The latest rumor on the block is that netbook manufacturers will start to make netbooks with touchscreens and replace/eliminate trackpads.
Pros? This move would free up space for a larger-sized keyboard with a less cramped feel. Surely this will be a major relief for those with larger hands and longer fingers, if not for everyone.
Cons? Well, for those who hate using touchscreens in general and would rather control a cursor by using a trackpad, these netbooks would be less than ideal. Check out alternatives with relatively larger keyboards, such as Workhorse PC’s Certeza MC10 and some of Dell’s netbooks. Or you could just go with a slightly larger netbook.
Since using your fingers to type on a computer screen may be inconvenient for typing longer blocks of text at a time, eliminating the keyboard altogether might not be the brightest idea. This is why the initial step that netbook manufacturers are planning on taking is replacing/eliminating only the trackpad of the netbook.
Maybe in the future, there will be other improvements and innovations. VentureBeat quips that pretty soon, “the only major difference between a smartphone and a netbook may be the size of their screens and keyboards.”
Netbooks are meant to be portable, but moving a computer around all the time can be risky. Minor dings accumulate over time, and before you know it your $300 machine is useless. So what’s to be done?
The Cool Bananas Hard Case is an accessory meant for those who value their netbooks’ safety. It’s not just a soft cover or sleeve, like other so-called netbook cases – its shock-resistant materials are designed to vastly reduce the dangers of bringing your netbook everywhere.
From a design standpoint, the netbook case looks professional. The hard case is covered in black fabric for easy grip, and the handles connect with a conveniently placed Velcro strip so you don’t have to fumble around when you need to grab your netbook and go.
The inside is soft, and will be kind to the finer parts of your netbook. The Cool Bananas Hard Case will likely fit 10.2-inch netbooks best, but is capable of handling netbooks as small as 8.9 inches. Regardless, the inner fixing belt will keep your machine safely steady during any biking commute or turbulent plane ride.
Other useful features include an inner pocket for carrying around other accessories and a shoulder strap.
According to the website, the Cool Bananas Hard Case can accomodate the following netbooks:
- MSI Wind U100
- ASUS Eee PC 900 901 4G
- ASUS Eee PC 1000
- Acer Aspire One A150X 8,9″
- Acer Aspire One D150
- Elitegroup ECS G10IL
- Medion AKOYA Mini E1210
- Samsung NC10
- Dell Inspiron Mini 9
- Fujitsu Amilo Mini
- Lenovo IdeaPad S10
- Toshiba NB100
However, any netbook in the 8.9″-10.2″ range should fit fine as well. I was personally pleased with the Cool Bananas Hard Case I reviewed, so if you’re interested, you can purchase it at GearZap.com for only £21.95 (or around $36.11 USD).
In order to spur consumers to buy netbooks now and not to wait until the Windows 7 operating system is released, some netbook companies are allowing free upgrades to Windows 7 for customers who currently purchase machines running Windows Vista. But of course, there’s always a catch.
First, here is a short description of the Windows 7 Upgrade Program:
But the limitations don’t stop here. Owners of the 1101HA must be running the Windows Home Premium version of the operating system, while owners of the 1005HA must be running either Windows XP Pro or Vista Business. The problem is that most netbooks are sold with the standard Windows XP Home version of the OS.
There are other Asus machines that may qualify for the Windows 7 Upgrade Program, but not very many. Could this possibly imply that the company isn’t too financially flexible (right now)? Maybe…but who can blame them, since most companies are in the same boat in this downturn economy.
As computers play a growing role in the everyday lives of students in the classroom, many school districts are interested in purchasing relatively cheap and portable alternatives. Enter the “kiddie netbook.”
One such netbook that was recently released is the Dell Latitude 2100. This particular netbook has quickly grown in popularity since its release a little over a month ago.
Although it’s small in size (after all, it’s a netbook) it’s already having a relatively big impact. According to Yahoo News, “more than 500 U.S. school districts have purchased the Latitude 2100.”
Netbooks like the Latitude 2100 allow students to do their work on-the-go and provide many more opportunities for hands-on learning without wasting bootup/setup time or traveling time to and from a computer lab.
As a result of the growing popularity, Dell (and the other existing kiddie netbook manufacturers) are sure to have competitors in the near future.
As competitors come out with new netbooks, we’ll have the latest updates, so make sure to check back often to see which companies will be next to enter this segment of the netbook market.
Image via Islabit.
Vivante Corporation announced that it will be partnering with the Institute of Computing Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences with plans to integrate their GPU and CPU designs into a “cost-efficient, low-power SoC and advance the state-of-the-art in netbook technology for the next generation.” China has been a valuable space for netbooks thus far, and this relationship could be a harbinger of better things to come.
The ICT’s specialty is research in computer science and technology. The group was responsible for “China’s first general-purchase digital computer” and generally focuses on boosting the performance of low-power computers. That sounds like it would be helpful in the netbook industry.
