Google has brought us a variety of wonders and many of their innovations synergize perfectly together to create an altogether smooth experience. One thing people are anticipating greatly is the release of Google’s Chrome OS. The Chrome OS will be intended only for netbooks, as it is a simple browser-based operating system that doesn’t demand much processing power. Companies such as Acer are working with Google to release netbooks with the OS as soon as possible, and it is rumored that they could be releasing one as soon as June. This rumor however was denied by Acer.
Google has a lot on their plate, as Android’s success is gaining momentum. Google will need to keep its focused balanced in order for both Chrome and Android to do their best. The key for Chrome will be the apps that it will have available for the users, thus Google is focusing on having an app store up and running.
It also must be noted that Computex is just around the bend and unfortunately one thing spectators should not expect to see is the Chrome OS. It is likely then that consumers will just have to wait until the fall to see the Chrome OS.
Lee Williams, CEO of Symbian Foundation, stated in an interview that he believes it is “very likely” that netbooks and tablets will start running Symbian in the next couple of years. Back in April, we blogged about the possibility that the smartphone OS would enter the netbook market. Now that Symbian Foundation has announced that the platform has gone open source, a process that involved the company negotiating with 200 third-party owners, the likelihood of the OS being ported to netbooks and tablet devices has increased even more.
Symbian supports both ARM and Intel x86 processors, and companies are beginning to experiment with the platform any which way they can to run it on a multitude of devices.
The source code is broken down into 108 packages, all of which can be downloaded here.
To read the full interview with Williams, click here.
The recent media storm concerning one particular tablet has shifted the discussion regarding the role and future of netbooks. Following Acer’s pithy rebuttal of the tablet trend sweeping manufacturers, ARM has announced to the world that, not only are netbooks here to stay, but they are destined to become the norm of the PC world.
Tossing out an astonishing estimate, ARM CEO Warren East stated in an interview with PC Pro that while netbooks may only compose 10% of the PC market now, we should expect that figure to reach 90% within the next few years. Now, as much as I love netbooks, this prediction certainly deserves a double-take, as it basically casts desktops and laptops into oblivion. Also, there is no clear answer to whether East is referring to only the traditional netbook platform or if he means to include the entire mobile PC platform, including tablets.
East, of course, would have everything to gain from this arrangement. While he may not have a stranglehold (or to be honest even a foot) in the netbook CPU market, he points out that every netbook released has at least several ARM chips powering various components of it. However, he remains ambitious and announced earlier plans for the Cortex-A9 to be able to reach clock speeds of 2 GHz and a quad-core configuration.
Considering netbooks’ swift growth, it seems logical to take advantage of the opportunity to delve into the world of netbook applications. There are endless possibilities for netbook applications thanks to the versatility and features of the netbook, possibilities that trump those of the iPod or iPhone.
Intel, along with a handful of netbook manufacturers, plans to launch a new netbook app site sometime next year. A specific release date is yet to be announced but it is known that developers are feverishly working on a multitude of applications. The program should be available soon after the New Year, just in time for those netbooks that many will be happily receiving this holiday season. Those unfortunate souls who will be purchasing netbooks later on next year likely won’t even have to worry about downloading the program since Intel plans to join forces with a couple of PC manufacturers to pre-install the app service. Future owners will be able to purchase applications with their fresh out of the box netbook computers.
The future popularity of netbook apps is nearly a given. Intel already reports that its software developer network has already reached heights of 70,000 to 1,000,000 users per month. The good news is that the application program isn’t specific to one operating system. Intel doesn’t plan to make the program compatible solely for the Atom CPU, hoping to tackle multiple platforms in the near future.
If the success of Apple’s iPhone and iPod applications are any kind of indicator for Intel’s netbook application site then Intel and its OEM partners should already be doing a victory dance.
