May 31 2009

Nokia N900 Has A 5MP Camera, Tiny Touchscreen

Nokia‘s Internet Tablet has gained a successor, and it looks to be a major netbook competitor. The Nokia N900 comes with HSPA connectivity and weighs a mere 180 grams.

Nokia N900

Its 3.5-inch touchscreen has a 800 x 480 resolution, which isn’t great. The upside? A 5 megapixel camera with a Carl Zeiss lens, dual LED flash, autofocus and a sliding cover. The device is to see official confirmation this June.

Via SlipperyBrick.

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May 31 2009

Microsoft and Asus Team Up On the Road to Windows Domination

Microsoft and Asus are teaming up to promote the Windows operating system and further its takeover in the netbook market. These two companies have launched a website and are currently promoting their “it’s better with Windows” campaign. The promotion highlights the claim that Windows is a more reliable and familiar operating system (than Linux) and that it does not have major compatibility issues.

better_with_windows

Windows is gaining a larger presence as the operating system for netbooks. According to market research firm, NPD Group, 10% of netbooks that were shipped in early 2008 shipped with Windows pre-installed, but by February 2009, 96% of netbooks shipped with Windows as the operating system.

Via TechSpot.

May 31 2009

Microsoft To Showcase Four Operating Systems at Computex 2009

Microsoft is planning on displaying four operating systems at the Computex trade show next week – Windows 7, Windows Embedded, Windows Mobile, and Windows Server.

Windows 7:

windows_7

Windows Embedded:

windows_embedded

Windows Mobile:

windows_mobile

Windows Server:

windows_server

The newest Windows operating systems would be displayed on a variety of computing devices, including netbooks, notebooks, tablets, and all-in-one PCs. At Computex, Microsoft is planning on collaborating with 16 PC manufacturers and run their operating systems on more than 30 products.

One reason Microsoft is doing all this is to make up for its not-so-successful release of Windows Vista back in 2005. Microsoft also hopes that by releasing Windows 7, there will be an increase in hardware upgrades as well as the creation of business opportunities.

Via TaipeiTimes.

May 31 2009

Smartbook Encroaches Upon Netbook Territory

The ARM processor, a less powerful processor than the Intel Atom, is making its way into the “smartbook.” Essentially, smartbooks are mobile computing devices that will be similar to (but less powerful than) netbooks.

On the plus side, smartbooks tend to have longer battery lives, but they will also run on the Linux operating system instead of Windows. Several software companies, such as Adobe and Broadcom, are rumored to be developing programs that are compatible with the ARM processor and future smartbooks.

The term “smartbook” is based off the term “smartphone.” Many new terms such as this are popping up all over the place, as more unique computing technology is revealed. There are discussions over the use of the term “netbook,” and many parties have different names for the same thing.

Industry analysts currently refer to netbooks as “mini notebooks” while Microsoft has referred to them in the past as “ultra mobile PCs.” Some interesting/new definitions may even pop up at the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan next week.

Via TheNewYorkTimes.

May 30 2009

New Super Talent SSDs For ASUS Netbook Storage

A new line of SSDs for netbooks is being announced by Super Talent. The new SSDs are designed for users wanting to upgrade “Asus Eee 900, 901, 901A, 901 GO, and S101 netbooks” for more, faster storage.

SuperTalent SSD

The SSDs come both MLC format, with read speeds up to 150 MB/s and writing up to 100 MB/s, and SLC, with reading up to 170 MB/s and writing at 130 MB/s.

You can get 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB for the MLC version, which sells at $85.99, $125.99, and $219.99 respectively. The SLC SSD comes in 16 GB or 32 GB.

Via SlipperyBrick.

May 29 2009

Qualcomm ‘Smartbook’ Netbook Competitor Announced

Word has it that Qualcomm and its partners are working on a new device set to throw the netbook industry a curveball – the ‘smartbook’, which manufacturers plan to market as a smartphone/laptop companion. The tactic has been used before unsuccessfully by such companies as Palm, but Qualcomm is sure that consumers will have room in their hearts (and their wallets) for a smartbook.

They look like a Vaio P or Viliv S7, or even some kind of MID. They’re naturally going to run on a Snapdragon, which is awesome, but will use a 1 GHz CPU.

But that doesn’t mean they’re handicapped. The Snapdragon smartbooks will have 8-10 hour batteries, WWAN, Wi-Fi, GPS, HD vido encoding and Bluetooth. Resolutions are expected to run as high as 1280 x 768, which should beautifully display the 3D graphics the CPU is known for.

