Mar 22 2010

Viliv Netbook & Notebook Models On Way to US Shores

Viliv, a Korean PC manufacturer, has been creating efficient and creative portables for a while now. Although relatively unknown in the United States, Viliv’s visibility here does not accurately reflect on the quality of products released. Originally, Viliv’s merchandise was only available through online retailers, but that will change tomorrow: Best Buy plans on releasing a total of 5 new Viliv models, including the anticipated S7 convertible netbook. The S7 features a touch screen, Windows XP, 1GB of RAM, Bluetooth, and a 60GB hard drive.

Weighing a miniscule 1.76 pounds, and having dimensions of 8.3 by 4.6 by 1 inches, the S7 is highly portable. In the end, the S7 comes in at a reasonable cost of $579. As an added bonus, if the buyer registers a Sprint Mi-Fi or Overdrive hotspot, a $50 rebate will be included. Although $50 seems like a respectable offer, the mildly more expensive $649 S7 model has a 3G modem capable of utilizing any SIM card for internet connectivity. Which one’s the better investment? That decision will be left for you to decide.

Via CrunchGear and Liliputing

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Mar 22 2010

“Gorilla Glass” Protects LG’s Premium Netbook

In recent weeks, LG announced the release of the X300 netbook – an ultra-thin, stylish, exceptional quality system. Weighing in at a slight 2 pounds with a thickness of .69 inches, the X300 becomes an extremely portable technological marvel. The specs are as follows:

• 11.6-inch LCD screen
• Windows 7 Home Premium OS
• 2.0 GHz Intel Menlow platform
• Up to 2GB memory
• 128GB SSD
• Embedded 3G modem chipset (Supports GSM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS and HSDPA networks)
• 1.3-megapixel webcam
• SRS TruSurround HD sound

Although these premium specs make the X300 a very powerful and impressive netbook, its true uniqueness lies within the Gorilla Glass screen. The advanced substance covers the LCD screen and is nearly unbreakable and unscratchable. As a result, the X300 surely offers enough physical security for the clumsiest of netbook users.

Now for the downside: the X300 has not yet been released in North America, but judging from the approximate $1400 pricetag it sported in South Korea, we can expect a hefty price here as well. No specific release date has been announced yet, but since distribution of the product has already started, we can anticipate sometime within the next month.

Via Fast Company and I4U

Mar 14 2010

Asus’ Eee 1001P Brings In The Next Generation of Netbooks

Asus is considered to be the father of netbooks. When the company first released the Eee PC netbook, the company pioneered a new genre of processing system; and sure enough, the Eee proceeded to win multiple awards such as the Forbes Asia’s product of the year. Now, Asus has finally released the next line in the acclaimed Eee series: the Eee PC 1001P. The new netbook offers numerous specs:

  • Processor: Intel Atom N450 1.66GHz
  • Intel GMA 3150 graphics
  • 250GB HDD
  • 1GB RAM (2GB max)
  • 10.1-Inch Matte 1024×600 WSVGA LCD Display
  • 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Windows 7 Starter
  • 11 hours battery life

Clearly, the Eee 1001P is a solid netbook. However, there has been some controversy regarding the recent change in policy for the physical recovery media. When problems occurred with the operating system, Asus offered the option of pressing the F9 key when the Bios screen appears to help restore the computer to a backup mode, and they also provided a CD to restore the netbook in case the user deleted the F9 method file. Asus now has decided to no longer send any restore CD.

As a result, the user is obligated to keep the F9 function, and if not, will have no alternative in terms of restoring the system to its original settings.  But with a price tag of $290 and stylish black, white, pink, or blue color options all with a nice matte finish, Asus’ new line of netbooks are nevertheless truly extraordinary products.

Via Geek and New Netbook Reviews

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Mar 13 2010

AMD’s Fusion Chip Will Compete Against Intel’s Atom Processors

Intel Corporation is widely considered to be the technological giant regarding computer processors. However, AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) plans on challenging Intel’s consistent dominance in the market.

With the recently announced development of the new “Fusion” chip designed for netbooks, we are led to believe AMD plans on making its mark by targeting the “portable computer” community.

The new chip offers a relatively normal TDP of 10- 15 watts as well as decent graphics performance without requiring a separate GPU. Most importantly, this chip will fit in a netbook with a screen less than 12 inches long.

Nigel Dessau, AMD’s senior vice president, said “It will have a good processor integrated with graphics, so you won’t need the Ion graphics to give it half-decent performance… If we’d had a part, we’d have been in this space. We didn’t have a part so we went and worked on a part for the thin and light space. The plan is to come to market next year with a Fusion part that fits it nicely in a netbook type thing.”
The Fusion chip will be available sometime next year, so unfortunately, we can only speculate on its performance now.

Via Nexus404.

Mar 11 2010

Wireless Easy Dock Boosts Netbook Usability

Computers have evolved into more powerful and efficient processing systems, laptops and netbooks were designed for portability over the traditional desktop, and even cell phones are beginning to display computer-like qualities. As technology advances, the desire for convenience has successfully sustained itself.

