Jun 5 2010

AMD’s focus remains on Netbooks

According to Rick Bergman, Senior Vice President and General Manager of AMD’s products group, AMD is in no rush to develop a smart phone or tablet but remains focused on netbooks. Their current projects include the release of graphic cards ATI Radeon HD 5450, 5570 and 5670 and the 2011 release of the Bobcat processor for netbooks.

This is positive news for netbook enthusiasts (such as ourselves), since while other companies seem to be switching gears, AMD’s priorities have not changed.

Via ZDNet, image via ZDNet.

Jun 1 2010

Intel Executive Forecasts His Company’s Direction

Intel employee David Perlmutter, the executive vice president and co-general manager of the architecture group, has recently spoken about his company’s future direction.

Perlmutter says that the computer market is continuing to grow, as are data centers and cloud computing. Due to the increasing amount of devices people will own, Intel will also grow because it makes a lot of the chips for these devices. Many of the devices at the Computex trade show in Taipei (which Perlmutter attended) are going to be based on Intel’s Atom processor.

Perlmutter also added that in 2011, most of Intel’s revenue will come from chips in personal computers and data centers. The company also plans to ship one billion chips within five years. Though it sounds like an almost unachievable goal, Intel plans to ship over 350 million units in 2010 and hopes to double that number in 2011.

Perlmutter says his company is at least a year ahead of some other chip companies and all in all, he sees a rosy future for Intel.

Via The Wall Street Journal, image via Intel.

May 31 2010

Netbooks Vs. Tablets

For computer users who want a small, portable device, there exist two options: netbooks and tablets. But how does one decide between the two devices? According to technology analyst Tim Bajarin, the main difference lies in what he calls content consumption vs. content creation. The terms are self-explanatory: content consumption is looking at and absorbing others’ content, while content creation is the making of content oneself.

Content creation takes up 25 percent of the time people spend on computers. The other three quarters of the time is spent consuming content. This distinction is important to make because netbooks (and laptops) are good for content creation, but tablets are good for content consumption.

Ultimately, a user must assess his or her own needs when deciding between a netbook or a tablet. If someone already owns a laptop, a tablet can be a nice supplement for content consumption. Indeed, tablets are optimized for content consumption, much more so than laptops or netbooks. But for users who need to create a lot of content, a netbook is probably a better choice than a tablet.

Via PC Magazine.

May 28 2010

New Version of Linux for Netbooks Released

The Linux Foundation released a new version of its open-source OS, MeeGo, this week. MeeGo is for netbooks with Intel Atom processors.

MeeGo v1.0 is more for developers than regular users. It is comprised of Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo operating systems. It has applications for email, calendars, recently used files, and social networking updates, among other things. It also has support for multiple languages.

MeeGo has been tested on Atom netbooks from Asus, Dell, Acer, Lenovo, and HP. People have generally liked MeeGo, though some have reported problems with getting its WiFi to work properly.

Before MeeGo, many versions of Linux were either for desktops or smartphones. The director of the Linux Foundation said that he thinks the foundation should focus on developing a platform that can be used on a wide variety of devices. Intel and Nokia have said they can see MeeGo being used on more devices beyond netbooks.

Via InformationWeek, image via MeeGo.

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May 25 2010

About 30% of Netbook Shoppers Go For iPad

Netbooks have been steadily doing better with sales since their introduction, yet data gathered by Retrevo.com reveals a dark cloud looming over the horizon. Retrevo conducted a Pulse Study that asked notebook, netbook, and iPad owners what products they thought of buying this past year and what they finally chose. The study also asked what which products consumers are looking at and leaning towards.

It appears that netbooks are feeling the heat from both laptops and the Apple iPad. According to the study, 30% of potential netbook buyers ended up going with the iPad instead. Of course some percent of this market was expected to be acquired, but nonetheless a third is a substantial share. This is part of the manifestation of Apple’s almost cult status. The scarier part is that as far as it goes for consumers deciding between an iPad and netbook for the future, almost 80% are leaning towards an iPad!

Notebooks are also appearing to regain some of their share of the market that they began to lose to netbooks. Retrevo’s data shows that for both past and future buys, netbooks are less appealing to consumers than notebooks.

Despite this competition, netbooks should still always have a place in the market. In second and third world countries, they serve as cheap primary computers. Back here in the US, they still come at an unbeatable price as alternatives.

Via Retrovo, image via Retrovo

May 24 2010

Amazon Kindle to Work for Netbooks and Notebooks

The introduction of books to PCs was a bit of a shaky one, but it’s finally starting to find its place in the market. Several companies have had tried to get a stake in this market, most notably Apple with the release of its iPad. Now we’re seeing a greater expansion in the e-book market.

