Highlighting one of the benefits of using an open-source OS, Hewlett Packard has released a custom version of Ubuntu intended for netbooks, and more specifically, for the HP Mini 1000 Mi Edition. The custom OS is built around Ubuntu 8.04 and comes preloaded with the usual software suspects, plus a few more.
The main difference between Hardy Heron and HP's customized version comes down to the GUI, and it appears HP went to some length to make its OS stand out from Ubuntu. Booting up the HP Mini 1000 Mi takes users to a screen with a web search bar, a favorite websites list, and various shortcuts to music and photos on a black background. The Program Launcher separates applications into different categories, and a custom media player called HP MediaStype offers a full screen interface to scroll through your media.
Some of HP's netbooks already come preinstalled with the custom OS, but the OEM also plans to offer a utility in the coming days to turn a Windows XP HP Mini 1000 into a Mi Edition netbook.
For the many MaximumPC.com readers who wrote that two or three Windows 7 SKUs was all that Microsoft needs to offer, the news that Windows 7 will be available in six flavors (Starter, Home Basic, Enterprise, Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate) may seem like throwing gasoline on an already-raging fire. However, before you start reformatting your Windows 7 partitions, take a look at Windows GM Mike Ybarra's reasoning. Here's a bit of it:
The first change in Windows 7 was to make sure that editions of Windows 7 are a superset of one another. That is to say, as customers upgrade from one version to the next, they keep all features and functionality from the previous edition...The second change is that we have designed Windows 7 so different editions of Windows 7 can run on a very broad set of hardware, from small-notebook PCs (sometimes referred to as netbooks) to full gaming desktops...
Although Windows 7 will be available in six SKUs, most of the emphasis will be on just two. To find out which SKUs are expected to do the heavy sales lifting and how the editions differ, join us after the break.
Gizmodo's Wilson Rothman installed Windows 7 Beta on an HP TouchSmart PC over the weekend, and offers a detailed look at how multitouch works, complete with several videos. Some highlights:
If you install Windows 7 Beta on a system that's already running the manufacturer's touch software, a clean install (instead of upgrading from Windows Vista) provides a truer multitouch experience with fewer connfiguration headaches
You can use multitouch as a mouse replacement; running Windows Media Center; zooming, rotating, and drawing; and for gaming
Thought Google's Android platform was only good for smartphones? No. 1 chipmaker Intel thinks differently, says VentureBeat. Apparently Intel, who already dominates the netbook scene with its Atom processor line, will begin mass producing Android-based netbooks, which could end up on the market as early as this year.
Like everyone in the tech industry, Intel ended 2008 with a whimper, at least in terms of revenue and profits. The chip maker's net income fell 88 percent to $234 million compared to a year prior, and sales for Q4 2008 were 23 percent lower than for the same quarter in 2007. But an exploding netbook market has helped Intel weather the storm, and netbook sales don't look to be slowing down any time soon.
While Linux has been gaining popularity on the desktop front, the open-source OS has fared better on netbooks. Android, which is based on Linux, could prove to be a viable alternative to both Windows and Linux thanks to its built-in functionality, and it only looks to get more popular as more handset manufacturers begin to implement the platform. By the time Intel is expected released Android-based netbooks (2010 is the most likely scenario), Google's Android could potentially have built up a following, potentially making it more attractive to netbook buyers than Linux and less expensive than Windows-based ultraportables.
The Windows 7 beta fish surfaced to face the public for the first time on January 10th 2009. Since its release we have been both excited and terrified with what Microsoft has in store for us. A few naysayers aside, few will argue that the beta is very stable, and is an impressive offering. But is it ready for release?
Well as of February 1st 2009, 2,108 of you thought so! A fan of the Leo Laporte podcasting network took a cue from the host and decided to launch an online petition to try and convince Microsoft that Windows 7 is ready. In a recent podcast both the host Leo Laporte, and co-host Paul Thurrott commented on the petition to which their names were used as advocates, and they nervously took a step back. They both claimed to be enthusiastic about the future of Windows, but admitted that nobody wants Windows 7 to ship before its ready.