Look out iPhone, there’s a new world of multi-touch devices available to consumers this holiday season. One such is the newly unveiled Eee PC T91MT which stands to be the worlds first convertible tablet notebook which features a multi-touch screen and fully supports Windows 7 Multi-Touch gestures that we’re sure you’re already familiar with. Those who have finished wiping the drool from their faces will be pleased to hear that the the slim Eee PC, which measures one inch thick and a paltry 0.96kg is designed for mobility – it sports a shockproof 32GB Solid State Drive (SSD) and comes with an additional 500GB of online ASUS WebStorage. Gadzooks!
The Eee PC T91MT puts users in touch with their creative sides:
- Multi-touch functionality makes interaction with the computer fun, it encourages users to be creative.
- Virtually all tasks can be performed with a tap, drag, punch, or twist – get your fingers ready!
- Photos are viewed, positioned, and edited seamlessly.
- Reading a Document is like flipping through pages in a real book.
- Taking Notes and Memos with the included package TouchSuite is intuitive and easy.
- The touch pad boasts a 256-level pressure sensor, the Eee PC™ T91MT’s crisp and responsive 8.9″ multi-touch screen reproduces handwriting beautifully and accurately, regardless of whether a finger or the bundled ergonomically-designed stylus is used.
Eee PC™ T91MT
|Display||8.9″ glossy LED-backlit WSVGA screen (1024×600)|
|Operating System||Genuine Microsoft Windows® 7 Home Premium
Genuine Microsoft Windows® 7 Home Basic (China only)
|CPU||Intel® Atom™ Z520|
|Default Memory||DDR2 SO-DIMM 1GB
DDR2 SO-DIMM 2GB (optional)
(32GB SSD + 500GB ASUS WebStorage**)
|Wireless Data Network||WLAN 802.11b/g/n @2.4GHz, Bluetooth2.1 + EDR|
|Battery Life||Li-polymer Battery, 5 hrs*|
|Audio Codec||Hi-Definition Audio CODEC|
|Built-in Mic||Digital Array Mic|
|Interface||1 (D-sub 15-pin for external monitor) VGA Connector, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x LAN RJ-45, 2 x Audio Jack (Headphone / Mic-in), Card Reader: MMC/SD (SDHC); Disk Expander: MMC/SD (SDHC)|
|Physical||Dimensions||225mm (W) x 164mm (D) x 25.2~28.4mm (H)|
|Weight||0.96kg (with battery)|
|Colors||Infusion (IMF): White, Black|
As the school year gets into gear, many first year college students will be buying their first machine. The economy’s been rough, which has been a boon for netbooks, but Apple has been persistent in its advertising and has put out a variety of wonderful products to tease those of us without the disposable income to try them out. But how do the numbers really stand when it comes to computer purchases for college-bound kids?
A study by Retrevo says that full-sized Windows notebooks come in first – an unsurprising finding. However, 34 percent of kids will buy netbooks this year, leaving Apple in third place with a mere 17 percent of sales. Apple’s goal isn’t to have the most sales volume, but the numbers must be something of a bummer.
Retrevo CEO Vipin Jain explained the results of the study as follows:
“While Apple has done well historically in the education market, 2009 marks the dawn of the netbook… Students told us they wanted longer battery life, smaller size, and a lighter laptop. 58% of them plan on spending less than $750.00. Only 18% have a budget over $1,000.00. Netbooks are affordable; some costing only $170.00. In contrast, Apple laptops start at $949.00. At a time when many people are experiencing economic hardship, having a new Apple laptop isn’t a necessity.”
Be sure to read the study here if you’re curious for more.
Images of the Sony VAIO TT have been coasting about the net all the way since November, but it looks like this little guy’s starstruck future has been cut off forever.
Axed by Sony, the death of the VAIO TT has got us thinking – is there a place in the netbook world for high-end ultraportables anymore? The VAIO TT could be pushed up to $4400 if you maxed out the specs (including dual SSDs and a Blu-ray drive), which certainly isn’t an attractive number.
