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back to article Archos ArcBook: An Android netbook for a measly hundred-and-seventy clams

French tablet, smartphone, soon-to-be-smartwatch, and "connected objects" maker Archos has announced an Android-powered netbook that will be available this June for the low, low price of "under $170" – and yes, as you might have guessed, that means $169.99. Archos ArcBook Modesty can be a virtue (click to enlarge) "Archos …

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Terrible display...

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Terrible display...

I thought that as well. I see the "Why would anyone want one?" (read "I don't want one") commentards are already out below, but I can see some use for this.

It's like netbooks were supposed to be before they tried to go upmarket, but that was five years ago - you'd expect a higher res screen these days. Gimme a cheap machine with keyboard and mouse (or mouse substitute) and provided I can ssh/VNC/whatever into another machine even basic functionality on top of that is a bonus. But that screen inevitably means you have a postage stamp sized window into a much larger desktop. Not necessarily a show stopper (especially with that battery life) but it does make it a cheap naff alternative to something else instead of a cheap option that does everything I'd want.

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K
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Terrible display... agreed

2007 just called, they want to sue for infringement of their Netbook idea!

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WTF?

How can you tell?

Without seeing the display, how can you tell how good (or terrible) it is in terms of contrast, angle of view, etc? If you're talking resolution, it's a lot higher than the 12" laptop I used for 3 years for work.

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Not that thrilling...

My Android phone has far better specs and can be connected to an external monitor. Not sure why anyone would really want one.

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Re: Not that thrilling...

Carry a monitor, car battery and inverter around do you?

In a lot of ways it's better than a chromebook - especially if it can print to an actual printer, not a cloudy imaginary one. A chromebook with a touchscreen and a wider range of apps sounds like a winner. Needs a couple of hundred more rows of screen though

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Anonymous Coward

It's a start

I'd been wondering why there doesn't seem to be a cheap, laptop format, android powered device around outside of ebay. Ideally 10 inch high res screen, usable keyboard & track-pad, arm powered and with a battery that allows you to lose your charger in the days between needing it. So, it misses the high res and the battery life is less than I'd expect, but if this takes off, maybe the next gen will be exactly to my spec.

My fear is that this will take off, and some marketing man will see this small cheap computer doing well. They'll get the wrong end of the stick and make another generation of overpriced small laptops with windows installed and not really enough power to run it. This will then kill off the format, just like the old netbooks.

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Re: It's a start

Except that this time we have at least one alternative OS that lots of consumers are happy to use. In the old days your choice was between running a Linux distribution or Windows. Linux failed because... well it wasn't Windows, and Windows failed because it was horribly bloated.

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Vic
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Quite tempting - but I won't be buying one.

It's really rather tempting, what with that spec for that price.

But I bought Archos kit before. And some months into ownership, I got an "upgrade" that killed off my video codec - Archos decided I had to pay them more money to keep the functionality I'd bought.

So I won't be buying any more Archos kit - this unit included. Which is a shame, because I was otherwise tempted.

Vic.

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Re: Quite tempting - but I won't be buying one.

With you regarding this machine. Never had any Archos kit but it's good to see them trying stuff out. Will be interesting to see if the OEM actually making the things has other models in store. There are PC makers out there desperate to sell to a market that has voted against Windows 8.

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Pirate

Re: Quite tempting - but I won't be buying one.

I brought an Archos media player some years back. Think iPod touch, but about twice as thick due to the 2.5"HDD that was inside.

Nice little device, except i found that after buying it, i needed to pay extra for the WiFi drivers, and even more for the video codecs, without which it was basically a huge MP3 player. Looking back, i probably should have been able to 'find' them online somewhere, but i was young(er) and more naive. Anyway, as a result, Archos are on my 'do not buy' list

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This is not the netbook you're looking for

All the photos on the website show full-screen windows which suggests that they haven't modified Android to do multiple windows.

Which will be a fairly horrible experience.

Less horrible because it's got a keyboard, but still fairly horrible.

