It’s mini-note mania as Dell and Acer join the Lilliputian laptop brigade and Asus readies a 10in Eee PC!
The biggest attractions at next week’s Computex geekfest may also be among the smallest. Earlier this week
we explained why the Taiwan trade show is so crucial for Intel, and why the chipmaker will use Computex as the launchpad for its Atom processor and the associated Atom Centrino platform.
Now we’re seeing signs that a raft of vendors will line up behind the chipmaking colossus to announce their Atom-powered mini-notes (and potentially a clutch of mobile Internet devices) once the show kicks off.
The rumoured Dell mini-note
broke cover earlier today, with Gizmodo
reporting a Close Encounter of the Direct-Selling Kind with Michael Dell during this week's The Wall Street Journal D6 conference. Dell was carrying not just any of his namesake notebooks but a glossy cherry-red mini-notebook which Gizmodo caught on camera.
Nothing is known of what’s under the hood, but we’d put money on an Atom processor (based on Dell’s long and strong relationship with Intel) and Windows (based on a similarly chummy relationship with Microsoft and the Windows logo on the mini-note’s keyboard). The pics show a stylish and decidedly sexy chassis along similar lines to HP’s 2133, rather than the plastic and rather toy-like look of the Eee PC, with three USB ports, a memory card reader, VGA and Ethernet. Screen size is unknown, but we’d tip 8-9 inches.
Also surfacing are shots and specs for the Acer Aspire One,
courtesy of UMPC Portal
. A bit more digging reveals this is reported to run Windows XP SP3, although the photo shows either a totally different OS (despite the Windows key on the keyboard) or a simplified UI layer, similar to the tabbed ‘easy mode’ workspace of the Eee PC’s Xandos. The 8.9in screen runs 1024 x 600 and the powerplant is identified as a 1.6GHz Atom.
The MSI Wind
holds another slot on Intel’s dance card, although there’s some confusion over the specs. When the mini-note made its debut at the Germany’s CeBIT shot, MSI claimed it would be offered with both 8.9in and 10in screens and a choice of Novell SuSe Linux or Windows XP.
However, MSI’s pre-Computex press release mentions only the 10in form factor and “the familiar Windows operating system”, so we’ll have to wait and see what drops during the week. At least the press release set us straight on the colours of the Wind – “imperial black, angelic white, loving pink and others” are on offer, says MSI, so as to suit everyone, “regardless if you are a stylish gentlemen or an elegant lady”.
There’s 80GB of storage (the Wind uses a standard 2.5in notebook hard drive) with 1GB of RAM, and MSI claims that with the Atom’s low drain and the system’s overall 2.5w maximum drain, users can expect “up to six hours” on the 6 cell battery.
Meanwhile, just as first shipments of the Asus Eee PC 900 series reached Australian retailers, word is out that next week Asus will announce the Eee PC 901
– identical to the 900 but swapping out the Celeron M for an Atom processor – and, according to Taipei-based trade publication DigiTimes, unveil a new-look Eee PC 1000
with a 10in screen.
(And if you’re lining up for a 900, APC is pleased to confirm that all models sold in Australia will have the same 5800mAh battery as fitted to US models, rather than the lower-capacity 4400mAh battery which has been supplied to the UK, Europe, Singapore and Hong Kong – despite the fact that review units supplied to local publications including APCmag.com seem to have been equipped with a 4400mAh battery.)