May 15 2010

Kids Computers to Launch Classmate Tablet Netbook

We haven’t seen the release of a kid-friendly tablet/netbook device in a while, but Kids Computers has a remedy to that.  Their newest device that is aimed at kids is the Intel Classmate Tablet, which can be used both as a tablet and as a clamshell netbook.  This computer features a 10.1″ LCD screen with 1024×600 resolution, a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 processor, 1 GB of RAM, and a 160 GB hard drive.  Other options for memory and storage are 2 GB and an SSD hard drive, respectively.

The tablet’s keyboard is water resistant and the screen is touch sensitive.  There is also a pen that’s included with the device so that kids can draw on the screen.  Other features of the tablet/netbook include Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and Windows XP Home.  If 2 GB of RAM is purchased with the tablet, it can also be upgraded to the Windows 7 version for an additional cost.  The Intel Classmate netbook will be equipped with a 4-celled battery.  Pricing starts at $649 for the base model.

Via I4U.

Jan 30 2010

Next Generation of Touchscreens Ready For Pressure

QTC
One of the greatest effects of the widespread success of the iPhone was the introduction of the capacitive touchscreen to the masses.  Capacitive screens gave us a more natural experience as opposed to the resistive interfaces from the past.  Now, there is much effort being spent towards the creation of pressure sensitive screens.  While there are many approaches towards this problem, one seems to claim that it is the end-all solution.

This comes from a specialized company called Peratech.  It is placing all of its money on a technology called quantum tunneling composite.  The way it works is by utilizing the fact that two conductors close to each other but separated by an insulating layer, will still cause electrons to jump back and forth. The special part is that they are using an polymer which reacts to the changes by pressure by changing its resistance.

Peratech has already signed on with a major screen maker and its products could hit the market by April of this year.  We will have to wait to see how they change the way we use touch interfaces till then.

Via Technology Review, image via Peratech

Dec 26 2009

OLPC Plans to Release XO 3 Touchscreen Netbook for under $100 by 2012

The OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) charity organization has ambitious plans for its latest netbook design. Earlier this month, the organization announced its plans to create the impossibly thin OLPC XO-3 tablet in two years time.  Now OLPC is hoping to distribute the XO-3 touchscreen laptop to impoverished children around the globe by the year 2012. Note: the projected price range of the device is less than a hundred dollars.

The original OLPC XO netbook is already out in the market and has been distributed to 1.4 million children in 35 different countries. The charity’s new creation will have a 9-inch touchscreen and will contain neither a mouse nor keyboard.  It is also planned to be extremely sturdy and run an ARM processor.

If the success of its XO netbook is any indicator, OLPC will likely reach its goal and continue to provide valuable education to children who otherwise would not have the opportunity.

Via TechWatch, image via Guardian.

Dec 23 2009

OLPC XO-3 Tablet of the Future Dreams Big

Yves Behar, designer for OLPC, has revealed a concept vision of its pet project, the XO-3 tablet.  The tablet will be comprised of an 8.5 x11 inch touchscreen. The surface of the device also reveals a camera on the back and a small ring in the upper left hand corner, used to carry the tablet around.

The tablet plans to make use of the possible improvements in technology that will be uncovered within the next two years. The OX-3 hopes to use no more than one watt of power to keep both its processor and Pixel Qi screen running. In addition, it is projected to be about half as thick as the current iPhone model.

Is this tablet prototype dreaming too big? Only time will tell.

Via Engadget.

Oct 8 2009

Lenovo ThinkPad X200 Tablet, Now With Multitouch

If you haven’t guessed already, the ThinkPad X200 Tablet (Multitouch) comes with multitouch capabilities, courtesy of Lenovo and Windows 7. This (finally) brings the intuitive control that one finds with an iPhone to a full size tablet, but if you still want to be a little old-school, the digital pen has not been compromised in the multitouch addition and remains as an additional function.

The specs for the ThinkPad X200 are as follows:

  • Price as Tested: $2,000.00 Direct
  • Type: Media, Ultraportable, Tablet, Business, Small Business
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional
  • Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo L9600
  • Processor Speed: 2.13 GHz
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Weight: 4.2 lb
  • Screen Size: 12.1 inches
  • Screen Size Type: widescreen
  • Graphics Card: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD
  • Storage Capacity: 160 GB
  • Networking Options: 802.11n
  • Primary Optical Drive: External

Via PCMag

Oct 8 2009

Windows 7 Could Bring Touchscreens to The Mainstream

The information transfers, pictures, music, the Internet, sheer POWER at your fingertips. All those iTouch and iPhone users out there, you know what I’m talking about, and if you’re anything like me, the one complaint you had about those was the size of the screen. Well complain no longer!

