Feb 28 2009

ARM-Linux Combo Expected For Nokia Netbook

Phone manufacturers’ adaptation to the netbook craze hasn’t stopped with the LG X120. The new kid on the block is Nokia, or so some recent clues have led us to believe.

Nokia didn’t say ‘netbook’ just yet, but in an interview covered by Reuters the manufacturer spoke a lot about the convergence of PC and mobile technology. They’re “looking very actively” to join that market, but specifics are scant. IThe whole thing reeks of netbook though, so more investigation is warranted.

But how would Nokia make its entrance? An Atom machine might be a cheap choice, but another suggestion mentioned by Arstechnica would be an ARM-Linux combo.

The expectation is that a 2009 or 2010 Nokia netbook would benefit from the Atom or the upcoming Intel Moorestown, as near-term ARM options are somewhat limited. However, a netbook delivered by 2011 would most likely stick to ARM hardware, “in order to leverage Nokia’s substantial investments in ARM hardware and software, and in an ARM-based supply chain.”

But why Linux for a Nokia netbook?

The first reason is quite simple – Nokia has put a lot of money into ARM Linux platforms, such as the Maemo operating system. Also, Nokia sponsored a group known as the Handheld Mojo team to design an unofficial Ubuntu port specific to ARM processors. Canonical announced its own ARM port due around the time of the Ubuntu 9.04 release this April. With all that cash going to ARM, it’s looking like Nokia will want to see something for its efforts. Arstechnica summed it up:

“So Nokia could adapt Maemo to make it netbook-friendly, it could adopt the Ubuntu ARM port, or it could create a hybrid that leverages components of both. The hybrid possibility isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds in this case, as there is a lot of overlap between the technologies that are used in Ubuntu and in Maemo… There are a lot of shared components at many different layers of the stack.”

Throwing Linux into the mix might be a smart choice considering some of its recent successes, so we’re definitely fascinated by the idea of a Nokia netbook.

Via Arstechnica.

Feb 27 2009

Intel Opposes Psion Netbook Claim

Psion hasn’t stepped down just yet, but with the addition of another tech giant to its opposition, walking away may be the smart thing to do.

Intel has joined Dell in the fight against Psion’s claim over the term ‘netbook’, filing a legal request for courts to cancel the trademark. The arguments it makes are the same – netbook is too common and generic for trademarking, according to Intel.

We’re still waiting on the March 30 deadline for Psion’s response to its challenge, but the addition of Intel to the battle has raised the stakes on the word netbook quite a bit.

Via ComputerWorld.

Feb 26 2009

The Dangers Of The NVIDIA Ion Netbook Chip

A blogger over at I4U has mentioned a serious concern for the upcoming NVIDIA Ion platform for netbooks. While it has confidently promised to dominate the market, it may also weigh so heavily on netbook price that it won’t be worth it anymore.

ASUS made come comments back during CES, hinting that it would shy away from the platform. Why? The NVIDIA Ion sounds great on paper, but unfortunately it’s expected to add $150 to the price of the machines. It is pretty evident that other manufacturers are thinking similarly, simply because we haven’t seen any concept netbooks using it yet.

To many consumers, 1080p video and better GPU won’t be worth the $150. It’s likely that the quality will be far more noticeable on larger screens, but on 10-inch mobile PCs the benefit will be limited.

Netbook manufacturers have made forays into luxury PC arena with the Vaio P and Viliv 7, but for the most part the massive successes of the industry are credited to netbooks’ great value. We’ll be following developments on the graphics chip closely, but for now it seems like its successes will be limited.

Via I4U.

Feb 26 2009

ASUS Delivers New Eee PC T91 Tablet Netbook

The latest in fantastic new netbooks has arrived in the form of the 8.9-inch touchscreen Eee PC T91, a tablet PC with classy features to spare.

Eee PC T91

Its swiveling touchscreen is a nice touch. Some have suggested that tablet netbooks are to be the latest fad in the industry, with recent releases like the T91 or Gigabyte TouchNote cited as proof.

The new Eee PC will run Windows XP and run an Intel Atom. This standard setup is altered slightly by using the 1.33 GHz Atom, presumably to save energy.

