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!
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?
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?