Pegatron and Freescale team for low-power, ultra-cheap netbooks and nettops

Pegatron has been pretty quiet ever since it split off from ASUS to do ODM stuff all by its lonesome -- which is sort of the idea, since Pegatron's mainly doing the behind-the-scenes manufacturing. We're glad, however, that the company peeked out of its shell to show off these new Freescale-based netbooks. The Linux-running laptops boast 8.9-inch screens, 8 hour battery life, 8GB of storage and projected retail prices around $199, while the nettop holds similar power in a pico-style form factor. Under the hood is Freescale's brand new ARM i.MX515 processor, which is a 1GHz chip that's described as basically being three times faster than the iPhone. The win here is that the chip draws very little power and generates very little heat, allowing Pegatron to squeeze impressive battery life out of a very thin form factor. Freescale is working with Ubuntu to prep an ARM-Linux distro, which will hit in May, and Adobe will have an ARM happy version of Flash 10 sometime this year. Supplementing the processor are chips for DSP, 2D, 3D and 720p acceleration, which switch on and off as needed -- we saw the computer in action playing 720p video smoothly while drawing a mere 0.5 watts and not even feeling warm to the touch. The limitation here is obviously straight-up processing power -- it's not very impressive, and certainly slower than Intel's Atom -- but for running an optimized Linux build and surfing the web or watching a vid, Pegatron and Freescale might've just found a new portability sweetspot. They're hoping to have an OEM pick these up around May or June sometime.