Thanks to Google, whenever we hear someone mention Ice Cream Sandwich we automatically think of recently released tablets or smartphones. Now there's another mobile computing format to consider with the launch of Ergo Electronics' GoNote, the UK's first touchscreen Android hybrid netbook. Pitched as the perfect modern homework companion and playtime buddy for students about to return to school, the budget-friendly device features a full-size chiclet keyboard and trackpad, and also brings touchscreen functionality to the form factor. If you'd rather opt for a cheap tablet, the company has also launched a new ICS tablet called the GoTab Epic V.
The new GoNote netbook features a 10-inch, 1024 x 600 pixel resolution, LED-backlit display with touchscreen functionality (albeit of the resistive variety) which is reported to be capable of registering two touch points simultaneously for some pinch/zoom action. Text input can be undertaken onscreen via the virtual keyboard using either a stylus (not supplied) or finger, but being a netbook there's a full QWERTY keyboard and touchpad below the display for input comfort. A 0.3 megapixel VGA webcam sits top center for video chat, with a built-in microphone for audio (as well as a 3.5 mm audio-in jack).
The Android 4.0 (ICS) flavor of Google's mobile operating system gives users access to thousands of educational, productivity and entertainment apps via the Google Play Store and offers up to five homescreens for housing different widgets, shortcuts and apps. The GoNote also comes pre-loaded with the Kingsoft Office for Android suite, which is capable of creating, editing and saving documents in the Microsoft Office file format.
Under the hood beats a 1.2 GHz ARM RK2918 processor supported by 1 GB of DDR3 memory and 8 GB of solid state storage with microSD expansion. GoNote users can also take advantage of 5 GB of free online storage courtesy of Box.com, with files secured using SSAE 16 Type II encryption. There's built-in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and an Ethernet port for wireless or wired online connectivity, four USB ports, and a mini-HDMI out that enables the display of content up to 1080p on big screen TVs or monitors.
Providing the juice is a 9000 mAh/3.7V rechargeable Li-Pol battery that's claimed to be good for about six hours of internet browsing or a stand-by time of around a week.
While netbooks in general are not exactly the most expensive of portable computing products in the marketplace, the GoNote is very cheap indeed. It's set for September release at a suggested retail price of £149.99 (US$236) in either black or white.
Also launched today, is the rather good looking and equally-IPS-packing GoTab Epic V. The new tablet sports a 9.7-inch, 1024 x 768 pixel resolution, LED-backlit capacitive multi-touch IPS display in a lightweight but strong aluminum unibody design. It's powered by a 1.2 GHz ARM A10 Boxchip processor with integrated graphics, and is supported by a 1 GB of DDR3 memory and 16 GB of solid state storage with microSD expansion.
There's a 2-megapixel camera at the rear and a VGA webcam to the front, built-in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, HDMI and USB connectivity and a 7000 mAh Li-Pol battery for 100 hours stand-by or between four and seven hours of internet browsing between charges.
The GoTab Epic V is available from next week and carries a suggested retail price of £179.99 (US$284), but for an extra £20 Ergo will throw in a Bluetooth keyboard case.
Now for the bad news ... folks outside the UK and Ireland won't be able to get their hands on either product at launch. Ergo's Sam Goult told us that wider availability will be coming soon. We'll keep you posted.
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