Qualcomm has all but confirmed that the smartbook is dead, with CEO Paul Jacobs admitting during the company's IQ 2010 event this morning that tablets such as the iPad had already occupied the niche his company expected smartbooks to. Jacobs described slates like the iPad as delivering the concept of "always-on, all-day devices" that smartbooks had initially promised.
Toshiba are finally offering their AC100 MID, the Tegra 2 based smartbook running Android 2.1 with the company's own custom UI. Priced at £292.52 including tax ($449), so far only the non-3G AC100-10Z model - with WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth and 8GB of flash storage - is available.
Huawei are another company going in for Android in a big way, already behind several of the operator-branded budget smartphones on the market and hoping to follow up that success with the new Ideos U8150, a Froyo 2.2 smartphone with what's tipped to be a roughly $150 unsubsidized price tag. As well as playing with the U8150 at IFA 2010 today, we also grabbed a fleeting moment with the Ideos S7 tablet and a (non-functional) Huawei prototype for their idea of a potential gaming MID.
Though Archos' larger internet tablets grabbed our attention first, we spent some time playing with the French company's three smaller models too: the Archos 28, 32 and 43. Ranging in size from 2.8-inches QVGA, through 3.2-inches WQVGA, to 4.3-inches FWVGA, the three palm-sized tablets are Archos' attempt at hybrid PMP/MIDs, hitting price points from $99.99 to $149.99 to $199.
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.
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.
After the discovery that, beyond a few apparently unconnected wires, the Dell Streak's seemingly proprietary charging/docking port is in fact a PDMI connector, John from Linuxslate took it on himself to mod a suitable miniUSB adapter dongle. It's crafted from an original Dell USB charge/sync cable and, for the housing, the USB cable clip Dell supply.
Having made its debut at the FCC a few weeks back, the new Archos 32 Android PMP/MID is getting further pushed into the limelight with a new set of information added to the Amazon preorder page. From the spec list, we know the Archos 32 has 8GB of onboard storage, a 3.2-inch 400 x 240 resolution display, WiFi, Archos AppLib software download access, a web-browser supporting multitouch pinch-zoom, and an integrated camera for shooting photos and videos.
There's also broad audio codec support, with the new PMP content with MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC, OGG, and FLAC formats for audio (together with optional AC3 5.1 support) and MPEG-4 HD, MPEG-4, H.264 HD, WMV9/ACP, and MJPG codecs with various extensions: AVI, MP4, MOV, 3GP, MPG, PS, TS, VOB, MKV, FLV, RM, RMVB, ASF, and WMV. Under the hood is an 800MHz Cortex A8 processor with DSP, and 3D OpenGL graphics acceleration.
Dell's choice of an apparently proprietary connector for its Streak was one of the notable frustrations in our review of the Android MID, but it turns out not everything about the port is non-standard. Owners over at the Pocketables forum have been digging through the specifications and even doing pin-to-pin testing of the Streak's HDMI dock, and have discovered it pretty much matches the PDMI standard. The discovery opens up the possibility of cheaper third-party USB cables than Dell's own $19.99 accessory, together with other potential hacks.