When Asus brought out the Eee PC in 2007, it had a promise of providing a stripped down laptop with a low cost. That original vision has all but disappeared in many modern netbooks, as the phrase has become ubiquitous with a portable PC with somewhere between 9-12 inches of screen space. It is not surprising to see $500 netbooks now, competing against budget-friendly 15″ notebooks.
Fortunately for businesses in the developing world, IBM, Canonical, and Simmtronics are working to reverse this trend. The new Simmbook provides a very spartan last-generation netbook configuration. You know the drill: Intel Atom N270 1.6 GHz, 10″ LCD with 1024×600 resolution, the essentials. More notably, they will run Ubuntu, presumably to save cost and are being paired up with IBMs productivity suite Lotus, pre-installed. They are designed to work with IBM’s cloud solutions and are obviously very work-centric. The most important point, of course, is the price: starting at $190. That is old-school Eee PC cheap.
These are business machines and probably will not be used by many home consumers. Still, it would be nice to see this trend continue back into the general netbook market and keep the netbook from becoming a novelty “toy” computer for those who can afford it.
Via Engadget, image via Simmtronics
IBM might have fallen from the spotlight of the computer world, but it remains an integral figure in its innovation. And to prove this, behold: IBM has announced it successfully developed a graphene transistor that is clocked at an insanely fast 100 GHz. Needless to say, this is the fastest transistor ever made and silicon might just have lost its spot as the number one semiconductor.
The best silicon transistors have only managed to make to 40 GHz, and it is becoming exceedingly difficult to continue down the current path without some sort of breakthrough. It looks like graphene will be IBM’s answer to this dilemma and with good cause. Not only is it much faster, but IBM used the same silicon fabrication techniques in order to make it. This removes a major hurdle to transitioning to graphene.
Still, this is only the early stages of the process. As with all technological breakthroughs, it will be some time before it trickles its way down to personal computing. Nevertheless, it has been a good week for technological breakthroughs.
IBM is unveiling a new netbook software pack that is expected to help businesses in Africa. It will partner with Canonical, which means the package will come with a Linux-based OS and be designed for cloud computing.
The idea is to offer African businesses an alternative to expensive traditional computer options. Netbooks have been valuable for these businesses, cutting costs for workers. The new software package, known as the IMB Client for Smart Work, should cut costs even further.
The package offers e-mail, word processing, a spreadsheet app, and social networking/communication tools.
Bob Picciano, GM of IBM Lotus Softwae, explained what emerging businesses can gain from the new setup:
“Businesses in emerging markets are looking to gain the freedom and flexibility afforded by open standards… The IBM Client for Smart Work builds on the movement toward open standards and Web-based personal computing by giving people the power to work smarter, regardless of device.”