Amazon Kindle is a  software and hardware platform developed by Amazon.com, as a way to sell electronic books and have a device to work in tandem with their sale. After its release, Amazon released the Kindle for PC and Mac free of charge, allowing users to read Kindle books on their PC or Mac. However, Kindle still didn’t find its way everywhere. Fortunately however, Amazon has announced that Amazon Kindle for PC application will come preinstalled on some Asus netbooks and notebooks. This PC applications acts to fill in for the Kindle and will allow users to sync pages and continue reading from any of their other hardware. This will be a great move for Amazon, and give Kindle-lovers more variety when it comes to what device they should choose to read from. Amazon isn’t stopping there however, for it plans to have Kindle running on devices which run Google’s Android OS.

While this is great news for amazon, a dark cloud looms on the horizon. Kindle is currently Amazon’s most popular item, and it is sure to be threatened by the Apple iPad and Google’s advance into the e-book market.

Via eWeek, image via ScrapeTV

May 21 2010

Dell is Selling the “Appropriate” Number of Netbooks

Steve Felice, the President of Dell’s consumer and small and mid-size business unit, recently said that, “There’s been some over-exuberance on this product (netbooks) in the marketplace.  Some of our competitors have positioned [netbooks] as a replacement device and then you see feedback from customers that are disappointed when they gave up their notebook for a netbook and find that it’s not quite as fast or doesn’t have quite the same functionality.”

Unlike their competitors, Dell has not been a strong proponent of a netbook as a laptop replacement, and their foresight is right on target.  According to shipment figures reported by IDC this past April, there has been waning enthusiasm for netbooks in favor of higher-performance laptops.  Intel Atom‘s share of the market has fallen to 20 percent during the first quarter of 2010 from 24 percent during the previous quarter, despite the fact that the overall volume of processors shipped rose by 4.1 percent.

Stronger demand for laptop technology is a blessing for Dell.  The company’s first quarter revenue in 2010 rose 21 percent to $14.9 billion and profits rose 52 percent to $441 million.  Dell did especially well in emerging markets like China and Brazil, where revenue rose 90 and 81 percent, respectively.  Felice says, “We are very pleased with the overall performance of Dell.”

Via PCWorld.

May 13 2010

First Chrome OS Device to be Released

The first device running Chrome OS, the open source operating system by Google, is supposed to be introduced by Acer in two weeks, according to multiple sources.

Acer is supposed to show off its new device at Computex Taipei, a yearly computer and electronics show that opens on June 1. Chrome OS was designed for netbooks, smartbooks, and tablets. Acer has said previously that it would have a Chrome OS netbook ready by the middle of 2010. There currently is no word about what the device is going to be.

Other netbook manufacturers have expressed interest in working with Chrome OS, including Dell, though it said that it was still evaluating Chrome OS.

What is unclear right now is the relationship between Chrome OS and Android. Android is intended for mobile devices, like smartphones, but some companies have expressed interest in using it on tablets as well. Google co-founder Sergey Brin says that the two will eventually merge.

Via CNET, image via Google.

May 7 2010

Analyst: iPad Has Not Impacted Netbook Sales

There has been speculation for some time now that the iPad is going to spell the end of netbooks, the small Windows-based notebooks that are a cheaper alternative to more expensive laptops. According to an analyst with the NPD Group, it is much too early at this point to tell if the iPad is going to adversely affect netbook sales.

An analyst with Morgan Stanley said earlier this week that the iPad has severely impacted netbook sales, being that netbooks have sold less this year than they did last year. Though netbook growth is declining, some are saying that we cannot attribute this directly to the iPad.

Instead, the products that will spell the end of the netbook will most likely be Windows notebooks that are slightly more expensive than netbooks. For just a little more money, users can buy computers with full-sized keyboards and bigger screens. The economy may also have played a role: netbooks were a more logical choice when economic times were harder back in 2009.

Via Computerworld, image via ZDnet.

Apr 7 2010

iPad Expected to Decrease Netbook Sales

According to market research company DisplaySearch, the iPad and other tablets will be instrumental in causing a decrease in netbook sales this year.

The iPad will drive the tablet market, according to the report, allowing it to have dramatic gains. By contrast, the netbook market will decrease due to the appeal of the iPad and other tablets. Most of the growth will come from North America and Western Europe, mostly due to the iPad. The report predicts that Apple will sell five million iPads this year.

Netbooks will still continue to be appealing to customers, though, because of their relatively low prices. The average selling price of clamshell netbooks has dropped from $400 to a bit less than $300. The iPad is more expensive, starting at $499 and ranging past $800, depending on the specific model.

Apple’s profits from the iPad’s sales will also be helped by the App Store, which has been highly successful to date.

Via CNET.

Mar 14 2010

Qualcomm to Release Netbook-Tablet-Phone Hybrid

Products such as the iPhone, which combine the basic functions of a phone with a computer’s utility and web access, are exemplary of our desire to fuse technology into newer and better forms. Companies worldwide are trying to keep with this optimization momentum and build towards even smaller, multi-function devices. The next step appears to be incorporation of the tablet form factor.