How about software? Engadget reports that Linux or a Linux derivative will be involved, with a UI based on some kind of quickboot functionality. If I had to guess, I’d push Moblin 2.0 as a possible candidate, but for now nobody knows for sure.

So why aren’t these just Snapdragon-based MIDs? You can’t quite tell by the photo, but these screens are expected at 10- to 12-inches. Their QWERTY keyboards won’t be full size, but will definitely be big.

Acer, Compal, Samsung, ASUS, LG, Toshiba [and] Wistron” have been named as possible smartbook manufacturers, and the first devices are expected by the end of this year. Qualcomm was silent about price, but pricing will definitely determine the fate of the supposed new category.

It looks like TheRegister’s flowchart needs another node. Check back soon for more on the Qualcomm smartbook!

Via Engadget.

May 29 2009

Kindle Haters Rejoice! E-reader Screens Coming To Netbooks

If Pixel Qi has its way, the Kindle won’t have much of a leg up on netbooks for readability. The startup plans to implement its e-reader screens on netbooks everywhere.

pixel qi laptop

Mary Lou Jepsen is a former OLPC CTO and is showing off the new Pixel Qi product at Computex Taipei 2009, which falls next week. The netbook screen is called the 2qi, a 10.1-inch device designed for use in “a black-and-white e-ink mode for reading text documents and e-books, and two color modes, designed for use indoors or in bright sunlight, that are more suitable for Web surfing and video playback.”

The E-ink mode turns off the back light to preserve the netbook’s battery life. Many consider e-reader screens essential for avoiding the eye strain of reading documents and online books on a conventional display.

Jepsen says the screens will be on netbooks by the end of this year – perhaps a snazzy holiday gift? Amazon can’t be happy with the development, as its Kindle e-reader will seem quite a bit less differentiated if the only difference between it and netbooks is its costliness, lack of a web browser, and form factor.

Pixel Qi COO John Ryan is proud of the energy efficiency delivered by the 3qi screen:

“What you’re looking at is a screen that’s entirely reflective… It’s just running like e-paper so that it’s running on the ambient light. It’s not fighting the office light , it’s not fighting the sunlight. That makes it better for reading but it also cuts the power consumption. The backlight in the screen is typically the largest power drain in any notebook computer.”

You can say that again. Netbook battery life is a sticking point for many loathe to make the shift from desktop to netbook, and 6-cell batteries are expensive. Will Pixel Qi revolutionize netbooks with its e-reader screens? I hope so!

Via PCWorld.

May 29 2009

If You’re Going to Buy a Netbook, Know What You’re Buying

Intel recently had a demonstration of their Atom processor in Santa Clara, California where Intel showed its investors what this processor could and could not do. Basically, the Atom processor that is in netbooks is not able to handle multimedia-heavy tasks that regular netbooks are proficient at handing.

Netbooks are mostly for much simplier everyday tasks, such as surfing the Internet, sending out e-mails, and preparing documents. Unlike smartphones though, netbooks have decent-sized screens and keyboards and unlike full-size laptops, they aren’t as much of a hassle to carry around.

On the bright side, netbooks are relatively cheap and easy to transport while traveling. There is also less fear of damaging or losing them relative to laptops. As long as users understand what they are buying when they are purchasing a netbook – that it’s not a super multimedia machine, but rather more of a fun gadget – then things are cool.

Via Forbes.

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May 29 2009

HP Mini 1101 Not to Arrive in UK

Hewlett Packard’s newest business-oriented netbook, the HP Mini 1101 will not be sold in the United Kingdom in the near future. This decision reached the UK a day after HP announced that the Compaq Mini 110c would be sold in the UK.

hp_logo

The Mini 110c will replace the Compaq Mini 700 and be similar to the HP Mini 110, but will not run on the Linux operating system which is based on Ubuntu. For Linux fans, the predecessor to the Mini 1101, the HP Mininote 2140, still runs on the Linux operating system.

Via ZDNet.

May 29 2009

Netbook Sales Thrive in Coastal US Cities

Data from NPD Group, a market research firm, shows that sales in many major coastal cities within the U.S. are driving the overall sales of netbooks, which in turn, is driving the sales of laptops.

npd_group

NPD Group defines netbooks as devices with 10.2″ or smaller screens. The average netbook price settles around $350, but the range of prices have widened as some netbooks have gotten simpler while others have gotten fancier. According to NPD, netbook sales comprise typically 10% of all notebook sales within the U.S.

Netbooks are prized for their convenience, but as their prices increase due to the addition of new features, there is a question of whether consumers will continue to purchase netbooks or just purchase laptops, which are roughly in the same price range.

