A report just surfaced about Apple’s plans for the new year. The report, released by Micha7- orel Arrington of TechCrunch, says Apple has developed an iPhone-like touch-sensitive device with a big, 7- or 9-inch display.
This, of course, brings a lot of things to mind – better video watching, easier web access, gaming… the imagination runs wild. Details are still scant, though, and Apple is expected to launch the big Touch this upcoming fall.
TechCrunch thinks prototypes are already around and that Apple is just working out the details with its manufacturers in Asia.
Is this the big Apple Netbook we recently heard about? Or a seperate project entirely? Apple makes big moves, so a simultaneous release of two new, category-changing devices isn’t out of the question. We’ll be listening for more in the near future.
According to a report from AppleInsider, Apple is in talks with a Taiwanese system manufacturer to begin making netbooks next year.
In case you haven’t been following the Apple netbook situation, this is a huge deal. Apple netbooks have been faked by hackers and tinkerers for a long time now, and almost everyone is saying they’d want one. Apple’s been notoriously disinterested in netbooks, as it usually aims for a high-end crowd.
However, according to an article by the Taiwanese Government Info Office says Quanta vice chairman and pres C.C. Leung expects his company will be booming in 2009 due to a huge influx of netbook-related contract orders.
HP and Sony also signed contracts with Quanta this wuarter. The report states that not only will it manage “orders from existing brand clients as Acer, Lenovo, Hewlett Packard and BenQ, Quanta is expected to add Sony [U.S.] and Apple as clients for the contract manufacture of netbook computers in 2009.”
Quanta shipped a massive 9.7 million netbooks 3Q 2008 but expects a more plateaued number for Q4.
Steve Jobs downplayed his offerings to the “nascent category” but said his company wants in if the market builds up. “As best as we can tell, there’s not a lot of them being sold,” he told analysts in October. “But we’ll wait and see… we have got some pretty interesting ideas if it does evolve.” Luckily, his skeptical attitude seems to have gotten more firm.
Needless to say, we’re incredibly excited. Come back soon for the latest on the Apple netbook.
The new MSI U115 Hybrid netbook, unveiled yesterday, will have both solid-state and hard-disk drives.
For most of the machine’s operations it will use the SSD, but the HDD can be used for storage. This is an interesting use of contrasting pieces of technology.
And “ECO on mode” can temporarily turn off the hard drive, in an effort to extend battery life (because solid-state drives tend to be more efficient).
With the exception of the dual drives, the MSI U115 follows the standard netbook formula. It uses a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom, runs Windows XP, and has 1 GB of DDR2 533MHz RAM. It has a 10-inch screen with 1024×600 resolution. Additionally, the MSI U115 has Bluetooth and three USB 2.0 ports.
You can choose wither a 1.3- or 2.0-megapixel webcam, three- or six-cell battery, and 802.11b/g/n or 802.11b/g Wi-Fi. Two drive combinations are possible: 120 GB HDD with 6 GB SDD, or 160GB HDD with 16GB SDD.
With the three-cell, the U115 Hybrid weighs 2.2 pounds.
The U115 Hybrid weighs around 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) with the three-cell battery. Its battery life is a vague “super-long” according to MSI’s release, so we can’t know for sure. No mention was made of a possible price for the MSI netbook.
It’s certainly possible, and there are some out there who’d really like it to be so. But what will make that decision?
The question is really one of the fundamental desires of consumers. Do they want a fast, thin, expensive MacBook Air or a slower, thin, cheap Aspire One or Eee PC? A notebook or a netbook?
If people want portability and affordability, 2009 will bring big things to the netbook industry – and the netbook industry will bring some big things to 2009.
Should 3G broadband wireless become standard, the future of netbooks will look especially bright. 3G is a big deal these days, considering the massive successes of Apple’s iPhones, and netbooks with the feature have sold especially well.
