LG’s new X20 was reviewed and accepted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today. It’s no X30, but it can hold its own. Running Windows 7 on a Intel Atom N450 1.66 GHz processor, it’s got 250 GB of HDD, 2 GB of RAM, and with its 1.3 MP webcam and HSPA 3G, you can Skype on the 10.1″ 1366 x 768 screen. The keyboard and trackpad are a bit small, but those are the flaws we accept when dropping cash on a netbook.
Apparently, one test report shows that there are various model numbers by the X20, presumably for different regions. Going by the user manual, this netbook will be released in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, China, Singapore, Korea and India. Mum’s the word on pricing or release date though.
That’s the word being passed around at CES 2010. One electronics designer claimed in a report that Apple had pre-ordered “all” of the 10-inch LCD panels on the market, as well as similar sized OLED displays as well. This sounds a little bit ridiculous, though most of the rumors about the Apple tablet claim it will have a 10-inch screen so the dimensions make sense.
A shortage of 10-inch screens could be a big deal for netbook makers. Machines like the Dell Mini 10 netbook and a billion others come with 10-inch screens, and if supply issues arise consumers might notice sparse netbook variety in stores or perhaps a rise in price. Again, this seems unlikely – most netbook makers probably have loads of 10-inch LCD panels stocked for situations like this.
Another rumor has popped up as well, and it’s summed up by the following sketchy but fascinating photo, courtesy of the Mac Observer:
This could be faked, but if nothing else it’s a thought provoker. Apple’s keeping us in the dark for now, but in the months to come, we should finally know the truth about the Apple tablet.
We’ve been eagerly awaiting Google’s netbook for a while now, and for neither the first time nor likely the last, rumors have surfaced about what specs we should expect to see in the thing.
The Google netbook will run the Google Chrome OS on a 10.1-inch screen that will be HD-capable and powered by the Nvidia Tegra.
The system will also include an ARM CPU and 64 GB SSD – small, but lightning-quick. It should have 2 GB of RAM, Bluetooth, 3G suport, a webcam, 3.5mm audio jack, multi-card reader, and a few USB ports.
The Google Chromium OS will be a fascinating experiment when it comes out next year. It suffers from a constant need for a connection to the internet, but with Google apps like Gmail, Maps, Docs, Calendar, and Wave, it will feature an integrated and lively interface, streamlined for mobile use. A $300 price tag could be in the works as well.
All these details are moot until the Google netbook hits stores, but if the pieces come together as projected the Google netbook will be a fine thing to get one’s hands on.
Samsung is following the swarm of new Pine Trail-powered netbook releases with a new netbook of its own, according to recent leaks from online retailers and the FCC. The netbook is going to be called the Samsung N150, but as far as I can tell, it’s not making many changes from the old NC-series formula.
The Samsung N150 will run the Intel Atom N450 CPU on 1 GB of RAM, a 160 GB HDD, Windows 7, and a 10-inch screen. However, it also includes the Qualcomm Gobi2000 chipset, a GPS receiver, and 3G connectivity, making it a possible candidate for contracts with cellular providers.
Availability is unknown thus far, but some online retailers are taking pe-orders at $374.
MSI will soon be launching a new line of larger netbooks in the near future, both of which will run AMD processors. The new machiens are the MSI MS-1243 and MSI MS-1241, which recently showed up on the FCC.
These netbooks should be making an appearance by 2010 with 1366×768 pixel screens in 12.1-inch and 11.6-inch varieties. They are rumored to include 3G mobile broadband, Wi-Fi, HDMI, and a TV tuner for an enhanced multimedia experience. Both will run the AMD Athlon Neo CPU.
The MS-1243 and -1241 are also expected to run Windows 7 and a momentous 4 GB of RAM. 250 GB hard drives could be on the way as well, which is great. Both machines will start with 3-cell batteries with the possibility of an upgrade.
Pricing and availability info are unknown for now, but if I had to guess I’d put the MSI MS-1243 and MS-1241 netbooks in the $500-$600 range, due to their huge RAM and other options.
ARM and Intel have been duking it out over netbook CPU dominance for ages, with the Atom usually in the winning side. But ARM says that is bound to change, and COO Graham Budd has stepped up in a recent interview to answer some questions about where he thinks netbooks and ARM are going.
Budd first emphasized an oft-repeated claim by ARM: consumers don’t like netbooks. While oodles of data from industry analysts beg to differ, Budd nonetheless claims that ARM can bring an end to this ‘dilemma’:
People who buy a netbook also think they are buying a cheap laptop. And then they get disappointed that it can’t do what a laptop does. … [ARM] will provide a rich internet experience, as good as X86 processor ones. The boot time will be faster, the battery life will be substantially higher, and the cost will be lower . ARM-based netbooks will also be smaller because we don’t have to put in a fan to cool the processor , as its energy consumption is very low.
