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Asus shows ARM-based, Android-running skinny Eee

Decent competition for Atom at last?

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Computex Statement of intent or proof concept? Either way Asus' Eee PC Seashell equipped not with Intel's Atom but Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor will fuel the hopes of many that the ARM architecture is about to muscle in on the netbook market in a big way.

Spied at the Computex show being held this week in Taipei, the machine was seen running Google's Android operating system. It was one of an array of Snapdragon-based netbooks shown off by Qualcomm.

If you've seen the Asus Eee PC 1008HA and Google's Android, you know exactly what it looks like.

Its pitch is that Snapdragon-based mini-laptops will fill the gap between smartphones and notebooks. That sounds good - especially the always on 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth; 720p HD screens; and 8-10 hours of battery that Qualcomm likes to talk about.

However, it could also mean disappointing performance as smartphone chippery tries to run apps it was never meant to do.

The proof is in the eating, of course, and that'll only happen if Qualcomm and others persuade the likes of Asus and Acer to sell machines based on ARM technology. ®

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