Warpia’s newly released “Easy Dock” further continues the convenience trend. The Easy Dock enables the user to connect and transfer information to the monitor, speaker, keyboard, and mouse on a netbook or laptop to a conventional desktop setting.

Furthermore, through technology from Wisair, the process is done completely wirelessly. With the Easy Dock, any consumer can utilize both the portability of a netbook and the processing power of a desktop.

Warpia’s new product will be compatible with Windows 7, XP, Vista, Apple’s Leopard and Snow Leopard, and is currently on sale for $149.99.

Via Gizmag

Mar 10 2010

Pixel Qi: The Answer for Netbook Battery Life Woes?

Netbooks are renowned for their maneuverability; but not so much for battery life. Pixel Qi, an American brand company that manufactures energy efficient computer displays technology, may be destined to make a change. Mary Lou Jepsen, the founder of Pixel Qi, announced last Sunday that the company will begin offering display screens specially designed for netbooks.

These new displays function by utilizing traditional LCD’s, but become power efficient by being able to turn off the backlight and switch to a low-power mode. As a result, the power consumption can be reduced up to 75%. Another useful feature is how the screens are designed to reduce glare and maintain readability on screen in bright outdoor conditions.

Some people may be deterred by this product due to the need for manual labor in switching the screens. However, the operation is simple enough a 5-year-old could do it, and not even the most brilliant 5-year old either. According to Jepsen, “One of the reasons I’m personally committed to doing this goes back to my One Laptop per Child experience and girls in a poor rural part of Nigeria… An 11 year old girl decided to open a laptop hospital [and] she eventually recruited girls as young as 5 to help out in the hospital. This group of girls armed with screwdrivers starting taking apart the laptops and reseating the cables. Sometimes they’d change out a screen, or a speaker.”

If battery life and readability increases are important to you, definitely look into Pixel Qi.

Via ZDnet.

Mar 10 2010

MSI’s Wind U160 Netbook: 15 Hours of Battery Life

MSI (Micro-Star International), a netbook manufacturer, has announced the release of the much anticipated “Wind U160” netbook.

At first, the model seems to offer the usual netbook features: an Intel Atom N450 processor, 6-cell battery, Bluetooth functionality, and Windows 7.

However, its design shows innovation and creativity. The Wind U160 has evolved from the traditional clamshell figure to a slim .98 inches. The hinge is very much the same as a normal netbook, but has become more cylindrical with the addition of a power button constructed within. The chassis comes in a stylish gold and black model.

The Wind U160 truly shines above other typical netbooks by offering an outrageous 15 hours of battery life (in the company’s specially designed ECO mode). It’s no surprise that this netbook was the winner of the 2010 iF Product Design competition. Models are currently available starting at $380.

Via Maximum PC

Mar 8 2010

Tablet Competition: Apple vs Microsoft

With only a few weeks remaining before the much anticipated Apple iPad is released, Microsoft is finalizing details on its own “Courier.” Microsoft’s tablet, “a book-like device with two opposing screens,” according to Engadget, will supposedly have handwriting recognition built-in, and a stylus resembling a pen seems to be a primary source of input.

Engadget also claims there will be a built-in camera and a headphone jack as well. It will also serve as an e-book device, similar to the iPad’s own “iBook” app.

There has been no more information concerning pricing for the Courier, but because of the larger amount of features it is rumored to have, it is expected to be more expensive than the iPad

The Courier is to be released prior to the holiday season this year, which means by the time it is released, the iPad will have been part of the tablet market for over half a year—meaning more rumors about future updates, such as cameras on both sides of the device, tethering, and Flash support for Safari could cause possible Courier purchasers to refrain from purchasing until an iPad refresh.

Via Money.Gather

Mar 6 2010

iPad vs. IdeaPad

Immediately upon first glance, Lenovo’s IdeaPad S10-3t and Apple’s iPad share a resemblance in names. The similarities, however, extend further than simply their titles; both the form and the function of the two products parallel each other as well.

First off, the “innovative” touch-screen technology that make the iPad so highly anticipated also are seen on the IdeaPad. Although there have been complaints concerning lag on the IdeaPad’s touch-screen, Lenovo can potentially compensate by offering the classic netbook interface on the IdeaPad as well. With a simple swivel of the screen, the IdeaPad consequentially becomes a netbook/iPad hybrid. Sporting a full keyboard and mouse pointer, the IdeaPad seems to be a potential competitor towards the Ipad.

Unfortunately, the IdeaPad also has a few significant flaws: in an attempt to keep the size of the netbook at a minimum, Lenovo sacrificed the crucial handrest one constantly utilizes while typing. Furthermore, the battery life on the model is a mere 3 hours. Both the iPad and IdeaPad will be released at the similar price range from about $549-$649.

Now, consumers are left to decide whether the IdeaPad is a strong competitor against the iPad despite of its flaws, or is it interesting concept that requires more polishing?

Via CNet.

Mar 5 2010

School Netbook Program Implemented in Sanborn, NY

The effects of the technological revolution is beginning to become manifest in school systems. Niagara Wheatfield, a public school district in Sanborn, New York, has just recently proposed to their school board that all fifth graders should be provided with netbooks.

