Miniature Might at CES: Tablets, Netbooks from HP, Acer, Others

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Miniature Might at CES: Tablets, Netbooks from HP, Acer, Others

by Nicholas Kolakowski

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled three tablet PCs due for release in 2010 during his Jan. 6 keynote address: one from Pegatron, one from Archos and one (far right) from Hewlett-Packard. Although Ballmer declined to give the HP device a name or price point, he said it would surf the Web and display video and e-books.

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Nokia recently entered the netbook market with its own offering, the Nokia Booklet 3G, which includes a 10.1-inch HD display, Intel Atom processor, 12-hour battery life, and 3G/HSPA connectivity.

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The Hewlett-Packard Touchsmart tm2 follows one of the trends of CES: a netbook or notebook converted into a multitouch tablet. Retailing for $949, the Touchsmart is notable for a feature that allows you to write on a virtual notepad with a stylus.

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The HP Touchsmart tm2, which features a 12-inch screen, can achieve 9 hours worth of battery life thanks to its 6-cell battery. Its Intel Core 2 Duo processor makes it powerful enough to be considered a full-fledged notebook despite the small size.

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The Fujitsu Lifebook T4410 features a 12.1-inch display, and its multitouch screen doubles as a tablet when slotted over the keyboard. The device weighs 3.9 pounds, and is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo P9700 processor.

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The HP Mini features a 10.1-inch screen, and its Intel Atom N270 processor is capable of running Windows 7 Starter. It weighs 2.35 pounds.

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Intel president and CEO Paul Otellini used his Jan. 7 keynote to announce the beta launch of AppUp Center, an online storefront for customized applications that can run on netbooks like these.

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Otellini further suggested that different companies, including Acer, Asus, Dell and Samsung, would eventually build their own versions of the AppUp Center, which could also be ported onto smartphones and smart TV over time.

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Tablets, such as this Viliv S5, seek to port full operating systems such as Windows 7 onto ever-smaller form factors. In the case of the Viliv (billed as an "ultra mobile PC"), however, a smaller screen also translated into hard-to-read menus and windows.

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To go along with its sporty and distinctive logo, the Acer Ferrari One packs a bit of power under the hood, courtesy of an AMD Athlon X2 dual-core processor L310. Weighing 3.31 pounds with a 6-cell battery, and boasting an 11.6-inch HD screen, the device will run Windows 7 Home Premium or Home Basic.

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The Archos 9 PCTablet weighs a mere 29 ounces and features a 8.9-inch resistive touch-screen. Powered by an Intel Atom Z510 processor, it runs Windows 7 Starter Edition, and has an estimated battery life of 5 hours.

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Asus introduced many new products at CES, including an Eee PC netbook created by notable industrial designer Karim Rashid. Whether or not the attempt at style attracts customers, the Intel Atom N450 processor, 2.5-pound weight, and 10.1-inch screen provides standard netbook functionality.

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The textured exterior of the Asus Eee PC netbook designed by Karim Rashid.

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As the netbook market continues to crowd with new models, manufacturers have been carving out new niches with both higher-powered "ultra-thins" and smaller "smartbooks," which are a small-scale hybrid of a smartphone and netbook.

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