Mar 22 2009

ASUS Fold/Unfold Isn’t A Netbook, Hits Market Later This Year

ASUS Fold/Unfold

The Consumer Electronics Show whets the appetite of the tech industry once a year, when new experimental gadgets are announced daily for one long, busy week. While concept devices shown at CES go no further than that stage all too often, in some lucky cases we get to see them come to market.

The ASUS Fold/Unfold is a device of that type. While we thought it was a netbook back at CES 2009,  question isn’t up for debate anymore. The ASUS Fold/Unfold will cost between $1000 and $1500, placing it far beyond the netbook category.

However wallet-taxing it may be, the ASUS concept device still extremely cool. The Fold/Unfold features a ‘sliding keyboard’ to maximize space and air flow, meaning it ends up a lot smaller than expected when you pack it up. ASUS has announced that it wants to bring it to market around September or October this year.

Via Gizmodo.

Jan 12 2009

CES: See The MSI X320 In Action

The MSI X320 might be a netbook or it might be a notebook, but whatever it is, it pulls off the look. We found a video over at CrunchGear showing the MSI X320 off, and we knew you’d be interested. With no further ado, here it is:

The netbook looks like it’s running Vista, but we don’t doubt an XP version is on the way as well.

It’s a sleek machine, there’s no doubt. The $699 price tag might make you cringe, but analysts are saying this has little in common with a netbook other than the Atom processor, so the price may be warranted. Personally, I wouldn’t drop 700 bucks on a notebook packing an Atom, but I’m reserving judgement until the full specs are released.

It has a 13.4-inch screen and should be out this April.

Via CrunchGear.

Jan 12 2009

CES: Price of Intel Classmate PC Confirmed

The retail price of the Intel student-based tablet netbook system, the Intel Classmate PC, has been confirmed. It is now available from CTL in the USA for $549.

Intel Classmate PC

The price is a bit higher than we’d hoped for, as it is a device meant for wide distribution among students and other low-end consumers. Hopefully this big number was worked into Intel’s plan for hawking the device, because if it wasn’t, the Classmate PC will surely sink. We definitely laud Intel for putting the new tablet netbook out there, but praise is less important than price when it comes to getting the thing sold.

Be sure to check out our feature on the Intel Classmate PC for all the specs.

Via Hexus.

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: 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.

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.

Jan 11 2009

CES: Pegatron Netbook Is $199 With 8 Hours Of Juice

We haven’t heard much from Pegatron lately. It split off from ASUS and has been doing ODM work by itself. Unexpectedly, the company moved into the spotlight for a moment at CES to announce its new Freescale-based netbooks. The Linux machines run 8.9-inch screens, have 8 hours of juice, and will cost a delightfully low $199.

Pegatron Netbook

It’s running the brand new ARM i.MX515 CPU by Freescale, a 1 GHz chip which is supposedly three times as fast as the iPhone.

The kicker? The chip is insanely efficient and generates barely any heat. It was demonstrated running 720p video using only .5 watts, feeling quite cool to the touch. Its processing power is weaker than that of the Atom, but are well suited to running Linux. It seems like a promising combo, and it’s cheap too. Pegatron and Freescale hope to see these picke dup by OEM around May or June.

Via Engadget.

Jan 9 2009

CES: Finally, Dirt-Cheap Coby Netbooks

Who remembers the debunked sub-$100 Coby netbook rumors we covered back in early December? Well, those rumors still aren’t true, but CES has delivered the next best thing – Coby netbooks for less than $200.

Sub-$200 Coby Netbooks

According to Coby, these colorful netbooks are a “market research project” – not reality just yet. The colors are interesting, but the netbooks themselves are competitive in price and little else. They run the standard Atom combo we’re used to and feel a bit low-end, but that’s to be expected.

Engadget thinks the only differentiation netbooks have is cost, something with which we staunchly disagree – just check out the new facial recognition and GPS netbook technologies on the way. However, for low end models such as these, their statement is quite true. We’ll let you know if these netbooks make it to the market.

