At today’s ARM Connected Community Technical Symposium 2009 in Taipei, Pegatron GM Chou Biao Sheng announced that Pegatron will be releasing a 10-inch ARM smartbook running Ubuntu, set to hit retailers as early as next year.
Chou dropped a little mnemonic for us to remember why we should get a Pegatron smartbook – AQUIC:
- Always on – this thing should run for ages
- Quick on – think Moblin quickboot
- a new and improved User interface
- new Industrial design will reduce power consumption and thinned out because ARM chips often don’t need fans
- Cost – you know what that means.
The smartbook category could be popular, if manufacturers like Pegatron are able to deliver in the above categories. All day battery life has been insanely attractive in netbooks, and with battery improvements always around the corner this could be an exciting time for the smartbook and netbook categories.
Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth has, interestingly enough, disengaged himself from the ongoing catfight between Linux and Microsoft for just long enough to praise Microsoft’s new OS, Windows 7. However, he couldn’t refrain from taking a few shots at the company, mostly centering on Windows’ price and restrictions on netbooks.
According to Shuttleworth, 7 is “a substantial improvement on the past. Even on netbooks, it’s a credible release.” However, it’s still “proprietary, and a relatively expensive piece of of technology”, too “restrictive” on netbooks” and overall “not worth the price.” Well, that cease fire lasted!
The comments may have been dropped as a way of prepping for tomorrow’s release of Karmic Koala, which brings Ubuntu Linux to version 9.10. Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix is also on the table, with support for 25 netbook models including netbooks by Dell.
One notable addition to Karmic Koala is the Ubuntu One product, supplying 2 GB of online storage free to all Ubuntu users. For an extra $10 a month, you can get 50 GB of cloud storage.
Via The Inquirer.
Netbook users have grown fonder of Linux recently, following the releases of such netbook-specific operating systems as Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.04 and the beta of Moblin 2.0. Quick-boot has always been an attraction of Linux, and according to developer Scott James Remnant we’re going to see Linux netbook boot times fall to a mere 10 seconds by Ubuntu 10.04.
At the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Barcelona, Remnant explaine that boot times in Ubuntu 8.10 (65 seconds) dropped to 25 seconds by 9.04. He thinks that by next year’s version 10.04, which is to follow 9.10 (Karmic Koala), the number could be even smaller.
He used the Dell Mini 9 netbook, which comes with Ubuntu pre-installed, to benchmark the OS. Though the Mini 9 was chosen to achieve consistent data, the 10 second goal is in fact for desktop Ubuntu. However, in Remnant’s view, that will allow netbook boot times to be even faster.
“10 [seconds] is a good number, especially for a generic, hardware agnostic, non-stripped down Linux distribution. From that starting point, development teams will be able to customise and tailor Ubuntu for specific hardware—and the OEM team will be able to produce custom Remixes of Ubuntu that boot even faster,” he wrote. “I think it likely that we’ll match Moblin‘s 5 [second] benchmark on similar hardware, with a device-tailored Moblin-based remix of Ubuntu.”
It sounds promising. If Netbook Remix 10.04 could boot a netbook in under 10 seconds, I’d certainly be a convert. Who else is with me?
With these new options, the updated Dell Mini 10 will cost $399. A 32 GB SSD is $75, and a 64 GB SSD will cost you $125.
Other updates include a 15$ 3-cell battery that gets you 25% more battery life than the old version. Curiously enough, the Ubuntu Dell Mini 10’s display can be upgraded to a 1366 x 768 HD screen, which for some reason isn’t offered for XP versions.
Regardless, Linux users are sure to be pleased by the new updates. Dell is notable for offering its netbooks in a lot of varieties, and this latest development is right in line with that philosophy.
Linux users have touted the speediness and efficiency of their operating system since the 90s, but it’s often taken more than that to get Windows users to convert. Linux often seems difficult to use and has a reputation of being overly technical, and it’s likely that a lot of computer and netbook users miss out on a good OS when they make those assumptions.
A recent blog entry by Renai LeMay on CNet is arguing that Ubuntu 9.04 (and its accompanying netbook OS, Ubuntu Netbook Remix) is slicker than ever, and that Linux operating systems are getting closer and closer to the ease of use offered by Windows XP. Check out this quote:
“You won’t be able to notice the vast improvement in Ubuntu’s desktop experience over the past six months by browsing screenshot galleries of 9.04 or looking at new feature lists. What I’m talking about is that elusive slick-and-speedy feel you get from applications launching fast, windows moving around without jerkiness, and everything simply being where it should be in the user interface.”
