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Intel Portables Hardware

Second Netbook Wave Begins 318

Posted by kdawson
from the first-blood-to-asus dept.
nerdyH writes "Asus is taking pre-orders for a netbook based on Intel's second-generation platform, the secret-shrouded N280/GN40 chipset. Early product specs confirm that the second wave of netbooks are likely to offer faster graphics and lower power use, along with room for much, much larger batteries. The N280 apparently integrates the northbridge and CPU, meaning that the GPU moves to 45nm process technology, the FSB gets replaced by an on-chip interconnect, and overall board real-estate drops to a third of what it was previously — hence the ability to stuff an 8,700mAh battery into a 3-lb. device. The right shift key is slightly bigger, too, though still no trackpoint pointer (guess I'll keep waiting)."
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Second Netbook Wave Begins

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  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Monday February 02, 2009 @09:32PM (#26703273) Homepage Journal

    1.45 kg is just slightly too much in my opinion. I love my 701 weighing in at just over 900 grams, I'd prefer a model weighing 1.3 kg or less.

    Yeah... cause lugging around the extra weight equivalent of couple of Mars bars is more than anyone should be forced to endure.

    It all adds up. I can take my 701 to work on my bike. Carrying a load momentum is the real problem, not weight. For me the 701 belongs with my multimeter and GPS. Its an instrument, just not as specialised as the others.

  • HDMI and DVI? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tknd (979052) on Monday February 02, 2009 @09:50PM (#26703443)

    I know lots of old displays still use DSub VGA but when can I get one with HDMI?

    It'd be really cool if I could just hook this up to a digital TV which everyone seems to have these days.

  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Monday February 02, 2009 @10:03PM (#26703557)
    I currently have a Dell Mini 9 I bought for $265. It has a four hour battery life and is really snappy with Ubuntu 8.10. I use it to check my e-mail. The only downside is the weak graphics, but the new Intel chipset supposedly processes HD video on board.

    to Fully agreed on the Mini 9. I loved mine so much, I ordered a second one to run OS X on fulltime (typing from it right now). For basic things like emails and browsing slashdot, these things are absolutely perfect. I even hooked it up to a 17" monitor and plugged in a USB keyboard/mouse this weekend to do some work in Quark on it (don't have Quark on my regular desktop PC). The Mini handled it like a real Mac would. Sure, something with a little more horsepower would be nice at times, but really, that's what the desktop is for. And for HD video, I have a HTPC and the PS3.
  • by Dzimas (547818) on Monday February 02, 2009 @10:04PM (#26703569)
    The eee PC 701 was the prototypical first-gen netbook (awkwardly cramped 7" screen and as little as 2 GB flash memory). Machines like the eee PC 901 and Acer Aspire One were part of the extremely successful second-gen (8.9" screens, 8 GB to 32 GB flash memory or up to 160 GB HD + XP or a Vista Neutered option). The new chipset (along with 10" screenage) belongs to the third generation.
  • by Korin43 (881732) on Monday February 02, 2009 @10:18PM (#26703747) Homepage
    I don't see why they don't take a motherboard like this and stick it in a normal sized laptop case (14.3"), with a massive battery. It's a laptop. I don't need super fastness, I just need a full sized keyboard, a wireless card and a battery.
  • Re:No thanks. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cheesybagel (670288) on Monday February 02, 2009 @10:36PM (#26703945)
    One more die shrink and less batteries would lower the price considerably, I am sure. That could take less than a year.
  • Re:Ditch x86? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BikeHelmet (1437881) on Monday February 02, 2009 @10:36PM (#26703949) Journal

    I really doubt Intel would branch out with a new architecture - or at least, not a low power one. Remember that 80-core processor they made a while back? They'd probably make a new architecture for processors like that, to improve their dominance in the server/render-farm market.

    ARM really has low power and small locked down. An Atom is impressive at 2 watts, but ARM will soon be doing the same at 0.1 watts, and with ARM SoCs everything is in a single chip, so you can also cut out 20 watts from the other components in the netbook.

    There's no point really... The Atom(and netbooks in general) are huge cash cows, but x86 will never try to take over the Cellphone/Ultra-Low-Power-Device market.