Via Engadget.

Jan 9 2009

CES: Dell Adamo Notebook, Plus New Dell Mini 10

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Dell made some big confirmations at CES this week, including the long-withheld confirmation of the Dell Adamo.

What do we know? It’s black, extremely thin, and unfortunately not a netbook. Officials wouldn’t confirm a processor, but said it will be for sale sometime in the first half of 2009.

Dell “focused heavily on the industrial design of the notebook, using top of the line materials.” While we don’t have much more than a taste of the Adamo for now, Dell said “it will have the better capabilities you’d expect.” I have no idea what that means.

The other big news? The Dell Inspiron Mini 10 netbook, a 10-inch machine falling right in between the Dell Mini 9 and Dell Mini 12. This is the third Dell netbook in four months, a frightening rate to be churning out quality machines. Of course, the Mini 10 will be little more than a Mama Bear-sized version of the previous Inspiron Minis, but we can’t help but appreciate their diligence.

Dell Mini Inspiron

They made some comments about the possible cannabilization of their own machines, remaining positive. “The numbers are all over the map,” said Tatelman. “It’s safe to say in some ways (a Netbook) is analogous to a smartphone as a companion product.”

Dell also understands the versatility of netbooks. “In some places it’s a way to acquire new customers faster, in some places it’s a companion device, and in some places it’s a primary computer.” They don’t care which, as long as people are buying.

Other Dell CES releases include a $50 USB Digital Tuner for catching free TV broadcasts (available later this year) and the Wasabi handheld printer, offering the ability to print while mobile. Sounds good to us.

Via CNet.

Jan 9 2009

CES: The Future Of MSI

PCWorld recently published an interview with Andy Tung, MSI Computer’s VP of sales. The subjects? The future of MSI, the new technology it will use, and the company’s plans for 2009.

One big topic was the dual-core Intel Atom CPU – an update of the single-core version we’ve seen so much in the netbooks of 2008. Thankfully, Tung says the Atom “is not in MSI’s future.” He believes using a dual-core Atom would drive prices up past $500, which isn’t the strongest category for MSI.

According to him Intel seems to understand this. For now, most netbooks will be sticking with the 1.6 GHz Intel  Atom N270 or the 1.33 GHz Intel Atom Z530.

Another subject was the MSI Wind U115 Hybrid, the interesting new netbook that houses both an SSD and a HDD. Bouncing off this topic, PCWorld wondered – what technology is next?

Tung says it’s touchscreens. Apparently MSI has been messing around with a touchscreen prototype, and once the multi-touch Windows 7 is out this could mean some interesting things. They aren’t attempting to replicate the swivel screen ASUS tablet, the Eee PC T91 – they want to take their own interpretation on the subject.

We couldn’t believe our eyes a few days ago when we found an image of the MSI Wind U115 at CES with a display mentioning 9-cell batteries. It seems this was no mistake. Andy Tung says that “The U115 netbook will not only have 3-cell and 6-cell batteries, but we’ll be shipping a 9-cell battery that will easily get you over 12 hours on a single charge.”

Wow. Check back soon for the latest on netbooks and CES 2009.

Via PCWorld.

Jan 9 2009

CES: AT&T Wants A Bigger Role With Netbooks

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AT&T has showed some signs that it wants netbooks to support its cellular internet connections, according to a top exec Thursday.

According to Glenn Lurie, a AT&T executive, netbooks’ portability make them prime candidates for 3G and mobile Web access. The company sees a big opening in netbooks, and plans to act accordingly.

Lurie was excited. “This is a hot space,” he said, referring to netbooks during a CES interview, “I see this as a very big play in the youth market. Netbooks would hold appeal to students and others with a need to carry around as little extra weight as possible.

The RadioShack deal involving $99 Acer Aspire One netbooks with the purchase of an AT&T contract was representative of what moves the company plans to make. It’s valuable work – whenever a retailer signs someone up with the deal they are commissioned $200 to $250.