If this is true, I’m guessing netbook users would gain a lot from checking out Ubuntu 9.04 and trying it on their machines. Be sure to read the rest of Renai’s blog here for more on Ubuntu Linux.
The new edition of the netbook OS boots faster and comes with a simple and ergonomic interface for quick access to your favorite sites and netbook applications.
Linux is giving netbookers the netbook-specific OS that Windows won’t, and Ubuntu 9.04 is going to exploit that extra attention to the niche market. Jane Silber, COO of Canonical, is confident that the new update deserves that focus:
“The latest feature enhancements in Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix are particularly well suited to the requirements of netbook fans. Faster boot speeds, enhanced power-management features and easier switching between networks delivers the best netbook end-user experience available for download today.”
You can download Ubuntu Netbook Remix straight from Ubuntu.com and onto your flash drive, allowing you to install and run it on all kinds of popular netbooks including the Acer Aspire One, Dell Mini 9, and a variety of Eee PCs.
The additions of more intuitive icons, better “notifications across applications” and some design updates make Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.04 an extremely viable choice for future consumers.
Ubuntu is getting a new update on the 23rd of this month, and it is going to mean some interesting things for netbooks. Jaunty Jackalope, version 9.04 of the popular Linux OS, is adding an additional ISA to the feature set. The big news for netbooks is that Ubuntu 9.04 is going to “natively include an ARM installation for ARM-based MIDs.”
While Intel’s Atom CPU is known for its efficiency and high power in comparison to other chips on the market, ARM is cheaper. This “battle at the low-end” is focusing on battery life, a category in which Linux excels over Windows, and ARM is capitalizing on that ability.
And not only is ARM taking a stand in cooperating with Ubuntu – a late announcement is saying that “individuals can go to the ARM website and custom build their own CPUs in any quantity they want.” It’s not completely sure what this will mean in practice, but it’s looking like Linux is courting the netbook market with more features and more customization than ever before. ARM will take a huge stand in this new partnership, and who knows – the age where 96% of netbooks run Windows may just be over.
When Brandon LeBlanc of Microsoft started getting a bit smug about news that 96% of netbooks run Windows, it became almost certain that sparks would fly. We’ve seen big companies throw mud before, most notably NVIDIA about the Ion platform and, of course, during the ongoing battle with Psion for ownership of the netbook trademark.
So it came as no surprise when Chris Kenyon of Canonical rebuked LeBlanc’s assertions about the invalidity of Linux as a netbook platform. His response, while not exactly scathing, certainly shows that he values the high ground and doesn’t think much of Microsoft’s choice of words.
His rebuttal focuses on Ubuntu and other Linux platforms’ “plug and play” ease of use with external technology, the fact that now “Dell, HP, and Toshiba are all shipping Ubuntu,” and research showing that “when customers are offered choice on equally well-engineered computers around a third will select Ubuntu over XP.”
Kenyon wasn’t a perfect white knight, however, being unable to refrain from taking a shot at the fact that Microsoft has taken some losses over XP:
“Of course there is a significant benefit for users who do not select Ubuntu or another Linux distribution. The price of XP crashed last year due to competition. So even if you bought a netbook last year with XP – feel free to smile when you see an Ubuntu PC. It’s amazing what an open market can achieve.”
And who can blame him, anyway? Assertions that Windows 7 will be too expensive for popular use have upped the stakes for Linux to take its share of the market, so all signs are pointing to a marked increase in cattiness between the major manufacturers.
Take a look at Kenyon’s response here, and be sure to let us know what you think.
Today at CeBIT, OCZ Technology announced that it would be making an entrance into the netbook market with the OCZ Neutrino netbook.
The new netbook will be shipping in the US in about nine weeks, coming in two variations.
The first is to be “priced competitively,” which OCZ calls a “DIY” model. This version will allow consumers to select the RAM and HDD they want to customize the netbook experience. Alternatively, if you’re a bit less patient, you can get the machine at a set price with standard specs.
What are those standard specs? The 10.1-inch, 2.86 pound OCZ Neutrino netbook uses “a 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, a 945GSE chipset, up to 2GB of RAM, an optional 250GB OCZ SSD, 1,024 x 600 resolution LCD, VGA output, Ethernet, twin USB 2.0 ports, a 4-cell (2,200mAh) battery, WiFi and a 1.3 megapixel webcam.”
You can run Ubuntu or Windows XP on the netbook. Criticisms of the machine are generally aimed at the iffy trackpad, but the keyboard makes up for it.
Phone manufacturers’ adaptation to the netbook craze hasn’t stopped with the LG X120. The new kid on the block is Nokia, or so some recent clues have led us to believe.
