NetBook News and Updates

Foma powered Eee PC 1003HAG launching soon in Japan

Asus will start selling from 16th May, a new Eee PC, the 1003HAG, in Japan. The model features:

  • a 3G WAN Module to be used with NTT DoCoMo Data network
  • 160 GB HDD
  • 1GB RAM
  • Intel Atom N280 processor
  • Wifi
  • Webcam, and other usual Eee PC features

However it comes with a price tag of 550€, which is quite expensive price for a netbook.

[ASUS]

Global netbook shipments to reach 50 million units in 2010

Global notebook shipments will reach approximately 200 million in 2010. According to Acer chairman, JT Wang, nebtooks will account for 25% or 50 million of total netbook sales.

As the netbooks get more powerful everyday, more and more people are buying netbooks as they are much more mobile than carrying a back-breaking notebook.

[via digitimes]

Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix REVIEW – Mixed Impressions

I’ve always been a huge fan of Ubuntu due to their ease of use and virus-free environment. When we came to know that the Canonical has unveiled a special netbook edition specially tailored for the netbooks, I could not stop myself installing the it on my EEE.

Installation

The installation was pretty much seamless.

  • First download the image file from the ubuntu’s servers
  • Download Disk Imager from here
  • Use the Disk Imager to ‘write’ the image file to your flash drive (should be atleast 1GB)

One much required improvement over the previous installations was the fact that the dialog boxes and windows were fully visible. You no longer have to do the ‘ctrl+f7’ key combo to move the windows around just to click on ‘Proceed’.

One thing to note is that although Ubuntu suggests that you install netbook edition on an Atom processor, but the installation also worked fine on an EEE 701 running Celeron processor.

Boot Time

Since the video speaks (and show) more than pictures and words, here is the video of EEE 1000HE booting the Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix. It takes just 24 seconds to fully boot up. Earlier versionns like Ubuntu 8.10 used to take nearly 1 minute to fully boot up.


Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Edition booting on an EEE 1000HE from Taran DS on Vimeo.

Web Experience

Since it is called netbook edition, it should provide great web experience to the user, right? Ubuntu 9.04 comes with the excellent Firefox browser. The browsing speeds have improved by miles when compared to previous versions.

But, flash player has not been included! What were the folks at ubuntu thinking? Flash is widely used everywhere on web. You will see ‘install missing plugins’ bar on the top of the webpage, which uses flash anywhere in the website. Clicking that bar will display the list of  plugins required to play flash. I tried all of them and firefox was unable to install any of them. This called for manual installation, something which would be little difficult for the normal user.

How can it say "installed" when it was not able to find the plugin?

How can it say "installed" when it was not able to find the plugin?

Anyway, these are the steps to install flash player:

  • Go to http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/
  • Save it to Desktop
  • Click on the ‘deb’ file to start the installation
  • Restart the browser and the flash should now work fine

For Instant Messaging, it comes with rock solid application called Pidgin, which supports a wide variety of IM services.

Applications

The Ubuntu 9.04 Nebtook Remix comes with an array of applications. Here is the screenshot of the netbook remix launcher.

It also comes with Openoffice suit and I did notice that it opened more quickly than the previous versions, which is nice to hear.

So, how much space does it takes?

It takes nearly 2GB. It should easily fit in an EEE 701 and you will still have ~1.8GB space for applications.

What was annoying?

Other than the lack of flash support, there were few other annoying problems too. The speaker volume was set half way. I spent nearly an hour figuring out what could be the reason about such low sound volume. Later on, I saw that you must click on small speaker icon and then adjust the volume from there. See the following screenshot:

After that, I wanted to try out its multimedia capabilities. The movie player application started and alerted me that there are no MP3 codecs. How could folks at ubuntu forget to bundle the MP3 codec? Anyway, the problem was quickly resolved as it itself prompted me to download the codecs.