Specifically, Budd thinks average netbook prices could drop below $200 bucks. But it will take more than price drops to get ARM more netbook market share, as Graham Budd acknowledges – he says consumers will be impressed by netbook models packing the Cortex A8, due in 2010, and the Cortex A9 for beefier machines.
You can check out the full interview here.
Google says Chrome’s coming in 2010, and while some analysts correctly predicted that the project would be open sourced within days last week, the IDC is now saying that Google Chrome won’t see serious enterprise adoption for 10 years.
Analyst Al Hilwa of the IDC backed up this position by saying that, while updating on the cloud might be fantastic for Chrome OS netbook users, enterprises won’t easily get on board with the concept:
“[Cloud-based updates] are not going to eliminate problems. You’ll still have occasionally an update that comes in and it will screw up something. Enterprises don’t want to see that kind of thing. I think they’re making some bets on this and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.”
Furthermore, the fact that Chrome OS and the Chrome browser only run Web apps without access to downloadable local apps could be a turn-off even for netbook users:
“You wonder if netbook users are going to be okay with that, and if they will want to store everything in the cloud. Before it’s all over, there’s going to be some offline applications and then there will be some offline usage of data. They’re going to have Flash memory and people will store data locally. There’s almost no way around that.”
Based on that reason, Hilwa’s perspective is that Chrome OS will be a consumer phenomenon for five years, but it’ll be 10 years before Chrome OS can get 5% of the enterprise computing market in on the fun.
Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet is proposing an interesting idea about what’s going to happen once Google releases its Chrome OS, and it’s different than what most people are predicting. She thinks Chrome won’t look so great once it takes the stage in late 2010.
Why? Firstly, the Google Chrome OS is optimized to run on netbooks as an “extension to Chrome,” the browser by Google. It’s meant to fully integrate Web apps with the desktop, improving the user experience.
However, Microsoft has its own extension to web browsers, one that attacks IE, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome in one fell swoop – Microsoft Silverlight. Silverlight 4 is coming out in mid-2012, and adds support for data binding, enterprise networking, and printing. All of this is meant to appeal to not only bread and butter consumers but enterprise app users as well.
Furthermore, Foley says sources told her Silverlight is going to merge with the Windows Presentation Foundation programming model:
“Now that the two share the same compiled assemblies, tools and the like, that idea isn’t really so far-fetched. Until that happens, Microsoft plans to continue to offer both WPF and Silverlight, steering developers of more complex, resource-intensive applications toward WPF and Web-centric app developers toward Silverlight.”
On the other hand, Google execs have made no comment about whether Silverlight will be able to work on the Chrome OS, prompting Foley to imagine that Google sees Silverlight as “more foe than friend of the Chrome OS.”
So, what’s the point of all this? Foley believes that, despite the fact that Silverlight isn’t an OS, the Google Chrome operating system is starting to look a lot like a glorified browser. While Silverlight can run on PCs and phones in the near future, Google Chrome is “a dedicated Linux-based netbook OS that will only work with certain predesignated peripherals.”
Chrome OS may end up being more of a Silverlight competitor than a Windows one, if what Foley says is true, which should certainly dampen some predictions of its raging success.
The netbook plans cost $35 monthly with a paltry 200 megabyte monthly limit or $60 for a slightly more reasonable 5 GB limit.
While it was first rumored that Chinese netbook manufacturers would be getting their hands on the Google Chrome OS first, an early version of the operating system could be available as early as next week.
Google has stated that Chrome will initially seek to enter the netbook OS market, and that the full Chrome OS will be available for consumers by the second half of 2010. A beta as soon as next week would come completely out of left field, considering that Google likely has its hands full trying to get Google Wave out of beta. But who’s complaining?
The Chrome OS is an open source project being put together by Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, HP, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba. It’s expected to slim down boot speeds as well as other important metrics, based on Google’s explanation for the project:
“We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear—computers need to get better. People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers toboot and browsers to start up. They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them.”
If Chrome can deliver on those fronts, you can count me in, but I won’t be keeping my hopes up – I’ve had my heart broken before.
HTC CEO Peter Chou told reporters at the Taiwanese launch of the HTC HD2 that HTC is “carefully looking into [the netbook] category and how it can be part of that”, leading to torrents of speculation about what kind of machine we should look for. Chou has dropped hints about a tablet or MID before, however, so this announcement shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
The CEO noted that HTC would want to add “unique value” to the category before entering. I’ve got to agree – the netbook segment is so flooded with copycats and no-names that it can be painful to wade through it all.