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Re: This is not the netbook you're looking for

It's a cheap tablet with a keyboard. That will work fine for some.

For others, it's a first toe in the water to see how the additional hardware works and what the demand is.

If Google gets its arse in gear and does a notebook suitable version of Android then I can see demand picking up pretty quickly for better-specc'd machines (what kind of screen could we get for $ 300?)

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Anonymous Coward

if all you want is to mess about with documents and spreadsheets

if all I wanted was to be messing up with documents and spreadsheets, I'd stay at home and work in front of a PROPER screen. Preferably 27 inch, no less.

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Re: if all you want is to mess about with documents and spreadsheets

Presumably in mummy's basement...

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Anonymous Coward

> the low, low price of "under $170" – and yes, as you might have guessed, that means £169.99.

Fixed that for you.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Anon heckler

"as you might have guessed, that means £169.99"

That's the gag.

C.

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Re: Anon heckler

I think his gag was that the price in $ will be the same in £

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there's bound to be some ARM version of linux that will run in it. 1gb of ram is a bit small, 2gb would be nicer.

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Depends what you plan to do with it. It's obviously specced as pretty much a dumb terminal, and if you stick to that kind of usage I don't see a problem.

The spec (apart from processor and touchscreen) is about the same as the Samsung NC10 I was using up until its sudden and lamented demise last year. Lovely machine, suited my needs perfectly and screen size was only ever a minor annoyance at times (I was trading down from a 14" 1024x768) and I still miss it, for the battery most of all. I'd honestly probably spring for a non-touchy version of this (with the commensurate discount) even though I don't desperately need one.

As for rooting the OS, I wouldn't take it as a given; although I doubt it's boot-locked or anything, there's still a lot of hardware out there (NICs, Bluetooth etc) without open drivers for ARM (or any arch, sometimes).

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Where have I seen something similar before ... ah here:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/11/03/review_netbook_toshiba_ac100/

I actually bought a new AC100 in June 2011 on ebay for 135 euros. Same screen resolution, no touch but less than 900g. The android 2.2 on it was atrocious but there are a few custom roms around and you can run Lubuntu on it.

It is now running android 4.1 and doing duty as an internet radio, Netflix and BBC streamer for my TV. All in all I am happy with it but the operating systems (android and linux) only got good in late 2012.

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Does it run rockbox though, that's the big question?

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Idea's good, specs are awful

I do wish the netbook format with a relatively "normal" OS would return - the Chromebooks are all we've had for several years, but Chrome OS is quite restrictive (though getting better - Google finally realised people *do* have to use them offline occasionally!) and hard to install Linux on.

How easy is it to dual boot this Archos with a Linux distro (or even wipe Android altogether)? Mind you, even though this is very cheap, the specs are so bad (1024x600 10.1" display, WTF?!) that I wouldn't even touch this at half the price. We need the specs of the latest Chromebooks, but with Linux (and maybe Windows dual booting if you really must).

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Re: Idea's good, specs are awful

Appears to be something to explain here.

Cheap = low spec.

Expensive = high spec.

So if you want 'cheap' you will get 'low spec'. It's pretty simply to understand. So, if these specs are not good enough for you, you will need to 'spend more money' on a machine that has the specs you want.

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almost there

This thing needs three things:

> 1366*728

> Clamshell design. This looks like a brick

> Android 4.4 and commitment to at least go to 4.5

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Re: almost there

And a fit bird on a beach. Everyone knows you can't sell a netbook without one.

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titles are for toffs

"what else do you need besides the cloud?"

having had Archos products before, might I suggest build quality this time?

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A lot depends on build quality

I can see a slightly better spec'd Android laptop on a Chinese exporters site for EUR80 (weighs 765gm, 1.5GHz dual core CPU, HDMI out and RG45 but with much shorter battery life - guess where the extra 500g came from?) but it looks cheap and plasticy. If the Archos is metal clad, as it looks to be, it might be worth the extra.

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