Tag Archive | "netbook"

Nokia MeeGo Jobs Hint at New Devices

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With 18 Meego Job positions posted in the last month it’s difficult to imagine Nokia making a move away from it and when they are also looking to build new types of Meego devices alongside the main business it hints at even longer term commitment.

The full story is over at Meegonews.

http://meegonews.com/2011/02/01/nokia-jobs-signal-meego-commitment-new-devices/#respond

Unboxing: Toshiba NB550D AMD Netbook (Netbooknews)

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One of the biggest potential changes in the netbook market is being driven by AMD who think that high quality GPU and video decoding should be included. The C-50 / Ontario ‘APU’ is the part we need to take note of in the Fusion range and Netbooknews are now providing us with one of the first English language reports of an Ontario-powered device. This is the unboxing of the Toshiba N550d with a great Harmon Kardon speakers. The benchmarks will follow.
I’ve done my own analysis based on some reports that are already out there and I think that the X86 part of the platform is going to come in at just under Atom N550 performance. The 3D and HD performance will blow the Intel netbook platform, Pinetrail, away but it will be at the expense of about 10%-20% battery life. For those wanting 3D and HD video, its a small price to pay. For those more interested in general office-style computing, the high end dual core Atoms will probably be the way to go for the 1-1.3kg range of devices.

Via Netbooknews


Dell Duo at Intel booth. CES 2011

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My first hands on with the Dell Duo deserves a little post. Yes it’s a little heavy as a tablet and has battery life that doesnt compete with netbooks but its a slick device. With the Samsung Gloria/PC7 on Oaktrail already,  it could have some tough competition.

Angry Birds – Now on Netbooks via AppUp – Video Demo.

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Intel have scored a hit for their AppUp store. If you’ve got a netbook you can download it via the AppUp store. I’ve tested it and it’s working really nicely. I’ll be doing more ‘testing’ as soon as I can!

This is the sort of application that will start to attract attention for AppUp and while I suspect it was an Intel-supported port by Rovio, it won’t take too many of these before AppUp becomes a well-known and self-seeding product. The stats from this will be very interesting indeed. I’m sure Intel will be watching how many people download AppUp and keeping tabs on numbers from Rovio!

You can download AppUp and buy Angry Birds for your netbook here.

So here I am, in Las Vegas, stuck in a room testing games. Life’s hard!

Google’s CR-48 Chrome OS Netbook on Video and in Photos

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IMG_3741We’ve got our hands on Google’s Chrome OS test hardware (you can apply for one yourself at http://www.google.com/chromeos/pilot-program.html). This netbook won’t ever be released to the public and is purely for testing Chrome OS, but it can give us a good idea of what to expect from future Chrome OS devices. Namely, a huge battery, 3G built-in, a somewhat altered keyboard from what you’re used to with Windows/Mac OSX, and not much more power than what’s necessary for basic web browsing. Jump over to Carrypad’s sister-site, UMPCPortal.com for an overview video and gallery.

AC100 gets Unboxing, Promise of 2.2 Upgrade, Email Notification Rave!

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dynabookunboxing We’re twitching at every movement outside our door while waiting for our own Toshiba AC100 today (Note: Possible live video review session tonight – stay tuned.) but at least we’ve got something to keep us occupied in this unboxing video from Netbooknews today. It’s known as the Dynabook AZ in Japan but it’s the same device as the AC100 were expecting.

Some important things to note from the unboxing and the article:

1 – Opera Mobile (not Mini) is included. Opera Mobile is not generally available for Android but Toshiba appear to have had it built specially for the AC100. Opera Mobile sounds like it is providing a better internet experience than the stock browser. I’m certainly a fan of Opera Mobile and will be interested to test it out.

2 – There are indicator lamps on the outside of the device. Useful for notifications when closed (and online) (via JKKMobile, see fun video below.)

3 – Toshiba are working on Android version 2.2 ‘soon’ which is excellent news.

4 – 1080p H.264 worked

5 – Browsing not as fast as on a netbook

Netbooknews – AC100  Dynabook AZ unboxing (first impressions video there too but still being processed as I write this)

When you’ve watched the unboxing, check out the Toshiba AC100 marketing videos. They’re great! (and give us an indication of the effort that Toshiba is putting into this!)

We’ll be attempting to hold a live email notification rave in our live open review session. Stay tuned for details!