  • by guisar (69737) on Monday February 02, 2009 @10:38PM (#26703967) Homepage

    I have to assume you haven't tried to just use a netbook. Yeah I have desktop with a giant screen and quadcore at home but at work and on the road my Asus works just great, really well in fact. I bring a long cable so I can hook it up to the flat screens that are in more and more hotel rooms. Its fantastic for meetings and I don't have to worry about battery usage. On a plane it's fantastic as it fits right in my lap. At home we keep it on a shelf in the kitchen for looking up recipes, talking via skype and streaming music. I love the the thing- funny though I hated regular size laptops.

  • by LUH 3418 (1429407) <maximechevalierb ... m ['gma' in gap]> on Monday February 02, 2009 @10:45PM (#26704023)
    If this works out nearly as well as they say it will, this will be what the original EEE should have been. The 10" screen will be more readable, the slightly larger keyboard more comfortable, while keeping the unit light and portable compared to a regular laptop.

    Furthermore, the chipset being integrated into the 45nm CPU will fix the problem of having an outdated chipset that consumes several times more power than your CPU does (negating the benefits of a low power CPU). We might finally see some *good* battery life on these things.

    Now, we just have to hope the price won't suck. I'm placing my bet at ~$550-700, pretty much as expensive as an OK regular laptop, but more portable...
  • Re:No thanks. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOsPAM.gmail.com> on Monday February 02, 2009 @11:37PM (#26704441) Journal

    What happened to those ultra cheap ARM laptops we were hearing about awhile back, that is what I want to know. While I agree that a $150-$200 x86 laptop would be the hot product, especially in this economy, I just don't see that happening without some competition. After all, both the major laptop manufacturers and Intel would probably like the Netbook market to either die or become like what ASUS is pushing, which is just full priced crappy little laptops.

    But seeing as how most of the folks using a Netbook are mainly using it as a "browser in a box" and with an ARM CPU you should be able to get great battery life with decent performance the ARM based Netbooks could take a chunk of the market, especially if they hit the under $150 price point. After all there are already ARM based distros ready to go, there are programs that will let you edit a doc on a ARM based machines, and as long as the browser lets you surf the web and check your webmail most folks I know would be happy little campers. And the ARM processors out there can be had VERY cheaply, and with the scale of making a product like a Netbook the price will only go down. The screens are getting cheaper by the day, ditto for SSD storage, and Linux means no MSFT tax.

    So what happened? Where the hell are they? If they get them out in the $125-175 range I would have NO problem selling them to the local college kids as a "browser in a box" which they could throw in their backpack and check their email and IM with. But I haven't heard diddly squat past the original announcements. Being an underdog and not already having established laptops to compete against in house(unlike ASUS) they would have reason to go low on price to capture market share. And in this economy cheap price beats just about anything. So where in the hell are they?

  • Re:Mod parent up (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jmorris42 (1458) * <`jmorris' `at' `beau.org'> on Monday February 02, 2009 @11:49PM (#26704525)

    > I'm sure you're right about the Wintel cohort putting all their collective muscle into
    > stopping anything like that from happening though.

    Which is why the MIPS based units designed and pushed by Chinese only vendors aren't getting anywhere after almost a year of units being available to buy in bulk. The ARM efforts have several advantages. First they are faster, better tech. They can probably really do HD video and a Flash player is known to exist for ARM so a full browser experience is possible. More important is several Western/US chipmakers see a multi-billion dollar opportunity if they can leverage smartphone chips up a notch to compete in the netbook space. Broadcom, TI, Nokia, etc aren't exactly on the same playing field with Intel and Microsoft but they have enough marketing muscle and existing presence in the retail channels to avoid being locked totally out of the store shelves. Now imagine what happens when these vendors who already have good relationships with the cell carriers pitch bundling deals. Imagine the fireworks should AT&T offer up a free ARM netbook with a service plan.

    All that has ever been needed to blow the Windows monopoly to smitheens is for a critical mass of customers to realize they can survive without Windows/Office. Putting tens of millions of ARM+Linux netbooks in the field just might do the trick. No Windows wouldn't vanish but their ability to command monopoly prices would be forever smashed and that would end their cash cow, without which they would lack the ability to cause much mischief.