According to GoRumors.com, Qualcomm has submitted a patent for a device that will combine aspects of a netbook, phone, and tablet. The device is intended to provide different functions based on its folding. In its most expanded state it would function as a tablet, and in its most compact state a phone. There is expected be some kind of netbook-like capability in between. If people become enthralled with the iPad, then a product such as this will most likely be able to dominate the market. As of now, there is no guarantee that such a product will be produced, but the news that such an idea is in the works is still exciting.

Via Liliputing.

Mar 13 2010

Lenovo To Boost Mobile PC Production

Lenovo has been a long time champion in the field of corporate desktops and laptops, and only recently made inroads into the personal notebook market.  It has put out a few designs for tablets, like the IdeaPad S10-3t, as well as a line of netbooks, but it has seemed to most of us that Lenovo would stay in the business of making traditional sized ThinkPads.

Talking to the AP, Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing stated that Lenovo is planning to shift away from traditional computing to “mobile internet products”.  He expects for mobile products to make up 70-80% of the company’s sales “within three to five years.”  This to a large degree goes against the standard image associated with Lenovo.

It is important to note that Yang didn’t go in depth about what is encapsulated by “mobile internet products”, but we can probably assume that it does not include the traditional notebook form factor.  It should be safe to say that netbooks and tablets are included, as it is unlikely for Lenovo to go MID exclusive.

Via Engadget

Mar 3 2010

Netbook Gaming to be Supercharged With New Nvidia ION

Netbooks offer great utility, but with their small, portable builds that utility comes at the cost of capability. However, Nvidia has a plan to supercharge netbooks to a new level. Their new Nvidia Ion graphics processor is said to give 10 times the graphics performance of average netbooks, while still allowing a 10 hour battery life to be maintained.

Nvidia claims that the processor will allow for streaming of HD videos, and even smooth playing of graphically intense games such as World of Warcraft. Drew Henry, Nvidia’s general manager of GeForce and Ion GPUs, boldly proclaimed that “If you want a netbook with the horsepower to play HD video and PC games, your only choice is Ion.”

The processor will make its first debut in the Acer Aspire One 532G netbook, and then will begin to appear in desktops, motherboards, and add-in cards.

This could be a revolutionary change for netbooks. Their low-cost and portability are part of their allure, but if coupled with such a powerful processor they could easily meet or exceed the performance of other notebooks or desktops, giving the product even more of a competitive edge.

Via EWeek.

Mar 1 2010

Gigabyte T1000 Netbook Released With Brand New Atom N450 CPU

Now, just days after the advent of Intel’s new Atom N450 processor, the first netbooks with this fine new chip are being released. The new netbook is the Gigabyte T1000 tablet, and along with the new processor it features a 10.1-inch LCD display. The display offers the ability to interchange between a netbook setup and tablet setup. Some of the other specs of the device include:

  • 1GB DDR2 RAM
  • 250GB 2.5-inch SATA HDD
  • Integrated microphone
  • Two 1.5W speakers
  • 1.3 Megapixel web cam
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • eSATA/USB combo
  • Support for wireless, ethernet and Bluetooth connections

Two versions of the netbook are being released, differing in battery life and weight. The T1000x has a lighter weight, but weaker battery as compared to the T1000p. The prices for the tablets are not yet available.

This kind of netbook is one of many that shows the remarkable utility of the netbook-tablet fusion. With products like this, who needs a silly iPad?

Via Coated.

Feb 27 2010

ASUS’ New Eee Netbook Line Delivers 14-Hour Battery Life

ASUS’ Eee netbooks may have been the first netbooks on the market, but they have maintained their position since this whole netbook thing started. Now their newest models have been revealed, and has a lot changed from the cute little plastic boxes that shocked us with their $200 price-tags back in 2008.

They new models include the 1015P, 1016P, and 1018P. Their old bodies have been chucked in favor of a new, more masculine, brushed metal chassis.  They come with styling tiled keyboards and nice wide touchpads, which are always very classy.

The leak source for this info, Blogee, doesn’t have much in terms of real specs. However, it does mention 10” screens, webcams, fingerprint scanners, and the highly awaited for USB 3.0 ports. There are currently no pics of the 1016P.

The most stunning piece of this however is the battery life of these little things. The 1018P is a mere 18 mm thick and will have 10-hour battery life; the 1016P, however, blows its sibling’s figures out of the water with an incredible 14-hour battery life.  The accuracy of battery lives aren’t known to be reliable pre-release, but to boast numbers like that means they have to be far above average.

Via Gizmodo, image via Blogee.

