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NEC joins Android fray, releases new Android-powered netbook

Think that Acer is the only OEM to offer a netbook which gives consumers the chance to play around with a notebook-optimized port of the mobile Android operating system? Well, think again: NEC has also broken out its own answer to the Android laptop market with its new LifeTouch Note netbook. Wait, didn't Google announce some time back that certain builds of Android were not meant to be used on devices that sport larger-than-smartphone display sizes?

With tablets stealing the limelight as the next big thing in ultraportable computing, it would seem that the humble netbook which was once considered to the the pinnacle in the aforementioned category has been relegated to has-been status. After all, it makes perfect sense that users who need an ultraportable machine for consuming media content exclusively will have little need for a device which sports a larger physical footprint that does not have the required processing power needed to handle such content.

However, that does not mean that the humble netbook is about to find itself headed to the great computing heaven for obsolete devices. Instead, it seems that NEC has decided to take a unique approach in handling the challenge netbooks currently face in light of the onslaught of tablet devices seeking to take their place in the PC market. And its answer comes in the form of a new Android (Froyo)-powered netbook it calls the LifeTouch Note.

Unlike most netbooks which currently make use of Intel's x86 Atom processor for their computational horsepower, NEC has opted to drop the x86 architecture in the LifeTouch Book in favor of an NVIDIA Tegra 2 system-on-a-chip. And if its name was not already a big enough giveaway, the LifeTouch Note will feature a touchscreen display for navigation. And by 'touchscreen', we are referring to one of the resistive variant. And everybody knows what an ARM architecture coupled with a resistive touchscreen means: no multitouch, and definitely no Windows.

However, it appears that there is also much to look forward to with the LifeTouch Note. Apparently, the netbook will feature 8GB of internal storage, but that capacity can be expanded through the use of SD or SDHC cards. Of course, it also comes bundled with the various standard connectivity features such as WiFi, GPS and the optional built-in 3G support.

Most importantly, you don't have to worry about not being able to get your Angry Birds fix on this particular netbook: this is because NEC has reportedly confirmed that the LifeTouch Note is designed to be compatible with the oh-so-indispensable Android Market. The bad news though, is that NEC has not released any information about when the device will be released for retail, and whether it will ever see the light of day outside of Japan. Well, at least they were kind enough to provide its pricetag, which appears to be rather reasonable at 45,000 yen (approx US$540). 

Source: BJD Productions Blog

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