It all depends how willing manufacturers are to keep going into the space. Larger screen sizes that don’t sacrifice mobility have been a major upside of netbooks, but considering the fact that the Vaio P (which Sony insists isn’t a netbook) is still out there, maybe there’s hope for machines surviving the onslaught of netbooks this year.
Regardless, let’s all take a moment of silence for our friend the Vaio TT. Goodnight, sweet prince.
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?
Intel has dropped some comments about the netbook market Wednesday, stating that first-time buyers aren’t ever going to be likely to go for netbooks. Why? According to Intel Executive VP Sean Maloney, “If you’re going to spend your hard-earned money for the first time, you’re going to put a computer in your house,” – that is, not a netbook.
Setting aside the insinuation that netbooks aren’t real computers, it’s difficult to see this comment as more than wishful thinking. Sure, a good number of people use netbooks as secondary machines, but with the lowering price of external hard drives and the tightening of belts in this economy it’s difficult to see what the real difference is if you aren’t going to be gaming or beating up your CPU with Photoshop.
Intel has also ignored the fact that college kids on tight budgets are getting netbooks as well. Still, Maloney is sticking to his guns.
“The first time you buy something you want the real deal. It’s consistent not just in China, but all around the world.”
Intel would love it if Maloney’s right, since bigger profit margins are found in heavier-duty computers than netbooks.
While two of netbooks’ main selling points are ultimate portability and accessibility, a woeful minority of netbooks actually get 3G internet. As I argued a few weeks ago on ASK NBB, 3G is often the crucial step that changes a cheap, small, laptop into a full fledged netbook.
As technology improves, netbooks could throw off the shackles of the pre-3G era sooner than we think. But what will that mean for the industry?
According to iSuppli, 3G netbook sales will hit 17.8 million units this year, up from 443,000 in 2007, That number could be even higher by 2012 – a staggering 36.2 million. Alternatives to Windows XP are increasingly appearing in the form of Linux and Google operating systems, but Windows still owns the market. Matt Wilkins of iSuppli explained why:
“The small penetration of Linux in netbooks is not due to any technical shortcomings… Rather, the OS has suffered from the fact that there is not one Linux brand name that is capable of taking on the strength of the Microsoft trademark in the PC market. Because the vast majority of people who buy netbooks are consumers, who do not have a high degree of knowledge of the key players in the OS market, they are going with the names that they know. And in PCs, that name is Microsoft.”
Google’s recently-announced Chrome OS will be a viable choice for many consumers, but only if it positions itself to be available to them. Wilkins went on to explain that “Google must counter the high visibility of the Microsoft brand name on countless products in retail outlets, ranging from software, to PCs, to peripherals.”
Google has interest in making 3G available, given the variety of cloud applications it has to offer the consumer. The market’s swift expansion could make netbooks an intensely profitable place, and who better to rake in all the profit than Google?
If Google pushes its Chrome OS into the arms of OEMs, it would love those netbooks to have instant access to Google tools like Maps and Finance. Will it be a major force in speeding up the transition to 3G? If what iSuppli projects is true, the answer is a hearty yes, and I think that’s an idea we can all get behind.
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.
The first netbooks in 2007 were small, light, and cheap. As consumers’ tastes changed over the past couple of years, the average netbook size and price has increased slightly and netbooks have been equipped with faster processors.
Future netbooks are rumored to combine the best features of current netbooks and smartphones and will have new processors and operating systems as well. Here are some things to look out for:
1. Netbook processors: Netbook processors will be more powerful and have greater capabilities. Newer processors will use less power and thus allow netbooks to operate for longer periods of time. Some potential manufacturers for these newer processors include: Texas Instruments, Freescale, and Qualcomm. The Snapdragon processor by Qualcomm that only uses 500 milliwatts of power has acquired a good amount of attention and is something to watch out for in the future.