ASUS has developed its own software for touch sensitivity and is using that for the Eee PC T91 netbook. Other features include a TV tuner, GPS, and an FM radio. The Dell Mini 10 will also feature a TV tuner among other features, so perhaps that is another coming trend.

The machine should cost about $500. It’s costlier than other Eee PC netbooks, but makes up for it with a set of features that will appeal to a wide variety of consumers.

Via PCWorld.

Feb 24 2009

Mini 9 Netbook Running Ubuntu Returned Less Than XP

According the recent sales figures by Dell, the Inspiron Mini 9 netbook running Ubuntu Linux has been remarkably successful and experienced supremely low return-rates.

Unfortunately, MSI has been returned a great deal of its netbooks by consumers. A few months ago its MSI Wind netbooks running SuSE Linux brought in return rates four times greater than those of Wind netbooks running XP.

Dell’s Jay Pinkert, however, is pleased with Linux sales: “A third of our Mini 9 mix is Linux, which is well above the standard attach rate for other systems that offer Linux.” He thinks the growth of Linux netbooks by Dell is due to competitive pricing on Ubuntu SKUs. To Dell senior produce manager John New, price is key:

“When you look at the sweet spot for this category it is price sensitivity, and Linux enabled us to offer a lower price entry point.”

The extra energy Dell puts into explaining what Linux is may dissuade less savvy consumers from instantly going for the lower price, leading to the low return rates. In addition, the Mini 9 has a nice new graphical user interface for easier netbooking, which may contributed as well.

Via LaptopMag.

Feb 23 2009

Trimble Yuma: The Toughest Netbook Around

The newest netbook on the market is furnished in true OLPC style. It’s the hardiest machine we’ve encountered yet, with a contender being the relatively unknown CTL 2go PC netbook of last year. Take a look at the new Trimble Yuma tablet netbook, designed for the harshest of environments:

Trimble Yuma netbook

As we reported recently, manufacturers are taking note of midsize firms’ need for rugged machines and are delivering accordingly. Netbooks are filling that gap nicely due to their low cost, and the 2.6 pound Trimble Yuma is the result.

The Yuma tablet netbook  can be submerged in 1 meter of water without sustaining damage. It earned Ingress Protection Ratings of six for dust damage and seven for water.

The netbook can do some hard work itself, too. It is powered by a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom, and comes with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, “dual digital cameras”, and slots for SDIO and an ExpressCard. You only get 32 GB of storage, but for an SSD that’s quite a bit. Moving parts on hardy machines are looked down upon, thus the need for the solid state drive.

Additionally, you can read off the 7-inch screen in direct sunlight. No OS has been specified for the Trimble Yuma thus far, though the pictures suggest Vista. Will it be well-powered enough to run the OS?

Personally, I’d imagine a Linux OS or XP would be a better choice – most netbooks simply can’t handle Vista. On the other hand, if the Yuma works it works, and if it makes it to the industries it’s designed for that’s what it’s going to need to do.

There’s no word on pricing or availability just yet, but we’ll keep our eyes peeled.

Via DailyTech.

Feb 23 2009

Psion Employee Reflects On netBook

If you’ve been following the netbook controversy started by Psion, some words from a current employee might shed some light on why the company is so desperate for retribution for the potential infringement on their trademark. If you haven’t been following the controversy, catch up: even Dell is in the battle now.

David Hughes of Psion was quoted on blog.savethenetbooks.com, the blog site criticizing Psion, talking a bit about how Psion missed a big opportunity with their netBook.

I remember playing with a pre-production netBook giving my feedback as to how I felt the EPOC OS should be adapted to work on the bigger screen and thinking we had a very cool device here. Psion used external design consultants Therefore for their hardware design, and the netBook was another triumph of industrial design.

As with the Series 3 and 5 PDAs that preceded it the netBook had a clever hinge that made the device seem to grow as you opened it revealing a keyboard that seemed larger than it should be. The hinge itself was wrapped in leather so it felt like carrying a leather book or Filofax. As well as an almost full size keyboard the netBook had a touch screen and solid state internals. Writing this now I realise that the Psion netBook really was ahead of it’s time.