A quick scan of the comments from previous Windows 7 discussions would seem to suggest that this is likely to be a heavily debated petition. The vast majority of readers seem to be leaving positive feedback on the beta, but some incompatibilities clearly still remain.
Do you think the Windows 7 beta is good enough to launch? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
Intel, who last year showed it was really serious about netbooks when it purchased the netbook.com domain (probably much to the chagrin of Psion), just got a little bit more serious. The chip maker is working on its own netbook OS called "Moblin," which reached its first alpha release earlier this week.
Based on Linux, Moblin's alpha code is available for free to test the core Linux OS, boot processo, a new "Fastboot" feature, connectivity and networking, and more. To run it, you'll need an Intel Atom or Core 2 CPU with SSE3 instructions, integrated Intel graphics (915/945/965 - GMA-500 not supported), and one of a specific set of wired/wireless network adapters. So far, Intel said it has tested Moblin on a handful of popular netbooks, including the Acer Aspire One, Dell Mini 9, and the ever popular Asus Eee 901.
Intel did say to expect a heavy does of cosmetic changes to the UI between now and the final release, so what you see is not necessarily what you'll get. The company also warned "3D performance is known to be slow."
Learn more details and grab your download here, then hit the jump and tell us what you think about Intel making its own netbook OS.
Depending on who you ask, that's probably two or three versions too many. Unfortunately, unless Redmond changes its mind between now and Windows 7 release, it looks likely that the same "too many versions" problem that haunted Windows Vista will be back for Windows 7. There's one bit of good news, though. It looks as if an easy-to-use version of Windows Anytime Upgrade will be included in non-Ultimate releases so you can move up.
Google's Android OS was supposed to pave the way for an iPhone killer, but instead of decimating the iPhone, Android-users are instead finding their contacts being wiped out. The culprit isn't Android itself, but an Android application called MemoryUp users claim is responsible for erasing their contacts, installing adware, and even freezing their phone.
"Doesn’t work at all erased my phone numbers and froze my phone," one user complained. "Do not download. Destroyed my memory card/system delete. Then my email was spammed. TMobile can’t stop you from downloading this! So don’t!," added another user.
The app, created by Peter Liu, claims to keep Android smartphones running faster and efficiently by monitoring system use and freeing up resources when needed. But some users contend the program is nothing more than a scam. Buyer beware.
As noted by Gizmodo, Windows 7 has made quite a few tweaks to the Windows Experience Index (WEI) first introduced by Windows Vista. For those of you tuning in late, the WEI tests hardware performance of five subsystems (processor, memory, desktop graphics, 3D gaming graphics, and hard disk), calculates a score for each one, and uses the lowest subsystem score as your WEI base score.
Since just after Windows Vista shipped, users of high-performance components, especially graphics cards, have been complaining loudly about Vista's WEI top score being capped at 5.9. While the Minpaso database of Vista WEI scores calculates a "presumption score" to try to make allowances for today's faster hardware, there hasn't been an official move from Microsoft until now. The code jockeys in Redmond heard you, and the top WEI subsystem and base score in Windows 7 is 7.9.
Wondering why the top score changed, and what else is different? Join us after the jump for details.
Concerned you may have waited too long to download Microsoft's Windows 7 public beta and missed the boat? Don't be. Following a deluge of download requests that initially took out Microsoft's servers forcing the company to temporarily halt downloads, Microsoft now says it has removed the 2.5 million download limit originally put in place.
"Due to an enormous surge in demand, the download experience was not ideal so we listened and took the necessary steps to ensure a good experience," wrote Brandon LeBlanc, a Windows Communications Manager on the Windows Client Communications Team, on The Windows Blog. "We have clearly heard that many of you want to check out the Windows 7 Beta and, as a result, we have decided remove the initial 2.5 million limit on the public beta for the next two weeks (thru January 24th). During that time you will have access to the beta even if the download number exceeds the 2.5 million unit limit."
Microsoft hasn't said how many users have already downloaded Windows 7, but according to Net Applications, IE8 beta 2, which is included in Windows 7 beta, spiked from .82 percent on Friday to .98 percent on Saturday, and then 1.01 percent on Sunday, setting a new record level for the browser.
If you haven't already, you can download the Windows 7 beta here.