Jan 14 2010

HP Prepares Snapdragon Netbook Prototype

HP is joining Lenovo in the ranks of netbook makers delivering a Snapdragon-based machine. The new HP prototype breaks the trend of netbooks running the Intel Atom with the new Qualcomm chip that offers more efficiency and battery life.

The Snapdragon CPU can power some small computers for up to 24 hours. It has a lower clock speed than the new Pine Trail CPUs but, in conjunction with Linux or Google Android it could be a competitive combo.

Very little else is known about the upcoming Snapdragon HP netbook.

Via FierceCIO, image via HP.

May 29 2009

Qualcomm ‘Smartbook’ Netbook Competitor Announced

Word has it that Qualcomm and its partners are working on a new device set to throw the netbook industry a curveball – the ‘smartbook’, which manufacturers plan to market as a smartphone/laptop companion. The tactic has been used before unsuccessfully by such companies as Palm, but Qualcomm is sure that consumers will have room in their hearts (and their wallets) for a smartbook.

They look like a Vaio P or Viliv S7, or even some kind of MID. They’re naturally going to run on a Snapdragon, which is awesome, but will use a 1 GHz CPU.

But that doesn’t mean they’re handicapped. The Snapdragon smartbooks will have 8-10 hour batteries, WWAN, Wi-Fi, GPS, HD vido encoding and Bluetooth. Resolutions are expected to run as high as 1280 x 768, which should beautifully display the 3D graphics the CPU is known for.

How about software? Engadget reports that Linux or a Linux derivative will be involved, with a UI based on some kind of quickboot functionality. If I had to guess, I’d push Moblin 2.0 as a possible candidate, but for now nobody knows for sure.

So why aren’t these just Snapdragon-based MIDs? You can’t quite tell by the photo, but these screens are expected at 10- to 12-inches. Their QWERTY keyboards won’t be full size, but will definitely be big.

Acer, Compal, Samsung, ASUS, LG, Toshiba [and] Wistron” have been named as possible smartbook manufacturers, and the first devices are expected by the end of this year. Qualcomm was silent about price, but pricing will definitely determine the fate of the supposed new category.

It looks like TheRegister’s flowchart needs another node. Check back soon for more on the Qualcomm smartbook!

Via Engadget.

Jan 14 2009

Finally, A New Chip: The Intel Atom N280

We’ve all become used to seeing the same N270 version of the Intel Atom in about every netbook around, even the clones. The Snapdragon chip could offer some variety, but that’s still a while off. Perhaps we’ve accepted that this is the way things are going to be – perhaps we’re so frustrated we just don’t care anymore. Thankfully, Intel has decided to upgrade and shake things up a bit!

The new Intel chip is the Atom N280, to be made available as soon as Q2 or Q3 this year. The new chip will be introduced in netbooks by ASUS, Acer, and Gigabyte, some seriously big names in the netbook business. ASUS has already developed a system based on the new CPU, introduced at CES 2009.

The N280 will get a new chipset upgrade too, replacing the older 945 GSE. That version is the one we’re so sick of. The new chipset is the GN40, which will provide a similar core frequency as the old one at 1.66 GHz. Its FSM runs at 667 MHz. The combination is expected to boost netbook performance in the near future, but there will definitely be a consequence to the cost of the machines.

According to Digitimes, the Atom N280 will cost “$60-65 in thousand-unit tray quantities,” whereas the Atom N270 costs $46.

While we deride it, the Intel Atom N270 was wildly successful in 2008. It has been credited with much of the speedy growth of netbooks in general.

Via Softpedia.

Jan 11 2009

CES: Quick-Boot Comes To Lenovo, Sony, Others

All that time you spend watching a Windows load screen may soon be a thing of the past.

Quick-boot technology has been around, but rarely applied to real computing – luckily, with the rise of netbooks, it has found a place.

The idea of this quick-book netbook technology is that netbook users could surf the web, view, images, or check their email without even loading Windows. Lenovo and Sony demonstrated quick-booting machines at CES this week.

Sony Vaio P

Lenovo updated the Lenovo Ideapad S10 to have quick-boot capabilities with a Quick Start software based on the Linux OS of DeviceVM. Sony is now offering the Cross Media Bar navigation system to access multimedia instantly, something we should be seeing in the Vaio P Series.

According to the VP of Global Consumer Marketing at Lenovo, Craig Merrigan, netbooks are exactly where quick-boot should be used. “The netbook usage scenario is kind of a grab it, use it, put it back sort of situation. We believe it optimizes for that quick boot-type of environment,” he said.

Lenovo doesn’t plan to put quick-boot into mainstream notebooks. Machines with the power for content creation achieve that better with a full-fledged operating system.

“For mainstream notebooks when you are doing a greater variety of things… the quick-boot environment doesn’t support that all that well so we think that it’s better left to netbooks at this time,” said Merrigan.

The director of Phonex Technologies product management, Anand Nadathur, said the applications and drivers that slow down PC boot times aren’t what computer users want all the time. “When users start their PC in the morning, they are not looking for the full-fledged OS to come up and do some amazing things. They just look for a simple browser so they can check e-mail.” With this in mind, Phonex introduced a quick-boot environment called HyperSpace Dual at CES. HyperSpace Dual is meant for netbooks and laptops, and is downloadable at the Phoenix website for $39.95 for one year or $99.95 for three.

Phoenix Technologies Logo

Freescale, who partnered with the post-ASUS Pegatron to deliver their own netbooks at CES 2009, talked about quick-boot plans with Qualcomm. They want netbooks starting as fast or faster than smartphones.

Qualcomm sees quick-boot as something they want to add to the Snapdragon platform, which already includes a CPU, 3G, and a 3D graphics core. Freescale wants quick-boot on their Linux netbooks, the ones using the ARM i.MX515 processor (another CES introduction). This processor is also used in the Freescale-Pegatron netbook.
Via PCWorld.

Dec 25 2008

Android Netbooks? Maybe Not So Crazy

With CES just around the bend, everybody’s wondering what new netbook technology 2009 will deliver. Gigaom has one interesting idea – Qualcomm could help combine netbooks with Android.

What could an Android-Qualcomm netbook add to the mix? Android runs on the T-Mobile G1, which is based on a 528 MHz processor: the MSM7201A ARM11. Qualcomm’s faster Snapdragon processor, which we recently covered, is combined with RedFlag Midinux. Hopefully, it shouldn’t be a big stretch for Google to put Android on the Snapdragon.

This would do a lot to help netbooks gain better connectivity. Other manufacturers like Dell and HP have embedded wireless broadband and similar options on their netbooks, but Snapdragon takesĀ  a different stance by offering 3G on HSPA networks. The solution puts it in a better position than Intel Atom netbooks because the method is in fact more efficient.

Google says it doesn’t want to limit the Android to mobile phones, so with the right specifications, some creativity, and some hard work we may just see Android netbooks on the horizon.

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