Packard Bell, the company owned by Acer, has just announced the launch of a new netbook, the 10 inch Dot S4. With the exception of its design, this seems to be just another standard netbook. The Dot S4 runs on the Atom N450 processor, includes 1 GB of RAM, 160GB of hard drive, a choice of 3 or 6 cell battery, and Windows 7. Other additions include Wi-Fi and a chiclet keyboard. It is not yet known how much the Dot S4 will cost or in which countries it will be available.
Packard Bell doesn’t seem like it knows what to do about netbooks. While it dropped the 8.9-inch version of its Dot netbook a few months ago it hasn’t ditched the market completely. A recent announcement forecasts two new models of the Dot in the near future: the 10.1-inch Dot S and 11.6-inch Dot M.
Previous Dot netbooks have been nothing to get excited about, and the new releases seem to be following the pattern. The machines run the traditional netbook formula: 1 GB of RAM, a 160 GB HDD, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. A slight upside are the multi-touch trackpads, and Packard Bell has also come through with an integrated webcam and 5-in-1 card reader.
The Dot S netbook should be in stores this week and the M is set for a release later this month. There’s no word on US availability just yet, but the new netbooks are expected to come in at €299 ($393) and €399 ($524) respectively.
Packard Bell is joining the frenzy of new netbooks this season, coming to the fore with its new Dot to be released this January.
As in the case of the Epson Endeavor, which we covered in our November 19th article, the new Packard Bell netbook seems aimed at competing in terms of cost and nothing else.
The Dot netbook will feature – as if we need to tell you – the 1.6GHz Intel Atom chip, 160 GB of storage, 1 GB RAM, Windows XP, and Wi-Fi. Mildly notable is its five-in-one card reader, and the fact that a 3G version should be forthcoming in the near future.
Packard Bell is not particularly well-known for avant-garde ideas but is certainly a competitor in nearly every market it joins. However, that hasn’t stopped netbook review sites from criticizing the Dot’s almost completely standard hardware and capabilities. Gizmodo, mocking the trend that netbooks have taken towards the mainstream, joked that in the future we should “look for netbooks to be fashioned from straw, beads, puff paints and other craft materials as they are hand-manufactured to raise money for local soccer teams.”
We can’t really say they’re wrong – at one point, netbooks only ran Linux, which is notoriously unfriendly to the consumer of average technological competence. Now XP is standard, with toys such as webcams and touchscreens becoming the norm. When the ASUS netbook, Wind netbook, and Mini-9 came to the market with similar statistics as the new Dot they were carving out a new market – however, by technological standards, Packard Bell is late in the game. We should be expecting better things at this point.
Regardless, there remains the possibility that the Dot will be very cheap, a factor that may be its only boon when it hits the market. We’ve got no complaints about that!
Check out Gizmodo’s review here.