Asus’s Eee PC kick-started the netbook craze and remains the brand most associated with the category. Early iterations were praised for their low-cost Linux-based architecture, but lately Asus has ratcheted up its product line to compete with higher-end netbooks, like the HP Mini-Note 2133 (http://tinyurl.com/5lu4un). The 901 runs on Intel’s Atom architecture at 1.6GHz and has 1GB of DDR2 RAM clocked at 533MHz.
As you may or may not have heard, CES is coming up, and there will be plenty of big name vendors there. That includes MSI, who has recently announced their full 2009 lineup, which is chock-full of new goodies!
First up, their netbook announcements! Thanks to the success of the Wind U100, MSI is planning to release a U115 and U120 to compliment the previous model. The U115 sports the option of being the first netbook capable of simultaneously running an SSD and an HDD. The U120 will be the power user’s option, designed for being portable without sacrificing performance.
They’ll also be offering 16”, 19” and 22” versions of their new All-In-One Wind at CES. It’ll feature an Intel Atom processor, which will allow it to consume a fraction of the power that a 250W PC does. The All-In-One will also feature a nice 16:9 display.
Finally, the gaming notebooks will be expanded to include the (deep breath) GT725, GT727, GT627 and the GX420. Reportedly, the GT725 and GT727 are capable of breaking 10,000 3D Marks.
While unfortunately most of this information is pretty broad (thank you, press releases!) CES will provide us a great opportunity to check out these new toys and find out more about them. Who knows, with any luck we’ll be able to figure out exactly what’s under the hood and how much they’ll cost!
There aren't too many companies with the infrastructure or financial backing in place to take on Intel in the desktop processor market, nor can there be much gumption after witnessing the struggles AMD continues to go through as the sole competitor. But in the fast growing netbook sector, all bets are off. VIA's Nano chip has emerged as a viable contender with a promising multi-core future, AMD is expected to unveil a chip for ultraportables at CES, and now yet another company looks to jump in the ring with a low cost processor of its own.
Freescale Semiconductor announced on Monday a new ARM-based chip from its i.MX line the company claims will finally make sub-$200 netbooks a reality.
"We see a huge opportunity in the netbook market as consumers demand more cost-effective and higher performing solutions,” said Lisa Su, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Networking and Multimedia Group. “Our solution for netbooks will enable OEMs to develop compelling products that feature cell phone-like battery life at extremely aggressive price points."
Hit the jump to learn more about Freescales new chip.
2008 will defiantly go down in technology history as the year of the netbook. Ultra portable PC’s defied the economy and helped push sales of notebooks beyond that of desktop’s for the first time in history. Netbooks have been thoroughly reviewed here at Maximum PC (see December 2008’s issue) and it’s clear from the both the comments, and the activity in the forums that those who are holding out are doing so primarily for one of two reasons.
1.) The form factor is too small. 2.) The machines are underpowered.
Though not much can be done to address the first complaint, the second will likely become a moot point in 2009. This is the year we will start to see dual core and graphics accelerated netbooks go main stream. With the Intel Atom 330 already launched, the stakes will be raised considerably with new offerings from both VIA and AMD. As disappointing as this must be for AMD, it appears as though the VIA offering will be the strongest Intel competitor, but this may change closer to launch. The VIA 3000 family will be an X86-compatible processor based on its existing Nano 1000, and 2000 series platform. What promises to give VIA the edge over AMD however, is compatibility with the SSE4 instruction set. This will give them a substantial performance boost in many processor intensive tasks.
To be fair, little is yet known about AMD’s offering and more details are likely to be released at CES next week. What we do know is that two new processors under the code names Caspain and Consesus have been added to the company’s roadmap. We also know that despite the fact that AMD claims it has little interest in netbooks, these chips are the closest competitor to the Atom we can find from the AMD camp. One thing is certain, by late 2009 or early 2010, netbook shoppers are going to have a lot more choices. And as we all know competition will go a long way towards helping to drive down prices.
What would it take to make you consider a netbook?
Intel may have the nettop and netbook markets cornered with its Atom processor, but that could quickly change if PC manufacturers become enamored with VIA's Nano processor, which has been shown to hold its own in benchmarking next to the much more popular Atom. Giving PC makers a nudge, VIA plans to launch its next-generation Nano 3000-series CPU in the third quarter of 2009, with engineering samples being made available in Q1 2009, according to DigiTimes. The new chip will be produced under Fujitsu's 65nm manufacturing process and will be the first Nano processor to support SSE4 instructions.
