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.
The installation was pretty much seamless.
First download the image file from the ubuntu’s servers
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.
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.
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?
Anyway, these are the steps to install flash player:
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.
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.
It is FREE
Apps launch faster
Basic apps like web browser, email-client and office suit already bundled
Easily download hundreds of apps via package manager
No codecs in movie player to play even basic stuff like MP3
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.
Remember the Skytone netbook that we mentioned a couple of days back? Some more details are come up about this Android-netbook. The netbook will be named Alpha 680 and will cost $250. It will run on an ARM processor and will weigh just 1.5 pounds which is even less than the EEE 701.
It uses the same chip that is being used in the iPhone too, the ARM 11. The skytone netbook is set to debut in month August or September this year.
Don’t you think that $250 is too much for the Android netbook? By spending a few more dollars, one can buy an Atom-powered netbook. But, the biggest asset that the Android-netbooks will have over the Atom powered netbooks will be better battery life.
Only time will tell, if the consumers will adopt netbooks running Android OS.
A number of companies are preparing to announce Nvidia ION powered models of their netbooks. The netbooks would now have a more powerful graphics engine. However, the big announcements would be made at Computex, the annual PC trade show in Taipei at the beginning of June.
Kohjinsha has introduced a new netbook series called MT Series. This netbook comes with the Atom N270 processor clocked at 1.6GHz, 2GB RAM and 160GB HDD, which is pretty much similar to other netbooks we have seen so far, but what sets it apart from the plethora of netbook out there is its express card slot and TV-tuner.
The MT series is now available in Japan at a price of 49,800 yen, which is about $513. I’m pretty sure by the time it reaches in other parts of world, it won’t be equipped with the TV-tuner card. The netbook comes with 3-cell battery. The 6-cell battery is also there if you need more juice. There are 2 USB 2.0 ports and a multi-card reader.
Yesterday, we posted about the ibuddie netbook which would be powered by Android OS. Now, Skytone is also going to release its Android powered netbook.
It will come with following specifications:
533MHz ARM processor
800 x 480 resolution
128MB of RAM
1GB of storage
SD card slot
The netbook may seem pretty underpowered when compared to the netbooks powered by Atom processor, but we must not forget that we are talking about a netbook that runs mobile OS. Android OS is certainly not ‘that’ tasking on the CPU and hence, does not a lot of horsepower to run.
It is nice to the option to get one with 3G built-in though.
Fujitsu has released many portable devices like UMPCs and netbooks in the past. Most of them have really been ground-breaking (take U820/U2010 for example). Although the Loox M looks quite pretty from outside, but from inside it is just-another-netbook.
It comes with 1.6GHz Atom N270 CPU, 1GB of DDR2 RAM, a 160GB hard drive, WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, three USB 2.0 sockets and a multicard reader. True, there is nothing ground-breaking about these specifications, but its price of $611 is surely something which most of the netbooks in the market are not carrying right now.
Toshiba launches its new 10.1 inch widescreen range of netbooks in Japan this week, with a price tag of £400. The UX Series boasts of a longer battery life of about 4 hours compared to the NB100 netbook with battery life of 2.9 hours. However, inspite of its larger screen the model is smaller, at 263 x 192 x 31mm and weighs between 1.2 and 1.3Kg depending on the configuration. The other specifications are same as many other netbooks in the market, like:
Intel’s N280 Atom processor
160GB Hard Disk Drive
1,024 x 600 pixel resolution
The new netbook from Toshiba looks very promising. The chicklet keyboard seems to be of much better quality than the found on ASUS EEE 1000HE (reviewed here)
The Samsung NC10 is STILL one of the best netbooks out there. It is very famous for its 6 hours+ battery life and good performance. Folks at micodirect.co.uk at selling it for 293 pounds (including VAT), which is pretty decent price for a great netbook.