May 24 2010

Netbook and Notebook Distinctions Keep Blurring

For a long time the difference between a netbook and notebook was fairly clear. With a netbook you have limited processing and graphical power, but you had reduced cost, wonderfully enhanced portability, and a notably higher battery life. As predicted however, advancements in the tech industry have created even smaller, cheaper, and more efficient chips that can fit into both netbooks and notebooks. The major push has been by Intel, who has finalized their 2010 Intel Core Ultra-Low Voltage processors for thin laptops.

This kind of advancement is critical: as the tablet industry is expanding, the need to bring high performance to portable devices is a must in order to stay competitive.  Mooly Eden, the vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group at Intel, said in a press release that “Intel’s leadership in 32nm high-k metal gate process technology, combined with breakthrough architecture and design has enabled thinner, lighter and faster notebooks than previous models, with terrific battery life. Not only are laptops becoming ultraportable, but with the new processors inside, users will see faster response times and less waiting.”

Via PCWorld

May 21 2010

Dell is Selling the “Appropriate” Number of Netbooks

Steve Felice, the President of Dell’s consumer and small and mid-size business unit, recently said that, “There’s been some over-exuberance on this product (netbooks) in the marketplace.  Some of our competitors have positioned [netbooks] as a replacement device and then you see feedback from customers that are disappointed when they gave up their notebook for a netbook and find that it’s not quite as fast or doesn’t have quite the same functionality.”

Unlike their competitors, Dell has not been a strong proponent of a netbook as a laptop replacement, and their foresight is right on target.  According to shipment figures reported by IDC this past April, there has been waning enthusiasm for netbooks in favor of higher-performance laptops.  Intel Atom‘s share of the market has fallen to 20 percent during the first quarter of 2010 from 24 percent during the previous quarter, despite the fact that the overall volume of processors shipped rose by 4.1 percent.

Stronger demand for laptop technology is a blessing for Dell.  The company’s first quarter revenue in 2010 rose 21 percent to $14.9 billion and profits rose 52 percent to $441 million.  Dell did especially well in emerging markets like China and Brazil, where revenue rose 90 and 81 percent, respectively.  Felice says, “We are very pleased with the overall performance of Dell.”

Via PCWorld.

May 16 2010

Intel Atom N550 Dual-Core Processors to Come Later This Year

The Intel Atom N550 will be one of the potential dual-core processors that Intel will be releasing, and the company’s current plans are to release it in the third quarter of 2010.  These powerful processors will not only be available for netbooks, but also for all-in-one PCs as well as other low-powered devices, such as ultraportables.

The Intel Atom N550 dual-core processor will come with a clock speed of 1.5GHz, 1 MB of L2 cache, and a couple of cores to support hyperthreading.  Thankfully, even though these processors will be more powerful, power consumption will be minimal.  In fact, they’re said to require less power than the standard Intel Atom N450 and Intel Atom N470 single-core chips.

Via UberGizmo.

May 16 2010

Intel: Dual-Core Atom Netbooks On the Way

At the company’s investor meeting in Santa Clara, California this past week, Intel showed off a netbook that was equipped with the company’s very own Intel Atom dual-core processor.  The webcast event also showed off a new tablet computer that would be equipped with an Intel Atom chipset.

New netbooks and tablets featuring Intel chips will be displayed at Computex 2010.  According to Mooly Eden, the Vice President and General Manager of Intel’s PC Client Group, the company wants to raise the bar in netbook performance and they’re aiming to do that with the release of dual-core Atom processors.  Essentially, this technology will allow users to more efficiently run multiple applications on their netbooks at the same time.

Netbooks have been around for a while, and people are no longer willing to sacrifice their relatively poor performance (at least compared to laptops) for the added portability and convenience.   Eden says, “People are not willing to compromise anymore. We do not think about one thing, we think about several things at a time. We expect our computer to do the same thing.”

According to Intel’s CEO Paul Otellini, the netbook market is continuing to grow, so improving the performance of netbook technology is very important.

Via PCWorld.

Apr 18 2010

Netbooks To Get Intel Dual-Core Atom Processors

Intel has been rumored to be working on dual-core Atom processors for netbooks, and within the past few days, Intel CEO Paul Otellini confirmed that the company will indeed be bringing this product to market this coming year.

Currently, Intel produces the 1.6GHz Atom 330 microprocessor and rumor on the street is that Intel’s new dual-core processors will join the Atom 500 series of chips.  These new chips will have integrated memory controllers and integrated graphics, and potentially support 720p.

