Sony's latest VAIO P sports an accelerometer, optical trackpad, GPS and PS3 Remote Play

By on May 10, 2010 at 8:35 AM.

Sony's latest VAIO P sports an accelerometer, optical trackpad, GPS and PS3 Remote Play

new-sony-vaio-p

Some might argue it’s a case of too little, too late, but Sony looks to have a pretty darn good “don’t call it a netbook” netbook on its hands with its much-needed and long-rumored upgrade to the VAIO P. Featuring a “new design for two-handed operation while standing or walking”, the refreshed VAIO P has a built in optical trackpad to the right of the 8″ 1600×768 display which neighbors the left/right mouse click buttons on the left. Thrown in for good measure is an an accelerometer which allows you to shake and flick your way around the internet, Everywair 3G, GPS, digital compass and support for PS3 Remote Play (provided you’re running firmware 3.30 and up). Running Windows 7 Home Premium with an optional upgrade to Professional, the entry-level model features an Intel Atom Z530 clocking in at 1.6 GHz while the top-of-the-line model packs an Atom Z560 at 2.13 GHz. RAM tops out at 2GB, and you have your choice of either a 64, 128, or 256GB SSD. The new VAIO P starts at $799.

Catch the PR after the break. More →

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Microsoft lifts Windows 7 netbook restrictions

By on September 28, 2009 at 2:47 PM.

Microsoft lifts Windows 7 netbook restrictions

netbook-win7

Back in May, blogs across the Web erupted when word of Microsoft’s planned maximum specs for Windows 7 Starter Edition emerged. To recap, Microsoft had decided to limit the specs for netbooks on which OEMs could pre-install Windows 7 Starter Edition. The move would, in theory, help ensure beefier (and pricier) editions of Win7 got enough attention. Fast forward to today however, and it appears as though Redmond had a change of heart — not only where maximum specs are concerned, but also with the long-reported three app limit. A Microsoft UK spokesperson had this to say:

OEMs and ODMs have the choice to install any version of Windows on a netbook. Starter is an entry version and doesn’t have many of the consumer or business features. The three application limit isn’t there anymore.

The bottom line is that it’s now up to the user to decide which is more important: the attractive price of 7 Starter Edition or the fanned out functionality of pricier versions. You know — the way it should be. Good show, Microsoft.

Thanks, Roger!

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Supposed ASUS Eee PC US roadmap for 2H 2009 leaks

By on August 31, 2009 at 5:55 PM.

Supposed ASUS Eee PC US roadmap for 2H 2009 leaks

Netbook fans may be pleasantly surprised today — or perhaps disappointed — as a purported roadmap for ASUS’ US Eee PC offerings is currently making the rounds. Allegedly depicting the Eee PC launch schedule for the remainder of the year, this roadmap doesn’t offer too much in the way of excitement but at least those in need of a new netbook can get an idea of what ASUS will have to offer in the coming months. If it’s real, that is. Hit the jump for the details.

Thanks, Al-B!

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Google announces Chrome OS

By on July 8, 2009 at 7:45 AM.

Google announces Chrome OS

It all started with a browser (well, actually it started as search but you know what we mean). After growing out of web pages and applications, Google created the Chrome browser and now the behemoth is leaping beyond that and getting into the computer OS game. Naturally, the search giant’s new cloud-friendly OS is going to be open source and will run on x86 and ARM chips. Google has decided to get its feet wet by targeting the netbook market first, then more capable computers later. The new operating system is intended to be lightweight so that it starts up quickly and you can get going without having to wait too long for items to load up and other processes to run. We’ll see if this new venture becomes a success, and if you’re wondering what will become of Android, Google has this to say:

Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android. Android was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of devices from phones to set-top boxes to netbooks. Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems. While there are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, we believe choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google.

With the meticulous nature of Google, we can expect this to be a top-notch operating system but sometimes data-driven features don’t always make for the best user experiences. Let us also not forget that the Chrome browser, though still in its infancy, fell short of many expectations. We’ve still got plenty of time before Chrome OS materializes so we doubt Redmond and Cupertino are shaking in their boots just yet. Anyone excited?

