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AMD Portables Hardware

New AMD Processors Aiming Between Laptops and Netbooks 77

An anonymous reader writes with an article about AMD's Conesus chip, suggesting that it is intended to compete with Intel's Atom for the netbook market. However, CNet reports that AMD is eschewing that form factor in favor of something larger, yet still more portable than a traditional laptop. Quoting: "AMD's strategy seems solid, in my opinion. Go for a segment that is bigger and better than Netbooks. The ultraportable category (the MacBook Air being the best example) is full of attractive but expensive designs. Why not work with PC makers to offer an ultrathin, ultralight, full-featured 13-inch notebook that is priced a lot less than $1,800? Why not $600 or $700? In addition to the conventional criticism of Netbooks (small screens, tiny keyboards), an underrated fact is that many users eventually get the feeling that they're stuck with an underpowered laptop."
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New AMD Processors Aiming Between Laptops and Netbooks

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  • obvious solution (Score:0, Interesting)

    by ILuvRamen ( 1026668 ) on Saturday November 15, 2008 @03:51AM (#25769195)
    They basically are underpowered laptops. How are they going to shake that image if it's true? Simple! Make it capable of making cell phone calls. Then it's like the ultimate super-blackberry smart phone for not much more money. I really don't know why they can't make phone calls given their size and price. I really think if they added that feature, people would have a much better opinion of them because they'd always be compared to a cell phone. It'd be a cell phone but with a bigger screen, longer battery, and better features.
  • by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Saturday November 15, 2008 @04:01AM (#25769229) Journal

    I'm actually inclined to agree with AMD's stance on this. Incidentally, I think this [] is the original article that all these other news sources are paraphrasing and it has more information.

    You are undoubtedly right that now netbooks are available people who were previously stuck at full laptop level but only need a netbook will migrate. And we're seeing that. But not all the people who buy a netbook will find it suits them in the end. I was very tempted to get one, nearly did, but eventually decided that nice though the Eee PC looked, it ultimately wasn't quite powerful enough for my needs. The supposed advantages of netbooks / mininotebook are excellent portability, battery life and cheapness. But they're not actually that cheap - they're priced too high. Oh, they're cheaper than modern laptops, but UK£300 for an Asus Eee PC (about $US450, probably cheaper outside the UK), is still a significant purchase for most. Significant enough that spending an extra £150 / £200 for something obviously more powerful (and with more screen real estate), is less of a factor. For most people, the decision is more likely to be based on the portability (battery life is getting pretty good for full laptops these days and places to plug them in more commonplace, so less of a concern). Netbooks are more portable, but they're still not exactly mobile phones. And at the same time, laptops are getting lighter. A student who walks around with a netbook all day long might benefit from this, but a travelling salesman in his car, or a holidaying Slashdotter on the train... I think a lot of people prefer the power and the screen size of a laptop.

    Netbooks seem to have done well because they are a new market segment and people who naturally fall to that segment are shifting from laptops or getting in for the first time now. Or because they're new and they're trendy. But what AMD are reporting is that actually sales compared to laptops are fairly small and there is also an uncommonly high level of returns on netbooks which suggests people realising they don't suit their needs either. We're also seeing a failure of the principle of the netbooks by their manufacturers as they implicitly concede that there is a demand for more power by releasing increasingly expensive and more powerful netbooks - a sign that they are trying to overlap more with the bottom end of the laptop market.

    So netbooks - certainly have their market, but AMD might well be right to focus on real laptops where they may well take a strong lead over Intel. AMD have had their ups and downs, but most of those downs have been due to either not having as much money to throw around as the giant Intel, or sheer luck (Intel's Israeli lab unexpectedly turning up an unforecasted power boosting design). In terms of strategy, AMD have usually been pretty strong turning out, if not always the most powerful chips, usually the best price to performance ratios.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 15, 2008 @04:31AM (#25769319)

    Students in college would use a netbook. They are is more than enough for email, notes, and surfing the web.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 15, 2008 @04:37AM (#25769335)

    Right now, my laptop is my 'main' computer. It takes 4-5 minutes to pack it up and bring it somewhere, plus it's heavy. An EEE I could just carry along, no hassle. Why have it? Simple, org-mode in Emacs!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 15, 2008 @06:13AM (#25769597)

    For most people, the decision is more likely to be based on the portability (battery life is getting pretty good for full laptops these days and places to plug them in more commonplace, so less of a concern). Netbooks are more portable, but they're still not exactly mobile phones. And at the same time, laptops are getting lighter.

    Bulk, rather than weight, is also a factor.

    I recently bought an Acer Aspire One []. I get around by bike, and I found that my Laptop, a 13" MacBook + Brenthaven sleeve, was taking up most of the space in my pannier. A netbook, with no padded case, leaves a lot more room.

    I think you're right about the UK price, but Linux netbooks are GBP 200-220 and I'm sure that competition, catalysed by AMD's entry [], will drive the prices down over the next 12 months.

  • by evilbessie ( 873633 ) on Saturday November 15, 2008 @09:07AM (#25770105)
    now incorperate the chipset, well northbridge, into the TDP, AMD is not that far off so it really does come down to AMDs performance at this power level. And if they can ship machines sub 2lb with 12-14" screens for $800 that's a big saving on the $2000 you'd pay for this sort of vaio. What with ATi becoming a force again in graphics and proving to be more power efficient than recent nVidia offerings this might become more interesting than you suggest.
  • by sammyF70 ( 1154563 ) on Saturday November 15, 2008 @10:40AM (#25770411) Homepage Journal

    I'll have to disagree on the "program" part.

    I have an Acer Aspire One, with the awfully named Linpus distro on it. After making it boot to xfce instead of the very limited Linpus GUI, installing geany, blender, Krita (had problems with gimp sadly:/, code::block and pygame, the AA1 turned out to be great for on the road coding.

    If you're like me and you prefer to code some minigame fast, instead of playing sudoku or solitaire while traveling, a netbook is just the thing to have. The keyboard of the AA1 is big enough to type blind (and I have big fingers) and the resolution isn't THAT bad if you decrease the font's size.
    Admittedly, the Atom is not particularly powerful, the 512MB ram are less than stellar and the intel onboard gfx sucks donkey anus, but it should be enough for most applications if you're not actually trying to debug the LHC's main control program and it provides a good incentive to code in a CPU/mem efficient manner.

    The small size and low weight (combined with a genius traveler trackball and a 16GB SSD card) means I can even code while leaning against a wall, or in a very cramped bus, and that I can just take it with me everywhere .. just in case I might have to wait for some time somewhere.

    Oh ... And it's a tech-girl magnet. Too bad there aren't many where I live though ;)

  • by AsnFkr ( 545033 ) on Saturday November 15, 2008 @10:42AM (#25770417) Homepage Journal
    Some people will want more CPU power for ... games? Who knows...

    Hi def video playback. I download everything in x264 these days as it looks amazing on my TV, but from time to time I want to take something with me to watch on my laptop and would like to be able to do so without down-converting the video first.

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