Asustek’s $200 Eee PC X101 might not be enough to prevent MeeGo from withering on the vine, but it’s a lot better than nothing at all. If you are one of those few tech conservationists considering rescuing this endangered species of mobile OS, it’s time for some action. The 10-inch MeeGo netbook is now up for pre-order from a couple of e-tailers in the States, with a third online retailer even listing it as being in stock. Hit the jump for specs.
This really isn't much of a surprise as the SoC is expected to hit the market in early 2011. The intial product will feature an Atom Z670 processor and SM35 chipset. The tablet-centric SoC will support MeeGo, Android and Windows 7. But as you'd expect, vendors opting for Windows will end up paying a lot more compared to those opting for MeeGo or Android. As per the report, the Oak Trail-MeeGo combo will cost $25.
Hazy mobile plans notwithstanding, the chip maker has signed up for the MeeGO mobile operating system project. It will be lending its engineering expertise to the open source Linux-based OS project, which already includes the likes of Intel, Nokia and the Linux Foundation as its backers.
“MeeGo represents an exciting, open-source mobile operating system we expect to be adopted by mobile and embedded device makers over time,” said Ben Bar-Haim, corporate vice president, software development, AMD. “We are glad to provide engineering resources to joint industry efforts like MeeGo and expect that this operating system will help drive our embedded plans and create expanded market opportunities for our forthcoming Accelerated Processing Units.”
What originally was shaping up to be a busy summer with handheld tablet releases from all directions is quickly turning into an iPad-only affair. HP recently pulled its Windows 7-based Slate off the table, perhaps because the OEM is now more interested in webOS following its acquisition of Palm, and Microsoft put a fork in its Courier project. So who's left standing?
MSI, for one. According to a DigiTimes report, MSI will be on hand at this year's Computex convention to show off its Slatebook, a handheld tablet PC built around Intel's mobile internet device (MID) platform. Those in the know claim the Slatebook will sport the latest Intel Atom Zxx processor, a 10-inch display, built-in 3G and Wi-Fi modules, and Windows 7, all at a sub-$500 price point.
Perhaps a bit more interesting, MSI is also apparently considering a tablet based on Nvidia's Tegra 2 platform (pictured below), which would lend itself a bit more gaming prowess than the upcoming crop of strictly Atom-based devices. However, MSI wants to get a feel for the market reception for its Slatebook before moving on to bigger and better things in the tablet space.
Google's cloud-based Chrome OS is scheduled for a year-end release, with the first devices based on the platform slated to arrive early next year. The fact that it will be rooted in the cloud should restrict its use to casual computing devices like netbooks and tablets. But what will Chrome devices cost?
Well, according to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, about as much as any reasonably priced netbook currently on the market. He said at the Atmosphere Cloud Computing forum that Chrome devices should cost anywhere between $300-400, while making it clear Google will have no say in setting the price of such products.
"Those prices are completely determined, by the way, by the costs of the glass, the costs of the processor and things like that, but in our case Chrome OS and Android are free so there is no software tax associated with all of this,” he said.
Samsung is trying to maneuver itself into a position of prominence in emerging device segments. After having announced plans to enter the increasingly crowded e-reader market this spring, it now plans to lend to the bustle in another burgeoning segment: the tablet/slate PC market.
According to an APC Magazine report, which quotes a high-ranking executive, Samsung will enter the tablet market in the second half of 2010. Philip Newton, the director of Samsung Australia’s IT division, told the magazine that the new tablet will be a consumer product unlike its Q1 UMPC, “a very niche product for a vertical market.”
You are not alone feeling underwhelmed by the iPad, especially given the hype it has generated. Newton made no attempts to smother his disliking for the hype surrounding the iPad, which he dubbed "a glorified MID (mobile Internet device)."
“I do feel that that slate-type platform has legs but I think the legs need to be far more powerful, for example an Atom-based product which has far greater flexibility, not to mention inputs and outputs. This has more potential than an iPad,” Newton told the APC Magazine. Going by Newton's comments, Samsung's perception of a tablet is that of a second computer rather than just a fun device that ships with ephemeral joy.
Aigo, which translates to patriot, says it will produce a device sometime in 2010. When, exactly, aigo doesn’t say. Nor does it say what size the tablet will be, or what type of hardware it will run on. The only hint given is that the aigopad will likely be Android-based.
Aigo already has a recognized presence in the MID marketplace, with devices such as the N500 Maemo MID, so a tablet PC is not that much of a stretch. Whether it will offer any serious competition to Apple, Panasonic, or, as rumored, Google, remains to be seen.
If you have a smartphone, there’s probably at least one thing missing from it. Any idea what that might be? If you answered a clunky desktop operating system experience, you are apparently correct. The long rumored xpPhone seems to be one step closer to reality now that it has a price. According to the phone’s maker, ITG, the price is expected to be 3000-4500 Chinese RMB, depending on options. That’s about $400-650 in the US.
Overall, the price isn’t outlandish. Many unlocked smartphones sell for similar prices. The xpPhone is no ordinary phone though. In fact, it’s like something straight out of Intel’s fantasies where MIDs actually took off. First off, it is massive, packing a 4.8-inch LCD display. There’s support for multiple 3G bands, a USB port, VGA-out, and even a tiny trackpad on the keyboard.
There will apparently be custom phone software on the device, making its essential functions a bit more usable. We are still less than convinced that running a full version of XP on something of this form factor is a good idea. Still though, there will be plenty of time to judge it when, and if it comes out.
The upcoming xpPhone from ITG is, as the name suggests, running the Windows XP operating system. You may be thinking, “Why would anyone want a phone based on Windows XP?” Well, it’s probably going to be fast thanks to some sort of “AMD Super Mobile CPU”, and it has a massive 4.8-inch touchscreen. Most people probably don’t want to carry a phone that weighs almost a pound no matter how fast it is, but some will.
The xpPhone promises netbook-like specs including the aforementioned AMD CPU, 512 MB RAM, a USB port, full QWERTY keyboard, and up to 120 GB of hard drive storage. The phone will be available with GSM frequencies for three carriers: AT&T, Vodaphone, and Orange. A custom unified phone interface will be built into the device that allows the user to make calls and access applications.
No one has actually used the unit, so it is possible that the phone isn’t all that fast by computer standards. Would anything that makes a computer easy to use even transfer to this form factor? MIDs worked out so well, right? We’ll have to wait and see. No pricing or availability has been announced..
The MID, which reportedly runs Android 2.0 and features a 5-inch touchscreen, likes to be addressed as the Dell Streak. All that is known at this moment is that the Streak features a 5MP camera with dual LED flash, WiFi/Bluetooth/3G connectivity, a microSD slot, and a 1,300mAh battery.