2. Netbook operating systems: Netbooks originally started out with Linux, but when Windows was available to be pre-installed, many more purchases of netbooks with the Windows operating software pre-installed were purchased. In the future, more netbooks will run on new(er) operating systems, such as Google’s Android.
3. Apple: There are still many rumors about if Apple plans on breaking into the netbook market. And then if it does, will it issue a netbook or some other related device? There’s always the chance that Apple could even come up with something to revolutionize the netbook market altogether. The company’s currently keeping mum about this, but we’ll keep you posted.
4. Other Developments: Netbooks will continue to evolve, and in general, will be cheaper and better performing in the future. Some things to look out for are the new Windows 7 operating system for netbooks and the development of Snapdragon-based netbooks.
5. Price: Pricing for netbooks is expected to drop in the future. There will also be more discount packages for these mobile devices. For example, in the future, ARM-based netbooks are predicted to be sold for roughly $200 and currently, cell phone companies such as AT&T sell subsidized netbooks for $50, with a two year monthly-data plan contract. (For now though, the latter is only in Philadelphia and Atlanta).
Despite all the signs of netbook evolution, some people are still skeptical about the future of these mobile computing devices. Any opinions?
The NY Times is noting some big boosts in the netbook category this year, which is projected to beat 20 million units by the end of 2009. As Intel Atom prices fall and more and more manufacturers join the fray, many expect Apple to step in and Sony to take a bigger role in the industry this year.
The familiar names aren’t holding back one bit either, with ASUS delivering such ambitious devices as the ultra-slim LED Eee PC 1008HA (the Seashell), or the $299 Dell Mini 10v with features to spare.
ASUS’ new Seashell is being pointed to as an example of how swiftly netbooks are beginning to resemble notebooks. CNET UK lauded the design and performance boosts, saying they contributed to a finely tuned device sure to please everyone laying his hands on one:
“[The ASUS Eee PC 1008HA is] a small, light, and sexy device aimed at the fashion-conscious netbook fan who puts portability slightly above performance…The glossy black finish, the gently tapering lid, and the wedge-shaped profile all contribute to an overall design that’s more aesthetically pleasing than that of rivals.”
The ASUS Seashell even uses a lithium-polymer battery pack, which is moldable for sleek netbooks like their new Eee PC.
Eyes are on ASUS for now, and as more category-defying devices like the 1008HA hit the market, notebook makers are going to need to do more to avoid being undersold by netbooks. From a consumer standpoint, bigger competition will be a good thing, and it will be exciting to see new futuristic advancements as they arrive.
The principle analyst at iSuppli, Matthew Wilkins, is taking a good look at the netbook industry and predicting falling netbook shipments by 2013.
His numbers say “Netbook shipments are projected to rise 68.5 percent in 2009, with this figure falling to 39.6 percent in 2010 and 13.1 percent in 2013,” which may seem pretty dire; however, he describes his trend as impressive growth regardless.
Wilkins gave a word of advice to netbook manufacturers, telling them “not to fight their falling shipment numbers by overburdening their devices.” His fear is that pushing netbooks to be low-grade notebooks will kill their appeal and exacerbate the problem.
On the other hand, ABI Research is projecting an ungodly number of netbook sales by 2013, so who knows where this thing is going. Wilkins’ words merit consideration at the very least, and if OEMs intend to keep milking netbooks they’d better tread carefully.
A new report by DigiTimes is putting predictions of rampant netbook growth in perspective of the current recession. A number of netbook manufacturers are failing to meet netbook sales goals in Q1 09.
Acer, for example, expected to sell a full 2 million netbooks that quarter, but reportedly failed to do so. ASUS also fell short of its goals, raking in 900,000 Eee PC sales – 100,000 fewer than it projected. MSI sold 200,000 as well.
Intel is also revealing that it sold fewer Intel Atom chips than it expected as well.