Pros:

  • It is FREE
  • FREE support
  • Boots faster
  • Apps launch faster
  • Basic apps like web browser, email-client and office suit already bundled
  • Easily download hundreds of apps via package manager

Cons:

  • No codecs in movie player to play even basic stuff like MP3

[Download Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix]

update from folks at Ubuntu:

We cannot ship codecs as they cost money. You can but them in the Canonical store. We cannot ship Flash as it is not open source software. You can choose to install it from the repos or go to Adobe. We did not overlook these items.

India buys 250,000 OLPCs

Couple of months back, we reviewed the Nova Navigator, touted as “India’s $100 PC.” But, it was a nettop and not a laptop or a netbook. As a result of that, Indian Government has decided to purchase 250,000 XO OLPCs. These machines will be distributed in nearly 1500 schools throughout the country.

OLPC launched a pivot program in India in the year 2007, where the OLPC gave away 20 XO in the Khairat-Dhangarwada village in the state of Maharashtra (India).

OLPC is an organization which sells low cost laptops to the governments of developing countries.

The XO laptop by OLPC does not come with any fan inside. However, it is dirt and moisture resistant which makes it ideal for use in dirty environments.

[via arstechnia]

Samsung launches 3G netbook N310 in Korea

Samsung launches its stylish, premium, international design award-winner netbook- the N310 in Korea. It features a curved-design finish without LCD display frame. Its specifications are:

  • 10.1 inch LCD screen
  • Intel Atom processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 160GB HDD
  • Wifi, HSDPA and WiBRO
  • 1.3 MP webcam
  • 3 USB ports
  • 3-in-1 memory card reader
  • Battery life of 5 hours

The Samsung N310 weighs about 1.23kg and is available in Turkey blue and Red orange colors in Korea at a suggested price between 900,000 (KRW) and 1,000,000 (KRW) or $620 to $690.

[via Aving USA]

Meet the Most Expensive Netbook: (adorned) Acer Aspire One?

If you thought that the SONY VAIO P netbook was expensive (and over-hyped), then see this! A guy called fukuyuki is selling an Acer Aspire One for $3000. It has been painted by a famous Japanese artist, UFO-Hayashi who has painted on several iPods, phones and PCs.

UFO-Hayashi is one of the most famous Japanese gadget artist, He paints on iPods, phones, PC and any other digital gadgets by using Japanese traditional Zen painting called “kyo-yu-zen” which has more than 1300 years history. His products are often used as props in Japanese domestic dramas .

This unique Aspire One is available on Ebay HERE

credit: Chester via news submission form

Thinkpad netbook in the tunnel?

Lenovo’s senior exec has revealed that the company is looking forward to release a netbook under the Thinkpad brandname. Due to the recent introduction of netbooks sporting high price tags, IBM thinks that the lines between netbooks and notebooks are blurring at a very fast rate.

However, Lenovo has clearly indicated that the Thinkpad netbook will not have specs of a conventional netbook. According to them, if you want ‘full functionality’, you will have to go for Core or Celeron mobile processor. The Thinkpad netbook will be designed to cater to the needs of those who yearn for something that is more powerful than the conventional netbook but has the same size and feel.

The Thinkpad brand is a brand that is widely popular among businessmen and if Lenovo releases something under that brand, it will be of premium quality for sure.

[via apcmag]

CONFIRMED: No Apple Netbook coming

After months and months of rumors about the Apple netbook, Apple’s chief operating officer finally confirmed in harsh words that Apple will never produce netbooks as they do not deserve the MAC brand. Here are the exact words,

When I look at netbooks, I see cracked keyboards, terrible software, junky hardware, very small screens. It’s just not a good consumer experience and not something we would put the Mac brand on. It’s a segment we would not choose to play in.

He further said, if you want smaller screens, you can go ahead and buy iPhone/iPod for that. This makes me wonder how can an iPod Touch replace my netbook. I own several Windows Mobile devices along with iPod Touch (latest 2G version) and I firmly think that in no way they can ever replace my EEE 1000H.

iPod Touch and Netbooks are both two very different devices. Both of them have their own specific use. I like iPod Touch and WM devices as they are way more mobile than any netbook in the market. But, when I need to do some serious work, I always look up to my EEE 1000H (which is still very portable as compared to normal notebooks).