Feb 26 2010

The Time Has Come for the Atom N470 Netbook Processor

Netbook buyers and enthusiasts should be happy to know that this coming Monday Intel will be releasing the Atom N470 Processor, which will be Intel’s most powerful chip yet for netbooks. The processor will enhance both the performance speed of the machine and longevity of the battery.

The chip will run at a speed of 1.83GHz and integrate a graphics processor and memory controller. These features will give netbooks superior graphics and processing performance compared to their predecessors. The fact that the new chips are also more efficient could result in an increase for some netbooks’ battery life performance. The chip’s integration also results in a decrease of size, which could allow smaller and lighter netbooks to be made.

Though this new chip is a great step, there are still strides to be made in the effort to increase efficiency and utility. For example, Nvidia graphics processors and Atom CPU will be coupled together to bring better high-definition video to some netbooks in early March, and it’s this kind of innovation that will drive the industry forward.

Via PCWorld.

Feb 23 2010

Your Kid’s School-Issued Netbook Could Be Used for Spying

Wow. The Associated Press is reporting that kids in Pennsylvania, having been issued laptops from their school, have allegedly been recorded doing “inappropriate things” in their own bedrooms – recordings taken at the directive of school administrators. Tech security personnel attempting to track down stolen machines activated the laptops’ webcams in order to find out where they had been taken.

This sounds like a poorly thought-out idea from school authorities with, hopefully, good intentions. Incompetence is the name of the game here, and considering the vast number of netbooks distributed to kids in the US and abroad, the problem could be broader than we think.

Check out the footage below for more on this story.

Via AssociatedPress.

Feb 17 2010

Evolving to Netbooks

Have you ever seen this picture?

evolutionofman.jpg (774×293)

That’s our society at work people, except this picture was obviously based in the ’80′s – note the clunky desktop. The ’90′s and 00′s were the time of the laptop, and now we welcome in the 10′s; the age of the netbook.

And we can thank homo sapiens’ preference for ease for this lovely evolution of technology. When we shop for tech now, comfort is one of the foremost things that we look for in a product, and one of the last things we’re willing to compromise on. You just need to look at the stats for netbook sales in order to corroborate this, or just look around in any coffee shop in any major city around midday. With the iPad and other competing tablets on the way, this is set to be a good decade for computing.

Via Korea IT Times

Feb 14 2010

KDE 4.4 Released With Netbooks In Mind

KDE Plasma Netbook
Since my dad taught me how to dual-boot Mandrake Linux 7 with Windows ME in my early pre-teen years, I have not owned a single computer that hasn’t had a Linux distribution on it.  And for many years, KDE was my desktop manager of choice.   Sometime around KDE 3.4, I deemed KDE too clunky and left it to experiment with other desktop managers.

Still, I never forgot about my roots in the Linux world, and indeed KDE 4 brought KDE significantly forward towards modern desktops.  Now, KDE seems to be turning towards everyone’s favorite rising PC market: netbooks. KDE 4.4 is a massive version release touting 7293 bug fixes and 1433 new feature implementations. The  result is a promised new, cleaner experience, with the majority of the changes relating to the actual Plasma desktop.

Specifically for netbooks, KDE has made this particular announcement:

Plasma Netbook debuts in 4.4.0. Plasma Netbook is an alternative interface to the Plasma Desktop, specifically designed for ergonomic use on netbooks and smaller notebooks. The Plasma framework has been built from the beginning with non-desktop target devices in mind as well. Plasma Netbook shares many components with the Plasma Desktop, but is specifically designed to make good use of the small space, and to be more suitable also for touchscreen input. The Plasma Netbook shell features a full-screen application launcher and search interface, and a Newspaper which offers many widgets to display content from the web and small utilities already known from Plasma Netbook’s sibling.

This means KDE is stepping up to the plate for a true netbook experience.  I tried KDE 4.4 on my laptop, but haven’t used it enough to consider switching away from GNOME.  Still, it is good to see that the Linux community is viewing netbooks as a legitimate shot to enter the mainstream market. And KDE is arguably the most Windows-esque desktop manager providing an easier transition for first time users. If you want to give it a spin, go download any KDE based Linux distribution (i.e. Kubuntu, openSUSE).

Via KDE.

Feb 6 2010

Filling That Netbook Shaped Hole In My Life

Netbooks are a curious thing: too large and powerful to be a smartphone, and too small and weak to be a computer, thus limited by lack of portability against the former and just plain limited compared to the latter. And yet they’re selling like hot cakes. Why?

Maybe it’s because they fill that happy medium between the power of a laptop and the portability of a phone. They allow one to carry around something not much heavier than a purse, that one can easily use to browse the web or write a paper, and quite frankly, those consist of at least 80% of what I do with a computer anyway.

Having a device that well let allow me do those two things (and do them well) while decreasing my dependence on power outlets neatly fills up that netbook-shaped hole in my life. But hey, you don’t have to take my opinion for it. Go try one for yourself.

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