HTC has delivered wireless touchscreen devices before, such as the HTC Shift.
ThinkpadToday thinks that the Thinkpad X200e netbook – to be branded the X100e, for some reason – is on its way as early as January 5th 2010, borne with the tagline “Entry level ultra portable, the first ThinkPad of its size”. We’re skeptical about netbook rumors in general, but in this case Zol has delivered some leaked photos as evidence:
While the displayed samples have a white casing, ThinkPad Today says Lenovo is going to stick with black matte for the X100e.
Specs are unknown thus far but a setup has been proposed – the 1.4 GHz Intel Centrino 2 CULV CPU with GMA 4500 MHD graphics or a 1.6 GHz AMD Athlon Neo CPU with ATI Radeon HD3410. Regardless of the main components, the Thinkpad X100e should deliver a 12.1-inch WXGA screen with 1280 x 800 pixels, 3 GB of RAM, Gobi 3G and a variety of storage options. It’s possible that Lenovo will throw in an UltraBase docking station with an integrated optical drive as well.
They’ve set our bar high, so let’s hope this thing actually happens come January.
PayPal and eBay execs gave out free netbooks today at the PayPal Innovate 2009 conference as a gesture of appreciation to all attendees.
The conference offered details about how application developers can integrate with a new PayPal platform, and emphasized that developers are PayPal’s next new set of customers (third to online merchants and cutomers).
The freebies are getting better, it seems. Steve Ballmer recently gave out copies of Windows 7 at the 7 release party. He’s notoriously anti-netbook, so it’s good to see PayPal is giving netbooks – and its customers – some attention.
Word has it there are no plans to put the prototype Samsung OLED netbook onto store shelves just yet, but Samsung is saying next year will bring OLED laptops and netbooks galore.
At today’s launch of Window’s 7, Steve Ballmer was in a good mood. After all, Microsoft’s new OS is expected be a powerful rival to the Mac OS in not only power but usability.
He revealed a number of new computers from Microsoft partners at the event, all running Windows 7, but somebody failed to make it to the party: the netbook.
Ballmer is a notorious netbook hater. For all I can tell, this has to do with the fact that netbooks killed price margins for Microsoft when users elected for Windows XP over the bloated Windows Vista, which won’t run on most machines. Even Michael Dell has been dropping snide remarks about the machines, and Apple has not even deigned to make one.
While Microsoft is only allowing netbook manufacturers to sell their machines with the crippled Windows 7 Starter, despite the fact that the machines run the full OS without isses. If you want to upgrade to Home Premium, however, you’ll need to drop another $80 bucks.
All in all, netbooks continue to be a lasting thorn in the side of big shots even as they boost PC sales and consumer satisfaction. Ce’est la vie, Ballmer!
A number of industry sources have confirmed that Google may be prepping a new Android phone and netbook combination. Northeast Securities analyst Ashok Kumar, in particular, claimed in a research note that Google’s phone will be available by the end of the year, with a netbook following suit by early 2010.
Google has, naturally, neither confirmed nor denied the report. While a number of Android phones out there are branded as being ‘with’ Google, the new device will supposedly be co-designed with Google taking a more powerful role than it has historically.
A Google Android phone will ramp up competition with Apple, from whose board Google leader Eric Schmidt resigned in order to avoid a conflict of interest following the announcement of the Chrome OS.
Shanzai.com, citing “trusted industry insider sources,” claims that we’re going to see the Google Chrome OS some time this October. This claim comes despite the fact that Google is projecting release mid-2010.
The idea of an October release is certainly appealing, especially considering that that’s when Windows 7 will be released as well. I’ll admit, an OS war would be a lot of fun, but I can’t quite get myself to drink the Kool-Aid on this one.
We’ll see who’s right by Halloween, anyhow. Expect updates as the rumor mill churns on.
The machine is a tad large for the netbook category, but HP’s marketing (Your digital world in your hands!”) suggests it may be portrayed as one when it hits the market.
The specs look pretty interesting, as you can see above. The HP Pavilion dm1 and Pavilion dv8 were also noted in the leaked materials, so expect more info on those soon.
The rumors are coming from a product listing on the website of one Asian retailer. The listing shows some pretty standard specs, such as an Intel Atom N270, 2 GB of RAM, Windows 7 and a higher-resolution screen.
ASUS isn’t likely to chime in about the legitimacy of these rumors, but October’s not far away at all. Once Windows 7 gets out the door, it should be an exciting time for netbooks, and ASUS would be foolish to have no new models ready for the upcoming holiday season.
More details as they arise.
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.