What this actually shows? This shows that Apple’s Chief operating officer, Tim Cook has actually never used any of the modern day netbooks as none of them have cramped keyboard, ‘junky hardware’ or terrible software.

[via venturebeat]

Toshiba NB200 netbook launched

Toshiba has added a new netbook to their range, the NB200. The NB200 will now replace its older model, NB100. Specifications wise, it does NOT sports anything worth taking note of though.

  • 1.6GHz N270/1.66GHz N280 Intel Atom processor
  • Intel 945GSE graphics
  • 160GB hard drive
  • built in WiFi, Bluetooth
  • 3G

It will go on sale in the UK in May for £319 ($464).

Here is its press release:

Toshiba Computer Systems today
announced a new addition to its mini-notebook range with the launch
of the new Mini NB200 – a portable, highly stylish 10.1” laptop
perfectly designed to fit the modern digital lifestyle.
The Mini NB200 is the perfect device for consumers looking for a
stylish and reliable PC. A selection of models are available, with
consumers able to take their pick from a 1.6GHz Intel® Atom®
Processor N270, or the new, more powerful Intel® N280 Atom®
Processor, offering a clock speed of 1.66GHz. Both models also
feature the Intel® 945GSE graphics chipset, and offer more than
enough power for browsing the internet, emailing, running basic PC
applications and enjoying digital media – currently the four most
popular uses for mini notebooks.
A Truly Modern Design
With Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition as standard, the Mini
NB200 offers a new ultra thin platform with a striking new design,
with a unique textured cover to appeal to the most style-conscious of
consumers. The new, near full-size keyboard on the Mini NB200 is
available with a new ‘tiled’ layout to offer cleaner look and feel.
A total of four colour options will also be available, in shades of
brown, black, white and pink1 guaranteeing a design to suit any taste.
The Mini NB200 comes with a 10.1” widescreen TruBrite LED
backlight display (1024×600) providing richer colours and clearer
definition – perfect for browsing the internet. A standard three cell
Pink edition available from Q3 2009
battery offers life of up to four hours, while an upgraded nine cell
variation delivers up to nine hours life from a single charge –
providing maximum working flexibility when operating away from the
mains.
HDD protection
Integrated Hard Disk Drive (HDD) storage of 160GB ensures that
users have extensive storage space available for multimedia content
and personal documents. While the highly portable nature of mini-
notebooks exposes them to the knocks and bumps that are an
inevitable feature of life on the move, the Mini NB200 features a 3D-
accelerometer monitoring system that detects freefalls, shocks and
vibrations and protects the integrated HDD to secure against the loss
of any personal data.
An integrated 0.3MP webcam provides a portable option for online
video and teleconferencing, while connectivity including Bluetooth
and Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g) allows users to easily connect to the internet
on the move. Three integrated USB 2.0 slots are also included,
providing the ability to plug into any number of external peripherals.
One of the three USB ports also features Toshiba’s innovative Sleep-
and-Charge technology, allowing users to charge mobile phones and
personal media players, even when the mini NB200 is turned off.
As a responsible global corporate citizen, Toshiba ensures that all
laptops are RoHS-compliant, effectively reducing the environmental
impact by restricting the use of lead, mercury and certain other
hazardous substances. The new Toshiba mini NB200 is ENERGY
STAR® 5.0 ready2.

[via crunchgear]

MSI to unveil Android-powered netbook at Computex 2009

There are rumors and reports coming from all around the world that the MSI is planning to unveil a netbook running Android OS. MSI may or may not make the Android netbook for direct sale to consumer as it has plans to gain order from other PC vendors.

The Computex is beginning June 2, 2009 which is still more than a month away. If the rumor is true then, I’m pretty sure that the MSI won’t be able to keep its ‘little jem’ under the wraps for that long.

[via digitimes]