I am bored and want to play with a netbook or other small computer. Can anyone recommend something?


  1. ARM or MIPS CPU
  2. Can run Windows CE 6 and/or Linux (preferably dual-boot)
  3. Linux distribution must be full-fledged (for the architecture, i.e. no single-user toy GUI)
  4. Costs less than 400 Euros (although a cool machine can cost more)
  5. Wireless LAN, any speed
  6. USB ports, 1.1 or 2.0
  7. SD card reader would be nice but is not necessary
  8. Slot for SIM card and built-in 3G would be nice but is not necessary
  9. If netbook/laptop should run when lid is closed
  • I'm curious why you DON'T want an X86/ATOM/Intel cpu. – Warren P Jul 30 '10 at 19:47
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    @warren those would be mostly off topic here as they're not gadgets but standard x86 PCS, really. – Jeff Atwood Aug 1 '10 at 3:14
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    You can install ubuntu on a xoom (I think) – Falmarri May 23 '11 at 0:11

The Wikipedia page "Netbook" lists several ARM-based- and MIPS-based netbooks.

  • "HP Compaq Airlife 100 ... for €230" is apparently "HP's ARM-powered Android netbook" (two links)
  • ARM netbook sells for $80
  • "A Hong Kong-based manufacturer is shipping a Linux-based ultra-mini PC (UMPC) laptop for only $250 ... Based on an "industry standard" RISC-based architecture (possibly MIPS?) the chip reportedly runs Windows CE as well as Linux." (link)

You might also look at smartphones and PDAs that run Linux; practically all of them use ARM CPUs, and some version of Linux has been ported to many of them.

  • Linux PDAs
  • $330 Pandora
  • $175 iKit
  • Psion
  • ... somewhere on the Internet I saw a "custom laptop" built out of a PDA running Linux, a full-size PDA keyboard, and a hinge and a few other things to let it fold and unfold like a full-size laptop. For typing text and grepping through text, it ran for days between recharges. Screen was a big small, though. ... I wish I could find a link to it ...
  • The problem with MIPS-based machines from China (I don't know if this is true about Hong Kong) is that Chinese companies have a rather warped view of what a Linux distribution should look like. And then they don't support other distributions. – Andrew J. Brehm Jul 30 '10 at 11:06

Take a look at the Always Innovating Touch Book. It's only US $400, it uses an ARM TI OMAP3 chip, and it can run several Linux distributions (not sure about Windows CE). It also has a couple nifty features, like a detachable touch-screen that functions as a tablet and motion-sensing capabilities thanks to a 3D accelerometer.

  • That looks like an excellent device to play with! Thank you. Apparently it even can run Android which is what I need since I wanted to get MonoDroid (Novell's .NET for Android product) when it comes out and needed a test device anyway. Looks fantastic. – Andrew J. Brehm Jul 29 '10 at 22:31

If I was bored, and looking to hack on an Arm-cortex based mini cool device, I'd be buying one of these:


No touch screen though. Since you also mentioned Sim cards, I think that a large cell phone or tablet, like the Nokia Internet Tablet would fit the bill.


Samsung Arm Chromebook - 250 USD / 300 EUR. Note there is no Windows CE and you will need to install Linux yourself.

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