The numbers are a bit vague, and have few specific explanations, but some conclusions can still be drawn from them. Is anyone really that surprised that netbooks aren’t meeting expectations, considering the astounding growth expected by such manufacturers as Samsung or analysts like the IDC? Falling short of those kind of goals still demonstrates expansion far beyond that of other sectors of the PC industry, especially considering the current economic situation, and if manufacturers are too worried about these developments they may have lost sight of the big picture.
The manufacturer of the much-respected Samsung NC10 and NC20 netbooks is getting revved up to improve its position in the netbook market this year. It plans to sell a full 5 million notebooks in 2009, of which 4 million will be netbooks.
Kyu Uhm, VP of Sales and Marketing at Samsung, announced that the increases will be massive – at least double their previous numbers.
“Our current market share in netbooks is about 5 percent, and with sales of 4 million netbooks this year, we are aiming for a 15 percent market share.”
Samsung took No.10 in notebook sales last year, but Uhm says they’re now poised to take No. 7.
Via Reuters UK.
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.
Data from analyst firm NDP is casting a dubious eye on the trend Linux netbooks are following in comparison to rival Windows, with “96% of netbooks” running the latter OS.
While Linux reigned king in the first half of 2008 Microsoft Windows only took 10% of the market. That world has changed, according to the new research.
Brandon LeBlanc of Microsoft took it upon himself to rephrase the findings:
“Not only are people overwhelmingly buying Windows, but those that try Linux are often returning it… Both MSI – a leading netbook PC OEM – and Canonical – the vendor supporting the commercial distribution of Ubuntu Linux – stated publicly they saw Linux return rates four times higher than Windows.”
Furthermore, LeBlanc believes his company’s OS has succeeded in the netbook world because “it’s easier to use, just works out of the box with people’s stuff, and ultimately offers more choice”. Linux loyalists will fervently repudiate his claim, but the numbers have spoken.
The recent influx of new Android netbook options will further muddy the waters, but it will be interesting to see what Google’s platform does for the industry.
While only a few months ago analysts were predicting the demise of netbooks, nowadays – with everyone from Bandai to Belinea slapping together its own model – the future of netbooks seems far more secure. However, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs sees even more gains in the near future, predicting that netbook sales will overcome notebooks’ quite soon.
Jacobs claims that his prophecy will be fulfilled “relatively quickly,” without specifying further.
It’s hard to judge his claim for now, but it will definitely work out for Qualcomm if Jacobs is right. The much-touted Snapdragon processor is expected to increase Qualcomm’s presence in the industry by the second half of this year, setting the stage for vicious competition with Intel.
And Qualcomm isn’t the only one expecting big gains for the netbook industry. The IDC expects 20 million of the small computers to ship this year, and ABI Research places the number at an earthshaking 139 million sales by 2013.
It’s difficult to make accurate predictions at a time where the economy is so unreliable, so it would be wise to take Jacobs’ words with a grain of salt. At the same time, it’s hard to ignore the writing on the wall. Will netbooks overtake notebooks? We’ll have to wait and see.
The IDC has released its latest prediction for the state of the world PC market on Thursday. The new report shows PC sales continuing to drop in 2009 before rising once more in 2010.
The 2009 drop will come in at about 4.5%, a bit worse than its previous anticipation of 3.8% back in December. The focus for these drops are rising unemployment and drops in consumer spending this year, according to IDC research manager David Daoud.
He expects consumers to wait until 2010 to make PC purchases, but in the mean time, our favorite sub-industry is expected to flourish: netbooks.
Netbook shipments hit 10 million last year, but in 2009, the IDC thinks that number will double. Whereas a year ago netbook technology was in its infancy, these rising sales prove that consumers like netbooks and are comfortable buying them.
Growth in laptop shipments, which should grow by about 6 million in 2009, will also boost netbook sales.
Be sure to check out another optimistic projection by ABI Research, which puts netbook sales by 2013 at 139 million.