Brave computer nearly made it
I have tried to find a small useful ARM-based netbook, and largely failed.
One of my bright ideas was to get a Toshiba AC100, which was a brave attempt at a smartbook – as ARM netbooks were supposed to be called – let down because Toshiba almost immediately stopped supporting it.
The hardware is almost all good – nVidia Tegra2 (dual 1GHz Cortex-A9), very nice keyboard, great screen. Great run time, and months of sleep battery life.
The case is slim and the computer is lightweight.
Downsides are: only 512Mbyte ram, and the SD Card interface is fudged.
Software was the problem – Android was a poor choice for a computer without a touch screen – particularly as its flavour of 2.1 was buggy.
Toshiba released one update, to Android 2.2 as I remember, which was less buggy, but still frustratingly unreliable.
The way Toshiba set it up, it is even impossible to gain access to the Google Apps Store.
Pre-installed Apps are mostly half-useful demo versions.
And it draws as much current in stand-by, as in operation – go figure.
Web browsing is all it is good for – even writing emails on Hotmail frequently fails.
Brave developers got Ubuntu working on it, and their efforts are well supported in this website.
Ubuntu, or some other Linux distribution, is a great match for the hardware (although 1Gbyte memory would be better), and how Toshiba missed that one is anybodies guess.
A few years later, and the Asus Transformer 300 is all that the Android AC100 should have been.
Mind you, I am not a great fan of Android because Apps can, as far as I know, easily plunder personal information without the user knowing it, whereas the folk behind Ubuntu have no interest in ‘leveraging’ personal data for financial gain.
If I had a week to spare, I would learn how to put Ubuntu on mine and, I think, end up with and Ubuntu AC100 that is all the Android AC100 should have been.
Update: On the plus side, even with its Android 2.2, it does work with iPlayer – which is more than can be said for Linux computers
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