Also on tap is a dual-core Nano. A previous roadmap showed the two-cored chip going into production in June 2010, which could give Intel a significant headstart should the company decide to port its existing dual-core Atom 330 CPU over to netbooks instead of just nettops. But now it appears VIA will have engineering samples available in the second half of 2009, with mass production to begin by the end of 2009 or very early 2010.
It has not yet been decided whether the dual-core Nano will use Fujitsu's 45nm manufacturing process or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC's) 40nm process. But no matter which direction VIA takes its dual-core Nano part, the company could put itself in a favorable position if it doesn't run into any delays and makes its two-core chip available for use in netbooks, which have become increasingly powerful as of late.
We still don't know what exactly Sony has up its sleeve, only that "On the 9th of January you will change the way you look at laptops. Forever." Or at least that's what the mysterious tagline read on Sony's pre-launch website before the company inexplicably took it down.
But while the countdown has been whisked away, Sony continues to tease one picture at a time. The latest shots to make it to the web show a full size keyboard like the one on the Vaio TZ, along with a track stick. Not much else is visible from the cryptic pics.
It looks like we'll have to wait for CES for the full skinny. In the meantime, we're left with speculation and leaked specs. According to preliminary reports, the notebook that will apparently knock everyone's socks off will be the smallest in Sony's lineup, likely a netbook running an Intel Atom processor. The presumed netbook will come with an 8-inch LED backlit screen with a 1600x768 resolution, and either a 60GB HDD or 128GB SDD, if reports hold true.
MSI has launched it's U1115 Hybrid netbook, which the company bills as the first notebook computer in the world capable of running both SSD and HDD drives at the same time. Combined with its 'ECO on' mode, MSI claims "the battery life of U115 Hybrid is super long." Sounds super duper.
The new netbook operates primarily with the SSD to run Windows, with the HDD being used for storage duties. With ECO on mode, the U115 Hybrid temporarily disconnects the HDD to help extend battery life, presumably offering the best of both worlds. Storage options come in 8GB/120GB (SSD/HDD) and 16GB/160GB configurations.
Outside of the hybrid drive configuation, MSI sticks closely to the standard netbook formula. Underneath the 10-inch hood sits a 1.6GHz Z530 Intel Atom processor, 1GB of DDR2-533 memory, 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth, a webcam, media card reader, and Windows XP Home.
As 2008 winds to a close, we're taking a look back at some of the year's highlights in the open-source world. And what a year it's been! Google phones and the android operating system finally saw the light. The semi-popular MMO Myst decided to go entirely open source, the genre's first "conversion." And Microsoft--yes, Microsoft--decided to embrace open-source development with one hand while chastising it with the other.
We're rounding up all of the year's top stories from every source we can get our hands on. Click the link and let's get started with 2008's top open-source news!
According to jkOnTheRun, a UK law firm representing Psion Teklogix has begun sending out cease & desist letters to various websites demanding that the sites stop using the term 'netbook.' The trademark attorney whose John Hancock appears on the letters claims that Psion retains full rights to the term based on a pair of laptops the company used to sell called the netBook and netBook Pro. In the letter, Langley says companies "inadvertently mis-using" the term have until the end of March 2009 to comply.
"Psion places significant value on its trademark registrations and your use of the term 'netbook' could damage those registrations," Peter Langley, a trademark attorney writes. "We are therefore asking you to cease use of the term 'netbook.'"
Psion may have a tough time enforcing its cease & desist order, as the company no longer sells either the netBook or netBook Pro, and the term 'netbook' has been widely adopted all across the web to describe a low power sub-notebook. Moreover, it was Intel, and not enthusiast sites, who reintroduced the term. Intel's Atom platform dominates the netbook landscape, and the chip maker even purchased the netbook.com domain, which currently redirects to Intel.com.
Do you think Psion will prevail in protecting the term netbook? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
With the release of Intel's Core i7 lineup, it appeared Intel and Nvidia might be on the path to patching up their relationship as the two finally came to terms with licensing Nvidia's SLI technology on Intel's X58 chipset. But don't call them BFFs just yet.
Nvidia recently announced plans to release its Ion platform, a low power netbook solution which would pair the company's GeForce 9400M chipset with Intel's Atom processor. According to Nvidia, users would be able to play popular games on the Ion platform, like Call of Duty 4. The only problem is Intel doesn't appear to have any intention of sharing its Atom processor with Nvidia.
According to DigiTimes, an internal statement distributed to hardware makers reiterated Intel's stance that its Atom processors would only come bundled with the chip maker's 945GSE and 945GC chipsets. The news site also claims Intel indicated it has no plans to validate the Nvidia MCP79 chipset on Atom-based platforms, nor does it plan to partner with Nvidia to support nettops or netbooks.