  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @12:26AM (#26704803)
    Because then sub $400 notebooks would compete with the $600+ ones.
    Heck, Apple's seen a 7% drop in market share and the blame's solely on netbooks.
  • by ffflala (793437) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @02:05AM (#26705483)

    9.5 hours of battery time sounds like quite a stretch from the marketing & hype dept.

    The EeePC 1000HE's 8,700mAh battery replaces the 6,600mAh battery on the 1000 models from last August. My 1000 has gotten a bit over four hours now with light usage at the most power conservative settings on both the distros I've tried on it so far.

    I'm not sure if time scales up directly with mAhs, but if it does that would put the upcoming model around 5.5 hours.

  • Re:Mod parent up (Score:4, Interesting)

    by EvilNTUser (573674) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @04:44AM (#26706469)

    >Imagine the fireworks should AT&T offer up a free ARM netbook with a service plan.

    Be careful what you wish for. Do you really want people getting "free" computers that are as restrictive as the "free" cell phones they push at people? It would be the *death* of mainstream Linux.

    And don't think people wouldn't put up with it. Us Europeans are already amazed you put up with the crippled cell phones just so you can buy them on credit.

  • by CFBMoo1 (157453) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @07:42AM (#26707459) Homepage

    I think the next time I buy a netbook will be when they have the resolution at 1024x768 and not just fudged with software or something. My EEE 1000 40G works just fine, especially after I put Ubuntu on the sucker.

  • Re:Mod parent up (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Tuesday February 03, 2009 @08:58AM (#26707951)

    >Imagine the fireworks should AT&T offer up a free ARM netbook with a service plan.

    Be careful what you wish for. Do you really want people getting "free" computers that are as restrictive as the "free" cell phones they push at people? It would be the *death* of mainstream Linux.

    Why? As long as the machine lets people surf the net and do light office type tasks (which Linux/Firefox/OO) will do just fine, they won't care what OS it runs.

    The challenge will be games; and if enough devices can be pushed you'd start to see developers write games for it.

    I'd guess that a manufacturer would use BSD rather than Linux if only to better control who can use any changes they make; if they thought the market was big enough.

    And don't think people wouldn't put up with it. Us Europeans are already amazed you put up with the crippled cell phones just so you can buy them on credit.

    If by crippled you mean carrier locked the reason we put up with it is that it has no impact on most US cell phone users. We have a network that spans a space about the size of Europe where we can use our cell phones anywhere in that space without worrying about roaming charges. We don't need to worry about changing carriers to get good rates; so you pick a provider based on coverage or that has the cool phone you want.

    In addition, our "locked" phones aren't that locked, ATT will unlock some phones after you've been with them a few months, including pay as you go phones; not sure about T-Mobile. Sprint and Verizon phones aren't really locked but since each others phone id's don't show up in the others database they can't or won't activate a rival phone; although at one time you could activate Sprint Treos on Verizon. There was talk of allowing non-carrier branded phones to be activated but I'm not sure if that ever happened.

    The bigger question is why worry about phone mobility? If you switch carriers you get a new subsidized phone anyway; and it seems many people view phones as a throwaway that gets replaced every 15 months or so anyway. You don't get a price break for a non-subsidized phone, so there is no advantage to buying one. In the US you don't have to worry about roaming charges so you don't need to swap SIMs as you travel. Since a significant percentage of Americans never travel abroad the ability to get a cheap SIM plan overseas is not needed. I do travel abroad and have a cheap pay as you go phone that is unlocked fro use overseas; it cost me a total of $10 for the phone. I unlocked it myself; but had I kept my account active for 3 more months (after the 1st month that was included in the price of the phone) at $10 or so a month ATT would have unlocked it for me for free.

    Not having to shell out a few hundred dollars up front increases the penetration of cell phones in the US since more people will pay XX$ per month than $200 up front plus XX$ less the subsidy cost. If you look at European providers they also offer subsidized phones so it seems Europeans like that option as well.

    In short, the US and European markets are different because of the nature of the markets. Ours created one large calling area rather than the patchwork of carriers that are legacies of the period prior to the "United Europe." Ours works for us, yours works for you. Both have pluses and minuses, but neither way is inherently better; just different.

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