Toshiba to launch Android-powered Netbook

AC100 sports 7-day stand-by and boots in less than a second
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The Toshiba AC100 looks like a standard netbook, albeit a particularly swish and sleek netbook, but it's more (and less) than that.

However the AC100 offers modest hardware specs such as a 1GHz ARM CPU and 8GB flash storage but by leveraging Google’s lightweight Linux-based operating system with NVIDIA’s cutting-edge Tegra 250 hardware, Toshiba claims the AC100 will run for up to eight hours and stand-by mode for seven days.

Equipped with a 10.1-inch TruBrite screen with LED backlight, the AC100 features a standard and mini USB ports, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and an HDMI port for video output. There’s also an SD/MMC card reader and a 1.3MP webcam. Toshiba also talks up some interesting software features such as location-based home screens which switch automatically featuring the user’s customised widgets and applications. 3G connectivity is also set to be an option when the unit goes on sale in August.

With a raft of iPad competing Android-powered tablets on the horizon, the full-keyboard approach evokes memories of earlier light notebooks such as the original Psion Netbook circa 1999. The concept was interesting idea first time around but was firmly ahead of its time, offering limited functionality and a cost near full-sized laptops. However in the intervening years the communications and web browsing capabilities of lightweight operating systems has become virtually indistinguishable from a desktop computer.

Armed with a large screen and a full-sized keyboard but with the mobile-style sub-second boot times, long battery life and fuss-free mobile-style software installation via the Android Marketplace, this new category could well be attractive to consumers. That said the ‘full fat’ netbook market is a competitive category and Toshiba hasn’t yet announced pricing for the AC100.

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