A Quick Guide to Netbooks

Asus Eee PC What a difference a year makes. It was only 10 months ago when the first true netbook, the original Asus Eee PC 701, hit the market. The Eee was a ground-breaking little computer but had a few flaws, the biggest being the limited 800×480 display. Today there’s an overwhelming array of low-cost but highly portable and efficient little laptops.

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Each is a full-featured notebook with displays in the 7- to 10-inch range and all are easy to tote around. Nearly all offer several USB ports, a webcam, LED backlit screens, integrated speakers, Wi-Fi and more, so there are very few differentiators. But the many choices in this nascent netbook market can overwhelm, so below is a quick hit list of popular models along with some basic information to help you decide which one might work best for you. [digg=http://digg.com/linux_unix/A_Quick_Guide_to_Netbooks] Read More about A Quick Guide to Netbooks

Does UWB Deserve a Second Chance?

Mistake were made when hyping Ultra-wideband over the past few years. However, UWB may get a second chance as streaming media becomes more important and computers become more portable. I spent yesterday at the Portable Computer and Communications Association meeting in Austin learning about UWB as a wireless personal area network. I’m not a big believer in the technology so far, but was heartened by the admission of speakers who pointed out that the first implementations of the technology sucked.

UWB has its benefits. It’s low power and high bandwidth with theoretical limits of 480 Mbps over a really short distance. How short? With an external whip antenna you have to stand about a yard away to get the highest connection rates. With an embedded antenna, data rates are more than halved at around 150 Mbps, according to a presentation today from Dell. But at short range it’s a high enough speed to deliver decent video. Read More about Does UWB Deserve a Second Chance?

Can Ultraportables Grow Ultrafast?

Between the laptop and the mobile phone lies…something. Intel and Qualcomm may differ on what that something is, but both firms have determined to tap into growth — real or imagined — in the ultramobile PC space, following on the heels of device makers ranging from established players such as HP and BenQ to smaller ones like LimePC and ASUS Taiwan.

Along the way, the Intel Atom and Qualcomm Snapdragon chipsets will compete against processors from VIA Technologies and Freescale Semiconductor, both of whom make chips for ultramobile PCs already. So far, the winner looks like it will be anyone who wants a computer with a screen width ranging between four and nine inches, as new devices will flood the market. But beyond education, how large will that market be?

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Samsung Says Thin Is In

The memory business is a volatile one, driven by consumer demand for products like MP3 players and rapid obsolescence. That’s why the gradual move of solid-state storage drives based on NAND flash memory into the PC is so interesting. Now that those drives are bigger, at 64GB and soon 128GB, memory makers can flatten out some of the volatility seen in the consumer market by putting them into corporate laptops where demand is less influenced by economic cycles.

Most solid-state memory for PCs ends up in rugged or sexy high-end laptops such as the new MacBook Air, which is offered with either an 80GB hard drive or a 64GB SSD, and the Lenovo x300, which comes with a 64GB solid-state drive made by Samsung. The lack of moving parts makes a solid-state drive much more durable for rugged machines and the smaller size of flash drives means they can allow for thinner, lighter laptops.

In addition to revealing that its solid-state drive was in the x300, Samsung has unveiled a traditional 500GB hard drive that contains three disks crammed into a 9.5 mm-high drive. Andy Higginbotham (no relation), director of hard drive sales and marketing at Samsung, says this gives Samsung a leg upon density as the competition can only fit two disks in that space.

And if a user pops two of these in a notebook, he added, suddenly they’re walking around with a terabyte of storage (that could store 120 hours of HD video or 320,000 images). In a laptop. Think about how much confidential data someone could store on it, only to have stolen out of their car. It boggles the mind.

Lockergnome Mobile Lifestyle

gnomedailyI’m really pleased to announce that as of today I am contributing to Lockergnome’s Mobile Lifestyle section. Lockergnome has been a premiere source of information for years and it’s a real treat to work with Chris Pirillo and the rest of the gnomies. I will be contributing tidbits of information and tips on a regular basis so be sure and check often. There’s an RSS feed for you aggregators out there. Of course the subject matter is Mobile Lifestyle stuff so I should feel right at home. I see a theme here….