While it’s easy to get excited about a particularly awesome netbook, MSI seems to have gone above and beyond the call of duty in a recent press release for the MSI Wind12 U200 featuring the altogether fantastic subtext ‘Genie of the Wind, Unlimited Magic’. Holy shit.
All ridiculosity aside, the MSI Wind12 U200 is either a netbook or a ‘CULV laptop‘ depending how much you like correcting people. But I’m getting off topic – here are a few gems from the creators of the Wind netbook:
“…The MSI Wind12 U200 is like a dancing fairy, possessing a light and agile body…”
“…[It] presents you with the most comfortable and splendid display, able to show off the vastness of the ocean and the land…”
“…You’ll hardly notice its weight at all while on the road…”
“…A Wide View With Boundless Reach…”
“…Marvelous Software Gives You Unlimited Joy…”
Unlimited joy? That’s a tall order for under $1000!
All joking aside, the press release is an entertaining read if you’re interested in the MSI Wind12 U200 netbook. It describes the features you can expect, albeit in superlative terms, so go have a look.
The Samsung 15.6″ X520 CULV notebook was recently spotted, and the company is planning on launching their 11.6″ X120 and 14″ X420 notebooks soon. These computers are part of Samsung’s thin-and-light series.
We don’t know much yet about these two new notebook models, but the Samsung X120 will be powered by an Intel Celeron 723 processor and cost around €550.
The larger Samsung X420 model will be powered by a SU2700 CPU, have 3 GB of RAM and a 250 GB hard drive, and cost over €700. Although the price tag on this 14″ laptop isn’t quite so tempting, at least it weighs in at a mere 1.7kg. Its battery isn’t bad either; it’s rumored to last up to 9 hours.
Image via PicturePhoning.
At 15.6 inches the X-Slim doesn’t seem to resemble a netbook at all. However, for a mere $800 ou can get this 5.5 lb notebook with a 1.4 GHz Core 2 ULV chip, ATI HD 4330 graphics, and a 1366 x 768 pixel WXGA display. It’s a tempting offer for those who consider netbooks to be too weak and notebooks too expensive.
It doubles standard netbook figures in offering a 320 GB hard drive and 4 GB of RAM standard. Other features include a 6-cell battery, 2 USB 2.0 ports, HDMI out, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, and you’ve got a machine with a lot to offer in a thoroughly oversaturated market.
Sure, its 11.6-inch widescreen is a little big for netbooks, but the ASUS Eee PC 1101HA and Acer Aspire One A0751h already have screens at that size. And sure, it runs a 1.2 GHz Intel CULV Celeron processor instead of the Atom. But that’s where the differences stop.
The Inspiron 11z has a 1366 x 768 resolution screen and sells for around $400 with a 3-cell battery. It has an HDMI port, something the aforementioned netbooks lack, as well as 3 USB ports, Ethernet, and a media card reader you’d see on most netbooks.
The keyboard looks quite usable, measuring in at 92% of full size. You’ll also find 2 GB of RAM in the 11z, which is a tad higher than the netbook standard and will boost performance noticeably.
Netbooks’ main selling points are portability and low price in an economically troubled time. As a tradeoff ,most are too low-powered to manage anything more resource-draining than word processing and web tasks. Wal-Mart is now offering a computer that seems to be the complete antithesis of a netbook, for a comparable price – $348.
The 17-inch Toshiba Satellite L355 notebook is clunkier and uglier than a netbook but has fearsome specs in comparison – a 1440 x 900 pixel LCD display, a 2.2 GHz Intel Celeron CPU, and the 4500M Intel Mobile Graphics Accelerator. It has a massive 250 GB SATA HDD and a full 3 GB of DDR2 SDRAM, expandable to 4 GBs.
It even has an optical drive, Wi-Fi, Etheret, 3 USB 2.0 ports, VGA out, an ExpressCard slot and a 6-cell battery.
The notebook may be the first in a line of laptops cheap enough to harass netbook sales figures. Could machines like the Toshiba Satellite L355 spell the end of netbooks?
The vaguest of rumors has surfaced since a recent press conference with Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, but despite their wispiness the rumors foretell something dark and mysterious:
“Why don’t we have a high-performance lower-power device? That comes this year. The new ultrathins will be like high-end netbooks.”
Designed for better screens, bigger batteries, and the sub-notebook price range, Microsoft should be working on netbooks for the Mama Bears out there with a taste for something in-between.
Sounds a lot like a CULV laptop.
Be sure to check out this Seattle Times’ article for more recent news from Microsoft.
Lenovo may have its own host of netbooks, but that hasn’t stopped it from risking putting out a CULV laptop. Many have called CULV the harbinger of netbooks’ death, and as the Lenovo Ideapad U350 hits stores this June that fear may yet become reality.
The IdeaPad U350 is as light as a netbook but features a 13.3-inch screen. Its 4-cell battery churns out four hours of life, around what’s expected, but the biggest difference with the IdeaPad U350 is that it runs Windows Vista. Vista’s too taxing for most netbooks, which use XP instead.
In an effort to bring netbook mobility and low-price to full PC functionality, Lenovo has included Intel’s Pentium SU2700 processor – a 1.3 GHz chip with 2 MB of cache. The new CULV laptop will also feature the SU3500 Core Solo processor this August.
Further departing from the netbook formula, the Lenovo Ideapad U350 also uas 2 GB of RAM. That can support up to a colossal 500 GB hard drive.
The U350 isn’t as powerful as many laptops, but beats out netbooks for graphical capability. It can “run high-definition multimedia, gaming and resource-hungry applications,” something few netbooks have attempted.
We can expect the Ideapad U350 by the end of June worldwide. Will the CULV movement end netbooks? Doubtful. But it will certainly change the game, and if those capitalizing on the success of netbooks mean to retain their dominance they’ll need to start differentiating themselves more than ever.
Analysts have anticipated the demise of the netbook industry ever since they entered the scene a year or two back, but so far netbooks just aren’t dead yet. They look safe for the time being as more and more big time and small time manufacturers deliver their own models, but another threat may yet be on the horizon: CULV laptops.
While the exact nature of CULV laptops is a bit unclear, Intel spokesmen have pointed to the HP Pavillion dv2 as a member of this new category. They are different than netbooks because they use mainstream Intel chip designs (CULV chips) like the Intel Core and similar architectures rather than the Atom, a weaker and cheaper processor.
Intel CEO Paul Otellini says that Intel is interested in the new category and “looks forward to the launch of our consumer ultra-low-voltage products, which will enable many new sleek thin-and-light notebooks at very compelling price points.” He projects a swift explosion in the new netbook-like devices in the near future:
“The big trend in notebooks this year, starting mid-year, is likely to be very well designed thin-and-light notebooks using the CULV or ultra-low-voltage products… And I think you’ll see those at very attractive price points. Up to this point in time, those machines have been sort of executive jewelry and I think they’ll hit mainstream consumer price points.”
While Otellini is “expecting a more clear distinguishing set of characteristics between Netbooks and notebooks,” I’m personally unconvinced. Will CULV devices lead to the end of netbooks, or are they a sign that the category’s omniscience has grown all the more? It won’t take much work for netbook manufacturers to switch to bigger chips if that’s what consumer wants, and I bet they’d be happy to do so if it means more profits. Clear distinctions between sub-notebook devices may be getting more and more unfocused every day, but it looks like they’re here to stay regardless.