According to Otellini, “there will still be significant growth in the netbook business year-over-year.”  The dual-core Intel processors will be released in the second quarter, right before the holiday season.  Netbooks featuring dual-core chipsets are expected to start selling before the end of the year.

Via TechTree.

Feb 17 2010

Whole-Disk Encryption For Intel Atom Netbooks

People do a lot of work on their computers, and that means that a lot of sensitive information ends up being stored on them. People want at least basic security on their laptops and netbooks.

Secuware now offers C4KNetbook, a utility written from the ground up to enable transparent hard disk encryption on netbook-level processors. This particular encryption emphasizes processor I/O, which UK distributor Security IP claims will leave the machine performing at pre-encryption levels. However, it’s still FIPS 140-2 certified  – a standard for government and industry required encryption.

Now, most people won’t be rushing to the stores to pick up a copy of C4KNetbook (Approx. $70 on a one-off basis) any time soon, but public sector organizations might be lining up to get their hands on it in the near future. Most of their workers really only require a machine that will allow them to run email and maybe another business application or two, and laptops cost two to three times more than netbooks.

The information many companies deal in, however, is usually quite sensitive, so portables must often be FIPS-140-2 compliant. Unfortunately, C4KNetbook only runs on Intel Atom Processors right now, so it could be a while before we see large scale security-modules for netbooks.

Via PC World

Feb 6 2010

New App By Newsy For Netbooks With Intel Atom Chips

So yeah. I admit it. I had no clue as to what was until I read the wiki article. And now that I have, I might have to frequent their site more often.

Newsy is now available to download from the Intel AppUp Center for free, offering 2-3 minute news videos for quick and easy viewing for owners of netbooks with Intel Atom chips. Users of the app will enable users to share videos via the traditional methods – Twitter, Facebook, and email – as well view and post comments which are, needless to say, synced to the site. Considering that a netbook is made for people 0n-the-go and that Newsy is designed for the same,  this could easily become a hit. Of course, it’s also one of the first applications available for netbooks, so that might not be saying much. Still the iPhone app seems to be climbing the ladder, maybe we’ll see a repeat performance.

Via PRWeb, image via IELab.

Feb 3 2010

Intel Atom Netbook CPUs To Get DDR3 Compatibility

Intel's ProcessorsThe quintessential netbook processor, Intel’s Atom, is due for a real upgrade. For now, rather than clean the slate completely, Intel seems to be taking another slow step forward by announcing two DDR3 compatible CPUs with the same power rating.

The two new processors are going to be the N475, clocked at the reasonably fast (at least for a netbook) 1.83 GHz, and the N455 with the standard 1.6 GHz. Both chips plan on maintaining their thermal design power (TDP/fancy talk for heat) ratings and are scheduled for a Q3 launch.

The only thing these chips will bring is DDR3 to netbooks, so don’t plan on that alone really changing performance.  Still, it is a sign at least that the netbook market is moving away from the older DDR2 RAM to DDR3, which all parties will undoubtedly welcome. Perhaps this also heralds the last iteration of the current generation of netbook processors, so it may be time to look forward to real innovation after this.

Via Engadget

Jan 30 2010

Intel’s Disappointing Pine Trail CPU

Diamondville PlatformPine Trail Platform
The Intel Atom Pine Trail platform, which was originally thought to be a grand step forward for netbooks, has not met our expectations.  It may be in part due to over-hyping by followers of its development, but ultimately the performance gains provided by the new line were marginal at best and irrelevant at worst.  So what caused this discrepancy?

Those hailing the Pine Trail as a godsend to netbooks graphics ultimately misconceived what the GMA 3150 controller could do. Compared to Nvidia’s Ion platform (currently the only way to get good graphics on a netbook) it is completely out of its league, and only looks good compared to the original Atom’s GMA 950.

But the real issue is what happened when Intel condensed the “Diamondville” platform from the original Atom to “Pine Trail”.  A quick glance at the image up top (“Diamondville” left, “Pine Trail” right), clearly shows us that nothing really happened. Same cores and the same interfaces.  And the problem is that while Intel was busy integrating the memory controller onto its chips for the i7 on desktops, they got lazy about Pine Trail on netbooks.  The memory controller still needs to be interfaced via the front-side bus, so no lower memory latency, no drastic performance improvement.  And to point out the obvious, the exact same core is being used on the old and new Atoms.

