back to article Sharp intros 5in ARM-based netbook

Asus may not be so keen on ARM-based netbooks, but Sharp certainly is. Today, it launched the PC-Z1 Netwalker, a weeny netbook based around a 5in display and Ubuntu Linux and an ARM Cortex A8-derived CPU. Sharp PC-Z1 Netwalker Sharp's PC-Z1 Netwalker: 5in netbook Smaller than your average netbook, the PC-Z1 measures 161.4 …


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  1. Sampler

    Fill the screen to fit the lid

    You'll get what, 7" then? And add a sim slot for 3G/HSDPA connection and away you go - a device people will actually want.

  2. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Me me me me me

    want one, want lots

    how much??

  3. Code Monkey


    I agree completely. The Asus 701 didn't appeal to me for that exact reason. It wasn't til the advent of the 901 that I seriously considered a netbook, eventually getting an Acer Aspire One.

  4. richard 69


    a nintendo DS with a web browser and a free pair of magnifying spectacles.....why the massive space around the screen?

  5. K
    Thumb Down


    Agreed with Samper - I'd make use of this as a "pocket" pc for emergencies if the screen was a little bigger and it had 3G.

  6. nobby

    oh my, this might actually replace my psion 5

    i think i must have died, and gone to twelve year ago heaven!

  7. MnM

    tight screen!

    That's a lot of screen resolution crammed into 5 inches! Still too much scrolling with 600 pixels though, a 7 inch screen with 720+ vertical pixels gets it into very usable territory.

    That would be my UPnP remote control & surfing machine.

  8. Cazzo Enorme


    This looks like the rebirth of the Zaurus ( I had one of the CL3200 models, which was essentially an ARM based netbook with a touchscreen, much like this new gadget.

  9. John Robson Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    Larger screen (lid fitting) would be nice, but it would drain the battery faster - this machine could be used all day if the figures are to be believed...

    There's USB for 3g, what more do you want??

  10. SynnerCal
    Thumb Up

    Could be a proper netbook

    Re: Sampler - couldn't agree more - too much framing that would be better filled with a bigger screen. Which I guess Sharp, given they make TFT's, would be easy.

    Personally my wishes would be:

    1. Upgradable memory - up to 1GB would be fine. Although a little more 'main' storage might not go amiss either;

    2. Price - keep it less than £200 and I'll probably buy one, do it for less than £150 and that 'probably' becomes a 'definitely'. Don't make the same mistake that idiots such as ASUS et al have made - bunging on Windows and then pricing at £350;

    3. Availability - bring it over here soon! (Wonder if Expansys will have this shortly?);

    4. Choice - let folks put on Ubuntu UNR, and maybe make the drivers for the touchscreen etc available for anyone who wants to run NetBSD etc;

    5. Derivatives - I'm thinking that this combination might make a good barebones for doing NAS - make the mobo etc available in a case that can take 4 SATA 3.5" disks and splat on a Gigabit port. A couple of disks and a copy of FreeNAS and job done;

  11. Nigel 11
    Thumb Down

    No VGA port ?!

    Am I right to interpret the review as meaning that it has no VGA output? (Obviously a standard 15-pin VGA connector wouldn't fit, but a small connector and a cable with a VGA connector on the other end would not be hard to add).

    By omitting this, they've made it useless to a large market segment. That is, anyone who wants a maximally portable device which they'd plug into a projector, and use to give presentations. Pity: there are clear advantages to a true hand-held PC that you can hold while facing your audience, and see on its screen either exactly what they are seeing on the screen behind you. It's just about possible with a netbook, but after 20 minutes or so the weight and size of the thing becomes a pain. (True physical pain, that is! )

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    MAKE THE FECKIN SCREEN BIGGER - then i'll buy it

  13. Toastan Buttar

    Price ?

    According to Engadget, it'll debut at 44,800 Yen (around $480 US).

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Psion REVO

    It's the Psion Revo, but now with wireless and internet! That looks seriously useful for business trips. Perfect!.... wait, perfect if it has a PDF viewer???

    Also price? And does it support truecrypt for when I travel behind the Iron Curtain to the UK.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Not wanting to be a dick about it, but

    I'd guess the login name @ 10:25 GMT should be filtered? [Hint: translate from Italian.]