Dr. Weiwu Hu, the chief architect of the ICT’s CPU division, elaborated on the goal of the partnership:
“As we look toward making netbooks both more capable and more accessible, we find Vivante GPUs to be the perfect solution for small size and low power while providing robust, fully featured graphics and fast performance.”
Wei-jin Dai, Vivante’s President and CEO, added to Hu’s explanation:
“Our ability to deliver the highest performing GPU per square millimeter and per milliwatt across the spectrum of mobile computing, handheld, and home entertainment device requirements is once again validated by ICT selecting a Vivante GPU design. The Vivante ScalarMorphic(TM) GPU architecture flexes and scales to address a wide range of price/performance requirements and silicon budgets. We look forward to ongoing collaboration with ICT, as we apply leading edge Vivante technology to power next generation wired and wireless embedded applications in new and interesting ways.”
This is an exciting time for netbooks, and it is with great interest that we anticipate the products of this relationship. China Mobile‘s partnership with major netbook manufacturers has already yielded much for netbook 3G, and hopefully Vivante and the ICT can do the same with netbook GPUs.
The Always Innovating Touch Book is finally going into production. It’s turning a lot of heads with one fantastic new feature – the ability to detach the touch display from the keyboard for use as a tablet.
The display is an 8.9-inch pressure sensitive tablet with a magnetic back. The accompanying keyboard is 95% of full size, and together, the Touch Book acts like your average netbook.
Space is a definite downside, with a mere 8 GB from the SD card. The CPU is the OMAP3530, an ARM chip by Texas Instruments. The netbook has 256 MB of RAM and 256 MG of NAND memory.
Bonus features include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 3D accelerometer and three USB ports for netbook accessories.
Pricing is the same as previously announced – $300 for the tablet alone or $400 for the whole deal. The Touch Book is a tad weaker than most netbooks, but if you’re looking for an all-around awesome gadget to impress your friends, it might just be the device for you.
The rumored model is called the Samsung N510, which we saw hints of a few weeks ago. It’s expected to have a 1366 x 768 resolution with HD capability. What’s that mean? The NVIDIA Ion could play a role as well, in order to power the thing.
Specifications include an Intel Atom N280, the NVIDIA 9400M Ion chipset, a Gig of RAM, a 160 GB HDD, and “Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/Ethernet, webcam, card reader, six-cell battery, and Windows XP.”
It sounds good – all except the price tag. At around 570 Euros ($800 USD), it could cost around $600 when it comes to the US. Check back soon for more news on the Samsung N510 netbook.
A lot of US, Canadian, and Japanese consumers have been pre-ordering the software for the Windows 7 operating system. And for 50% off, why not?
This deal is only available from now until July 11th, at least for customers within the United States, Canada, and Japan, so if you want in, you gotta act fast! There are less than two more weeks until this offer is officially over.
Participating retailers, including Best Buy and Amazon.com, are currently offering the Home Premium edition of the software for $49.99 and the Professional Edition for $99.99. American customers can even order the OS directly from Microsoft.com.
After July 11th, the price for the Windows 7 software is planned to increase. It’s to cost roughly 8% less than that of the current Microsoft Vista software.
Image via Science&TechnologyNews.
Samsung is running a SATA-interface mini SSD by some customers in hopes of having an SSD line ready for market.
The new SATA SSD will expand the use of the card from simply being a storage medium to being a complementary drive to boost the performance of dual drive PCs and netbooks. Sounds a lot like the manufacturer has its hopes set on a MSI Wind U115 Hybrid-type machine in the new future.
Samsung’s SSD is going to be rugged, a main selling point of solid state drives over hard disk drives, which have moving parts.
Netbooks are supposed to be budget machines, which is why the latest version of the Vaio P has a lot of people scratching their heads.
Believe it or not, the new Sony netbook packs the ungodly price tag of two thousand dollars. That’s one more zero than some cheap netbooks out there, and $1650 more than the average.
While the new Vaio P is a special edition, the original cost $1000. It’s hard to see what the distinction is between the versions, but if I’m going have a chance of dropping two grand on it it had better have features no other netbook can come close to. Like being able to pay for gas, or make me sandwiches.
Windows 7 is supposed to be released on optical media, which has led a lot of people to wondering what will happen with netbooks. Why? The majority don’t have optical drives. How are users supposed to install and/or upgrade their operating systems?
To solve this problem, Microsoft is considering offering the Windows 7 operating system on a flash drive. Since most netbooks come with USB ports, this would be a relatively easy solution to the problem at hand.
Another option that Microsoft is considering is selling a downloadable version of Windows 7. With this method, users can use their own flash drives to make a bootable copy of the operating system installer.
This is something that Microsoft already does today for existing Windows OSes, so it wouldn’t be surprising if they did it for the newest version.
