Mobinnova Beam Spotted Running Android, G’Bye Windows CE

mobinova-android-03-25-2010

Just as Mobinnova had promised use even before they released the Beam, the netbook is now running Android instead of Windows CE. Good riddance I say — that OS is getting really old really fast when compared to the latest crop. Beam has made the switch over Android and it seems like Laptop Mag got some time alone with it. How nice!

As is evident from the image above, things haven’t changed much in the Android world. You still have that little tab that gives you access to all you need. The status bar is also there on top and the home screen seems to be acting like a nice little desktop substitute. The only thing that has visibly changed is the size of the display on which Android is running. We are way too used to seeing Android run on mobile phones. So when we see a large 8.9inch device running Android, the sheer number of icons fitting onto one screen is slightly unsettling.

More than unsettling, it is somewhat too busy for the eyes. They really should’ve tried to create a custom UI or at least create a few tweaks with a skin. Nevertheless, at least they have saved porting time by not doing those things.

The new Android model also features some other enhancements, other than the Android that is. There seem to be new media buttons on the keyboard and the CinemaNow software comes pre-installed so that you start downloading movies at once. As is to be expected — you cannot access the Android market from the Beam. It’s just too different at the hardware level  for that.

Since this is based on NVIDIA’s Tegra, it will have some games to show off its graphics capabilities. And the company is working on its own app store, much like everyone else in the market.

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Google Netbook Specs Leaked

chromebookGoogle is making a special netbook (or two) for its Chrome OS’ hardware debut later this year (hopefully) and that is not a very good secret. But the actual hardware specs for this netbook have so far been out of reach for most of us. Yes, we do know that Google really wants only the fastest possible hardware and hence has done away with slow old HDD’s in favor of the fast and new SSD’s. But beyond that, questions like what powers the entire device were far from being answered.

Now however, it seems like they we have a leak that predicts what Google has been up to with the hardware. News resource IBTimes reports that there has indeed been a leak of the Google netbook and they are saying that the rumored device will be powered by NVIDIA’s Tegra chip.

Those unfamiliar with Tegra just need to know that Tegra is NVIDIA’s System on a Chip that is meant to rival Intel’s Atom. It is capable of running full HD content and such things on a miniscule amounts of power that is only marginally higher than Atom, thus bettering Atom on quite a few counts. However, it has failed to gain much traction in the market.

Until now it seems. If Google is really interested in Tegra, NVIDIA is surely celebrating with champagne right now. However, the report also says that Google is going to use ARM CPU, so everything won’t be supplied by NVIDIA. So overall, Google knows what it wants and it is speed without sucking on power.

Other features will apparently include 64GB SSD, 2GB RAM, HD ready 10.1” TFT multitouch display. In fact, this could easily be turned into the Google tablet that is being rumored. After all, these are all components used on mobile devices like the Zune HD. The schedule for Chrome OS device is around Q4 2010.

NVIDIA Tegra Based Netbook gets Priced

60109mbelanThe Mobinnova Élan has been shown off by NVIDIA for quite some time now. It is a tiny netbook that has a rather large battery compartment sticking out of it, promising a lot of power. But the main feature of this 8.9 inch portable is not that it has an extra long battery life. It is being shown around by NVIDIA because it is one of the first (probably the first) netbook to be built around the NVIDIA Tegra platform.

NVIDIA’s Tegra promises to be quite a useful platform for small portables. It involves the use of a power-efficient, low voltage ARM-based processor in conjunction with a powerful graphics chip. This gives the platform the ability to have stunning graphics with low power consumption.

The Mobinnova Élan was only the initial name of the portable. It is now being called the Mobinnova Beam and that is what it will be known as officially when it is launched at next year’s CES. The official word on the ultimate fate of this device is still nothing significant except for the fact that it will be tied to a carrier when it is launched at CES 2010.

This device is capable of delivering true HD video at 1080p resolution. And even while doing that, it will give you a battery life of 5-10 hours. If you are playing music, it will give you a battery life of 24 hours. Well, with that really large battery case, it would’ve been slightly stupid if it did not have such a long battery life. But still, that is impressive.

However, since this device is running on Windows CE, which is an embedded OS, it is somewhere between a netbook and an MID. The price is pretty right though, at $299 when it launches.