Surface Collage.jpg

Tablets have been trailblazers since they’ve been introduced to consumer markets and there have been a few brand-specific touchscreen laptops. However, many retail touchscreen laptops rely on their own personal software, and thus, have been brand specific. The Windows 7 software package, however,  might make touchscreen more mainstream, with its built in support for touchscreen systems.

And it’s not just for two-fingers either; the software supports three or even four finger use, though admittedly, there’s somewhat of a lack of programs that take advantage of this right now. If multi-touchscreens take off though, that all could change quite fast.

Via PCMagsBlogs & Wall Street Journal

Aug 26 2009

Young Fast Optoelectronics Touchscreens Coming To Netbooks

Young Fast Optoelectronics

Digitimes, is reporting that Young Fast Optoelectronics, a Taiwanese touchscreen manufacturer, is working on analog matrix resistive (AMR) displays to be used for netbooks. That means they’ll allow for multi-touch gestures, an ergonomic feature supported by Windows 7.

Multi-touch has been seen before in netbooks, but mostly in testers or modded samples. However, support for multi-touch in Windows 7 will allow for more ambitious things than in earlier operating systems.

The screens by Young Fast Optoelectronics could be available for wide distribution by late 2009 or early 2010.

Aug 19 2009

ASUS Touchscreen EeeTop ET2002T Nettop To Be Released in France

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So with the release of Windows 7 just around the corner, netbook manufacturers are taking advantage of introducing machines that utilize Intel Atom processors together with Nvidia Ion chipsets. Together, these chipset technologies would be able to provide end-users with a high-quality, low-power Windows 7 experience.

Let’s look at ASUS. The company has just introduced the EeeTop ET2002T, a 20″ touchscreen nettop with 1600×900 resolution. Initially showcased at Computex 2009, this machine is powered by a dual-core  1.6GHz Intel Atom 330 CPU and has 2 GB of RAM and a 250 GB (5400RPM) hard drive.

Other tech specs of this machine include Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi (b/g/n), a card reader, four USB 2.0 ports, and an HDMI connector.

Since the Nvidia Ion chipset will be part of this nettop package, the system may be shipped with a choice of Windows Vista as the OS. There may also be the chance to upgrade this OS to Windows 7 when it is released.

ASUS will be offering the nettop as a bundle that includes a wireless keyboard and mouse. The price tag for this nettop bundle, you ask? €598, or $845.

Via Softpedia.

Image via GadgetBlogIT.

Jun 30 2009

Will Netbooks Transform Into Big Smartphones?

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The latest rumor on the block is that netbook manufacturers will start to make netbooks with touchscreens and replace/eliminate trackpads.

Pros? This move would free up space for a larger-sized keyboard with a less cramped feel. Surely this will be a major relief for those with larger hands and longer fingers, if not for everyone.

Cons? Well, for those who hate using touchscreens in general and would rather control a cursor by using a trackpad, these netbooks would be less than ideal. Check out alternatives with relatively larger keyboards, such as Workhorse PC’s Certeza MC10 and some of Dell’s netbooks. Or you could just go with a slightly larger netbook.

Since using your fingers to type on a computer screen may be inconvenient for typing longer blocks of text at a time, eliminating the keyboard altogether might not be the brightest idea. This is why the initial step that netbook manufacturers are planning on taking is replacing/eliminating only the trackpad of the netbook.

Maybe in the future, there will be other improvements and innovations. VentureBeat quips that pretty soon, “the only major difference between a smartphone and a netbook may be the size of their screens and keyboards.”

Via VentureBeat.

May 18 2009

I’m Not a Phone…Not Yet a Netbook

The Viliv S5 is technically a UMPC (ultra mobile PC), but has many similarities as a netbook. This mobile computing device has a 4.8″ touchscreen with 1024×600 resolution and runs on the Windows XP operating system. It is powered by an Intel Atom processor and has 1 GB of RAM and a 60 GB hard drive. The S5 also has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a GPS.

The battery of this little device is quite impressive; it’s able to last for roughly six hours (200 hours on standby).

viliv_s5

The S5 UMPC has a solid build and is relatively easy to hold in one hand. The touchscreen features and GPS are also easy to navigate and use. Because of its small size though, the S5 only has one USB port and unlike regular netbooks, lacks a card reader, webcam, and microphone. Also, because of the small screen and high resolution, the icons and images on the screen are relatively small – but still very clear!

While the price tag for the S5 is a bit high ($599), its added portability makes it a worthwhile investment. Initially, this price tag included some extra accessories (an extra battery, a leather case, a car charger, and a car mount), but this deal has expired. Within the US, the Viliv S5 can only be purchased from an import specialist, such as Dynamism.com.

Via Switched.