It’s hard to say if Psion could have started the trend back in the day. If you’re skeptical, be sure to check out our original report on the controversy, including an in-depth video demo of the netBook.
Via SaveTheNetbooks.

Feb 21 2009

Gigabyte TouchNote Tablet Netbook Appears In Barcelona

The Mobile World Congress 2009 ended recently. The majority of the new tech announcements were related to phones, though we did get to see the new LG X120 netbook. However, that wasn’t the only new netbook release.

TouchNote M1028 netbook

Also notable was a new tablet PC by Gigabyte. The new TouchNote M1028 is a 10-inch netbook with tablet functionality on its swiveling touchscreen. Its specs are pretty standard – an Atom N270 at 1.6 GHz, 1 GB RAM, and a 160 GB HDD. It runs Windows XP.

Gigabyte’s involvement in the netbook market has been limited, with most of its new announcements planned for 2Q09. However, its new tablet netbook has caused some to posit that tablet functionality will put the spice back into the netbook industry. Truc Bui of GottaBeMobile thinks that a market reduced to offering its products in designer makeup is showing clear signs of its novelty wearing off.

I personally see gimmicks like the Vivienne Tam netbook as a sign of the industry’s flourishing, rather than its dying. After all, who takes chances on a flashy netbook that’s $245 too expensive if they’re worried about getting their products out there in the first place? Producers like HP know people are buying whatever they make, so they’re willing to be a little risky.

Regardless, it’s entirely possible that tablet netbooks are the next big thing in the industry. Announcements like the Viliv S7 or the CrunchPad are exciting, so if the TouchNote M1028 heralds a new era of touch-sensitivity, I’m all for it.

Via GottaBeMobile.

Feb 21 2009

Dell Defends The Netbook

As the controversy over the legality of using the term ‘netbook’ for profit has heated up, the major players have all been taking sides. The latest is Dell, which has stepped in to challenge Psion’s Cease-and-Desist activities.

Dell logo

Psion’s stubborn defense of its right to the term is made on the grounds that it would like to ‘reaffirm’ its trademark, and desires the freedom to make one in the future. This is all too vague for Dell, which has petitioned the USPTO to cancel the trademark.

Dell’s argument for saving ‘netbook’ is threefold. Firstly, it claims Psion abandoned the trademark. It isn’t currently selling its netBook device, a line that was discontinued in 2003. Psion claims its use of the trademark is only “somewhat reduced”, because it still sells accessories for those machines.

The second argument put forth by Dell is that Psion is defrauding everyone. Herb Turzer, Psion’s Senior Product Manager, affirmed before the USPTO in 2006 that it continued to use the term netbook “in commerce on or in connection with all goods listed.” Turzer continued, claiming that Psion “has used [its] trademark in commerce for five (5) consecutive years after the date of registration.” This is, of course, problematic. Psion filed for its trademark in ’96, but was only awarded it in 2000. By dicontinuing its netBook in 2003, Psion has made Turzer’s claims fraudulent.

The third argument is one we’ve heard before by blog.savethenetbooks.com: the term netbook is generic. It is arguable that the term has been around since the One Laptop Per Child program in 2006, though most of the major players’ netbooks appeared in 2007.

We’ve got both Dell’s petition (PDF link) and notice and trial dates (PDF link) for the upcoming legal fights, if they’re to happen. Psion has made no comment so far, and can wait until March 30 to respond to Dell’s petition.

Via Arstechnica.

Feb 20 2009

Another Look At Netbook Cannibalization

Through the short time netbooks have been around, they have been attacked by many claiming they’ll cannibalize an already suffering market; with buyers opting out of higher-end notebook sales in favor of the diminuitive machines.

Mark Hurd of HP was recently interviewed on the subject. He says HP can’t say for sure yet if its sales are being cannibalized, due to the short time they’ve spent in the market, but he has his doubts:

“It’s not the move to netbooks that’s cannibalizing. What you have is someone buying a more thickly configured notebook, who’s now buying a more thinly configured notebook, and that’s what’s adjusting the ASP [average selling price].”