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Nokia / Intel announcement to lead to netbooks in Q3?

By on June 24, 2009 at 9:20 AM.

Nokia / Intel announcement to lead to netbooks in Q3?

Just one short day after Nokia and Intel bestowed a great non-announcement upon us all, rumors are already flying. Bloomberg, citing the hit-or-miss Commercial Times as its sourceless source, suggests this morning that Nokia has placed orders with both Quanta Computer Inc. and Compal Electronics Inc. for netbooks/smartbooks.

June 24 (Bloomberg) – Nokia Oyj ordered netbook computers from Quanta Computer Inc. and Compal Electronics Inc., the Commercial Times reported, without saying where it got the information.

The Quanta netbook will use Intel Corp.’s Atom chip and will go on sale in the third quarter at the earliest, the Taipei-based, Chinese-language newspaper said.

Compal will make the so-called smartbook computer for Nokia using Qualcomm (NSDQ: QCOM) Inc.’s Snapdragon chip, the newspaper said.

Nokia is the world’s biggest mobile phone maker. Taiwan-based Quanta and Compal are the world’s two biggest makers of laptop computers.

An Atom-based Nokia netbook in Q3? A Snapdragon-based smartbook? Sounds nice. If these rumors do have any credence, perhaps the latter will materialize as a Snapdragon-powered Internet Tablet as opposed to a “smartbook”. Enter wait-and-see mode… Now.

[Via IntoMobile]

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Maximum specs for Windows 7 Starter Edition revealed

By on May 24, 2009 at 3:12 PM.

Maximum specs for Windows 7 Starter Edition revealed

In an age where lightweight, undersized netbooks are all the rage, Microsoft is most definitely wise to manufacturers’ game. That game, of course, is to keep netbook pricing as low as possible while slowly but surely raising the bar where specs are concerned. One of the many ways manufacturers can keep netbook pricing down is by taking advantage of a cheaper edition of Microsoft’s OS, which means less revenue for Redmond. As such, Microsoft instates a set of maximum specifications a PC must not exceed in order to offer its base OS. Above to the right, you’ll find said maximum specs for Windows 7 Starter Edition. As compared to XP/Vista’s max specs, we can see that processor speed has been doubled and 90GB has been tacked on where HDD space is concerned. Nice. On the flip side of the coin, max display size has been cut from 12.1 inches to 10.2 inches. Not so nice. In the end we’re certainly left with a pretty capable netbook but if you’ll be looking for a netbook that raises the bar without breaking the bank in the near future, it probably won’t be running Win 7.

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Verizon HP Mini 1151NR netbook set to launch on May 17th

By on May 9, 2009 at 6:40 PM.

Verizon HP Mini 1151NR netbook set to launch on May 17th

We’ve just received firm confirmation that Verizon Wireless’ first netbook offering  — the HP Mini 1151NR — is currently starting to touch down in stores across the country. We first scooped it in February and then confirmed the model in March so the only thing left to tell you, of course, is the launch date. Mark it down in your calendars folks: May 17th via all channels; the same day Verizon’s MiFi personal hotspot drops. Pricing isn’t yet appearing in Big Red’s system but we’re hearing it will be $199 with a 2-year contract after MIR. Of course some people will jump right into complaining and adding up monthly fees ($40 or $60/month), saying that this isn’t a good deal. It’s true — you’ll end up spending between $960 and $1,440 over your 2-year contract period for data access. To those people, we suggest buying a comparable netbook with an integrated data card ($450ish) or a comparable data-less netbook ($300ish) and a USB modem/data card off contract ($250ish). Then pay, yeah, $40 or $60 every month for data anyway.

Thanks, krazyVZW!

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Nokia is bullish on touchscreens; new devices rumored

By on April 9, 2009 at 4:34 PM.