Feb 19 2009

UPEK Biometric Fingerprint Scanners For Your Netbook

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UPEK has announced the availability of “biometric fingerprint scanners” for use on netbooks and MIDs. The TouchStrip TCS5 Fingerprint Sensor will come with the touch-based Fingerprint Suite Starter program, allowing for users to tie passwords to their fingerprint and access secure sites and files through the TouchStrip on their netbook.

UPEK Biometric Fingerprint Scanner

Biometric fingerprint scanners have been around on newer laptops, including the recent Dell XPS. This, however, is the only case we know of in which the scanners were developed specifically for netbooks, and we’re definitely in favor of the development.

You’ll be able to get the Fingerprint Suite Starter and accompanying sensor on your netbook in March. The device will be supported on Windows XP, with support for Windows 7 Starter edition in the near future. Linux availability will come later this year as well.

UPEK isn’t looking to sell the devices directly to consumers, but rather manufacturers. I’d love to see fingerprint scanners come standard on newer Aspire One netbooks or future editions of the Eee PC, and with UPEK’s help, that might just happen.

If the TouchStrip TCS5 sparks your interest, another fantastic touch-sensitive netbook accessory you should check out is the MIMO companion netbook touchscreen of a few weeks back.

Via CNet.

Feb 16 2009

Xandros And Freescale Offer New Netbook Turnkey Solution

  • Posted by in Linux, Netbooks
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Xandros recently announced at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress that it would be offering a new turnkey software solution running on a unique processor: the Freescale i.MX515 featuring ARM Cortex-A8 technology. Freescale has been involved in netbook technology before, most notably when it assisted in the development of the Pegatron netbook.

The new release will focus on “fast boot, long battery life, and reliable 3G connectivity.” It will come with a bundle of assorted Xandros software, as well as resources to help OEMs develop netbook products.

Xandros logo

The ‘Xandros solution’ will also include an App Store with acess to all kinds of media, including “access to software, games, multimedia and web applications.” And that’s not all:

“Full-featured user applications include a browser, push-based email, PIM, instant messaging, a photo viewer, a media player, and an office suite to create and edit Microsoft Office documents.”

Wow. All the features will work with both keyboards and touchscreen, meaning the Xandros concept will be portable to pretty much any netbook you’d like.

Freescale Marketing Director Glen Burchers mentioned Freescale’s delight in being able to display Xandros on the advanced i.MX515 processor.

“Consumers demand low costs, high performance and long battery life, and the combination of Freescale’s hardware and Xandros’ rich feature set is expected to enable compelling netbook products that succeed in the marketplace.”

Andreas Typaldos, Xandros CEO, added his viewpoint as well:

“The advanced Freescale platform enables us to quickly bring the powerful netbook experience that Xandros created for the Eee PC to ultra-low powered netbooks with always-on 3G networking and media support… This will blaze a trail for OEMs and carriers bringing full-featured, cost-effective devices with long battery life to new markets, and create recurring revenue streams.”

The Mobile World Congress runs from February 16-19 this year in Barcelona, Spain. We’re anticipating a great deal of new releases from Europe, though not nearly as many as during CES 2009.

Via MSNBC.

Jan 19 2009

TechCrunch Releases CrunchPad Tablet (Netbook?)

TechCrunch is in the mood for some modding. Perhaps they’re sick of waiting for new netbook announcements after the rush of CES 2009, or perhaps they’re always this impatient.

Regardless, in the spirit of innovation, the dissatisfied but capable masses over at TechCrunch have announced the CrunchPad, a netbookish tablet-style device. Here’s a pic of the concept…

CrunchPad

…and here’s one of the first prototype from back in August:

CrunchPad Prototype A

Gotta love the Red Bull and Cheetos thrown in there. Don’t be too bummed by the turnout just yet, though. The device is far from finished, and should look a lot better in the near future.

They initially developed the idea with high things in mind – to “get a new type of device into people’s hands for as cheap as possible, for around $200.” That number was later bumped up to $299 for the sake of realism but it looks like the CrunchPad has some cool features anyway.

It’s intended to be a web tablet that boots right into a browser. It should play videos, lay in your lap comfortably, connect to the internet, and do it all swiftly and ergonomically. Sounds like… a netbook?

Since they’re designing the CrunchPad in netbook style, that means the CrunchPad won’t include the heavy duty parts of the OS it selects. Hopefully it should drive down the price by running on low-end hardware, and do so without sacrificing too much performance. They announced Prototype A back in August but now they’re out with a better, higher-functioning one: Prototype B.

CrunchPad Prototype B

Now that’s more like it. We may have a few months to go before we can get our hands on the CrunchPad ourselves, but for now, we offer the best of luck and wait with bated breath for more info.

Be sure to check out this video of the CrunchPad in action.