This explains the primary evidence most use for cannibalization: shipments are up, but revenue is down. It has also been suggested that the drop in sales would have been even more drastic but for the existence of the netbook sector, which offered cost-wary consumers an outlet to compute.

However, other analysts bring in the idea that Acer, whose massive successes in 2008 were in large part due to netbook sales, is using the netbook to take a chunk of the market previously owned by Dell and HP. The Acer Aspire One has been extremely popular, and has brought Acer to the top from its previous obscurity.

IDC analyst Richard Shim captured the rapid evolution of the netbook market quite succinctly:

“In just over a year, they’ve (netbooks) evolved from these Linux-based, solid-state devices into fully [Microsoft] Windows OS-based, 120GB hard drive systems, which are very similar to traditional notebooks. So we’ve had a dual effect here, with many netbooks becoming more robust and expensive, while notebooks have come into the same price range.”

Intel’s wariness in boosting the power of the Atom N270 led to the intentional capping of that chip’s power for the N280 update. This was done, of course in an effort to reduce the ‘damage’ the successful netbook chip was having on Intel revenues. Intel profits were crushed in 2008, so it’s possible that their anxiety was well placed. In the instance of the Atom N280, fears of cannibalization have directly affected the products offered on the market.

For now, the issue of whether netbooks are cannibalizing the industry is still unresolved. It’s important, however, to take a hard look at the numbers when making one’s analyses. There are plenty of alternative explanations for the seemingly paradoxical situation of an industry with greater sales and less profit, and they need to be investigated as well.

Via DailyTech.

Feb 19 2009

UPEK Biometric Fingerprint Scanners For Your Netbook

UPEK has announced the availability of “biometric fingerprint scanners” for use on netbooks and MIDs. The TouchStrip TCS5 Fingerprint Sensor will come with the touch-based Fingerprint Suite Starter program, allowing for users to tie passwords to their fingerprint and access secure sites and files through the TouchStrip on their netbook.

UPEK Biometric Fingerprint Scanner

Biometric fingerprint scanners have been around on newer laptops, including the recent Dell XPS. This, however, is the only case we know of in which the scanners were developed specifically for netbooks, and we’re definitely in favor of the development.

You’ll be able to get the Fingerprint Suite Starter and accompanying sensor on your netbook in March. The device will be supported on Windows XP, with support for Windows 7 Starter edition in the near future. Linux availability will come later this year as well.

UPEK isn’t looking to sell the devices directly to consumers, but rather manufacturers. I’d love to see fingerprint scanners come standard on newer Aspire One netbooks or future editions of the Eee PC, and with UPEK’s help, that might just happen.

If the TouchStrip TCS5 sparks your interest, another fantastic touch-sensitive netbook accessory you should check out is the MIMO companion netbook touchscreen of a few weeks back.

Via CNet.

Feb 19 2009

Mid-Size Businesses Look To Netbook Industry To Lower Costs

While the netbook has latched on to the PC industry with all of its considerable might, its influence hasn’t delved deeply into corporate America. However according to a report by CRN, some midsize companies’ CIOs are liking the possibilities netbooks offer.

In Waco, Texas, the IT director of Equipment Depot – Eric Vlam – acknowledged that even a heavy equipment industry needs computers.

“You can’t adjust anything anymore without having a notebook hooked up to it. It’s all electronic. We’re creating a more mobile workforce and [notebooks and possibly netbooks] help put us in contact with our business systems and streamline our workflow around our service.”

However crucial computing may be, some of the extra “foo-foo” is an unnecessary cost for what they need. As a result, businesspeople like Vlam are “actively looking at [netbooks].”

Equipment Depot

The trend isn’t happening everywhere, though. Tom Amrhein of Forrester Construction is giving netbooks a close look in the event that they turn out to be a good choice, but for now is sticking his company’s recent move towards more powerful PCs and Vista.

“Everybody has a new machine. Netbooks might have been interesting for some of our lower usage personnel, but we have no big plans for any machines for another year or two.”

However, he certainly saw what the netbook industry had to offer. He admitted that his company “probably [had] too much CPU for the guys in the field,” and could probably benefit from treating three or four hundred dollar netbooks as a “disposable asset.”

Via CRN.