Netbook cannibalization continues to play a role in the battle between netbook and laptop sales. According to Intel, netbook cannibalization in Europe is reported to be roughly 20%, with Great Britain and Italy having rates reaching 25%.

NPD Group has tracked roughly 60 retailers (approximately 17,000 stores within the United States) and has calculated a 15.7% increase in overall Windows notebook sales for the seven months ending in April 2009. If netbook sales were not considered, NPD estimates that notebook sales would’ve only increased by a mere 3.6%.

Via MediaPost.

Image via GamePlay.

May 29 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: ASK NBB #4

The latest ASK NBB is up, ripe and ready for your consumption. It seems people responded to Wednesday’s call to action faster than imagined!

This time it’s all about the evolution of the ASUS Eee PC, from its primordial form back in 2007 to the versatile machine it is today. We cover the differences between the 700, 900, and 1000 Series, as well as the prospects of future ASUS netbooks.

Check it out!

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Not interested in the Eee PC? Be sure to check out ASK NBB #2 for some commentary on 3G netbooks instead, or ASK NBB #3 for my projections fpr the future of the netbook industry.

May 27 2009

ANNOUNCEMENT: NBB’s 500th Post!

In the past few months we’ve seen some exciting stuff in the netbook industry. From all corners exciting revelations have appeared, from the rise of MIDs to netbooks for the hearing impaired; the release of the tantalizing beta of Moblin 2.0 and near-confirmation of the mythical Apple tablet netbook. Netbooks are more robust than ever, having barely escaped censorship by Psion at the beginning of this year, but the future holds challenges as well. We’ve covered these stories and more in the past 500 posts, and it is with excitement that we look forward to the questions the future of netbooks holds.

Will Linux finally take the market share it’s yearned for? When are we going to get more futuristic netbooks? And what’s going to happen to netbooks when the economy gets better and budget buys aren’t so tantalizing?

We don’t know the answer to those questions, but as long as we’re still here we’ll be seeking the answers. Thanks for sticking with us, netbookers, and I promise if you stay tuned there will be many more great things to come.

We want this site to be focused on our reader base, so be sure to send us questions you’d like answered on ASK NBB!

Thanks again. Here’s to another 500!

-Michael

May 27 2009

HP to Release Three Mini Netbooks By Summer 2009

This summer, Hewlett Packard is rumored to release three new mini netbooks, the Mini 110 XP Edition, the Mini 110 Mobile Internet (Mi) Edition, and the Mini 1101. All of these netbooks will have 10.1″ screens, roughly weigh 2.3 pounds, and come with either a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor or a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N280 processor.

These new netbooks will be ideal for surfing the web, checking e-mail, and listening to music, some of the more simplier computing tasks. HP referred to the tasks that the netbooks can do as “information ‘snacking.'”

The HP Mini 110 XP Edition:

The HP Mini 110 XP Edition can support up to 1 GB of RAM and can be equipped with either a 32 GB solid state drive or a regular 160 GB hard drive. Users have the option to install a Broadcom Crystal HD Enhanced Video Accelerator, which allows for a 1080p high-def video experience.

The 110 XP is rumored to be available in Black Swirl by June 10 (in the U.S.) at www.hpdirect.com and will start at a price of $329. By July 8, the 110 XP is rumored to be available in Pink Chic and White Swirl.

The HP Mini 110 XP Mobile Internet Edition:

The HP Mini 110 XP Mi Edition netbook is similar to the Mini 110 XP Edition netbook, but more geared towards mobile users. It is equipped with applications that allow for browsing the web, checking e-mail, and watching videos, among other tasks, from the netbook’s dashboard. The Mi runs on a Linux operating system, can support up to 2 GB of RAM, and can be equipped with up to a 250 GB hard drive.

The 110 XP Mi is also rumored to be available by June 10 at www.hpdirect.com. The price tag for this netbook will be $279.99.

The HP Mini 1101:

The HP Mini 1101 is the most business-oriented netbook of the three that HP will release this summer. It can either run on the Windows XP Home, XP Pro, or Vista operating system. HP Mobile Broadband will be an option for this netbook.

The 1101 is rumored to be available by June 1 and cost $329.

Via eWeek.

May 27 2009

Datamation Releases New Multi-Bay Netbook Battery Chargers

As more organizations are using netbooks, it is becoming increasingly important to ensure that they have sufficient battery power to keep these machines running uninterrupted. In order to help with this, Datamation has recently released new models of multi-bay netbook battery chargers.

datamation

Two new models of these chargers have been released, one that recharges batteries for the Dell Latitude 2100 and another that recharges batteries for the Lenovo IdeaPad S9 and S10. These battery chargers are able to charge 16 spare batteries at the same time.