Why do people buy netbooks instead of laptops in the first place? One main reason is increased portability. Because they’re relatively lightweight and compact, it’s easy to take netbooks with you wherever you go.
Netbooks are also relatively cheap. They fall behind laptops in performance, but are able to do the most basic (and common) tasks with ease. You can surf the web, check your e-mail, and edit documents, among other things.
There’s a new BMW branded netbook on the market, and you can probably guess which of those qualities it lacks.
This netbook has a BMW logo on the lid, with chrome bits on the sides of the netbook meant to mimic the look of hub cabs. Curiously enough, nobody seems to know if this Chinese netbook is actually approved by BMW.
This BMW netbook has a 10.2″ screen, is powered by the typical 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 processor, and has 1 GB of RAM and a 160 GB hard drive. Its dimensions are 10.4″ x 7.2″ x 1.1″.
Nokia is rumored to be releasing an Android-powered netbook in 2010. These netbooks will be sold through carriers and possibly referred to as relatively large smartphones (rather than mini PCs). This means though, that these netbooks will come with contracts for monthly data plans, decreasing their overall appeal.
2010 is still a little while away though, so there may be new rumors developing about Nokia’s netbooks and retailing mediums. As soon as we find out any new information, we’ll keep you posted, so be sure to check back often.
Quite recently, there were rumors that NVIDIA would be selling netbooks under its own brands. Sorry NVIDIA fans, but it turns out that these rumors are not coming to reality anytime soon. The company says that it has no imminent plans to sell any netbooks.
Early in June, NVIDIA launched its Tegra “system-on-a-chip” package, which is supposed to improve audio and video performance in small tech devices. The Tegra package includes an 800 MHz ARM processor, audio processor, high-def video processor, imaging processor, and ultralow-power GeForce GPU.
While Nvidia has no plans to sell its own netbooks, Mobinnova is rumored to be releasing a Tegra-powered netbook in the future. This netbook, called élan, will weigh less than two pounds and offer between five and ten hours of high-def video playback.
It is not uncommon for individuals who buy netbooks to be unsatisfied with their purchases. According to NPD Group, a market research firm, owners of netbooks are likely to feel less satisfied with their purchases if they were originally not planning on purchasing a netbook.
NPD Group surveyed 600 American adults and the results confirmed this finding. 58% of consumers who bought netbooks but were originally planning on buying laptops were satisfied with their purchases while 70% of consumers who were originally planning on buying a netbook were satisfied with theirs.
Many consumers still don’t know the difference between a netbook and a laptop, and this is a major problem that netbook retailers need to start addressing! Of the surveyed buyers, six out of ten believed the a netbook and a laptop were the same thing. Of those between the ages of 18 and 24, 65% of individuals expected better performance from their netbook.
Images via NPDGroup.
Acer has recently stated that netbooks could make up as much as 25% of all its notebook shipments during 2009. One of the reasons for this is the increase in netbook sales by telecom companies, which have enticed customers to purchase low-priced netbooks bundled with monthly data plans.
Acer currently predicts that it will sell between 10 million and 15 million netbooks within 2009. This Taiwan-based company is currently the world’s third largest PC manufacturer and second largest notebook manufacturer.
One of Acer’s goals is to overtake Hewlett Packard and become one of the world’s largest notebook manufacturer. If Acer continues selling netbooks at the rate that it’s predicting, it may overtake HP one year earlier than expected (by 2010).
There has recently been talk of Nokia partnering with Intel to bring Atom processors to a new Nokia device.
Even more recently, there have been reports indicating that Nokia has ordered netbooks and smartbooks from Quanta Computers Inc. and Compal Electronics Inc., two manufacturers of computing devices. After some developments, Nokia is planning on launching their new netbooks in the third quarter of 2009.
While it may not have the mainstream appeal as Windows XP or such Linux distributions as Ubuntu Netbook Remix, the newly released Sugar on a Stick OS is worth a good look as a novel take on the stripped-down Linux OS.
Sugar on a Stick was originally designed for the OLPC project and uses the Sugar Linux desktop environment. It’s designed to boot, and run from a USB drive for true portability and minimalism. Give it a try!
HP’s latest netbook is top of the line, at least according to a recent announcement, and is intended for business professionals rather than kids or budget buyers.
Called the HP Mini 5101, it follows such netbooks as the HP Mini 110 and 1101. It features an “anodized aluminum display enclosure with a black, brushed finish, paired with magnesium alloy in the lower half of the shell.” The 95% full-sized chiclet keyboard isn’t just pretty – it’s spill resistant as well.
It weighs 2.6 lbs, and the 10.1-inch WSVGA LED display is fantastic as well. HP put in a 2-megapixel camera as well, and you can get the new netbook with either a 4- or 6-cell battery for up to eight hours of battery life.
The netbook comes in at $449 and is Energy Star certified for the environmentally conscious.