Via Reuters.

Jan 8 2009

CES: SanDisk Announces High-Power Solid State Drives

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As CES continues, the biggest businesses have unveiled their newest technological wonders to the world. The bids have been getting better and better, and the most recent has been from SanDisk Corporation.

They recently unveiled the newest in high-performance SSDs for laptops priced  at less than $250 for a 120 GB model. These solid state drives are meant to be “drop-in replacements” for hard disk drives. SanDisk hopes consumers will take moves like this to upgrade and extend the life of their netbooks and laptops.

SanDisk SSD

The drives are the G3 for notebooks and pSSD for netbooks. Those will have read and write speeds of 200 MB/sec. and 140 MB/sec., respectively.

These drives, if they meet the specifications advertised, will beat out the 10-channel X25-M SSD Intel drives for the consumer-class. The X25-M read at 250 MB/sec. and write at 70 MB/sec., comparable but inferior statistics.

SanDisk SSD

Though SSDs have failed in many markets, they may be making a comeback. According to Jim McGregor, the chief technology strategist of In-Stat Inc., the SanDisk drives will represent a “tipping point” for solid state technology. “I think we’re finally getting to the point where solid state disk is living up to expectations… As long as you’re exceeding the speed of hard drives and you’re exceeding the anticipated lifespan, typically three years as far as a corporate warranty goes, then it makes sense.”

Prices haven’t been confirmed yet, but should be coming soon.

Via ComputerWorld.

Jan 8 2009

CES: Sony Netbook The Lightest (And Costliest) Ever

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Sony recently made big news at CES with what it calls the lightest netbook ever: the 1.4 pound, 8-inch Vaio P Series Lifestyle PC.

It’s been described as “the size of a business envelope and as thin as a cell phone,” able to be slipped into a jacket pocket, yet still having full PC functionality.

Vaio P Series Netbook

According to the founder and CEO of Sony, Barry Thompson, the appliance can “streamline” processes with the combination of middleware and networking techs, in order to send data more efficiently.

Unfortunately, as you may have anticipated, this compactness and functionality comes at a high price. Sony intends to offer the netbook for as much as $900 this month, and in other major retail shops in February.

The Vaio P Series has an 8-inch display with a “light-emitting diode backlight” for more intense colors than those offered by a standard LCD screen. Despite its diminuitive size it packs a massive 1600 x 768 pixels and is “ultrawide” to avoid cramping web pages and other content.

It will deliver built-in support for the 3G broadband networks of wireless carriers, in addition to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. You can toggle between wireless options to optimize your wireless connection, and use the internet in conjunction twith a built-in webcam, and GPS with maps of the US and Canada.

It will run Vista but you can insteantly switch into Sony’s Xross Media Bar interface, which manages music, video, the internet, and photos.

According to Sony it will run for four hours and get up to eight with a vaguely named “large-capacity battery”. That probably means a 60 or 8-cell battery, thought we can’t say for sure. The CPU is the Intel Atom and the P series will have 2 GB of memory and a 60 GB HDD or optionally a 128 GB SDD.

Will Sony find a market for its $900 machine in a time of recession? The move to release the Vaio P Series Lifestyle PC is either bold or foolish, but only sales numbers will say which.

Via InformationWeek.

Jan 7 2009

CES: No Netbook Love From Toshiba

A few reporters back from the first day of CES 2009 are finding a conspicuous lack of something we were all kind of looking forward to – a new Toshiba netbook.

Toshiba’s early entrant to the netbook market, the Toshiba NB100, was a sleek machine with some great specs and a competitive price. However, there hasn’t been a followup thus far, leading us to wonder if Toshiba didn’t like the reception its netbook received back in November.

Toshiba NB100

The USB press kit supplied by Toshiba contained only “TVs, TV/DVD combos, and stand alone players.” For now, we’ll wait, but the situation may change as CES goes on. Who knows – maybe Toshiba wants to make some noise later in the game.

