Sony on Wednesday announced its new VAIO X ultraportable laptop during the IFA 2009 expo in Berlin, Germany. The 11.2-inch ultrathin lappy bests Apple's MacBook Air in portability by measuring just 0.55-inches thick compared to the MacBook's 0.76-inch frame.
Official specs are still being finalized, though the one being shown off at the expo boasted an Intel Atom processor. Sony says its ultrathin will come with built-in 3G wireless and a new all-day battery that "will set the new standard for stamina," which supports the notion that the final version will come with an Atom chip inside.
Other details are few and far between. It has a carbon fiber chassis and weighs about 1.5 pounds, but other than that, there isn't much else to go on, including price and availability.
Consumers aren't the only ones anxiously awaiting the release of Windows 7; OEMs are planning ahead as well. Anticipating a sharp rise in demand, HP has an ordered about 3.3 million notebooks from Taiwan's top-four ODMs last month, representing an increase of 15 percent on month. In September, that number number is expected to climb even higher and settle on 3.5 million units, industry sources say.
Meanwhile, Acer also anticipates a flurry of sales once Windows 7 is made available starting October 22, 2009. Those same sources indicate Acer has a real shot at becoming the leader in the notebook market this fall, with shipments possibly topping 3.6 million units. This also includes ultra-thin notebooks and netbooks, two areas Acer has been particularly popular in.
If Acer manages to ship nine million notebooks in the third quarter, it will have closed the gap with HP to only 200,000 units.
Mobile road warriors looking to squeeze the most performance possible out of their notebooks can plop a pair of high octane SSDs into the chassis and empty their Paypal account in the process, or choose from a growing number of high performance, 7200 RPM hard drives in 2.5-inch form. Enter Hitachi, who today started shipping its fifth-generation 7200 RPM mobile hard disk: Hitachi Travelstar 7k500.
"Portable PC shipment growth continues to be one of the most significant market drivers underpinning 2.5-inch disk drive demand, and is a major reason why IDC expects the 2.5-inch mobile HDD market will grow at a 16.8 percent 2008-2013 compound annual growth rate," said John Rydning, research director for hard disk drives at IDC.
Over its predecessor, Hitachi claims the 7k500 supercharges performance up to 16 percent while offering up to 56 percent more capacity. On the energy efficiency front, the 7k500 draws just 0.69W at idle and 1.8W during read and write operations, Hitachi says.
The new series in available in 120GB, 160GB, 250GB, and 500GB capacities and is shipping to top tier OEMs now.
In exactly one week from now, Asus will launch a pair of new ultra-thin notebooks built around Intel's upcoming 45nm Celeron 743 and SU2300 processors, according to the latest web chatter. The ultra-thins will ship first to Taiwan, China, and Europe before making their way to the U.S.
According to Asus president Jerry Shen, his company plans to aggressively pursue the ultra-thin market and says these types of portable PCs will account for 10 to 20 percent of Asus' total notebook shipments in the third quarter of 2009. And while there's no word yet on how much the two upcoming models will run, both will target the entry-level market with the Celeron 743 and SU3200 CPUs running just $107 and $134, respectively.
In related news, MSI is also expected to announce new ultra-thin laptops very soon, though details remain sparse.
Once you've rocked out with dual screens on your desktop, you'll wonder how you ever managed to do anything with but a single display. If you find yourself in that category, you should probably stop reading, lest you suddenly feel hobbled by your notebook.
Coming soon, Alaska-based gScreen will release a dual 15.4-inch screen laptop dubbed the Spacebook. Aimed at professional designers, gScreen also has dual 16-inch and 17-inch models on tap, all of which sport full sized screens for the secondary display.
"We designed this knowing that many may not need the extra screen at all times," company founder Gordon Stewart told Gizmodo.
To address this, the secondary display will feature a sliding mechanism so you can tuck it away when not in use. Of course, the obvious downsides to having a twin-display notebook are weight (think 12 pounds or more) and battery life, so ti will be interesting to see how gScreen tackles these potential roadblocks.
Stewart says he's trying to keep the price under $3,000 and hopes to have the Spacebook for sale through Amazon.com by December of this year.