  16. Alex Walsh

    Zaurus by any other name

    As Cazzo says, looks like the Zaurus range is back in new clothing- that even run a linux distro back in the day (Qtopia). If it's under £200 its an option (nearer the £150 mark would be good), if not its a niche product that many wont be interested in.

  17. Daniel Bennett


    Has keys missing?

    where the hell is the question mark button? ? ? ? ? ? ?

  18. Ryan Clark
    Thumb Up


    I like this but with such small devices with limited internal storage capacity I think you need good wireless connections. I would like to see 802.11n and internal bluetooth. That and the screen maxed to fit the casing would make this a very good device, if the price is right

  19. blackworx
    Paris Hilton

    nice, but...

    could cope with the dinky screen and lack of 3G but what's with the manky fleshtones all over the case? looks like it hyperspaced here from 1978. where it used to be a microwave.

    we need a fugly icon please el reg. i know we have paris but some people might, er, argue the toss.

  20. Alex Osmond

    What more do you want?

    Webcam for Skyping would be nice.

  21. The Indomitable Gall


    I've already got two netbooks -- stop tempting me!

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Calling Psion

    Does Psion still own the rights to their operating system and hardware tech?

    Seems to me that this is an ideal time to dust it off, update it, and release a Linux/EPOC hybrid with all the power saving goodness of the Psion 5 + WiFi and 3G built in.

  23. Marvin the Martian

    @ John Robson: USB 3G

    Well, to get it seamlessly to work with Ubuntu? Except for an extra investment in dongles (occupying sparse ports) of the right type (mine's never known to work on any Ubuntu) it gives you more kludging around than is elegant --- get a smartphone for similar prices and screensize; time is money for all non-hobbies.

  24. benjymous


    44800 yen, apparently (£295 / $478)

  25. William Towle
    Thumb Up

    Re: yippee....

    richard 69> "

    a nintendo DS with a web browser and a free pair of magnifying spectacles.....why the massive space around the screen?


    I'm assuming that's because the chosen hardware best suited tight budget- and deadline-based constraints aimed at early market presence, and that (like the EeePC) the space around the screen didn't but may have been/in the next generation model will be less.

    If I hadn't caught the first wave of netbooks with the EeePC 701, I'd be *very* interested - especially with there being a mainstream linux preinstalled (FWIW I've kept Asus' on the internal disk and use Debian on SDHC card as the increasing need for an up-to-date web browser arises). As it stands I'm happy to wait a bit this time round to see what additional features get bundled eventually.

    // thumbs: nice to see "disk space left free" as a statistic

  26. northern monkey

    @Not wanting to be a dick about it, but

    Yet somehow you managed to be. You really are a cazzo enorme.

  27. PaulK
    Thumb Up

    Fuck me, it's a Psion!

    I always knew they'd catch on...

  28. Havin_it

    Re: "If only it had a ..."

    Many fine suggestions above for making it a more meaty beast and thus more desirable. However, for each of these there's gonna be a commensurate hit to the battery life.

    3G card? Slurp.

    802.11n wifi? Gulp.

    Bigger screen? Gobble.

    Bluetooth? Chomp.

    Webcam? Burp.

    And let's not forget the price-hike that'll go with it. People, stop up-selling to yourselves! If you want all these things, be prepared to pay a bit more and live with a shorter battery life - at this stage there are plenty sub-notebook models out there that fir the bill.. Stop trying to make ultraportables into something they're not meant to be.

    I'm sure there will be a good market for these among focused people who know what they really need, and are delighted not to have to pay extra (and have a more cumbersome, shorter-running unit as a result) for stuff they don't.

    Whew - rant over. That one's been brewing for months.

  29. Victor 2

    @ Daniel Bennett

    I'm pretty sure the question mark button is the third button from right to left in the first line (upper right corner, next to the exclamation key)...

  30. Hugh_Pym

    Here they come!

    The flood of ARM based netbooks from non microsoft controlled electronics manufacturers. Probably see a lot of badge engineered stuff too. I wonder if there'll be a Bush netbook in the Argos catalogue for Christmas.

  31. Torben Mogensen

    Re: Keyboard

    The ?/ key is right of the L key. Brackets and braces are Fn + O or P and : and ; are right of F6. The layout is definitely not a standard US or UK layout, with parens over 8 and 9 instead of over 9 and 0.

