Today Toshiba's taking the wraps off its new netbook. That's right, the same people who brought you the original ultra-portable, the Libretto, are rolling out their first sub-$400 netbook! We got our hands on a pre-production sample of the NB200-series netbooks.
Toshiba sat out the first generation of netbooks, so they could address shortcomings with the genre, and at first glance the NB205 seems to make good on that. The main typing keys are full-size and use a chiclet-style design. When paired with Toshiba's standard-sized touchpad (the largest we've seen on a netbook to date), this is an extremely comfortable laptop for typing. Toshiba claims 9.5 hours of battery life (we haven't tested yet, but we'd expect 6ish hours in a real-world scenario).
The sharp and steady decline in PC chip shipments in recent times can be likened to a tailspin. Market research firm IDC has published its appraisal of PC chip shipments in the first quarter of 2009. PC chip shipments are still in a nosedive per IDC, though the pace of their descent has decreased considerably.
Intel shipped 33 percent less Atom processors during the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2008. The decline in Atom shipments isn’t entirely surprising as suppliers have amassed a huge stockpile of Atom processors.
The first quarter bought some relief for AMD as its market share improved by 4.6% to reach 22.3 percent. AMD improved its standing in both the PC and mobile markets at the expense of Intel, which had its market share trimmed down to 77.3 percent from 82 percent in the previous quarter.
MSI has been pretty active on the ultra portable PC front, and seems eager to pioneer in an otherwise uninspiring category of computers. After launching the first hybrid storage netbooks a few weeks back, they are now set to debut the first dual core Atom 330 enabled HTPC. The new MSI NetTop D130 will sport 2GB of DDR2 memory and comes standard with a built in DVD burner and 7.1 channel surround sound.
MSI is marketing this as an alternative to stand alone DVD players and are quick to emphasize how easy it is to hook up to modern LCD or Plasma displays. With a peek power consumption of around 35w, it’s defiantly an appealing package. We will have to hold out on passing a verdict however until we see a price and get to play with one in the lab. Currently it is expected to retail in the $200-$300 dollar range but unfortunately MSI has not finalized the pricing.
For the most part, the Lenovo IdeaPad S10 is your standard netbook. It’s small, lightweight, and sturdy and runs on Intel’s Atom platform. We like that our review unit shipped with a 160GB 5,400rpm hard drive—as opposed to the small budget SSDs found in some netbooks. We also like the S10’s sturdy hinge, bright matte screen, and decent-size keyboard. It’s not the roomiest keyboard we’ve ever seen on a netbook; it’s bigger than the Asus Eee 901’s cramped quarters, but slightly smaller than those found on the MSI Wind or Acer Aspire One.
Nova Mobile Systems has brought its new extra durable UMPC SideArm 2, which succeeds its sturdy Sidearm UMPC, to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. As is the case with most UMPCs, Nova’s SideArm 2 to is equipped with an Intel Atom. The UMPC has a 7” touch screen and weighs less than 2 pounds. However, the weight goes up to a shade less than 2.5 pounds if the user opts for the 10+ hour battery option.
Consumers will be able to choose between a SSD with up to 64GB storage capacity and a HDD with a maximum of 120GB space. Its connectivity features include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and 3G. SideArm has many variants aimed at different set of users and supports Windows Vista/XP and Linux. The company is heavily plugging the rugged nature of the UMPC, which comes with a rotating hand strap and has been drop tested to 4 feet.
MSI has been moving into the notebook market in a big way over the past few years, with forays into business and gaming notebooks, and, this summer, netbooks, with the Wind U100. We have to say, we’re impressed.
In many ways, the Acer Aspire One is like the little sibling of MSI’s Wind. Besides sporting the same Intel Atom N270 processor running at 1.6GHz, 1GB of RAM, and Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics, the two netbooks share a similar look and feel.
While Intel’s Atom processor is meant for low-power demand machines, such as netbooks, it’s found a new use with a not-so-likely candidate – a supercomputer.
Silicon Graphics (SGI) has started exhibiting a new concept for a supercomputer that could pack almost 10,000 Intel Atom processors into one rack. SGI is planning to name it the Molecule.
The Molecule could reportedly offer the horsepower and memory bandwidth of more than 750 high-end desktop PCs, and consume only half the power. It would also occupy a meager 1.4 percent of the physical space.
At times it is easy to forget that Intel Atom is not the only power-efficient processor aimed at the netbook segment. Incase you had forgotten, Via is also vying for the same market segment. Only a couple of weeks after Via received a big order for Nano processors from HP, it has announced that leading Chinese PC OEM Tsinghua Tongfang is going to deploy the VIA C7-M processor in its S1 mini-notebook.
The S1 features a 1.6 GHz VIA C7-M processor, 1GB memory and an 80GB hard disk drive. With its weight of 1.2kg, the S1 is certainly a little bulky for its stripe. It has a rather convenient 10.2” screen and runs Windows Vista Home Basic – quite audacious to even attempt Vista on a netbook. Its Chinese price translates to $583. With Intel struggling to meet the staggering demand for Atom, the door is ajar for Via.
This means that the Asus Eee PC 2G, 4G, 900, 900A, 904HD and 1000HD models are going to feature Celeron M processors. However, it needs to be mentioned that some of the above models already employ Celeron processors. By using the cheaper Celeron M processors Asus also intends to keep costs low. According to PC World, Intel expects to catch up with demand by Q3 2008.