Notebooks, Netbooks and the blurring lines.

In October 2007 Asus started it all with the release of its Eee PC series, the first of which had a tiny 7″ screen running a 900MHz Intel Celeron processor. Since then the netbook market has been on fire with a range of manufacturers announcing and releasing devices throughout the year. Netbooks with varying processors, screen sizes, keyboard layouts and prices have filled up both real and virtual shelfs.

However the once distinct line between notebooks and netbooks which stood at 1.6GHz, 10.2″ screen size is now being blurred out. 2008 was undoubtedly a great year for notebooks and we saw their adoption, that too at a extremely quick pace, The gone Christmas season was the best for Amazon but with 17 of the top 25 laptops being netbooks, trends could be worrying. With 2008 being the year of the economic downturn people were most likely looking for cheaper alternative.

I wrote a post a while ago about Netbooks not being able to replace notebooks and I still stand by what the situation was at that given time. Dell and Samsung have both announced Netbooks at 12″ screen size and MSI takes it up a notch at 13.4″. NVidia’s ION platform enables laptops with the Intel Atom processer to play HD at 1080p. At these sizes these machines become notebooks which as less-powered, but still very capable of performing everyday tasks required by most consumers as well as professionals. At this point netbooks start to creep into notebook territory. It’s no wonder Intel is nervous about it, and despite it being the lead provider for netbook processors, has criticised netbooks in the past with Intel’s VP Stu Pann saying netbooks are not an all day machine. Michael Arrington seems to think this is because “every Netbook sold is one less Dual Core that Intel can sell at a higher price and higher marginand he may just be right.

What does this whole situation mean for netbooks as they have been known pre-2009, i.e., complimentary machines to larger, more powerful ones? What, if any, will be the distinction between netbooks and notebooks? Or are we coming back to a point where notebooks and netbooks come together again under one heading again?

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Can we give the MSI Wind ‘some’ competition? Please?

When Asus entered, nay, started the netbook market, the device didn’t have a named category to fall under. Mini laptop, UMPC, ultra portable were some of the names given to it. Hell even on this blog I’d tag posts posts as ultraportable until recently. It’s been about a year and the market is now saturated; much credit blame directed towards Asus. However there still lies a sense of disconnect between consumers and manufacturers. Why is it that most of them find it so difficult to produce a decent product which covers all bases.

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Dell Global Mobility Event : Live Blogging

Dell is hosting an event titled ‘Freedom from Business as Usual’ and is was expected to announce their netbooks and possibly even a phone. That didn’t happen though. Dell is really pushing the concept of a ‘Digital Nomad‘ (their term, not mine). They claim to have achieved a 19 hour battery life for notebooks and this will be included in their newest (4th generation) Latitudes some of which will be available starting today on

Among other things the machines are expected to include Backlit keyboards, all day batteries, SSDs, Centrino2 processors, integrated webcam and microphone and even smart card security. Track lost notebook as well as remotely wipe data.

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Dell Mini boasts impressive keyboard.

Gizmodo managed to get a sneak peek at Dell’s forthcoming into the UMPC market. Dell had earlier announced that they will be releasing a product sometime in the Summer to compete with the likes of HP and Asus. There is no word on the specifications, screen size or price, but one can certainly expect some information soon. Atleast with the red colour it’d be safe to say the ultraportable will be coming in a variety of colours too.

However what stood out the most is the unconventional key layout. The function keys have been totally let go and the Shift, Caps Lock and other keys have been dramatically reduced in size too in order to give enough width to the letter key which tend to be more frequently used. Another thing visible in the pictures is the lack of a bezel. While no information is given on the screen size either, my guess is it might hold a 10″ screen in a 8.9″ casing similar in size to the HP 2133. More pictures on Gizmodo while a HP vs Dell comparison has been posted below.

Link: Gizmodo Gallery

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