Nokia didn’t say ‘netbook’ just yet, but in an interview covered by Reuters the manufacturer spoke a lot about the convergence of PC and mobile technology. They’re “looking very actively” to join that market, but specifics are scant. IThe whole thing reeks of netbook though, so more investigation is warranted.
But how would Nokia make its entrance? An Atom machine might be a cheap choice, but another suggestion mentioned by Arstechnica would be an ARM-Linux combo.
The expectation is that a 2009 or 2010 Nokia netbook would benefit from the Atom or the upcoming Intel Moorestown, as near-term ARM options are somewhat limited. However, a netbook delivered by 2011 would most likely stick to ARM hardware, “in order to leverage Nokia’s substantial investments in ARM hardware and software, and in an ARM-based supply chain.”
But why Linux for a Nokia netbook?
The first reason is quite simple – Nokia has put a lot of money into ARM Linux platforms, such as the Maemo operating system. Also, Nokia sponsored a group known as the Handheld Mojo team to design an unofficial Ubuntu port specific to ARM processors. Canonical announced its own ARM port due around the time of the Ubuntu 9.04 release this April. With all that cash going to ARM, it’s looking like Nokia will want to see something for its efforts. Arstechnica summed it up:
“So Nokia could adapt Maemo to make it netbook-friendly, it could adopt the Ubuntu ARM port, or it could create a hybrid that leverages components of both. The hybrid possibility isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds in this case, as there is a lot of overlap between the technologies that are used in Ubuntu and in Maemo… There are a lot of shared components at many different layers of the stack.”
Throwing Linux into the mix might be a smart choice considering some of its recent successes, so we’re definitely fascinated by the idea of a Nokia netbook.
Unfortunately, MSI has been returned a great deal of its netbooks by consumers. A few months ago its MSI Wind netbooks running SuSE Linux brought in return rates four times greater than those of Wind netbooks running XP.
Dell’s Jay Pinkert, however, is pleased with Linux sales: “A third of our Mini 9 mix is Linux, which is well above the standard attach rate for other systems that offer Linux.” He thinks the growth of Linux netbooks by Dell is due to competitive pricing on Ubuntu SKUs. To Dell senior produce manager John New, price is key:
“When you look at the sweet spot for this category it is price sensitivity, and Linux enabled us to offer a lower price entry point.”
The extra energy Dell puts into explaining what Linux is may dissuade less savvy consumers from instantly going for the lower price, leading to the low return rates. In addition, the Mini 9 has a nice new graphical user interface for easier netbooking, which may contributed as well.
We have a bit of unfortunate news – Microsoft has officially put down the popular belief that it would be making a netbook version of Windows 7. The machines will still run the OS, of course but the official lineup of new SKUs didn’t include any mention of netbooks.
The list includes Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate. Home Basic is only going to be offered to emerging markets.
Mike Ybarra, Windows General Manager, announced that Microsoft expects netbook manufacturers to run Ultimate, the most powerful of the new OS group.
We have designed Windows 7 so different editions of Windows 7 can run on a very broad set of hardware, from small-notebook PCs (sometimes referred to as netbooks) to full gaming desktops.
Apparently, Ultimate works fine on netbooks, as he went on to describe:
At beta we’ve had a lot of people running our most premium, full-featured offering on small-notebook PCs (netbooks) with good experiences and good results. So we’re pleased to see that on this class of hardware Windows 7 is running well.
From the consumer end, however, this really just looks like another way to increase profit margins and drag consumers away from the cheaper Windows XP which has thus far been standard in netbooks. Josh Bancroft may be right – all the clues are saying Windows 7 is going to be expensive, and the expectation that netbooks use the most powerful version of the OS only supports this suspicion.
Either Microsoft is going to pull something surprising and offer a reasonable price for Windows 7, or sales are going to Linux. Linux is losing its image as a tech elites-only OS which is too complicated for average consumers. Just take a look at the new, simplified HP Ubuntu OS. Even Moblin 2.0 is going to offer the awesome touch-sensitive Moblin Clutter interface – nothing screams accessability like touch sensitivity. If Microsoft’s raising of Windows netbook prices chafes consumers enough, Linux is going through the roof.
If there’s a plan in motion to make Linux netbookers everywhere HP addicts, this is it. Hewlett Packard has released a customized version of Ubuntu Linux developed specifically for the HP Mini 1000 netbook, and it’s got some tricks in the bag you’ll definitely want to check out.
The new OS is based on Ubuntu Hardy Heron and manages to run pretty much anything Ubuntu does. It specifically comes preloaded with Firefox, Thunderbird, Pidgin, OpenOffice.org.
