Hong Kong-based portable gaming company GPD has announced that it is breaking into the ultra-portables market, seeking crowdfunding for a device with which it hopes to bring back the long-dead netbook market: the GPD Pocket.
Based on similar internals to its previous gaming-centric products, the GPD Pocket is a fully featured laptop that has apparently shrunk in the wash: a 7" capacitive touch-screen with an impressive 1,920 x 1,200 resolution - 323 pixels per inch (PPI) - sits above a compact and heavily customised partial QWERTY keyboard with IBM-style trackpoint mouse. An Atom x7-Z8700 quad-core processor running at 1.6GHz (2.4GHz burst) linked to 4GB of system memory and 128GB of eMMC storage provides the grunt required to run either Ubuntu Linux 16.04 LTS or Windows 10, while network connectivity is provided by an 802.11a/ac/b/g/n dual-band Wi-Fi module and Bluetooth 4.1 radio.
The measurements of the device are, it has to be said, impressive: Weighing 480g, the GPD Pocket measures just 180mm by 106mm with a maximum thickness of 18.5mm, and is made from CNC-milled magnesium alloy. An internal 7,000 mAh lithium-polymer battery provides a claimed 12 hours of run time with top-ups available using USB power packs on the device's single USB Type-C port, which is joined by a full-size USB 3.0 Type-A port and an HDMI port plus a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Having taken design cues from the classic netbook era, GPD is also borrowing the same dead market segment's pricing strategy: Both models of GPD Pocket, whether equipped with Windows or Ubuntu, come in at $399 (around £321, excluding taxes) on the company's Indiegogo crowdfunding page, a discount on the planned $599 (around £482, excluding taxes) retail price.
GPD's track record for crowdfunded projects, though, is not unsullied. Its previous pocket-sized laptop, the Windows-based GPD Win
, closed its crowdfunding campaign in April 2016 with a whopping 535 percent of its goal; many backers, however, are reporting that they have not received their hardware, that the hardware they have received is faulty, that GPD has been shipping hardware with pirated Windows 10 keys, and that units sent in to the company's Hong Kong office for repair sit in customs for months with no information or replacement available.
Despite this, the GPD Pocket has proven popular, having raised $255,228 of its $200,000 funding goal at the time of writing. More information is available on the company's Indiegogo campaign page