MeeGo 1.0 ‘Netbook User Experience’ Hands-On, Overview and Video

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4644302853_19f9daf69b_oThis won’t take long. What we’ve got here is a Moblin build that has picked itself up from being stopped-dead in it’s tracks buy a huge corporate direction change. I imagine that partners that were working with Moblin before MeeGo was announced are pleased that they can finally get back to work in optimising their builds for end products. The core build has been changed and there has been some re-working of the user interface. Chrome has been added as the browser. What is also clear though is that the pace of development appears to have picked up and the MeeGo teams are committing to a six-month cadence meaning that those partners can re-write their roadmaps now and that the products promised last September, can now move forward.

I installed MeeGo 1.0 ‘Netbook User Experience’ on a Medion Akoya netbook (an MSI-Wind clone) last night and it was a smooth experience. First-boot was fast at 27 seconds including my usual 10-second BIOS-lag. First login was simple although there were no options to set up contact syncing or online accounts which are core to the MeeGo experience. The ‘netbook user interface’ is almost exactly the same as on Moblin and is modeled around the ‘home zone’ and other zones that can be activated. People and Internet being the two most important. As before, the UI is fast and bubbly.

It’s a Chrome OS!

Chrome (Chromium, the open source version is being tested here but there’s a true Chrome version available too.) is the major change for the end user and I have to say it’s a good one. It appears to be a recent build because it’s flying through the Sun Spider Javascsript tests. 1.8s is a very respectable time. Full-screen works and Flash is integrated meaning you can expect to operate just as you would on a normal desktop. I used Google Docs to edit a spreadsheet and Flickr to upload some photos without any problems. Facebook works as expected too. If we look to MeeGo on Moorestown, you’ve got the basics of a product that could be the best and one of the most productive smart-books or ‘cloud’ books to date. Add the Intel AppUp store and you’re starting to solve that problem too although Chrome’s Web Application store will be interesting to see working on this.

Basic Applications

There’s an email client (Evolution), a messenger, a reasonable media experience (certainly the Banshee media player seems to be quite feature-rich although I haven’t tested video support yet) and there are a number of other basic apps available through the application manager and ‘Garage,’ a slightly more end-user-friendly application installer although nothing seems to be working in Garage right now.

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Photo and screen-grab. Image top-right is also from testing.

Other notes

  • Sleep works (Using sleep button on keyboard)
  • Gmail contacts sync working (uses SyncML)
  • Home screen still somewhat limited. 6-tweets on a 1024×600 screen is not exactly efficient use of space!
  • Chrome Browser crashes occasionally
  • AppUp store install fails
  • Media player fails to play imported MP3s
  • No GMA500 (Menlow, Poulsbo) support.
  • Read/Write to USB sticks and SD cards is no problem.

It’s a shame that MeeGo 1.0 hasn’t moved forward from Moblin 2.1 in terms of end user experience and there’s no way that it will challenge XP or Windows 7 in terms of productivity and flexibility (printing, network shares, application quality, etc.) however when you combine the thought of an efficient Chrome-based Web-focused OS and MeeGo’s future compatibility with the ‘always on’ Moorestown platform combined with a layer of ‘finishing’ you can see some nice possibilities for ‘smart’ productive devices. Certainly the full-internet experience is a major advantage with MeeGo compared to Android. Apps are needed though and until a nicely designed and well-marketed, polished MeeGo product hits the floor, developers aren’t going to be that interested. Maybe that changes after Computex.

We’ll be connecting with Intel’s software group at Computex next week so stay tuned for more information on the future of MeeGo, netbooks, handhelds and Intel’s ‘smart’ platforms. In the meantime, take the time to have a look at MeeGo 1.0 with the netbook user experience in the video below.

