Netbooks are really becoming a part of the market where all sorts of companies are trying out new things. For instance, earlier this week, we had a review of a MIPS-based Loongson-2 netbook from China, last Monday we reported on Acer implementing a Vmedia drive into a netbook, a while back we had a multitouch LCD touchpad netbook, and we’ve had more. Now we have one that uses an x86 SoC that doesn’t come from AMD/Intel/VIA, and can run on… AA batteries.
While the battery aspect of this netbook will interest most, I’m personally more interested in the actual hardware that powers the device. It’s powered by an x86 system-on-chip called the Vortex86MX from Taiwanese company DMP Electronics. Its processor is an x86-compatible with ARM-like power consumption (1.2W!) which runs at 1.0Ghz.
The Gecko EduBook has other goodies too, such as an internal SD card for storage (it also has an IDE slot) as well as internal space for a Bluetooth or WiFi dongle. It has an 8.9″ 1024×600 display, and the CPU/RAM module is removable, and can carry anywhere between 256MB and 1GB of DDR2 RAM.
The cool stuff is of course that it can be powered by a set of 8 NiMH AA batteries, which can power the netbook for 4 hours; you can also buy a normal battery pack which will power it for 6 hours. This makes the machine ideal for environments where AA batteries might be all you can buy, for instance in emerging markets.
By default it comes with Ubuntu Linux, but it can also run Windows XP and Windows CE. It will become available in July for 200 USD, with an 8GB SD card and a WiFi module. Barebone models will also be available for 110-130 USD.