Is it fair for Intel to say that Pine Trail is a better product in terms of performance than the Atom 330?   Arguably, yes.  But really this whole affair simply shows that Intel is sitting unchallenged in the netbook market, as AMD has yet to provide a platform for it and ARM lacks the resources to take on Intel.  And this gives them the ability to take easy, cheap, sloppy routes for chip development, while also hurting the consumer by trying to prevent a product like the Ion 2 from making its way to netbooks.  Plain and simple like the early 2000s: a complacent Intel is a bad Intel.

via AnandTech

Dec 20 2009

Marks & Spencer Netbook

British Retail Company Marks & Spencer has announced the upcoming release of its first netbook, the MSNB-2009.  It is the largest retailer in the United Kingdom and only recently began venturing into selling technology.

The Marks & Spencer netbook’s features will include:

  • 10-inch LCD Display
  • 1 GB DDR2
  • Intel Atom 1.6GHz processor
  • Windows XP

This lackluster netbook is another addition to a continually saturated and expanding market. Like most brand name apparel from well-known retailers, you seem to pay for the name and what it represents, rather than for the actual attributes of the product. This seems to be the case with this netbook computer, offering the prestige of the Marks & Spencer name and not much else.

Image Via TFTS


Dec 19 2009

Olevia’s Underwhemling P10 Netbook

Olevia has released a new device for its netbook line, the P10. It holds all the specifications that are expected of any netbook, and adds nothing to differentiate itself from the masses. The only expected highlight of Olevia’s P10 netbook will be its slightly lower price range. This will be the netbooks sole advantage that may manage to attract customers to the product.

The netbook offers:

  • 10.1-Inch Display
  • Intel Atom N270 1.6GHz Processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 160 GB Hard Drive
  • Wi-Fi
  • Linux or Windows Operating System

This isn’t Olevias first go-round in the netbook market, as it released the Yones X11A a few months back.

Image Via UberGizmo

Via UberGizmo

Dec 12 2009

HP’s MS214 All-In-One PC Delivers

This HP 18.5 inch all-in-one PC packs quite a punch for a compact computer. The PC offers more than the standard all-in-ones currently in the market.

For starters, it is one of the few all-in-one PC’s that have opted to use a 1.5GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 CPU rather than the Intel Atom processor. Another improvement is the computer’s super-sized memory and storage capacity. The MS214 comes equipped with 2 gigabytes of DDR2, twice the average amount. The PC’s storage capacity is just as high, with 300 GB of storage.

The HP MS214 also includes integrated wireless-n and gigabit LAN connectivity. Both of these greatly facilitate the transferring of files. Lastly, the PC is complete with the addition of a DVD burner.

The only pitfalls of this all-in-one PC are that it doesn’t offer any kind of touch screen capabilities and has a meager six USB ports, two of which will likely be hogged by a keyboard and mouse. Overall, HP’s all-in-one PC offers a lot of bang for $600 bucks.

Via WashingtonPost

Image Via AutoDigital

Dec 5 2009

Intel to Pre-Install App Store on Netbooks in 2010

Lots of new technology and applications will be coming out in 2010. Intel, for one, will be jumping into the competition with an app store that will be exclusively for netbooks. In fact, it’ll come pre-installed. Of course the 50 million expected shipments of netbooks in addition to the release of the Intel Pine Trail Atom processor also provide an incentive for Intel to launch an app store.

Fortunately, the director of Intel’s Developer Network, Scott Apeland, says that “The Atom Developer Program doesn’t favor one OS over another, and at its core, the program is meant to facilitate development across multiple OSes… we plan to expand support to different run-time environments, including Adobe AIR and Microsoft Silverlight.”

Developers will be raking in the dough with this new rollout, getting 70% of revenues made, similar to the system in place for Apple. Launch dates for Intel’s new app store are currently up in the air, but no worries, we’ll keep you posted.

Via FierceCio.

Dec 4 2009

Intel Atom N450 Netbook CPU Coming 01/11/09

The date has been confirmed: you’ll be able to get your hands on the all-new Atom N450 line of netbooks from ASUS, Acer, Lenovo and MSI on January 11th, 2009. The new Atom netbook CPU was going to be here in December, but manufacturers have been holding off at Intel’s request.

However, in an effort to not overshoot consumer demand,  most vendors will only stock ‘conservative’ numbers of the new machines. These netbooks will be coming on a wider variety of operating systems than in the past – Moblin, Windows 7, and Windows XP have been mentioned, and everyone is still holding his breath for the Google Chrome OS. Word has it that if you buy a Moblin or XP netbook in January, you can upgrade to Chrome for free by the March release of the Intel Atom N470.

Via I4U.

Nov 24 2009

Get Ready For The Intel Pine Trail Netbook CPU

Intel’s newest Pine Trail processor is set to get inside new netbooks in the near future. Nobody seems to know for sure what the netbook world will gain from them just yet, but what we do know is that the design integrates graphics functions – previously stationed on an auxiliary chip – with the main CPU.