Feb 19 2009

Dell Mini 10 Netbook Debuts On QVC

Dell Mini 10

The Dell Mini 10, a 10-inch version of the Mini 9 and Mini 12 netbooks, has been announced since CES 2009. It’s finally out of production and will be available from Dell in the very new future. However, if you want your hands on one sooner, you’ll have to turn on your TV.

“The Mini 10 is scheduled to debut for advance orders (February 19) on QVC at 9 p.m. Eastern. A full Mini 10 overview is available at Dell.com, and the system will be available for purchase directly from Dell in the U.S. and other countries beginning February 26.”

This isn’t the first time QVC has embraced netbooks – the last instance was back in December. The at-home shopping channel seems to know how to market the things, so the Mini 10 should see wide circulation very soon.

The Dell Mini 10 starts at $399.

Via CNet.

Feb 19 2009

Bloggers Take Sides In Netbook Battle

Psion hasn’t won the battle over netbooks just yet. A resistance has arisen in the form of a blog campaign opposing Psion’s claim to the trademark. Based at blog.savethenetbooks.com, the movement believes it’s thwarted the claim and reasserted the public’s right to use the term.

Sam Johnson has directed criticism at google asking it to reverse its AdWords ban on the phrase. He’s also called for boybotts on Psion’s products and for others to keep using the term.

Victory flags may have been raised by the site a bit early:

“A cursory search online, meanwhile, showed both search engine companies and retailers continue to use the phrase “netbook” in their search terms or their product description pages. Google, MSN and Yahoo pulled back pages that described “netbooks” from OEMs, while online and clicks-and-mortar retailers Amazon, Newegg, Buy.com, and Target among others continued to run product descriptions of sub-noteboks as netbooks.”

Johnson is a chief technology officer t Australian Online Solutions, a cloud services company. He bases his criticism on the idea that “netbook” is too generic to be owned by one company, and that attempts to own it are meant to cash in on a trend rather than any serious concern about thievery.

Psion hasn’t been clear about what spurred it to action back in December, leaving many to interpret the move as a shot at some of the wealth of the billion dollar industry. The most it let out is that the proliferation of the word ‘netbook’ might get in the way of future developments by Psion: “We have been considering adding new models to our ‘Netbook’ line for a while, but our policy is not to pre-announce new products,”

You can check out Psion’s original Cease and Desist letters in our previous article about the controversy.

Via TheRegister.

Feb 17 2009

Maximize Your Efficiency With 8 Free Netbook Applications

Netbooks are built for efficiency. If you want efficiency, you need to make the most out of what little space your machine offers you. While leaving a few unused applications on your desktop or laptop might not kill you, a netbook needs to be pure muscle to be able to work right.

With this in mind, we’d like to suggest eight netbook applications that will maximize your machine’s processing capability and speed, so you can spend your time and money on other things.

OpenOffice

This free download gets you open-source alternatives to expensive (but crucial) Microsoft Office products. It contains Writer for word processing, a spreadsheet application called Calc, Impress for presentations, Base for databasing, Draw for editing diagrams, and even an editor for math formulas called Math. Each of these would do wonders for anyone, especially students on a budget needing to take notes in class on a mobile machine. Getting files from people using Microsoft Office might be problematic, so factor that into your choice.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome

While FireFox may be great for notebooks, Chrome is thought by many to be a faster option for web browsing. It could shave some flab off of your netbook, so give it a try.

PortableApps

PortableApps is a pre-selected group of netbook applications. It comes with an antivirus program (ClamWin), an IM device (Gaim), OpenOffice, and a Sudoku program. It also brings in some Mozilla applications including FireFox, Sunbird, and Thunderbird. The whole thing will only tax your machine 512 MB, and you can include whichever applications from the list that you want.

Xubuntu

Xubuntu

You didn’t think we’d leave Linux out, did you? Xubuntu is like Ubuntu, just optimized for older computers or, as the situation would have it, netbooks. It’s not an application itself, persay, but it comes with all kinds of netbook-ready applications: the Abiword word processor, Catfish desktop search, Evince PDF reader, Firefox, the GIMP graphics editor, a spreadsheet program, text editor, calendar, internet messenger, Thunderbird, IRC, and more.