Via BusinessWire.

May 26 2009

HP Redesigns The Mini 1000 Netbook

HP is giving the Mini 1000 netbook a flashy redesign, as if it really needed one. It’s an attractive netbook to start with, but we must admit that the lack of a VGA-out port and the slow hard drive were definite downsides.

HP Mini 110

The netbook manufacturer is hoping to amend those issues with the HP Mini 110 and 1101, which incorporate VGA alongside bigger, faster HDDs. Additionally, we’re going to get new designs, a Broadcom HD decoder chip, and Syncable software.

The 10-inch LED widescreen and 92% keyboard are going to stay, but the HDD is getting bumped up 1200 rpm and 80 GB to a 5400 rpm, 160 GB version. Thankfully it comes with a 6-cell option, which is much more viable than the 3-cell.

How about those designs? PCWorld had a few things to say:

“Since HP is widely reputed for its signature imprint designs, the [Mini 110] will have several new ones: the Pink Chic and White Swirl versions are expected to be available in the United States on July 8, via hpdirect.com. A Black Swirl option will be available even sooner, beginning June 10.”

The Mini 110 comes in XP Home ($329) or the HP Linux OS ($279). The new Broadcom HD decoder will encompass both 720p and 1080p HD video.

Via PCWorld.

May 26 2009

Footage of the Verizon HP Mini Netbook in Action

PocketNow just put together a video discussing the performance of the new Verizon HP Mini netbook. They go over system speed as well as the EVDO connection, and touch on subjects including the battery life of the $199 netbook.

Their conclusions? The netbook is great, but considering battery lags and some slower connections, it could definitely be better. Check out the video below.

Via PocketNow.

May 26 2009

Nokia N900 MID Falls Short Of Netbook Standard

Nokia’s new MID has been announced and is getting a fair amount of press. Known as the Nokia N900, the new device has also been referred to as the Rover or Maemo Flagship. It’s small, sporting a 3.5-inch touchscreen, but has a higher resolution (800 x 480) than its N810 predecessor.

Nokia Logo

It features an OMAP3430 500/600 MHz CPU as well as an accelerometer and GPS system. Furthermore, it’s a smartphone with WCDMA and GSM Quad-Band connectivity. Rumor has it that T-Mobile will help in launching the device internationally this July and in the US around August. The EU should get the new Nokia MID by October.

Specs are generally below what you’d expect in netbooks, which is standard for an MID. With the Maemo 5 OS, 32 GB of space, Firefox, video capture, Wi-Fi and HSPA it’s certainly not crippled. Still, it fails to beat out netbooks for specs or value, as many MID lovers would have hoped.

Via GadgetLeak.

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May 26 2009

German University Supplies Students With Free Netbooks

The University of Paderborn (located in Paderborn, Germany) is giving its incoming class of 2,000 freshman students free netbooks. These netbooks, which are for the students to keep, are a donation from the University’s business sponsors.

paderborn

All beginning students, including those enrolled in the arts, qualify for this handout. This is a pilot program, but if it’s successful, will continue for future University students.

Via M&C.

Image via Wikipedia.

May 26 2009

NEC’s Superthin Netbook is Super Expensive

NEC’s superthin netbook has people’s heads turning. The VersaPro Ultralite VS netbook is 0.62″ at its thinnest point and 1.17″ at its thickest and weighs a mere pound and a half!

It has a 10.6″ screen with 1280×768 resolution and is powered by a 1.86GHz Intel Atom Z540 processor. The VersaPro will run on either the Windows XP or Windows Vista Business operating system. The maximum amount of memory this netbook can be equipped with is 1 GB of RAM.

versapro

Currently, the plan is for the VersaPro to be selling in Japan by the end of July 2009, but it may be sold on a site such as Dynamism in the future.

versapro_slim

versapro_slim_2

While this netbook seems impressive, watch out! It also boasts a hefty price tag of over $1800!

Via CrunchGear.

May 26 2009

Dell Mini 10, All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go?

In addition to the new color scheme, the Dell Mini 10 netbook now comes with an internal TV tuner as well. This week only, the Mini 10 has a $749 special that includes a built-in digital TV tuner card. This feature is rumored to be optional after the weekly special expires.

While the current color offerings do not cost extra, customized designs and patterns will. $145 extra, in fact. Two designs that the Dell Mini 10 can come in are shown below. They were designed by ‘urban artist’ Tristan Eaton. The first one is called The Muse.

the_muse

street_stickers

Are the new features really worth their price tags?

Via APC.

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