Cherrypal "Africa" $99 laptop

Ed McNierney ed at laptop.org
Wed May 5 11:16:15 EDT 2010


Folks -

I've acquired two of these machines - for those of you in or near 1CC, you can find them on my desk and are welcome to play with them.  I ordered one for $99 with Linux and one for $119 with Windows CE (there is no difference in the hardware).  I removed the case from the Linux model and plugged in a USB keyboard and mouse, so you can use it while admiring the motherboard.

The machine I ordered is described at http://www.cherrypal.com/secure/product_info.php?products_id=9 and that seems to be a reasonably accurate description of what I received (the photo shows a silver case, but mine is black).  There are a few minor discrepancies but nothing of note.

The ARM SoC is an ARM9-based XBURST part from Ingenic, and the specs are at http://www.ingenic.cn/eng/productServ/AppPro/JZ4740/pfCustomPage.aspx - you'll notice the "400 MHz" processor described by Cherrypal is described as "360 MHz" by the manufacturer and the boot-time diagnostics report a "248 MHz" speed while the Windows CE manual refers to the "ARM920 266MHz Multimedia Processor".

The motherboard is labeled "WISMILE NB0702_V1.6 090626" and the entire device closely resembles the WISMILE MyWSNB0706 mini-netbook described at http://www.wismile.com/en/detail.asp?ProID=393&SortID=46 - the only difference seems to be the logo and "cherrypal" text attached to the upper display housing with stick-on letters.

The motherboard is mainly notable for the number of connectors with hot melt glue glommed on top of them after assembly.  The side of the motherboard connector for the battery is bent/broken a bit and appears to be slightly melted and browned.

The Linux distro is anonymous, and appears to offer no command-line access (at least, none easily found).  The File Explorer application shows a filesystem root described as "C:/" but that appears to be the default user's home directory - there's no visibility outside.

I wouldn't drop the thing 1 foot onto a carpeted surface without expecting something to break, but it seems OK and not bad for $99.  The screen is 800x480 (7" diagonal" and looks pretty decent (indoors, of course).  The packaging is decent, which is good because it got pretty squished in transport; there's a lovely outline of Africa with motivational words (in English) written on the box.

	- Ed




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