LXDE

Also in the Linux category is LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment), an open-sourced desktop system meant to save resources on a massive scale. It’s thought to do so better than KDE or GNOME, both of which are popular alternatives.

RocketDock

RocketDock

RocketDock is an application launcher with some easy-to-use, awesome looking features. It works faster than a lot of object docks in netbooks right now, so be sure to  see if it works for you. This video does a good job of summarizing its features.

TinyResMeter

This lightweight netbook application tracks how you use resources on your machine. If you’re constantly eyeing Windows Task Manager for this, be sure to take TinyResMeter. It does a far more specific job of analyzing your resource use and helping you adjust accordingly.

VLC Media Player

VLC media player

Running video and audio content is a rickety process on a lot of netbooks. On either a Linux or Windows machine, the VLC Media Player application can help you access just about any popular file format while throwing out some of the flashier aspects of WMP or iTunes.

Of course, these eight aren’t the only great apps out there. You can also access all kinds of helpful applications with little resource expenditure by cloud computing. Some examples of online hosting are Ulteo, which gives you 1 GB of free online storage, or a variety of choices from Google Apps.

Another trick is to host a few of these apps on a cheap USB drive, so you don’t need to expend your netbook’s precious space to get in on that extra capability.

With a few simple alternative choices, you’ll be able to keep your netbook running longer and for cheaper. If you’ve got any personal tricks for boosting the capability of your netbook, be sure to let us know them.

Via Gigaom.

Feb 17 2009

LG-X120 Netbook Arrives In Barcelona

LG has brought its netbook to Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress, and offered some more info on the machine. The previous LG-X110 netbook has been improved upon in a number of ways.

The overall construction of the new X120 is the same: “Intel Atom N270 CPU , 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard-drive,” plus integrated 3G. New to the LG netbook is a Smart-On interface which loads the most commonly used apps in just five seconds. Included there are the LG netbook’s MP3 player, Photo Viewer, and internet suite.

It also includes Smart-Link technology using a USB cable. This means you can connect the LG-X120 netbook to a secondary computer to share files or applications, even accessing data from the secondary computer’s CD or DVD drive. Security measures have been put in place to allow important information to remain secure during these transfers.

LG X110 netbook

While we’d assumed the LG-X120 would only come in bland white, it seems they will also come with lime green or pink detailing for some color. The machine gets a lot for the size of the battery – 3.5 hours for a 3-cell and 7 for a 6-cell – so you won’t have to worry too much about it dying on you.

The new LG netbook also has some unexpected multimedia features to offer, as mentioned on YTN:

“The netbook offers a 1.3 megapixel webcam for video chatting or conferencing, while LG You-Cam software allows users to get creative with unique photo snapshots. SRS WOW HD and TruSurround XT bring stereo effect sound to music and video. The screen’s LED Backlight delivers a high-resolution picture that is clearer and brighter, which is not only easier on tired eyes but saves energy, too.”

The bad news? For now, the LG-X120 is Europe-only, with a release date expected in March. It will be showcased for the duration of the 2009 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Via YTN.

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Feb 17 2009

Multi-Core Sparrow CPU Seeking Netbook Home

ARM has made an announcement: it has developed a new multi-core processor, designated for netbooks and cell phones.

ARM Logo

‘Sparrow’, the new processor is based on the Cortex A9 architecture. It also takes from the A8 processors, which powers devices like the Palm Pre.

What will it be used for? Some even speculate that it will find itself inside the next generation of iPhone, boosting it to about three times its speed.

Netbook chips are a contentious category, and if the Sparrow processor wants any attention it’s going to have to steal some from Intel and the Atom. For now, “companies such as Adobe and Symbian” will be adjusting their apps to optimize them for the extra cores in the Sparrow CPU.

Via ZDNet.

Feb 16 2009

Xandros And Freescale Offer New Netbook Turnkey Solution

Xandros recently announced at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress that it would be offering a new turnkey software solution running on a unique processor: the Freescale i.MX515 featuring ARM Cortex-A8 technology. Freescale has been involved in netbook technology before, most notably when it assisted in the development of the Pegatron netbook.

