Sharp to launch ultra-mini netbook

August 28, 2009 | 12:48

Tags: #arm-netbook #cortex-a8 #imx515 #netbook #netbook-remix #netwalker #smartbook

Companies: #arm #freescale #sharp #ubuntu

Hands-on shots of a new netbook from Sharp have surfaced, and if you thought that the point of the devices was to be portable prepare to fall in love.

The images, taken by Akihabara News.com, reveal the first in-the-flesh pictures of the Sharp NetWalker PC-Z1-W(hite), an Ubuntu-based ultra-mini netbook.

The device, which has a squint-worth 5" 1024x600 touchscreen - that's the same resolution as offered by most 10" netbooks - hooked up to an ARM Cortex A8-based Freescale i.MX515 CPU running at 800MHz and 512MB of sadly non-upgradable RAM. A 4GB SSD is provided for storage, with the traditional SDHC slot for up to 16GB of additional space. 801.11b/g wireless networking gets you online, although there's no mention of a physical network port for you wired folk.

The ultra-mini device measures a mere 161.4mm by 108.7mm and is just 19.7mm thick when closed, and weighs a minuscule 409g. The 68-key keyboard looks a little cramped, but this isn't a device you're likely to use to compose your latest novel.

An integral - and unfortunately non-removable - battery takes advantage of the extremely low power draw of the Cortex A8 processor along with the small screen to provide a full ten hours of battery life per charge.

The company's choice of Ubuntu 9.04 - albeit with Sharp's own version of the Netbook Remix interface dubbed Smartbook Remix, which uses large icons to counteract the small size and relatively high resolution of the display - will please Linux fans, who will enjoy full ARM-compiled versions of Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice.org, and even the YouTube-compatible Adobe Flash Lite player installed by default.

Full specifications posted on IT News Online reveal the existence of white, black, and red models - and point to a Japanese launch at the end of September. Quite when - or even if - we'd see it over here remains to be seen.

Could this be the portable computing device you've been waiting for, or is 512MB of RAM and an 800MHz CPU - even it if is an ARM - too little to be running a big OS like Ubuntu? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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