Back in October 2007, Asus single-handedly launched a new segment in the mobile market with the launch of the netbook. The first model, the Asus Eee PC 701, went on sale for £170 and got rave reviews on launch (check our original one).
What many forget is that Intel and Asus worked very closely together and delivered a near-perfect product to market in less than nine months. Intel may be aiming to achieve the same result with that partnership with Gigabyte (the ODM) and Orange (the network operator).
It's interesting to compare both the Orange San Diego and the original Asus Eee PC. Both cost approximately the same. The netbook ran on a 630MHz Celeron ULV with 512KB cache coupled with an Intel 915GM chipset, had 512MB DDR2 memory with a 2GB solid state drive, a 7in 800 x 480 pixels, three USB ports, D-Sub, a SD card slot, Wi-Fi, an Ethernet port and ran on Windows XP.
The Orange San Diego on the other hand has a much better hardware configuration and shows how rapidly hardware has evolved.
The screen on the San Diego packs 60 per cent more pixels than the Eee Pad on a much smaller screen area. The result is a display with nearly five times more pixels per unit area. The processor is almost three faster while the graphics subsystem in the smartphone is an order of magnitude better than the GMA 900.
The phone has eight times the amount of onboard storage, twice the amount of system memory, comes with a better front camera. Ultimately, although the San Diego is a "smartphone", the fact that it is x86 based at its core means that it is a better computer altogether albeit one without a keyboard and with a smaller screen.