Another entrant with no netbook was LG.

As always, we’ll keep you up to date as CES 2009 continues.

Jan 7 2009

CES: MSI Shows Off The Wind U115

The U115 has been announced for quite some time, but MSI has decided to display it in the flesh for the first time. It will be available with 8 GB or 16 GB solid disk drives, to be respectively combined with 120 GB or 160 GB hard disk drives. Check out this picture from TG Daily:

MSI Wind U115

It is reported to come with a 6-cell battery and run for a good 12 hours on one battery charge… but if you look closely at that picture, it says the U115 Hybrid will have a 9-cell battery. Nine cells is insane, but will probably also be insanely expensive.

The MSI WInd U115 will have a 10-inch widescreen LCD and a 1.3 or 2.0 megapixel webcam and weigh just over 2 pounds.

Another big release is the U120 netbook, which will come with WiMax or 3.5 G connectivity.

Return soon for more on the netbooks of CES 2009.

Via TG Daily.

Jan 7 2009

CES: The New Tablet-Style Eee PC T91

ASUS demonstrated the new Eee PC T91 today, an 8.9-inch touch-sensitive netbook that works like a Tablet PC with its swiveling monitor.

ASUS Eee PC T91

According to ASUS CEO Jonney Shih, “It’s the superset of the original Tablet PC.” It will be able to act as a digital photo frame, GPS navigation system, and possibly a game console. CES 2009 has already been promising amazing things for future netbooks, and so these shouldn’t be out of the question.

ASUS also expanded the Eee Top line, which Shih calls an “Internet appliance” for the home. It has gesture navigation, soft-stylus handwriting recognition, and an Opera browser optimized for touch controls. It was shown using Windows XP.

Via the Seattle Times.

Jan 7 2009

CES: ASUStek, Windows 7, and Microsoft

The netbook explosion in 2008 had some important implications for Microsoft’s Windows. According to the Consumer Electronics Association, manufacturers sold 10 million netbooks in 2008.


ASUStek was responsible for many of these sales. Today, the company announced the latest in its line of netbooks, and made some important statements about its relationship to Microsoft.


The General Manager of marketing in Microsoft’s OEM section gave a presentation demonstrating “Windows 7 Ultimate” on an Eee PC. It had an Atom processor and 1 GB of RAM.


Windows 7 Multitouch


He showed the netbook switching back and forth with standby mode in a matter of seconds, a kind of performance recently emphasized by Microsoft with Windows 7. According to him, “you haven’t seen Windows run that fast ever before.”


He also ran Windows Live Essentials, a suite of online services including IMing and videochat. He videochatted with a colleague in the audience, both of whom had Eee PCs.


However, not all new ASUS netbooks will run Windows 7. A good deal will be released with Windows XP Home, which has been proven to be a great match for netbooks.


Netbooks haven’t meant only positive things for Microsoft. Apparently, the rampant growth of the category meant slow growth for Windows as netbooks sold with lower-end and less profitable versions of Windows.


Via the Seattle Times.

Jan 7 2009

CES 2009 Begins: Meet The ASUS S121

As CES opened, emotions were running high. This is a big year for netbooks and we’re expecting multitudes of new netbooks on the way, and so with no further ado, we announce the first one: the ASUS S121.

ASUS S121

Some have said it isn’t quite a netbook, blurring the distinction between those and notebooks. It has an Atom processor, but is no budget machine. It has a glorious 12.1-inch LED active-matrix TFT 1280 x 800 display, paneled with glass from edge to edge. Its SSD comes in at a whopping 128 GB.

This new netbook isn’t an update of the N12Jc series of laptops, but it will also be known for its battery capacity. ASUS says the S121 can survive over 10 hours when using an internal and external battery in conjunction.

It’s a lightweight at 2.6 pounds. It will be facing all kinds of competition this year, so come back soon to see our complete coverage of CES 2009 if you want a look at the contenders.

Via PCWorld.

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