    I would guess an Us or UK version would use a different layout, closer to the standard (but with adaptations for the smaller number of keys).

    Anyway, I quite agree about the screen size: Expand it to fit the lid, and I might be interested. It also seems a tad pricey at around $480.

  32. vegister

    could be a psion killer..

    i like this. i also read that the boot time is 3 seconds. if the price is right the wife's psion revo might get a refresh..

  33. Chris Thomas Alpha
    Thumb Up


    Mini displayport like on the side of macbooks would solve the vga problem

  34. Code Monkey


    That's way too high for something the non-geeky segment of the netbook market will view as a glorified calculator.

    Drop it to £200 and lose that horrible bezel and I /might/ get one.

  35. SynnerCal
    Thumb Down

    Having second thoughts now

    Re: Cost (By benjymous) "44800 yen, apparently (£295 / $478)"

    Hmm, at that price it gets a "Failure" marking from me, after all I can buy a Dell Mini 10 for nearly £100 less - and that has a larger sized screen (same rez though), faster processor, more storage, more memory and (probably) a more usable keyboard. Okay the Sharp has much longer battery life and is more portable, but it's not _that_ much of an advantage.

    Re: Marvin the Martian: 3G stick "Well, to get it seamlessly to work with Ubuntu? ". My experience (with a T-mobile Web n Walk stick) was pretty positive. On Ubuntu 9.04 (reflashed Acer Aspire 150w) it came up with a little box asking what ISP I was using (T-Mobile UK obviously for me) and it's just worked after that. Meanwhile, Windows XP was a nightmare - I had to go hacking into Device Manager to get it recognised as something other than a flash drive. Argh!

    Re: Re: "If only it had a ..." (By Havin_it) - fair point - but there's nothing stopping them producing a _range_ of machines, each with more features for more cost and less battery life. That said, I'd still agree that a screen that fills up more of that lid (and hence less ugly bezel) would be highly desirable.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    exchange rate

    It's worth noting that about a year ago, the exchange rate for yen -> £ was about 240 Yen/ £ and it is now about 150 Yen/ £. At the price quote above, 44800 yen, that's £295 now or £187 a year ago. Shame our supposedly once great country is on financial life support and full of idle, obese degenerates. Is it time we dropped the Great from Great Britain?

  37. Japoral

    not quite that yet

    it could be an intresting second or third netbook for times when even an eeepc 701 weigths too much. but it badly needs:

    - a RJ45 socket (no brainer for me)

    - a bigger screen (will wait unttil)

    - bluetooth connection.

    a VGA connector would be great, too.

    OTOH the touch screen is great and an ubuntu distro a good thing (TM).

  38. Len Goddard

    remote control

    if the price is right this might be a new remote for my squeezebox system.

    The squeezebox duet remote is about as good as a traditional remote can get, but if you have a lot of music the web interface is much easier to use.

  39. Dave Bell

    Small screen problems

    One problem with small-screen netbooks is that a lot of standard software isn't easily usable with the screen size. A dialog box opens, and the OK button is off the bottom of the screen, needing special clicks and drags to access it.

    And a lot of apps assume you have more screen-space.

    Now, it's Linux. There's room here for a few programs better-adapted to low screen heights, and usable with the various processorts being used. And maybe porting some mobile phone apps to Linux.

    But, from my experience, even though I had no problems with a Psion, maybe a decade ago now, I'd want to know more about how it works with that small a screen.

  40. Saucerhead Tharpe

    AC - GB

    Great Britian is not an expression of hyperbole but of geography, and a bit of history, this is the big bit of land occupied by the Britons as opposed to the smaller bit of land, these days called Brittany

    In French it is more obvious, Grande Bretagne versus Bretagne

    I love the look of this bit of kit mind, loved my Psions 3a,3c and 5.

    I have a Asus EEE 701 and a Android G1, bu tthis has more of a "ahh, bless" about it

  41. Christian Berger

    3G slowly makes sense

    Well slowly it makes sense to put 3G into such a device, but that still would increase the price to much.

  42. Paul RND*1000
    Thumb Up

    I'd buy one

    As an old-time Psion S5 user, I always wanted just a little more resolution, a colour display and some sort of internet connectivity, in a similar size package.

