Posted on 24 March 2010
I enjoyed spending time with the Mobinnova Beam at CES this year and after a demo and discussion with ARM’s Bob Morris, I walked away impressed although a little worried about the OS. My main worry was that no-one would be able to relate to the unknown user interface. How could anybody get a feel for what the device can do without some form of knowledge about the OS? Would you buy a computing device without any knowledge of the OS? It appears that others feel the same way; the Beam has just re-surfaced running open-source Android.
Laptopmag got to spend some time with the latest version of the Nvidia Tegra-based device and reports that that hardware is unchanged. That’s a good thing because at 840gm, it’s a great lightweight and super-thin device. With Android, this puts the Beam into a similar position with the Compaq AirLife 100 and that’s one that could really challenge the netbook market with it’s always-on, always-connected, location-aware, app-enabled dynamic operating system known for an application ecosystem that is right up there at the top of the tree. Well it would be if the final reseller of this device was able to get the Google Marketplace on it. Mobinnova are â€œincluding games that leverage the Tegra chip’s multimedia prowess and that it is working on its own app store inch like many others but that Marketplace issue is turning out to be a big stumbling block. I heard from another reseller today who is in the same difficult position of trying to get Google apps onto open-source Android to turn it into a ‘real’ Android device.
The Mobinnova Beam is predicted to arrive in the July-Sept 2010 timeframe.
Posted on 13 January 2010
I had a demo of the Mobinnova Beam at CES last week and I have to say, it was one of the coolest UI demos I saw all week. Nvidia’s Tegra 2 platform will do a good job of enabling a dynamic UI but the question always remains; when you’ve finished messing around with the 3D UI, what then? Customers have no idea what an ARM-based netbook can do and much like it is in the smartphone world will be forced to rely on advertising, branding, word of mouth and online reviews which is probably why the Beam will switch to Android when it comes to AT&T as a product. Without that comfort-blanket, the Beam would be an unknown quantity.
Netbooknews.de is relaying the CES announcement from Mobinnova which gives some more details about the Mobinnova Beam and confirmation that the Beam is coming to AT&T
Mobinnova Beam product page
- Screen: 8.9 inch 1024×600 Non-touch
- RAM: 512M
- Storage: 8-64GB
- Comms: Wifi b/g, BT2.1, HSDPA
- USB 2.0 x 2
- Mic In, Line out
- Expansion port for VGA and ethernet adaptor
- SDHC card slot
- HDMI out
- SIM card slot
- OS: Android
But will this be the Android you have come to love? will it be Google Android with marketplace, contacts syncing and all the rest of the Google goodness or will it be a vanilla Android build without a marketplace? If it’s a true Google Android, it means that Google are now approving non-voice devices, a great step forward for the ARM-based tablet and smartbook market.
Next question: Price?
Mobinnova Beam press release.(PDF)
‘Smartbook’ in Germany is property of Smartbook A.G. They sell netbooks.
Posted on 11 January 2010
One of the only Nvidia Tegra2-based devices I really got to see in detail this week was the Mobinnova smartbook. Using the same design as the earlier Tegra device it looks solid and well-built and it weighs significantly less than most netbooks. The UI demo that you’ll see in the video below was slick and smooth and clearly there’s a fun photo and music experience in there but when the Windows CE-based Internet Explorer pops up you get the impression that there’s only a limited depth to the software. This is going to be the biggest issue for smartbooks â€“ buyer confidence. Will the user trust the software to do what they think they need? Android is one of the only ways out of this issue.
Gallery of Mobinnova Images
In the video you’ll see the Mobinnova UI but you’ll also hear Bob Morris, Director of Mobile Computing at ARM, talk about the smart devices segment. It was a very interesting conversation. I also recorded a seperate interview with Bob and i’ll post that in the coming days.