The intrigue of netbooks comes from the fact that, up until their birth, consumers always payed more for portability. Smallness and thinness have become in vogue as the big clunky cell phones of the 80s gave way to Razrs, as room-sized computers shrank to fit in your backpack.
Netbooks are in the spirit of this trend. They are ultimately small, but thankfully, incredibly cheap. Consumers who don’t play videogames or edit film on their machines are starting to realize they just don’t need all that extra capability, and as 2009 rolls around, netbooks will be in their sights. They will decide the future of netbooks.
We recently reported on some speculation that an Android netbook wasn’t out of the question. Xandros and Ubuntu have both been widely used in netbooks, causing many to think that 2009 might be the year Linux breaks Microsoft’s OS domination.
However, Google Watchers have a different view. They recently featured a few comments explaining just why Android wasn’t the way to go.
“I’m very much looking forward to replacing my Symbian phone with an Android phone. But on netbooks, people want full browsers, word processing, and productivity applications. These exist and work great on Ubuntu; Android just doesn’t have them. Furthermore, applications need to be designed very differently for netbook screens/keyboards and phones. What might make sense is to enable running Android apps on top of Ubuntu and other Linux distributions, kind of like applets. So, Android might become an add-on to desktop and netbook Linux versions, but it won’t replace it.”
Of course, nobody wants Android to replace Linux. The point of Linux is that all distributions can fairly have a chance of making it. However, Android has a ways to go before it satisfies core reqs for most operating systems:
“I would not want Android on a PC/Netbook. Android is designed for devices with much less processing power, graphics enhancements, and slower disk read speed; Not to mention such limited RAM. If it’s “linux-based”, i would just go with linux. As mentioned previously, running Android Apps on an emulator on Linux would probably work 10x better, although i don’t know why you would want to. Isn’t that like running Windows Mobile over Windows Vista.”
It seems not everyone is excited about an Android netbook.
A German Eee PC site recently found some images of a new ASUS netbook. Specs and cost are so far unknown but it looks like a sleek machine.
ASUS is a leader in the netbook category and any new netbook releases by the company will only increase the sway it has in the industry. The 12-inch category is small but growing as more and more consumers find they prefer a larger screen.
Check out more photos here.
Best Buy has perhaps realized something important – people are generally confused about netbooks. In the name of clarification it recently created this peppy presentation for those with questions about the genre.
You probably won’t learn much from the presentation if you’re already knowledgeable about netbooks. Still, it’s good to see that some retailers are willing to go out of their way to get them sold. Check out their flash presentation here.
Psion, the UK-based portable maker, has been making headlines with its Cease and Desist letters earlier this holiday season. Their legal team followed up with some of the blogs reporting on its legal action and has decided to speak for itself: it only wants to go after those who are “making a direct, financial profit from use of the ‘Netbook’ trademark.” It doesn’t necessarily want to burn blogs and other sites, but rather is attacking those who are using the word to sell machines.
Unfortunately that statement is somewhat meaningless – after all, any site profiting from sponsored ads using the term netbook is fair game for infringing upon their ‘trademark.’ Ouch.
Hopefully, the widespread use of the term ‘netbook’ will nullify it as a trademark by now. I’m eager to see what happens if they bring a powerhouse like Intel to court.
T-Mobile is getting in the mix as 2008 ends by introducing its netbook/mobile broadband program. It should be a big competitor in the growing ‘netbook bundle’ market.
They will be giving out ASUS Eee PC 904HD netbooks, USB modem sticks, 3 GB monthly fair use amount, 200 free texts, and cheap Wi-Fi access with the purchase of a 24 month contract. If you’re in the market for that kind of thing this has to look unbelievably attractive. Download speed for the netbooks is around 4.5 mbps.
The particular model they’re offering has ” 8.9-widescreen display, an Intel Atom processor, 1GB RAM, a 80GB HDD, WiFi, a card reader, Windows XP Home and a webcam.” T-Mobile is also expected to launch two similar models soon, but we don’t know if they’ll be laptops or netbooks.
