Low cost, small form factor notebooks are dominating this year's Computex show in Taiwan, with new releases from many vendors.
The new ‘netbooks' are all based on Intel's new 1.6GHz Atom processors, and aim to provide low cost, low power, devices that are designed for web browsing and mobile communications. Intel had promised to significantly ramp up production of the chips by September, to meet demand.
Acer debuted its Aspire One notebook at the show, which features built-in Wi-Fi, 8.9 inch screen and is available in both Linux and Windows XP versions, with either an 8GB SSD or 80GB HDD respectively. The Aspire One comes with a 1.3 megapixel webcam, SDHC and up to 1GB of RAM. Acer is also promising to add embedded WiMAX and 3G to later versions of the Aspire One, all no timetable is set for delivery yet.
MSI also enters the netbook segment, with its ‘Wind' U100 device. The Wind packs a slightly larger screen than Acer's model, at 10 inch, although the screen resolution is the same at 1024x600, and an 8.9 inch version is also expected to be launched as well. The Wind also packs an onboard webcam, 1GB RAM as standard, WiFi and 80GB HDD. The Windows version is set to ship on 16th June, with a slightly cheaper Linux version later in this year. The Wind also includes Bluetooth, which many other netbooks don't have.
Another Atom-powered netbook offering came from Gigabyte, with its M912. This netbook features similar specs to other devices on show, with WiFi, Bluetooth, onboard webcam, 1GB RAM and a 4GB SSD, although it does have the distinction of being the only tablet PC, with an 8.9 inch, 1280 x 768 resolution screen on a swivel. The M912 also relies on Linux for its OS, rather than Microsoft's tablet solutions.
Not be outdone, Asus, the first to market with widely available netbooks, added three new Atom-based models to its range, the 8.9 inch Eee PC 901 and the 10 inch Eee PC 1000 and Eee PC 1000H, running Linux Windows XP respectively. All models pack WiFi and a webcam, and feature Asus Super Hybrid Engine, which effectively allows the user to underclock the processor at will to extend battery life. In terms of storage, the 901 will come with either a 12GB SSD for the XP version or 20GB for Linux, while the 1000 has an expensive 40GB SSD. For the 1000H meanwhile, there is an 80GB HDD.
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