Just when we were ready to accept the stuttery nature of our Netbook HD video playback, along come Nvidia and Lenovo at long last to change our expectations. The IdeaPad S12, arriving in August, will be the first Netbook sporting discrete graphics from the Nvidia Ion processor. With power similar to the 9400M chipset already in Apple's 13-inch MacBooks, IonNetbooks promise full-HD video output and actual gaming performance--not that we'd want to try Crysis on it anytime soon. However, according to Nvidia, Spore, Call of Duty 4, Portal, and World of Warcraft will all be very playable indeed. … Read more
Episode 33 of the Digital City, where we discuss Facebook's and Twitter's exploding traffic, Intel's billion-dollar fine, and some good and bad news for the video game industry. There are two versions of the show available now, the traditional audio stream, and our exciting, new video version -- check out both below.Download today's podcast
Netbooks now comprise 8 percent of the laptop market, but are we satisfied? Intel says no: its "Pine Trail" roadmap (that's the code name for its next-gen Atom processors) reveals plans for an integrated CPU/GPU, with claims of saving space as well as battery life. While the graphics power likely won't be as impressive as an Nvidia ION processor, it will change the landscape of a pretty fast-growing field. Here's what we'd like to see in the near-future of Netbooks. Sound off and tell us what you're looking for--that is, if you're looking for a Netbook at all.
1. Better video. While Atom processors can handle YouTube and some HD video streaming (kinda sorta), there are no DVD drives on these little guys. Video-playing (especially streaming) needs to be silky-smooth, even in HD. Until then, Netbooks will never be truly great portable media devices, which they ought to be. After all, Web browsing is most of what we do with computers.
2. Smaller, please! But with larger keyboards. The whole 11.6-inch and higher trend is disturbing because it's making semi-bulky Netbooks even larger. While it's nice for some applications and those who want an affordable 12-inch laptop, this whole XL Netbook trend takes away from the whole gee-whiz "look how small my notebook is!" appeal that made Netbooks an overnight hit in the first place. What we're really saying is: make better use of the size. Edge-to-edge keyboards and edge-to-edge screens should become the norm, and with better engineering, we'd like to see 10-inch Netbooks become even thinner and more compact. A Netbook could feel like a small paperback book, not a portable VCR.… Read more
MSI's newest Wind has gone on sale, upgrading to an Atom N280 processor from the previous N270 for some modest performance gains. What else is new as compared with the last-generation Wind? Four colors instead of two--blue, red, gray, and white, so a family of four could have its own MSI Wind party and not mix up their laptops.
Also new and notable is a TV antenna connector, turning the Wind into a portable broadcast-ready set in a pinch. Most of what we watch these days is on the Internet anyway, but this could always come in handy for … Read more
Last November, when Virgin America debuted Gogo's Wi-Fi service on a single flight, it stated that by the second quarter of 2009, the service would be available fleet-wide. On Wednesday, it announced that it had reached its goal.
Virgin America has done that with GoGo Inflight Internet, enabling all Virgin America customers to experience Internet service at 37,000 feet.
The company demonstrated its Wi-Fi tech by hosting a Skype video chat conference with Oprah Winfrey during a live taping of her show. The segment is set to air Thursday, May 21. Unless you're a billionaire media personality, … Read more
Care for a Dell Cupcake? We knew you would. Credit to Dell for not only listening to reader suggestions, but for doing their own video hacking. At their own labs (hey, those kinda look like ours), they demonstrate the newest Android update, "Cupcake," on a Mini 10v, being quick to announce that "they have no plans" to announce such a thing...but that it "runs really nicely." So says Doug Anson, a technology strategist who works at the office of the CTO, who demonstrates.
We see no sign of it running nicely on the … Read more
If you've been waiting for AT&T's Netbook data plans to come to your area, the wait is almost over.
The company first offered these plans exclusively in Philadelphia earlier this year. Saying that trial was a success, AT&T announced Tuesday its intent to expand these data plans to the rest of U.S. this summer.
This means you'll soon be able to buy mini ultraportable laptops made by Dell, Lenovo, and Acer at a discounted price when you get a 3G data plan at one of AT&T's retails store or … Read more
Aiming to bring small, low-cost laptops to schools, Dell has just announced the Latitude 2100, a Netbook specifically targeted to educational markets. We recently got a chance to take a brief hands-on look at the Latitude 2100--and we think its appeal will go far beyond the classroom.
The basic components are similar to what you'd find in almost any other Netbook--Intel Atom CPU, 1GB of RAM, Windows XP--but the chassis of the Latitude 2100 is specifically designed with young users in mind. Somewhat thicker and heavier than typical consumer Netbooks, the system has a semi-rugged feel and a thick rubberized cover, along with an optional anti-microbial keyboard.
The entire package reminded us in some ways of the original Intel Classmate laptops, which were the first examples of Netbooks. One new feature that seems especially intriguing (but may tax the Intel Atom processor) is an optional touch screen.
To appeal specifically to educational buyers, the systems include a handful of unique features, including a small light on the back of the lid, called the Network Activity Light. It can interact with third-party software or simply turn on when students are surfing the Web (instead of working on classwork), which can help teachers keep track of the status of everyone in the classroom. … Read more
We've already seen them previewed with the rest of Acer's upcoming lineup back in April, but the official release of the next generation of Aspire One Netbooks is finally here. Most notable is the inclusion of a new, bigger 11.6-inch model, the Aspire One AO751h; also new is a revamped 10.1-inch system, the Aspire One AOD250. (Confidential to Acer: we're available as product naming consultants for the low, low price of free).
Both new Netbooks are thinner than Acer's previous models, and the 11-inch AO751h has a full-size keyboard, along with a 16:9 … Read more
Oh, Dell, did you start up a firestorm. Sure, your idea was great: create a site marketing your Netbooks to women. But instead of telling non-tech-savvy women what they can do with their laptops--download recipes!--you ended up offending the tech-savvy ladies, who, you know, are the ones who have actually bought your computers.
I have several friends who are women (no, really!). I showed the site to several of them and the feedback was completely negative. One of my friends actually said she now feels bad about the Dell Netbook she bought just two months ago. Awesome.
You see, … Read more