Airlife 100 Thoughts: 6 days Online Battery and Pricing.

Updated on 22 February 2010 by

I know I’m starting to sound like a complete Airlife fanboy (see recent UMPCPortal article) but I think there’s one more thing I need to highlight (possibly for a second time!) and that is that the Airlife 100 (and similar devices) could last for 6 days without charge. I don’t mean 6-days offline in standby or in hibernation but I mean fully connected and online, pulling in emails, updating location status, voip, calendar notifications, tweet notifications and one of the features I feel will lock users in, instant on. That is, opening up the device and working within 1 second. PC-based systems take from 15 to 60 seconds to get going and connected!

So why is the Airlife so different? It ‘s a smartphone!

Smart sleeping.

Smartphones, their hardware, their operating systems and their applications are designed to operate well under standby conditions and when you turn that screen backlight off by closing the device you’re simply left with exactly the same as your phone but with a battery that is 4-6 times as big!

I estimate that a GSM-connected device running 2 or 3 applications in the background is going to average about 200mw of drain. That’s an estimated 150 hours on the 30wh battery that I suspect is in the Airlife. If you want to switch on GPS and roam around on 3G, expect the times to drop down by about 50% but still, 3 days connected is still pretty amazing. If you turn off the cell, gps and wifi radios, you’ll be able to get calendar and alarm-clock notifications with instant-on for up to about 10 days! With the device lasting for 10 hours in-use with the backlight on (a 3W average usage scenario with 30% screen brightness seems achievable) you’d certainly be able to take the Airlife away for a weekend with just a single charge.  This really could be my next Solar-UMPC!

One more note on the battery life. I challenged a Compaq technical marketing manager about the battery life claims at MWC last week and he said that he’s seen more than the stated figures and feels the figures are on the safe side.

What do you think? Killer feature?

We’re tracking the Airlife 100 in the UMPCPortal database.

Pricing thoughts.

So how much is the Airlife 100 going to cost? Well, consider that it uses one of the most advanced smartphone platforms on the market today, adds a huge 10″ touchscreen and 3G radio along with GPS and 16GB of SSD and you can see that the bill of materials for this one isn’t going to be bargain basement. But that’s not the main pricing factor. More important is what the market can tolerate.

Think about an ASUS T91 for a while. The T91 is a relatively niche 8.9″, sub 1KG  netbook with touchscreen and retails for about $450. It includes a convertible screen and a full Windows 7 build but only lasts for 5hrs on a single charge. Considering that the Airlife includes a 3G modem, huge battery life and some unique usage scenarios, I wouldn’t be suprised if the fully unlocked 3G models comes in at $499. Smartphones built on the same platform come in at an even higher price but given the downward pressure from netbooks, the 500 pricing point seems reasonable. A good price, in my opinion, would be $450. Offer a budget version for $349 (without 3G) and you’ve got a carrier subsidised model for about $150.

Here are my pricing estimates based on features, build cost and market factors.

  • Fully unlocked 3G version: $449 (399 Euro)
  • Wifi only version $349 (299 Euro)
  • Carrier 3G version on 24-month data-only contract, $150 (99 Euro)

I would love to see lower prices but considering the risk in this new market, the low production runs, limited carrier and channel distribution, unique features and lack of competition, I doubt we’ll see anything lower before Q3.

Your thoughts on pricing?

10 Comments For This Post

  1. tibury says:

    while ridiculous battery life is nice, I am content with charging at the end of the day. I would rather them focus on smaller, thinner, lighter designs.

  2. admin says:

    I agree and therefore the ten hours online battery life figure is about right. Above this this need to focus on lighter designs which I think Compaq have already done. This is just about the lightest 10″ netbook there is. 900gm is super.

  3. Jez says:

    The machine looks great, but it’s a real shame they did not make it convertible so it could be used in a tablet mode.

  4. Pierre says:

    So I could put something like a wiki server to store notes on it and then be able to access these notes instantly & permanently (at least for 6 days), either locally or remotely (through any web browser) … that could be interesting …

  5. Pierre says:

    Still thinking about my wiki idea above : if there was a way to keep the db in sync with another db on the web with faster/more reliable internet connectivity than 3G, then the wiki, directly accessed on the web mirror from outside the smartbook, would also have a faster/more reliable access. Probably doable with a mysql based wiki like mediawiki …

  6. Pierre says:

    just adding a note to myself : having 2 mysql dbs replicating new data to each other is done with “MySQL multi-master replication – circular replication with two nodes” : http://capttofu.livejournal.com/1752.html

  7. Pierre says:

    Maybe there’ll be a version of the redfly smartphone companion device ( http://blog.celiocorp.com/ ) which will enable this kind of “always on” computing but, for my mediawiki idea above, the smart phone OS would have to support apache/php/mysql …

  8. Pierre says:

    PS : just for info, I’ve posted the idea here : http://talk.maemo.org/showthread.php?p=548925#post548925

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2 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Airlife 100 Netbook U.S. Specifications Now Official | Carrypad says:

    […] Detailed thoughts about the Airlife 100 battery life and pricing available here. […]

  2. Airlife 100 Social Netbook Launches in Spain, starts at 230 Euros | Carrypad says:

    […] I’m not one to let companies hide the real price of a device behind a subscription but at the moment I can’t find the full, unsubsidised price of the ARM/Android-based HP Compaq Airlife 100 that has just launched in Spain. Based on the two prices below and similar subsidy deals, the full price if the Airlife looks to be about 450 Euros. It sounds expensive for a smartbook doesn’t it but it’s not. A 3G-capable ‘smart’ book (I’m calling them ‘social netbooks’ to avoid the wrath of the company that sits about 30km from my office here in Germany) with GPS and a 12-hour battery life weighing 800gm do not exist in the market. This is unique and exciting. If I could order one today, I would. (Here’s why) […]

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