MeeGo V1.0 announcement

Airlife 100 Social Netbook Launches in Spain, starts at 230 Euros

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I’m not one to let companies hide the real price of a device behind a subscription but at the moment I can’t find the full, unsubsidised price of the ARM/Android-based HP Compaq Airlife 100 that has just launched in Spain. Based on the two prices below and similar subsidy deals, the full price if the Airlife looks to be about 450 Euros. It sounds expensive for a smartbook doesn’t it but it’s not. A 3G-capable ‘smart’ book (I’m calling them ‘social netbooks’ to avoid the wrath of the company that sits about 30km from my office here in Germany) with GPS and a 12-hour battery life weighing 800gm do not exist in the market. This is unique and exciting. If I could order one today, I would. (Here’s why)

The full press release:

Telefonica has launched HP’s Compaq Airlife 100 netbook in Spain. The device features a 10.1-inch diagonal screen, a full keyboard, 16 GB solid state internal storage, SD card slot, Android operating system and customised touch interface. The netbook also features 3G access, Wi-Fi connectivity, VGA webcam, up to 12 hours of battery life in active use and up to 10 days of standby time, GPS capabilities, preinstalled NDrive navigation software with included regional maps with points of interest, and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon QSD8250 chipset platform. Telefonica will offer the Compaq AirLife 100 netbook at Movistar stores across Spain for EUR 230, in combination with Movistar’s Internet Maxi data plan with a monthly fee of EUR 49.
Customers can also acquire the HP netbook for EUR 300 along with Movistar’s Internet Plus data plan with a monthly fee of EUR 39.

I’m trying to get hold of availability info and of course, a review device and will update you when I have more information. In the meantime, see the specifications, gallery, videos and related links in the Airlife 100 information page.

Via Telecompaper

Dell’s ARM-based MID and Netbook Roadmap shows Incompatible Moblin Option.

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dell android roadmap I don’t know where to start with this one but highlighting the incompatibility between Moblin and ARM-based devices is a good place too start and it gives us a hint that this might not be the huge and interesting MID and ‘smart’ book leak that it could have been.

The ‘roadmap’ picked up by Android Central shows three Dell MID devices. The 4.1” 640×480 (also marked up as WVGA) Thunder based on Windows Mobile/Android is the first. Then we have the 5” Streak which is being shown as having a Vodafone (Europe) variant. This is where the Moblin logo appears. The Looking Glass is shown with a 4:3 format screen (800×600) and finally there are a couple of ARM-based netbooks called ‘Sparta’ and Athens. Once again the Moblin logo appears.

Clearly this is an old internal roadmap showing a possible Moblin / Moorestown option for the devices and probably explains the ‘MID’ label. Clearly Intel weren’t ready for Dell so in this case, they lost out to Android and ARM.

Via Engadget.

Source: Android Central

Airlife 100 Netbook U.S. Specifications Now Official

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Unfortunately there’s no mention of the Google Marketplace in the latest information from HP.com about the Airlife 100 but at least we’re one step closer to seeing it in the marketplace. Official specifications are now available on the HP website in the U.S. (indicating that it’s coming to the U.S. market perhaps) and they confirm what we already had.  In fact, we seem to have more specifications in our database than HP do in theirs!

airlife100-3

In the application list we get clues about the version of Android. RoadSync is included for Exchange email syncing which means we’re probably looking at a V1.6 version of Android. Note that HP have modded the browser to include tabs.

It has been over 4 months since we first saw the Airlife and spring is here so we’re expecting Telefonica to make it available very soon but if it launches without a well-supported applications store (Google Marketplace is the de facto choice here) then it will fall short of many expectations for a social, always-on netbook.

Detailed thoughts about the Airlife 100 battery life and pricing available here.

News via NewGadgets.de and myhpmini

Source: HP.com

A ‘Smart’ Netbook Image. Look! No Microsoft.

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I just hacked this image up (apologies HP and Apple) as an easy way to illustrate how Windows on netbooks is at risk. Add either of the touch, UI, app store and always-on features and you’ve got something that Microsoft can’t currently compete with.

ipadbook

This scenario would immediately affect sales of Windows-netbooks where people are buying netbooks as second devices, gadgets or for family, friend and other social and casual (online or off) scenarios . For productivity scenarios, Windows still counts because the apps don’t exist on the common app-store ecosystems yet. I don’t have figures but in the U.S. and Europe I guess 30% of netbooks are bought as a second PC, a gadget or for the sofa/family/friend social (online and off) scenario. That’s a lot of lost Windows 7 license sales.

I talked about the 4 ‘lock-in’ opportunities (more than just ‘good’ opportunities’) for ‘Social Netbooks’ in this article. Google could make it happen by enabling Marketplace on Android – A potential risk for Intel. Intel themselves could make it happen with products like Moorestown, MeeGo and AppUp  or a surprise player could enter the market.

