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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Tags: Alice, Engineer in Wonderland, Linux

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