Thanks to some intrepid reporting by our friends over at Gizmodo, we can finally see just what the rumored gScreen Spacebook will bring to the table.
The gScreen, which has been created by Gordon Stewart and his Alaska-based cronies, will offer about 30-inches of screen space when you’ve got both screens active, and is aimed at professional designers, filmmakers, photographers and others that hunger for screen real estate.
These beasts will run Windows 7 and will be powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo processor. It’ll also pack 4GB of RAM, a high-end Nvidia GF900M GT discrete GPU and a (planned) 7,200 RPM HDD.
No word yet on an official price, but Gordon hopes that he can keep it under $3,000 and they plan to have it sell on Amazon by December.
Rumored no more, Nokia today finally confirmed plans to release a netbook, or a mini-laptop if you'd prefer to call it that. As for Nokia, it's calling the portable PC the Nokia Booklet 3G.
The Booklet 3G weighs less than 3 pounds (1.25kg) and measures just over 2cm. It boasts a 10-inch glass HD ready display, an Intel Atom processor, built-in A-GPS (works with Ovi Maps), WiFi, an HDMI port, and an SD card reader. But the biggest spec might be the claimed 12 hour battery.
"Nokia has a long and rich heritage in mobility and with the outstanding battery life, premium design, and all day, always on connectivity, we will create something quite compelling," Nokia wrote in a press release. "In doing so, we will make the personal computer more social, more helpful, and more personal."
Nokia said it will unveil other details, including detailed specifications, availability, and price at Nokia World on September 2, 2009.
As the back to school shopping season kicks into high gear, look for OEMs to push PCs with product bundles and all kinds of enticing offers. For Apple, that might mean once again bundling an iPod with the purchase of a new Mac or MacBook, but that might not be enough. According to a new study by consumer electronics site Retrovo, college-bound students are less willing than ever to pay the so-called "Apple Tax" by purchasing a pricier Mac.
"While Apple has done well historically in the education market, 2009 marks the dawn of the netbook," says Vipin Jain, Retrevo CEO. "Students told us they wanted longer battery life, smaller size, and a lighter laptop. 58 percent of them plan on spending less than $750. Only 18 percent have a budget over $1,000."
It also isn't helping Apple's cause that "retailers are working overtime to attract students," such as Wal-Mart expanding its laptop selection by 40 percent and partnering with HP to make a sub-$300 Compaq Presario.
But take the survey with a grain of salt. While respondents were selected from a random sampling of Retrevo's 4 million monthly visitors, the sample size was only 300.
MSI's upcoming X-Slim X610 notebook has been leaked to the Web, and along with it, a few detailed specs courtesy of Russian site 3DNews.
According to the Russian review site, the X-Slim 610 ditches the Intel Core 2 Solo SU3500 processor found in the X-Slim 600 and instead rolls with AMD's 1.6GHz Athlon MV-40 processor. Not only did performance take a hit as a result of the CPU swap, but the site says battery life was also sacrificed, noting less than two hours of runtime under a heavy load.
Otherwise, the X-610 Slim retains the same 15.6-inch display as MSI's previous version and includes ATI's Mobility Radeon 4330 graphics, a 250GB hard drive, and 4GB of RAM.
No word yet on price or availability, though we imagine it will sell for less than the X-600, which checks in at $800.
If you’ve got a Lenovo laptop with a battery that’s providing sub-par performance, you just might be eligible for a free replacement.
The batteries in question don’t present any fire or safety hazard, so there’s no reason to worry about your health – the folks at Lenovo are simply looking to make nice. “Irreparable damage” and “battery cannot be charged” error messages from the Power Manager or Message Center are the main indicators that you have a bad battery.
If you’re not sure, but you have a ThinkPad R60, R61, T60 or T61 with battery FRU part numbers 42T4546, 42T4566 or 92P1141, and/or a model X60 or X61, with battery part numbers 42T4550, 42T4567, 42T4568, 92P1169, 92P1173, 93P5028 or 93P5030, it’s suggested that you should run the Battery Diagnostic Tool (available here), to find out if you need to swap it out