LAPTOP Magazine has reviewed the 10.2-inch Asus N10J-A2, which is Asustek’s high-end netbook. It’s actually really pushing the definition of a netbook, given the features and the price (the reviewed model is $799 and Amazon.com has it for $763).
More important than the price (and what contributes to the high price) that separates the N10J-A2 from typical netbooks is the features it comes with:
– 320GB HDD
– 2GB of RAM
– HDMI Out
– Windows XP Vista (XP Home available as a downgrade)
– Fingerprint Reader
– Two year warranty.
It’s still powered by Intel’s Atom CPU, but there are two graphics chipsets that exist on the N10J-A2. Some N10s may not have both. One is the built-in GMA 950 from Intel that is used to conserve battery life. It shares its memory with the system memory. The other is an NVIDIA GeForce 9300M GS with 256MB of dedicated memory. No matter which graphics chipset you have toggled for use, they were still able to get over 4 hours of battery life.
It also features Express Gate which is a Linux-based “Instant-On” OS that allows you to quickly jump into email or browsing the web without having to launch all of the way into Windows.
Read: LAPTOP Magazine
Earlier this month Ars Technica published the first part of their “State of the Netbook” series. The first part covered around 15-20 years prior to 2008/2009.
Yesterday they published part two, aptly named “The State of the Netbook, Part II: The Inevitable Eeeruption” which covers Asustek kick-starting things with their Asus Eee PC line as well the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) and Classmate projects, which spurred Asustek into action, along with the Nanobook concepts and Intel’s platforms. The HP 2133 was mentioned for its role in getting VIA into the game.
Ars Technica believes the netbook is here to stay, and their view mirrors that of the great Wired article that gets into how netbooks are something that people want, not something they are necessarily being told they need, and the technology is finally delivering:
Is it possible that, after all this sound and fury, the netbook trend may yet turn out to be a tale told by an idiot?
It seems unlikely. This attempt has escalated into a Greek epic of coordinated technological and economic effort by a huge variety of players. From dedicated processors and chipsets from multiple vendors, to cheap LCD screens and memory to tiny hard disks (and SSDs) capacious and fast enough to store and deliver the media users demand, the technology has arrived, and it is being delivered in a dedicated form, engineered for this wave of devices. This is finally it.
Part III will cover the Intel Atom and how it’s both helped and hurt the PC market in general.
Read: Ars Technica
A few sites have started previewing the upcoming 8.9″ Asus Eee PC T91, Asus’ first touchscreen and Tablet PC convertible netbook/ultraportable.
Last week, Mobile Computer was able to make a hands-on video of a pre-production model of the Eee PC T91. They show off the build-quality. The model they had came with a built-in Digital TV tuner and GPS, although that will probably be optional at the retail level. They do show the rotation of the display and converting it back and forth between a Tablet PC and a laptop. It works with both finger and stylus. There is a button that appears to allow for converting between landscape and portrait modes. They discuss the built-in battery (that is not replaceable by the end user). Their model came with a 16GB SSD. The RAM is accessible by the end-user (so that you can probably go up to 2GB versus the default 1GB).
They even compared it size-wise with the 10″ Eee PC 1000HE and mention that the T91 will come with the chiclet-style (or scrabble-style) keyboard that comes with the 1000HE as opposed to the keyboard shown on the pre-production model.
NetbookNews.de’s Sascha was also able to put together a high-quality video, and it showcased the T91’s touch interface. He called it a “netvertible”, a play on netbook and convertible. Asus has developed a custom touch interface running on top of Windows XP Home. There is a scrolling sort of wheel with icons/shortcuts. There is a sort of a bar in the middle that you can use as a bookmark bar for applications you frequently use – it’s called a “quick launch”. The “FotoFun” software was interesting – it makes use of the touch interface.
Mobile Computer mentions that a 3G version will be sold through mobile carriers, but that none have been named. Sascha at NetbookNews.de mentions a price of $500 – not sure if that’s US dollars, and that it will be out in the second quarter of 2009.
Next week’s CeBIT 2009 should see the release of a lot more informationon the T91 (as well as the 10-inch version, the T101).
– Mobile Computer
Back in April of 2008, there were several stories about Seagate Technology LLC filing a lawsuit against STEC inc., alleging various patent infringements covering Solid State Drive (SSD or Solid State Disk) technology.
Prior to the lawsuit, Seagate’s CEO Bill Watkins made some comments that they didn’t see SSDs doing all that well, which was ironic in light of the fact that more and more companies were offering them, even as prices were dropping:
“Realistically, I just donâ€™t see the flash notebook sell….We just donâ€™t see the proposition.â€
Forbes is now reporting that Seagate has dropped the patent suit against STEC, due to economic conditions:
In a statement, Scotts Valley, Calif.-based Seagate said pursuing the case is no longer worth the cost because poor economic conditions have limited Stec’s sales of the disputed technology.
But Stec, based in Santa Ana, Calif., called Seagate’s patent claims “unsubstantiated,” and said after the legal discovery process, in which companies exchange information, Seagate dropped its claims.
Intel has expanded its Consumer Ultra Low Voltage (CULV) Platform into three distinct tiers, and it’s also added two new Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) CPUs, which should be available in March of this year.
These ULV CPUs and the CULV platform are designed for ultra-thin or ultraportable laptops/notebooks, and are not going to be found in netbooks. They are more for conventional laptops such as the 12.1″ Toshiba Portege A650.
The two new CPUs:
– Core 2 Duo SU9600 (1.6GHz, 3MB L2, 800MHz Frontside Bus), Priced at $289 (USD)
– Core 2 Solo SU3500 (1.4GHz), Priced at $262 (USD)
The SU9600 has been mentioned as a candidate to replace the 1.4GHz SU9400 in the past.
According to recent reports, Intel sees the CULV as a crucial part of its strategy when it comes to defining the various segments of the laptop market, and the previously mentioned ULV CPUs play into that, as does Intel’s GS45 chipset.
The CULV platform will break out into three levels:
– Entry-level: Single core, Intel ULV Celeron
– Single-Core Performance: ULV Core 2 Solo
– Dual-Core Performance: ULV Core 2 Duo