The kicker? Acer, which has been leading the netbook market so far, got replaced by ASUS because it failed to supply enough netbooks. The only other open mobile phone network without a netbook package is O2.
In a recent article, Taiwan-based tech magazine DigiTimes aimed some accusations at Intel, claiming that it squeezed nVidia’s new Ion graphics processor out from the Atom. Another site, Electronista, jumped on the bandwagon.
They’re claiming that PC manufacturers in Taiwan told hardware manufacturers that Atom CPUs, popular in netbooks, are only available with 945GSE and 945GC chipsets. This would lock out nVidia and other competitors from becoming alternate suppliers for graphics chips. We recently covered nVidia’s Ion chipset, which is supposed to be excellent, and if the accusations are true Atom-users are sure to be unhappy.
Intel was very firm about rebutting these accusations, stating that “its hot-selling Atom processor is available with or without a graphics chip, contrary to accusations out of Taiwan.” You can read more about the controversy here.
Word has it that Dell’s in the mood to compete and is doing so with an upcoming machine: the Adamo. Dell has been releasing little teasers and guerrilla marketing to get people talking, and we’re quite interested.
They recently opened a mini-site for the Adamo but are saying little about it, other than that it will be ultra-thin.
Dell’s first teaser image was up on Uptown Life. It’ stated that the Adamo was set for a February launch. This coincides, interestingly enough, with the one-year anniversary of the MacBook Air. One Dell man, Bob Kaufman, said that Dell intends to “wake up the personal computing category and create some buzz.”
The new machine is expected to be cheaper than the Air, so we’re very interested. Is there any chance that the Adamo is a netbook? We’ll have to wait and see.
According to some early estimates, it seems like the Sony Vaio P – which we covered a few days ago – is going to be the most expensive netbook seen before. The jury’s not out yet on whether we can really call it a netbook, but regardless, we’ve got more info for you here.
The latest clue is an ad on its Japanese website which features a woman reading from an envelope which announces that a new VAIO laptop is on the way.
The envelope thing seems like a clear reference to the Macbook Air ads. It seems likely Sony will try to challenge Apple for thinnest laptop in the near future.
As we noted before, the machine will run Windows Vista Ultimate and have some excellent specs. These include a 1.33 GHz Intel CPU, an 8-inch 1600×786 LED screen, and a 60 GB HDD space with the option of an alternate 128 GB SSD. It will have at the very least 2 GB of memory, which hopefully will be enough to manage Vista. It will be somewhere around 22×11 cm and have a respectively large keyboard. The colors sound elegant – Champagne Gold, Crimson Red, or Black Silk.
Prepare yourself – we’ve stumbled across some pretty attractive looking netbook deals, and if you didn’t already get one for Christmas here’s a few that will spark your interest. Liliputing has a longer list but here is a pretty solid sample:
- Newegg will sell the 4G Eee PC (7-inch display, 512MB of RAM and a 4GB SSD) for merely $219.99.
- Newegg is also giving out $40 mail-in rebates for the respectable Eee PC 1000HA, making it a mere $389.
- With this coupon code you can save $10 on a new HP Mini 1000. This will make it only $349
- Best Buy’s got the Acer Aspire One with XP for $300. This version has an 8GB SSD.
ASUS seems to want to get as much out of its Eee brand as it can, and who can blame them? The Eee PC is a wildly successful netbook. In this vein, ASUS has released some cool devices for its Eee Box nettop and the Eee PC.
The first is this wireless control unit:
This will be excellent for managing ASUS’s changed Eee Box setup which now includes an HD3400 graphics system and HDMI out. They seem to want the Eee Box to be an HTPC solution. HTPCs tend to be on the expensive side, so if the Eee Box gains 1080p capability the game should change a little bit.