My opinion is that  THIS WILL HAPPEN. Someone will add a touchable, dynamic, fun user interface, an app-store, location and always-on features to a netbook form factor leaving just the productive applications as the missing piece. Given the chance (i.e. an application store) developers will move quickly to fill those  gaps in software for productive uses making the smart device BETTER than the Windows-based, traditional netbook device. What that means for Microsoft is that a huge portion of the netbook market could be served by a  non-Windows OS solutions. Just think of the market positioning too. Isn’t it easier to market an ‘upgrade’ from a smartphone than a ‘downgrade’ from a laptop.

When does this happen? I’m expecting Google to announce a move into the ‘third screen’ space with Android very soon. Intel are ready with Moorestown and MeeGo in Q4 so the change starts to happen in 2011. I estimate that while netbook sales (of both sub-genres) will increase, the percentage of Microsoft netbooks will stay level or even drop. [Sidenote: Intel thinks that the non-windows sales will reduce in percentage by 2012.  I think they are underestimating the 'smart' device opportunity.]

Is Intel at risk? Yes. If Google, Android and ARM reach the flag before Intel and MeeGo, Intel start to lose market share in the netbook market but also remember, Android could run on Intel’s new Moorestown platform offering smartbook manufacturers a more powerful computing experience. Also note that if netbooks flip to non-Windows ‘smart’ devices it serves as a nice dividing line between laptops and netbooks for Intel, restoring the need for different netbook, CULV and laptop processing platforms and allowing them to make more and more powerful Atom CPUs without hurting the laptop segment.

I’m not the first to talk about this and it’s certainly not the first time I’ve thought about it myself but that image just makes it crystal clear for me. Netbooks will change dramatically. If Google doesn’t enable it, someone else will and in any case, Microsoft will suffer.

MeeGo at IDF. Netbook and Handheld Eye Candy, Chrome, Fennec and Lots of Developer Details.

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MeeGo gets an outing in China this week as Intel takes its developer-focused conference, IDF, to Beijing. As I write this, Intel’s Lynn Wang, Strategic Relationship Manager and Rao Yeleswarapu, a Product Marketing Manager have just finished their talk on MeeGo Technology and Benefits. Danny Zhang, Senior Engineering Manager and Horace Li a Software Engineer with Intel have also given a technical overview talk.

Update: MeeGo 1.0 for Netbooks is now available.

As always, Intel publish the slides from the talks and they contain some great new information. I’ve picked out a few interesting slides from the first presentation which also include the first images of MeeGo’s handheld reference UI for smartphones.

Netbooks.

First off, lets look at the Netbook feature list for MeeGo (we assume 1.0) which confirms a previous tidbit that I picked up from DevMob (that apparently, shouldn’t have leaked.) Mozilla’s browser will be replaced by Chrome (or Chromium, the open source browser.) Quite how significant that if for Mozilla I don’t know but it’s something that should generate quite some discussion.  [Sidenote: There's been a lot of Google/Intel/Android/Chrome rumors lately. Relationships are definitely good and don't forget, Intel is part of the OHA. Stay very closely tuned to the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit which starts tomorrow and runs for three days. Intel, Nokia and Google are all there. I wish I was too but i'll be glued to the live stream as much as I can.]

MeeGo-Netbook

You’ll also see that the social messaging app is to be redesigned (the application on Moblin 2.1 very very thin indeed) along with the camera application,email and calendar and date/time app. Best of all, the media application will get an overhaul. Again, the media app on Moblin was extremely basic. Remember that what drops out of MeeGo is not necessarily what you’ll see on netbooks. These code drops (starting with 1.0 in May) are for 3rd partys to take and build on so what you see in V1.0 is not what you’ll see in a final, retail build delivered on a netbook.

In other news, a number of companies have just re-affirmed their support for MeeGo as it transistions out of the Maemo brand. Note that Canonical isn’t in the list. That’s what happens when you move to an RPM-based distro I guess!

Note that the promised touch and gesture support is in there although I don’t see sensor support yet. That’s important for GPS. (It is, however, mentioned in other parts of the presentation.) Also missing is any mention of an application store. Intel’s AppUp is available for Moblin, OVI for Maemo so I wonder if this is simply left out of the core and left up to the OEMs. Remember that happened with Skype on Maemo 5, hopefully that particular relationship, optimisation and integration will spread over to netbooks.