HP’s new 6-cell battery for the HP Mini 1000 was a welcome enough development on its own, but combined with the famously-efficient Ubuntu Linux? That’s a force to reckon with.
While it is based on the Ubuntu GUI, the new customization doesn’t look that much like Linux. ZDNet found a quote from Brad Linder of DownloadSquad as follows:
“If you click the Start New Program button, a program launcher will open that separates your applications into Internet, Media, Utilities, Work, Play, and All tabs. The settings manager shows you everything you’d find in the typical Ubuntu settings screens, but it’s arranged in a new way that makes it easier to find what you’re looking for with fewer clicks.
HP has also added a custom media player called HP MediaStyle that resembles Apple’s FrontRow.”
But how much will the new HP version of Linux affect your netbook? According to Linder, the idea is to make “basic tasks basic” but keep the do-it-yourself style that characterizes the OS: “experienced Linux users can always fire up a terminal window by hitting Alt+F2 and entering ‘gnome-terminal.’ ”
HP will be preloading their version of Linux inside a bunch of new netbooks made by the company. Interestingly enough, HP is also planning to put a utility on its site in the near future, allowing you to “create a system restore USB flash disk from Windows.” Here’s some advice:
“You can already create one if you’re running Linux. You can use this utility to either restore a Mi Edition netbook to factory default settings or to turn a Windows XP HP Mini 1000 into a Mi Edition device. I would not advise anyone to try using this install disk on unsupported hardware as you’ll probably end up with an operating system that doesn’t support your WiFi card or other hardware.
It’s not clear whether HP plans to offer the software for non-netbooks. But if you want to try adding installing the user interface over a normal Ubuntu installation, you can try adding the HP repositories and using the Synaptic package manager to install a package called glassy-bleu-theme.”
By focusing its attention on Linux-loving consumers in such a specific way, HP is likely to build up a nice base of supporters of its customizing ways. Linux has been used to great as a primary netbook OS in the past, and its affect on the mainstream OS market is undeniable. This new development shows that, at least for now, Linux is staying big.
Heise Online, in a press release from Freescale, detailed a new ARM processor and one curious depiction of some kind of tablet-style Apple netbook:
A picture included in their press release hints that the Freescale SoC may appear in a future Apple netbook. The vendor also envisages budget notebooks with Ubuntu Linux and i.MX51 under people’s Christmas trees in 2009.
Here’s the image in question:
The image there seems like stuff we’ve seen before. The actual press release was not provided. Is this another concept shot? More as the story develops.
The G Netbook Meso by Sylvania is an interesting new addition to the netbook family. It has a nice screen and lots of ports – three USBs (rather than the ususal two) as well as a VGA.
The keyboard has been reported to be somewhat cramped, which is unfortunate. However the Ubuntu Netbook Remix OS can give you the option to make an easy switch between two GUI styles.
It has a 4-cell battery with juice for 3.5 hours, lots of color options (black, yellow, pink, and white), and the Intel 945 Express Graphics chipset.
You can see a review of the Sylvania netbook here.
We recently reported on some speculation that an Android netbook wasn’t out of the question. Xandros and Ubuntu have both been widely used in netbooks, causing many to think that 2009 might be the year Linux breaks Microsoft’s OS domination.
However, Google Watchers have a different view. They recently featured a few comments explaining just why Android wasn’t the way to go.
“I’m very much looking forward to replacing my Symbian phone with an Android phone. But on netbooks, people want full browsers, word processing, and productivity applications. These exist and work great on Ubuntu; Android just doesn’t have them. Furthermore, applications need to be designed very differently for netbook screens/keyboards and phones. What might make sense is to enable running Android apps on top of Ubuntu and other Linux distributions, kind of like applets. So, Android might become an add-on to desktop and netbook Linux versions, but it won’t replace it.”
Of course, nobody wants Android to replace Linux. The point of Linux is that all distributions can fairly have a chance of making it. However, Android has a ways to go before it satisfies core reqs for most operating systems:
“I would not want Android on a PC/Netbook. Android is designed for devices with much less processing power, graphics enhancements, and slower disk read speed; Not to mention such limited RAM. If it’s “linux-based”, i would just go with linux. As mentioned previously, running Android Apps on an emulator on Linux would probably work 10x better, although i don’t know why you would want to. Isn’t that like running Windows Mobile over Windows Vista.”
It seems not everyone is excited about an Android netbook.
This “P-series” VAIO machine was found in the notebook section in the SonyStyle store by someone from jkOnTheRun. Although the picture is a placeholder for a TT-device, this is more info than we’d had before.