The new release will focus on “fast boot, long battery life, and reliable 3G connectivity.” It will come with a bundle of assorted Xandros software, as well as resources to help OEMs develop netbook products.

Xandros logo

The ‘Xandros solution’ will also include an App Store with acess to all kinds of media, including “access to software, games, multimedia and web applications.” And that’s not all:

“Full-featured user applications include a browser, push-based email, PIM, instant messaging, a photo viewer, a media player, and an office suite to create and edit Microsoft Office documents.”

Wow. All the features will work with both keyboards and touchscreen, meaning the Xandros concept will be portable to pretty much any netbook you’d like.

Freescale Marketing Director Glen Burchers mentioned Freescale’s delight in being able to display Xandros on the advanced i.MX515 processor.

“Consumers demand low costs, high performance and long battery life, and the combination of Freescale’s hardware and Xandros’ rich feature set is expected to enable compelling netbook products that succeed in the marketplace.”

Andreas Typaldos, Xandros CEO, added his viewpoint as well:

“The advanced Freescale platform enables us to quickly bring the powerful netbook experience that Xandros created for the Eee PC to ultra-low powered netbooks with always-on 3G networking and media support… This will blaze a trail for OEMs and carriers bringing full-featured, cost-effective devices with long battery life to new markets, and create recurring revenue streams.”

The Mobile World Congress runs from February 16-19 this year in Barcelona, Spain. We’re anticipating a great deal of new releases from Europe, though not nearly as many as during CES 2009.

Via MSNBC.

Feb 16 2009

Rumors: 12-Inch IdeaPad S20 Netbook

The latest new netbook release rumored for the market is supposedly by Lenovo – an Atom N280-based IdeaPad S20 netbook with a 12-inch display. Lenovo, the makers of the IdeaPad S10, has seen massive successes in the netbook market in the past.

The news group making the announcement is DigiTimes, who accused Intel of trying to crowd out NVIDIA chipsets last year. Unfortunately DigiTimes doesn’t actually cite itssources for the prognosis, which raises a few problems.

Firstly, they say the new Lenovo netbook will be a 12-inch machine running the Atom N280. Intel, however, has specific restrictions on products with displays larger than 10-inches, and breaking the restriction would cause Lenovo to “lose out on preferential pricinig for the N280 processor.” With a $10 bump on typical quotes for the processor, Lenovo’s costs for the new netbook could grow by millions. This hardly seems logical or feasible!

However, DigiTimes addresses this by imagining that Lenovo wants to avoid the 10-inch netbook segment’s fierce competition.

The IdeaPad S20 would run a GN40 chipset and Windows XP, and cost around $586 (though its primary release country would probably not be the US).

We’ll have to wait to judge the veracity of the rumor, because the clues seem a bit fishy. However, a 12-inch Lenovo netbook would definitely be a welcome sight.

Via DigiTimes.

Feb 16 2009

Is The Netbook Craze Responsible for Plummeting PC Sales?

Fears of netbooks cannibalizing PC sales may have been realized in full. PCs are selling worse than ever, according to an IDC report last week.

Worldwide PC processor unit shipments 4Q08 declined 17% quarter over quarter and 11.4% year over year. However, even these dismal numbers are misleading, for they include the Intel Atom chips that we know are responsible for powering the vast majority of netbook computers. Take those out and the decreases grow to 21.7% and 21.6%, respectively.

According to Shane Rau, who directs the IDC’s Semiconductors in Personal Computing research section, said what it all really means:

“[The] decline in PC processor unit shipments in the fourth quarter was the worst sequential decline since IDC started tracking processor shipments in 1996. After hinting at a decline last September, the market fell of a cliff in October and November.”

The drop in end system demand was in part credited to “tightening consumer spending”. Vista was too expensive for many, and netbooks, with their low cost and XP on the inside, looked quite a bit more attractive. Also notable is that a quarter of netbooks run Linux, another ode to the fact that consumers are being more cost-savvy.

Will this trend last? It seems doubtful. As soon as the economy picks up, PC sales should as well. That still leaves the question of netbooks; as a machine for the market of low-spenders, will they get lost when disposable income for the masses grows?

Via AppleInsider.

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