As for netbook eye candy, here’s a snip from the presentation. I don’t know if it’s the proposed 1.0 UI though.

meego-netbook-ui

The center column has been dropped from the home zone and filled out with social network tiles. Having used these on Moblin, all I can say is – inefficient. 13 status updates on a 1024×600 screen is not an efficient way to use the device for anyone remotely familiar with making friends on the Internet. Let’s hope that the MeeGo UI teams offer an ‘advanced’ front end. Again, it’s not clear if this actually is the UI for release 1.0 though. Update: It is!

Handhelds.

It’s not clear whether this is Intel’s proposal here of if this is 100% agreed between Nokia and Intel but this is what Intel have to say about handhelds using Intel architecture.

meego-handheld-features

As you can see, Fennec, the mobile browser from Mozilla, has been chosen to present the Web. You’ll also get Flash support. Contacts and dialer functions will be integrated (as you’d expect) and there will be VOIP (it will be interesting to see if carriers want that ripped out) and instant messaging. I’m happy to see that the social networking ‘integrated experience’ is mentioned because this is an excellent core feature on the Maemo 5-based Nokia N900. Data sync is also provided along with an LBS app indicating that at least GPS sensors will be supported.

And now for the smartphone eye candy, including cute doggie!

Meego-handheld-ui-3 Meego-handheld-ui-1
Portrait mode support. N900/Maemo fans rejoice! Note the interesting activity stream in the first picture.
One would assume that emails, tweets and other network events can be included in that stream.

Meego-handheld-ui-2

This is typical understated European styling and I bet Nokia were heavily involved here. Personally I love the design but remember, once again this is just a reference design. It’s the sort of UI you’ll see if you take the 1.0 build and drop it on an Aava Moorestown reference design (which I’m trying hard to get hold of) and possibly, the N900. As I said before, I’m not sure if this is Intel’s proposal for the handheld UI or an agreed, across-the-board Nokia/Intel final reference design. We’ll see in May when V1.0 drops.

Timescales.

I mentioned the roadmap on my MeeGo journal a few weeks ago and Intel have re-affirmed those in a nice easy-to-understand slide.

meego-timescalesThe key date for me is the v1.1 release in the latter part of October. That’s when the MeeGo Summit is likely to occur and it’s right in the Q4 timeframe for product availability. LG GW990, Nokia Nxxx and who knows what else we’ll see. Interestingly, the U.S-based Intel Developer Forum will be in the middle of Sept so it will be interesting to see if Intel and partners have products to announce. October will be a very exciting time and wherever that MeeGo Summit is, i’ll be there!

MeeGo Developers.

You’ve got your very own PDF to browse through too but this slide just smacks me in the face…

meego-stores

‘Cross  App Store Developement’ is something special for devs to consider. The diagram doesn’t actually do the feature justice because it omits to mention the Intel app-store framework that can be used to make branded 3rd-party app stores. One API, many stores, many devices. In a separate presentation on the AppUp store I saw this… line. “World’s largest potential TAM (for a single API) “ When you think of the opportunity there, the mind boggles. Smartphones, Netbooks and the many many devices in-between including home, car and TV.

meego-architechture For more (very) detailed information on the MeeGo stack and the development toolkit, download and read SFTS010 from the content catalogue. (I can’t directly link as it’s a one-time URL used for statistics and tracking.)

all the above slides were taken from the publicly available PDF file SFTS009 available through in content catalogue.

Stay tuned to that catalogue over the next 48 hours as more PDF’s feed in. Particularly interesting could be the Moorestown presentation.

Meet:Mobility Podcast 41 – Nuggets of News (and an iPad)

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Meet:Mobility Podcast 41 is now available. Recorded on 1st Feb 2010, JKK, Sascha and Chippy talk around the iPad and other mobile computing news including the Aspire ONE 532H, Archos 7, Dell Mini5, iPad, ExoPC, NetbookNavigator, Firefox for N900 and Adobe Flash.
Detailed show notes below.

Listen to the podcasts downloading, playing via Man ebedded player or by using the subsription links.

SUBSCRIBE:
You can also find the podcast on iTunes (Please rate the show on iTunes.) You can also subscribe via RSS.

Full show notes available at Meet:Mobility.