Mary Ann Buch, the leader of an instructional technology committee, suggested that netbooks specially designed for instructional purposes will further enrich and support student learning. Also, by taking advantage of the portable nature of the netbooks, students will keep in contact with the class program outside of conventional school time.

The netbooks will be linked to access points installed throughout the Errick Road Elementary School and Edward Town Middle School, and can only be accessed through the student netbooks, blocking anyone else.

The proposal however, comes with a hefty price-tag: each netbook will cost from $198 to $400, Buch later said. If the netbooks are purchased through the Educational Services contract, the school will be reimbursed 68%.  Now, the only question is how effectively the Niagara Wheatfield school district will utilize the new netbooks if the proposal is accepted.

Via Buffalonews

Mar 5 2010

Amplifying the Netbook

One aspect that netbooks and laptops are consistently inferior to desktop computers in is within the sound department. Due to the countless high-tech external speakers for desktop computers on the market today, the weaker internal speakers on the majority of netbooks seem insignificant in comparison.

But earlier today, Logitech released the external laptop speaker Z205. This new speaker model boasts an internal sound card and stereo speakers to augment quality of sound as well as projection. The slim efficient design is meant to sustain portability in the netbook and is meant to be simply inserted in a USB port and docked right above the netbook’s screen.

Whether you strive for a more immersive experience in gaming, less sound distortion in YouTube videos, or simply more thorough enjoyment when casually listening to music, Logitech’s laptop speaker Z205 will surely help get the job done. If you’re looking to boost your audio experience on your netbook, Z205 speakers should be a primary option.

Models are sold at a sensible $39.99 and should be available for sale in the next couple days.

Via EverythingUSB

Mar 2 2010

Netbooks: The Lighter the Better?

Averatec, a South Korean laptop manufacturer, has just released what they deem the lightest 10-inch netbook available on the market today. Weighing in at a mere 2.2 lbs, the N1200 is truly a technological achievement, even within the netbook community.

The remarkable levity of this new netbook doesn’t come without sacrifice; regardless of the newly constructed lithium-polymer batteries implemented, the battery life lasts a mere 3 hours without charge.

Averatec has made one thing clear: netbook manufacturing companies are still striving to create more portable and convenient devices. Although portability in netbooks is extremely important, this compromise raises questions concerning a balance between efficiency and portability.

Nevertheless, the N1200 will be released in three different versions: one $330 model equipped with Windows XP and a 160GB hard drive, another running Windows 7 for $350, and finally, a $380 model with a 250 GB hard drive along with an extended battery pack.

Averatec’s new N1200 netbook can very well succeed and set a new standard in terms of portability, but if not, perhaps some netbook manufacturing companies need to re-prioritize when developing new models.

Via Techspot

Mar 1 2010

A New Security Solution for Portable Computing Devices

Just recently, a laptop in a hospital located in Gainesville, Florida, with personal information of over 12,500 patients was stolen. Names, addresses, medical records, and even social security numbers are all lost to an unidentified criminal.

Portability is what makes laptops and netbooks so efficient and attractive for consumers; however, this convenience factor can also create a pronounced disadvantage: lack of security. Although it is currently impossible to protect against the physical threat of laptop/netbook theft, we can protect the device’s data.

Check Point Software Technologies has just launched a software called ZoneAlarm DataLock to protect against netbook thieves. The newly released software is designed to encrypt data and requires a username and password to access any files. As a result, when one’s device is stolen, the thief will not be able to access any data.

Zone Alarm is usually sold for $29.95, but can be bought from the ZoneAlarm Website for an introductory cost of $19.95. And with over 60 million computers already utilizing its security benefits, Zone Alarm rivals other major security software manufacturers such as McAfee or Symantec.

Via VentureBeat.

Mar 1 2010

The Great Debate: Mac OS X or iPhone OS?

Along with the highly anticipated iPad release from Apple at the end of March, comes a heated debate regarding whether the iPad should run using the traditional Mac OS X interface or the iPhone OS.

Looking from the pro-Mac OS X perspective, the main argument against the iPhone OS concerns the weaker processing, something Mac OS users think overshadows the “revolutionary” interaction between the user and the operating system. Why use OS X in the iPad? For one, the resolution is the same between the iPad and the first iMac models (1024×768), however, the significant difference lies in the different screen sizes (iPad 9.7″, Mac 13.8″.)

Now, this doesn’t seem like a striking issue, but the iPhone interface purely relies on Cocoa Touch, eliminating the mouse cursor used in classic Macs. In addition to the less precise finger as opposed to mouse cursor, the smaller screen only further raises questions of precise interaction. Also, the new interface won’t be able to run certain applications such as Mozilla Firefox 10.4.

The iPad’s size has its benefits though; it isn’t meant to compete with a regular Mac, but rather to be an innovative and portable substitute. In the end, we are left to question: will we embrace the new revolutionary interface used on the iPhone, or stay faithful to the classic Mac OS X interface? We’ll surely find out by the end of the month.

Via AppleInsider.


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