These wireless keyboard and mouse sets are another big thing for ASUS. Keeping them compact and simple is totally in ASUS style and make them a great accessory for an HTPC. The urgonomic keyboard seems to have Mac-style keys.
ASUS wants to be in your house now, not just your briefcase. This kind of market saturation will do big things for the company, and if it wants to pulll ahead of Acer these are the kinds of moves it has to make.
This holiday season was Amazon’s best in the fourteen years of its existence. It was recently reported that the Acer Aspire One netbook was one of the best selling items this year, along with the iPod Touch and Nintendo Wii.
Another notable statistic is that 17 of the 25 best-selling netbooks cost less than $500.
This “P-series” VAIO machine was found in the notebook section in the SonyStyle store by someone from jkOnTheRun. Although the picture is a placeholder for a TT-device, this is more info than we’d had before.
It’s got a 1.33 GHz Intel CPU, which has led to some speculation that it uses the Atom chip (although the more popular Atom is 1.66 GHz.) It will shy away from the Ubuntu Linux and XP of netbooks past and run Windows Vista Home Premium or Home Basic. This interesting departure from the standard could be a really good thing, though we’ve heard reports that Vista can be slow on netbooks.
In typical Sony style, the P’s eight-inch screen will have amazing resolution: 1600×768. If your eyes can handle looking at stuff so small, you’ll be a a happy consumer. The hard drive will hold a wimpy 60 GB but you can bump it up to 128 GB if you get the SSD drive instead… which will also raise the price.
It is doubtful that Sony will look to compete for price, which means this new machine may very well cost over $1000. While it may fit in your pocket as in the ad, you may need some pretty deep pockets.
But not in the way you might think. You see, the devices themselves aren’t in trouble – but in at least one case, the people who use the word are.
One netbook site has apparently just received a Cease and Desist letter from a UK firm that claims to have invented – and trademarked – the term netbook.
Psion introduced a very similar machine, the netBook, in the early 2000s. The Psion PDA line was in fact quite similar to the modern netbook, with the exception of its advanced operating system and some other features. The netBook has been discontinued but Psion still makes accessories for today’s machines.
They got mad at one netbook site and ordered it to stop using the word or face prosecution within 3 months.
Here’s a video about the Psion netBook, if you’re interested:
We’ve been intensely following the mysterious new release Sony’s made such a big deal about. Hopes are high that the new machine, which will “change the way you look at laptops… forever” is a netbook.
Both Gizmodo and Engadget have uncovered more clues through Sony’s Japanese site. One is a flash banner hinting at the launch of a VAIO netbook. It should be thinner and longer than the comparable HP Mini-Note.
Hopefully, CES 2009 will deliver all the answers. For now all we’ve got is speculation.
What could an Android-Qualcomm netbook add to the mix? Android runs on the T-Mobile G1, which is based on a 528 MHz processor: the MSM7201A ARM11. Qualcomm’s faster Snapdragon processor, which we recently covered, is combined with RedFlag Midinux. Hopefully, it shouldn’t be a big stretch for Google to put Android on the Snapdragon.
This would do a lot to help netbooks gain better connectivity. Other manufacturers like Dell and HP have embedded wireless broadband and similar options on their netbooks, but Snapdragon takes a different stance by offering 3G on HSPA networks. The solution puts it in a better position than Intel Atom netbooks because the method is in fact more efficient.
Google says it doesn’t want to limit the Android to mobile phones, so with the right specifications, some creativity, and some hard work we may just see Android netbooks on the horizon.
Prepare yourself for an insanely cheap netbook. Belco is releasing its new machine the full-flash Alpha 400 for a dead low $169.
The meager specs are expected given the excellently low cost. It has a 7-inch display, 128 MB RAM, 1 GB internal memory, and a 400 MHz MIPS processor. It also comes with a 10/100 Ethernet interface and WiFi.
Other bonus features include a SDHC memory card slot, where you can add another 32 GB of storage. It runs Linux and comes with vaguely described “business software.”