It’s fascinating, the cyclicality of technology. A few years ago, constraints in laptop design (primarily weight and battery life) drove the creation of a new category of sub-laptops—aka sub notebooks or netbooks or ultrabooks—most without hard drives. Instead they leveraged flash memory or the cloud to store data.
The ARM ecosystem helped enable one of these new devices in 2011 with the introduction of the Google Chromebook by Samsung and Acer.
Now, it seems, advances in processor performance and graphics capability combined with low-power functionality are driving such lightweight devices up into traditional laptop territory. Talk about category melding!
This portends big changes in portable computing as more consumers migrate to lightweight, powerful but power-miserly mobile computing devices.
Indeed, no less a luminary that Linus Torvalds said last week he considers 2016 to be the “year of the ARM laptop.”
One of the more interesting developments in this space comes from ASUS, which has launched the Chromebook Flip. The $250 Flip is 32-ounce touchscreen-enabled device that gets its horsepower from an ARM-based Rockchip system-on-chip (SoC), the RK3288-C. Operating at up to 1.8GHz, the quad-core chip uses four Cortex-A17 cores alongside a quad-core ARM Mali-T760 MP4 GPU.
(By the way, the “flip” in Flip comes in when the user turns the keyboard over to the back side of the display so the device at that point functions as a tablet).
You can read the full review here from Hexus.net’s Tarinder Sandhu.
The Chromebook, because of its affordable price, light weight, 10-hour battery life and durability, is considered ideal for students. So much so that a fun competition put forth by Hexus and ARM gives winners a Flip C100 while donating another five of the devices (for each winner) to a local school or charity of their choice.
Check out the details here.