For consumers, this should mean some serious improvements in important areas, according to Intel executive VP Sean Maloney:

“Better battery life. But performance more than anything,”

HP has even held off on selling preconfigured HP Mini 5101 netbooks from the HP website, preparing for new models involving the new Pine Trail processors.

A Dell spokesperson signaled that Dell is in as well:

“You can expect that Dell will be offering products based on Intel’s next-gen Atom platform, aka Pine Trail.”

We won’t be seeing much of the Pine Trail until 2010, but before you know it, Black Friday will be over, holiday shopping will be through, and it will be time to kick it with a new Intel Atom.

Via CNet.

Nov 20 2009

Get Mac OS X 10.6.2 on your Non-Intel Atom-Based Netbook

Hey you! Want to install Mac’s Snow Leopard OS onto your non-Mac netbook? Fortunately with this following hack, you can. A forum member at InsanelyMac posted a patch that allows users to install the Mac OS X 10.6.2 update on their netbooks. Testing has ensued for roughly a week already and the hack seems to be in full operation.

If you have a netbook that has doesn’t come equipped with an Intel Atom-based processor and want to give the the Mac OS X 10.6.2 a try, click here for a link to the patch.

Via TheMacObserver.

Image via SoftSailer.

Nov 19 2009

Next Generation Intel Atom Netbook Platform Codenamed “Cedar Trail”

While most netbook users are looking forward to the release of Intel’s Pine Trail platform in early 2010, the company itself already has plans to further upgrade the Intel Atom platform in 2011. The newest platform will be dubbed “Cedar Trail.”

Since 2011 is still quite far away, no other information is available on this new netbook chipset, but we’ll keep you posted on any future developments.

Via Fudzilla.

Nov 9 2009

Intel Plans “Fast Transition” of Netbook Processors, Will Debut Pine Trail at CES 2010

Currently, most Intel processors installed in netbooks are the Atom N270 and Atom N280, but Intel is looking to quickly transition to the Pine Trail platform. Maybe you’ll want to hold off buying a netbook for now, as Intel’s new platform is expected to launch on December 21st of this year.

Intel wants to generate excitement for the new Pine Trail platform for netbooks by planning a press release in late December to disclose the details of the platform. Pine Trail will probably also be the talk of the town at the Consumer Electronics Show in January of 2010.

Here’s some details about the Pine Trail platform. The key component is the “Pineview,” which is a new CPU that integrates the Intel Atom N280 core with a DDR2 memory controller and graphics core. By integrating these last two parts with the CPU, the overall power consumption is reduced. The Pine Trail chipset, nicknamed “Tiger Point” handles the system I/O.

The three main chipsets that will debut at CES will include the 1.66GHz single-core N450 processor, the 1.66GHz single core D410 processor, and the 1.66GHz dual-core D510 processor, the former of which is for a netbook and the latter of which are for desktops.

Via RegHardware.

Image via BlogCDN.

Nov 4 2009

More About the VIA Nano Chip for Netbooks

In an attempt to compete with the Intel Atom netbook processor, VIA has announced its own new Nano chip. The Nano 3000 offers a 20% boost in performance over its predecessor and increases power efficiency by 20% as well.

The Nano chip will be available in a variety of speeds including 1 GHz, 1.2 GHz, 1.3GHz, 1.4GHz, 1.8 GHz, and 2 GHz, all with an 800MHz bus speed. These chips will have SSE4 support, virtualisation, and 64-bit OS support. They will also be powerful enough to decode 1080p video.

Is the VIA Nano really better than the Intel Atom netbook processor? According to the PCMark 05 and 3DMark2006 benchmarks, the Nano 3000 processor scored higher than the Intel Atom processor by 43% and 49%, respectively.

The Nano 3000 processor is expected to come out in early 2010. VIA has yet to confirm pricing. We’ll keep you posted.

Via BitTech.

Oct 28 2009

Intel Atom N450 Netbook CPU Expected By January 2010

Word has it that the new Atom N450 Pine Trail M processor, complete with a new (but relaxed) set of restrictions for netbook manufacturers will be available by January 2010. the 1.83 GHz chip will feature an increase in the memory limit from 1 GB to 2 GB, with manufacturers being encouraged to use 20 or 30 GB SSDs in conjunction with the new chips.

Packing the all new Windows 7, double the RAM, and a faster Atom CPU, the netbooks of next year might not resemble the netbooks of days gone by. Change might not be a bad thing.

Via MobileComputerMag.


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