    This looks just like what I wished my S5 could have been!

  43. Matt_payne666


    close, but no cigar.. nce battery life, but still no replacement for my UX1XN

    when will someone build something of similar spec, slighty slimmer with good batterylife??!!

  44. Robert E A Harvey

    want want want want want

    where do I get one?

  45. Mr Floppy


    Given that its for the japanese market and theres a touch screen, surely there must be some sort of hand writing recognition. Which might mean it does english too

  46. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    Ho crap crap crap crap

    Just when I gave up the long wait for exactly that and bought an EEEPC 900 instead. I guess I'll have a couple month to hype up the Asus to my sister or SO so that I can give it to them and buy this lil beauty!

    Too bad it's Ubuntu though. There goes 1G of otherwise much valuable Flash memory...

  47. ElReg!comments!Pierre
    Thumb Up

    @ small screen, webcam et al. comments

    Well it's still an usable definition. And it's not Windows. I have a EEEPC 900*, and one of my friend has a 1001. Even with the larger screen, the 1001 is a pain in the ass to use whereas my 900's screen feels roomy. Amazing what difference a real OS can make...

    Agreed, there is quite a difference between 5 an 9 inches, but the resolution being the same I'm not really afraid. And these touchscreens tend to become very pricey when you increase size, so that's a good trade-off. And most of the software I use is console-based anyway, so I for one don't give a crap about screen size. Provided I can install mutt, lout, w3m, tin, aft, midnight commander (yes, I do indulge in a bit of NCurses eyecandy from time to time. But I'm ashamed of it.) and of course nethack, adventure and overkill for some much-needed relief, it's good enough for my everyday work and leizure. I have a high-end workstation for my graphics needs anyway (no netbook could possibly cope with my 4-D 12 bits 500-megs-each** images...).

    Same for the cam. If you really need one, you can get an almost disposable one pretty much everywhere now, whereas a decent-quality tiny embedded one would considerably increase the price.

    *Aaaaarrrrrggh! Can't believe I bought it only a few weeks before this sony came out. <bang><bang><bang>

    ** No typo here, that's half a gig apiece. Some weight in at more than 800 Mo actually. Though I have a high-end workstation to deal with that WYSIWYG style, I sometimes do some bulk prefiltering on an old Celeron box with 512M of RAM and integrated Intel graphics -not that it would matter anyway, the filtering is done without display obviously-. Guess what OS it is running. For the sake of comparison -read proselytism-, the box also bears a copy of Windows XP Pro wasting a good 2/3 of the 10 gigs hard drive. The box has huuuge trouble just keeping up with the OS when running XP whereas it does some really heavy work under Debian, even with some basic point-and click rubbish running (obviously a nicely tweaked install to be honest, but only by trimming. No watered-down "embedded system" apps, only standard full-fledged stuff. It even has full Java, Python -with NumPy and co- R and Scilab developpment capabilities. Has to, as I obviously won't feed my valuable stuff into someone else's rubbish code. I reserve the right to misinterprete my own data ;-) ).

  48. David Shea

    Psion 5 replacement

    I still use my Psion 5, even though I'd kill for WiFi, colour screen, USB etc....


    It's the software that keeps me using it - the diary, phone manager, a task manager I have, plus a few other programs that just don't have an equal on any other machine I've owned.

    Oh, and the 20hr+ battery life off a pair of AA batteries takes some beating.

  49. Groz Bat
    Thumb Up

    Might just buy it!

    The sub-500g sector is getting more interesting!

    I was thinking of getting Sony's 500g Vaio, but the Sharp is a third of the price and might just do the job!

  50. TheOnlyRick

    Minor tweaks

    I would love to get this, but it *must* be able to play my Laserdisc collection.

    Like many of the people posting on here, I also have a couple of other requests:

    - The screen got bigger, with higher res.

    - More memory - 64GB would be nice

    - It halved in size

    - Built in Bluetooth, WiFi, 3G, GPS, optical audio output and SCART

    - Bundled unlimited 3G data contract

    - Webcam - perhaps one of those 3D ones

    Oh... the price would need to drop below a tenner

    I know a few naysayers will say I'm being demanding, but my old Psion 3 managed all that.

    So... come on Samsung - back to the drawing board!

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