It’s got a 1.33 GHz Intel CPU, which has led to some speculation that it uses the Atom chip (although the more popular Atom is 1.66 GHz.) It will shy away from the Ubuntu Linux and XP of netbooks past and run Windows Vista Home Premium or Home Basic. This interesting departure from the standard could be a really good thing, though we’ve heard reports that Vista can be slow on netbooks.
In typical Sony style, the P’s eight-inch screen will have amazing resolution: 1600×768. If your eyes can handle looking at stuff so small, you’ll be a a happy consumer. The hard drive will hold a wimpy 60 GB but you can bump it up to 128 GB if you get the SSD drive instead… which will also raise the price.
It is doubtful that Sony will look to compete for price, which means this new machine may very well cost over $1000. While it may fit in your pocket as in the ad, you may need some pretty deep pockets.
Dell has decided to stick with the price drop it tested on Black Friday. The Mini-9 netbook retailed for $299, and is still available for that price.
The Mini 9 is available in Obsidian Black or Alpine White, or a few other colors for an additional cost. The Mini 9 runs Ubuntu Linux and has 512 MB RAM, a 4 GB SSD, and an 8.9″ LED. For an extra $35 you can upgrade the solid state drive to 8 GB – a choice we recommend.
Though the Mini-12 is already on the market, the Mini-9 is still making news. We’ve covered it before but the netbook just keeps on popping up – something to be expected from such a successful machine. Reviewers have loaded praise on the netbook, particularly noting its excellent battery life which distinguishes it from such competitors as the Acer Aspire One or MSI Wind.
New OS releases are rare – it’s not every day that another Windows XP or Ubuntu Linux hits the market. As a consequence, Good OS’ announcement of their new netbook-centric OS, ‘Cloud’, caused a lot of skepticism in the tech community. Good OS’ hopes are high though, boasting that its system “combines beautiful design with sophisticated technologies to make the PC faster, safer, and easier.”
Good OS is most well known for being the company running the gOS system on the Wal-Mart brand computer, the Evermax Green gPC. While perhaps a bit clunky, the Green gPC showcases Good OS’ best features – affordability and reliability.
The interface of Cloud has a web browser but also an icon dock across the bottom of the screen, much like that of a Mac.
The new OS Cloud aims to be the fastest-booting OS on the market, going from cold to full power in a mere few seconds. However, Cloud is not necessarily meant to replace the existing operating system on the netbook. Why? The new OS intends to offer users lightning quick access to various services of the netbook without waiting for Windows or Linux to load.
Think of it: within seconds of opening the netbook the consumer can browse the internet, send emails, or chat on Skype. The intent is to minimize the hassle of loading screens and let the user instantly get whatever they want out of the machine. This trend seems to lead netbooks in the direction of Blackberries and Palm devices, the convenience of which has made them staples of the consumer electronics market.
Good OS hopes to work with manufacturers to pre-load Cloud on new netbooks. It will also sell the OS in CD form, with no requirement of additional hardware and full customizations available.
The first netbooks running Cloud should make an appearance at CES on January 8th.
The new addition to the Hewlett-Packard netbook family is called the Mini 1000, an attractive new netbook with some solid specs to boot. While comparisons to HP’s 2133 Mini-Note may be easy to pick out, there are also some huge differences. If you don’t like the changes to the HP formula an updated 2133 is expected in early February, so don’t despair.
The Mini 1000 will keep most of the 2133’s hallmarks – the aluminum exterior, spill- and wear-resistant keyboard, ExpressCard capability, and a shock-protected hard drive with an option to take a SSD instead. The tough little netbook has an 10.2″ screen, and has upgraded from the previous Via C-7M chip to the Intel Atom netbook chip.
Aside from these perks, the Mini 1000 runs the familiar setup: 1.6GHz N270 processor, 1GB of RAM and Windows XP. However, for those so inclined, an Ubuntu Linux version is on the way for the end of January. Another change is that the HDD has shrunk to a tiny 80 GB instead of the now-standard 160 GB.
The keyboard is a welcome alternative to those currently available – it works fantastically well and offers some gently curved keys to appeal to your fingertips. HP is known for its excellent keyboards, and this one is no exception – it is 92% the size of a regular keyboard and extremely easy to use. To those turned off by the tiny keyboards of some of the earlier Eee PCs or Dell netbooks, the HP Mini 1000 will be a popular choice.
With its $399 price tag (which can go as high as 899 with all kinds of upgrades), the Mini 1000 has a lot to offer consumers at a decent price. It looks amazing, and the keyboard is particularly excellent, but there are a few downsides. Nevertheless, it should be a hardy competitor to the 10.2″ ASUS Eee PC 1000H or Lenovo IdeaPad, which are in the same price range and power category.