its Ubuntu thing.
Video demo after the cut
Toshiba's AC100 is certainly an interesting notebook on the face of it: Tegra 2 processor, full QWERTY and plenty of battery life, but the Android OS does mean it's definitely a companion device and not your sole ultraportable. That could all change, however, now a hack for loading Ubuntu onto the AC100 has been developed; Carrypad pulled together the instructions and files from tosh-ac100.wetpaint.org, ac100.gudinna.com and the official Toshiba forums and managed to get his AC100 up and running with Ubuntu 10.10.
With the Toshiba AC100 out in the wild, it's now possible to see just how well NVIDIA's second-gen Tegra chipset performs in comparison to other Android hardware. According to Carrypad's testing, the answer is "pretty darn impressive"; they've run Quadrant on the AC100 (an Android app that measures various aspects of processor, memory, I/O and 2D/3D graphics and combines them into a single score) and the netbook managed 1,911. In contrast, a Google Nexus One running Android 2.2 scored 1,390.
Having been spotted in-stock and up for sale in Europe yesterday, the Toshiba AC100 has now made an appearance in Taipei. Netbooknews got the Japanese version - launching there as the Dynabook AZ - and have mixed impressions; as reviewers found with the HP Compaq Airlife 100, Android simply isn't really ready for netbook-style implementations.
Video demos after the cut
Toshiba's AC100 MID has apparently gone on sale, with at least one German retailer claiming to have (limited) stocks of the 10.1-inch Tegra 2 based Android smartbook. The unit itself - packing an 8GB SSD, 512MB of RAM and running the Android 2.1 OS - lacks the 3G modem some Ac100s will have, meaning you're stuck using WiFi b/g/n or Bluetooth.
Toshiba's first MID (Mobile Internet Device) has made its debut, in the shape of the Android-based Toshiba AC100. Using a form-factor we'd more commonly describe as a netbook or smartbook - Toshiba say they picked the classic design over a more common slate-style MID because it's more familiar for users and offers better ergonomics and text-entry - the AC100 runs NVIDIA's second-generation Tegra 250 chipset making it 1080p HD capable.
First impressions and hands-on video after the cut
You'll want to squint at this picture, because you're looking at one of the more tempting netbooks we've seen of late. According to Blogeee's source, this is the Toshiba AC100-114, a 10.1-inch netbook with NVIDIA's Tegra T20 GPU and an HDMI port. However, rather than Windows 7 or XP, the Toshiba AC100-114 runs Google's Android 2.1 OS.
Samsung, Toshiba, ASUS and Acer are all readying ARM-based laptops hoping to restore the reputation of the little-loved "smartbook" segment, according to the latest talk in Taipei. According to DigiTimes' sources, ASUS has prepared a 13-inch notebook using an unspecified NVIDIA chip - potentially the quad-core Kal-El expected to show up in commercial hardware from August - and running Android, with a launch toward the end of 2011.
Toshiba has ditched its Windows 7 tablet PC and Google Chromebook plans, according to the latest roadmap rumors, having been burned before on new segment experiments like Android smartbooks. The scheduled products have already been deleted from the agenda, according to DigiTimes' sources, while the Windows 7 tablet Toshiba demonstrated back at CES 2011 may be delayed or in fact never released at all.