Nokia is bullish on touchscreens; new devices rumored

Holy rumor avalanche. Subscribing to the buckshot method as opposed to the bullet method, TheStreet has just tossed out a whole mess of Nokia rumors to ensure that at least a one or two of them hit. Let’s start at the top… Despite a stunning lack of interest throughout the lifespan of Nokia’s internet tablet line, Nokia is apparently working on yet another IT effort. Supposedly due for release before Christmas, reported specs are confined to a 4.2-inch touchscreen display and a slide out keyboard. Well, at least it’s a safe bet. Next up is a device dubbed “project Nautilus”, due out around mid to late 2010, which features a very slim touchscreen and a sensor-driven slide out QWERTY. According to the report, an ultra-thin keypad slides out from within the device when triggered by a sensor and the keys automatically rise for easier typing. Right then, moving on. A trio of new Nokia touchscreen handsets are seemingly slated for Fall 2009 featuring VibeTonz haptic feedback technology courtesy of Immersion. Very plausible — and we reeeeally hope one of them is the Aeon, wink wink. Last but certainly not least, TheStreet reaffirms that Nokia’s netbook market entrance is a done deal and it will partner with Foxconn to make it happen. Fair enough.

Thanks, Marcel!

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Samsung announces N310 “premium netbook”

By on March 23, 2009 at 8:01 AM.

Samsung announces N310 “premium netbook”

When Dell first revealed to the world it would be introducing a premium laptop line dubbed Adamo, we had pretty high expectations. Metal cases, lightning-fast processors supported by gobs of RAM and so on. When the announcement of Dell’s first Adamo laptop finally came, we have to say we were a bit underwhelmed — the premium price tag and fantastic build both are there, but the specs are basically on par with a laptop circa 2002. Next up, Samsung’s new “premium netbook” announced this morning. Gearing up for a global release including North America, the N310 weighs in at just 2.71 pounds and sports an Intel Atom processor of unknown speed. Notables include a 10.1-inch LCD display, 160GB hard drive, 5 hours of battery life, integrated 802.11b/g and Bluetooth with optional HSPA and WiBro, 1.3 megapixel webcam, three USB ports and a case design that only a mother could love. Yep… Sounds like a netbook. So this leads us to the question, has the term “premium” completely lost its meaning in the tech world as it has elsewhere? Perhaps it’s just another marketing term now as it is within other industries. We just hope Samsung doesn’t announce the freshly-leaked U490 as the “Trance Premium”.

[Via I4U]

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Dell Inspiron Mini 10 netbook now available to order, officially

By on February 26, 2009 at 9:31 AM.

Dell Inspiron Mini 10 netbook now available to order, officially

After a rocky start that is becoming increasingly common for the company, Dell has now officially made its new Mini 10 netbook available for order. The snazzy little netbook first appeared on the site for pre-order a few days ago, then it became available for order, then the pricing changed a few times, etc. All of the wrinkles have seemingly been ironed out now however, and Dell’s newest Mini is available at the proper (and reasonable) starting price of $399. So what does $399 get you?

  • 1.33GHz Intel Atom processor, 533 MHz FSB, 512K cache
  • Windows XP Home SP3
  • 10.1-inch anti-glare display (1024 x 576)
  • 160 GB 5400 rpm SATA HDD
  • 1 GB DDR2 SDRAM
  • Wireless 802.11g (1397) Mini Card
  • Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 500 video card
  • 24WHr Lithium-Ion Battery (3-cell)

In a move pretty uncharacteristic of Dell, customization options on the Mini 10 are limited at best. You’ve got a bunch of colors and the option to bump up to a 1.6GHz processor for $50 but beyond that, it is what it is. There is no option for a bigger hard drive or an SSD, no Linux option and perhaps most importantly, no option to toss in more RAM. Remember, word on the street is that there will be no way to add more RAM yourself so tread with caution. Supposedly Dell will be adding a bunch of options later this year (more RAM, Ubuntu, Vista, more hard drives, Bluetooth, GPS, WWAN and a TV tuner) so the early adopter tax is super high – but no where near as high as with the crazies who actually paid the $560 QVC price. Anyone thinking about scooping one up despite all that?

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Launch details for T-Mobile’s first USB modem emerge

By on February 22, 2009 at 11:39 AM.