Jan 12 2009

CES: Dazzling Netbook Alternatives By Toshiba

We reported earlier that, assuming CES was an indication, Toshiba doesn’t want anything to do with netbooks right now. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t still in that world, and that’s where these awesome-looking prototypes come in. They’re shiny and stylish, which is a big plus, and seem like they could be used as interesting alternatives (or companions?) to iPhone- or Netbook-style devices. Check them out:

Toshiba Internet Viewer

The first is the Toshiba Internet Viewer display, a 10-inch screen that can be detached from an accompanying keyboard for whatever reason you’d like.

Toshiba Internet Viewer

These are some iPhone-style prototypes, ranging in their similarity to the Apple device. The one in the middle looks like it has two screens, which must surely mean it has some kind of touchscreen capability, and resembles a Nintendo DS.

Though a new Toshiba netbook would have been nice, we’re pleasantly surprised to see these devices lining the Toshiba CES booth windows. They’re only prototypes for now, but as soon as we get word of an application for them we’ll let you know.

Via CNet.

Jan 11 2009

CES: Intel Releases Classmate PC Tablet Netbook

The new Classmate PC by Intel has been getting some press as a student-ready tablet meant for the modern age. The netbooks come in a convertible and clamshell version, the first of which has a flexible 180-degree swivel design and has touchscreen capabilities.

Intel Classmate PC

Lila Ibrahim, general manager of the Intel Learning Series-supporting Intel Emerging Markets Platform Group, is walking the high road with this netbook. “Education is one of the best ways to improve the future for individuals, villages, or nations,” he said. “There are 1.3 billion school-age children around the world and of those only 5 percent have access to a PC or the interner. The IT industry has a huge opportunity to contribute to how technology can improve students’ learning and students’ lives. With our announcement today, Intel continues its long-standing commitment to advancing education through technology to transform lives around the world.”

The Classmate PC is truly a school-ready netbook. It comes with a lower-power Intel Atom CPU, to drive the cost down, and is light enough for a child to tote around. It is specially designed for ruggedness, and can take solid bumps or liquid in its water-resistant keyboard. It also has the unique “palm rejection” feature, which allows the child to rest his palm on the touchscreen for more comfortable writing. The netbook also features software from the Intel Learning Series program.

Intel Logo

Intel says local manufacturers including “CTL, Equus and M&A in the United States, MDG in Canada, CMS in the United Kingdom, NEC in France, Olidata in Chile, ASI in Australia and Hanvon in China” are going to be offering Classmate PCs in their respective countries. Both the clamshell and convertible tablet Classmate PCs will be offered worldwide.

At CES this week, Craig Barrett (the chairman of Intel) focused on Intel’s intent to provide educational content to children everyqhere. “Technology can be used in tremendous ways to impact people’s lives on the ground,” he elaborated. He mentioned that 3G, 4G, and WiMax would hold a big role in helping do so, especially for developing countries.

Release dates and costs aren’t available yet, so check back soon.

Nov 20 2008

Raon’s Everrun Note a Change of Pace

Korean manufacturer Raon Digital’s recently released Everrun Note is a bringer of new things indeed. The dual-core CPU of the new netbook will run AMD’s 1.2 GHz Turion X2 in favor of the all-too-common Atom, the Intel chip that has all but owned the market thus far.

Weighing in at 1.6 pounds with a 7-inch display, the new Raon computer is one of the tiniest on the market. The display, however, is an exceptional 1024 x 600, the same as by similar netbooks with even 10-inch screens. To compare, the 7-inch ASUS Eee PC displays a mere 800×480 pixels.

Raon Everrun Netbook

And the best part? The display is a touchscreen. This feature, until now unheard of on netbooks, is a fun addition to the miniscule device. An optical nub acts as a mouse with two buttons to the side for navigation.

The usefulness of the dual core in such a tiny machine is somewhat questionable, but by no means unwelcome. I imagine prospective users will want to plan exactly what they’ll use the added power for, that they not waste their money.

Raon Everrun Netbook

The only downside here (you knew it was coming) is of course the price. An Everrun Note configured with the Turion X2, a 60GB HD, and no OS costs a whopping $799. It’s another 50 bucks for Windows XP Home Edition. If you move up to the 24 GB SSD and XP Pro the price goes all the way up to $999, far beyond the range of most netbooks on the market.

Another option is the entry level model featuring a Sempron chip, 16 GB SSD, and Ubuntu Linux. This version is $659, closer to a standard price but still high-end.

Despite the exorbitance of the price, I’m still interested by the tiny machine. While sacrificing some of the affordability that has until now defined the netbook category, the Everrun pushes the boundaries of what is possible with a netbook by giving it some fancy features and excellent capacity.

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