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Pegatron: Netbook powered by the Palm Pre

ARM visited our offices today to show off an exciting netbook concept powered by the same architecture used in the Palm Pre. Yes! We said 'exciting' and 'netbook' in the same sentence

Rory Reid

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Atom-powered netbooks may the flavour of the month, but all that will change if ARM gets its way. The chip company visited our offices today to show off an exciting concept netbook that's powered by the same architecture used in the Palm Pre. Yes! We said 'exciting' and 'netbook' in the same sentence!

The unnamed demo unit, built by the awesomely named Pegatron, which is owned by Asus, uses a Freescale iMX515 CPU -- a product that in turn uses the same ARM Coretex-A8 chip used in the Pre. In mobile phone guise, the chip is clocked somewhere in the region of 600MHz, but stretches its legs to a full 1GHz in the Pegatron. That might not sound like much, but the 65nm Coretex-A8 is capable of running 720p high-definition movies and 3D gaming.

It doesn't appear to consume much power while it's going about its business, either. Its modest two-cell battery is said to last between 4.5 and 8 hours depending on use. We'll take these figures with a pinch of salt until we test one in the field, but here's hoping the estimates are at least close.

The chassis itself, aside from being ludicrously thin, looks fairly standard. It has a couple of USB ports, D-Sub video output and a memory card reader, all of which you can see by clicking through our photo gallery.

It's all fairly redundant, however, since the Pegatron is merely a concept device. If Pegatron or indeed Asus decides to build a final model, it'll almost certainly endure some major tweakage.

What do you reckon? Can an ARM-powered netbook challenge its Atom rivals? Would you trust a netbook that is essentially using mobile phone parts? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

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Giving the Pegatron machine a glossy black finish isn't imaginative, but it certainly does look smart.
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It is terribly difficult to keep clean, which is why we kept the cleaning cloth close by.
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Ever see a Pegatron spooning a Pre? Didn't think so. You're welcome.
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The keyboard was a little on the small side, but it's nothing we couldn't come to terms with.
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There's not much to see on the underside. Move along.
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The left side houses D-Sub, USB, mini USB, and a four-in-one card reader.
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The right gets another USB port plus a couple of audio jacks.

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