Launch details for T-Mobile’s first USB modem emerge

While several other North American carriers are tossing around tales of LTE development and blazing 4G speeds, T-Mobile looks to be preparing its first entry into the realm of 3G USB modems. No matter though, T-Mobile’s 3G network is so young we’d probably fall off our seats if the company started talking about 4G beyond the stock “yeah, we’re working on it” it already handed out last year. According to a purported screen shot of T-Mobile’s internal system, the webConnect USB Laptop Stick will finally see the light of day on March 25th. It will be rated perfectly in line with AT&T and Verizon, running $59.99 per month for 3G, EDGE and HotSpot connectivity with a cellular data cap set at 5 GB. T-Mobile’s software will automatically choose the best available network on the fly which is nice, but if you move around a lot expect to be using one of the latter in most areas. The last caveat is that these modems will only be available to customers already holding a T-Mobile account. We would hardly consider that a big deal of course — if you’re using another carrier for cell service are you really going to opt for a younger, much smaller data network when choosing a USB stick? We love us some T-Mobile, but it still has a long way to go before its 3G network can compete.

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Apple debunks iPhone nano rumor, disses netbooks and defends its technology

By on January 22, 2009 at 10:42 AM.

Apple debunks iPhone nano rumor, disses netbooks and defends its technology

Apple

Amongst all the financial details being discussed during Apple’s first quarter 2009 earnings conference call, acting CEO Tim Cook fielded questions on iPhone pricing, the netbook market and Apple’s ability to sustain its leadership in a crowded mobile phone market. First and foremost, Cook dismissed the idea of a low cost iPhone nano by stating,

“You know us, we’re not going to play in the low-end voice phone business. That’s not who we are. That’s not why we’re here. We’ll let somebody do that, our goal is not to be the unit share leader in the phone industry. It is to build the best phone.”

So it looks like those iPhone nano rumors could be just that, rumors – though some of his comments were certainly open to interpretation. Cook was also questioned about the future possibility of a Mac netbook. When asked about the sub-$500 netbook market, Cook responded,

“We’re watching that space, but right now from our point of view, the products in there are principally based on hardware that’s much less powerful than we think customers want, software technology that is not good, cramped keyboards, small displays. We don’t think people will be pleased with those products. It’s a category we watch, we’ve got some ideas here, but right now we think the products are inferior and will not provide an experience to customers they’re happy with.”

Those are some scathing comments about netbooks so we can apparently assume that a Mac netbook is definitely not in the works. Last but not least, Cook was asked about Apple’s ability to remain the market leader with the iPhone in light of increased competition from Android, Windows Mobile and the Palm Pre. Hit the jump to see what Apple has to say about its competition.

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Notebook sales reportedly pass desktop sales ahead of predictions

By on December 25, 2008 at 11:07 AM.

Notebook sales reportedly pass desktop sales ahead of predictions

Market research firm iSuppli has just released data that points to a pretty major coup for portable computing. The firm is now reporting that laptop sales in Q3 2008 rose an astonishing 40 percent year-to-year, to 38.6 million units. Desktop sales on the other hand, fell to 38.5 million according to the firm’s numbers – a 1.3 percent drop off from Q3 2007. Analysts had predicted for quite some time that the changeover would take place in 2011 but it makes plenty of sense that 2008 was the year. Netbooks continue to have a huge impact on the consumer market, essentially offering users a notebook PC for the price of a desktop PC. As far as the enterprise market is concerned, notebook sales continue to grow because, well, businesses never want their employees to stop working. In terms of the split, HP is still leading the pack with 18.8 percent of the notebook market, followed by Dell (13.9 percent) and Acer (12.2 percent). Lenovo and Toshiba close out the top five with 7.5 and 4.6 percent respectively. Interestingly, Apple lost some of its notebook market share according to iSuppli’s data, slipping to 3.2 percent. iSuppli’s Peter Lin is quoted as saying, “When its competitors grow faster, it will lose market share. So I think the main reason [for the lost ground] is Apple has not provided a netbook yet.” While Apple’s refreshed MacBook line will have undoubtedly helped the company regain ground in Q4 2008, it looks like Cupertino might want to take another look at netbooks if it wants to become a major player in the laptop game.

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