California-based MSI Computer introduced the Wind U135 on Jan. 26, a 2.4-pound netbook that features the Intel Pine Trail platform, which includes the Atom N450 processor that runs at 1.66GHz.
The CPU, single chipset architecture and an efficient LED display reportedly increase battery life by 15 percent over earlier models, delivering a battery life of up to 7.5 hours. And to further enhance battery life, the newest Wind offers five power mode settings to customize the power supply to various tasks.
The Wind U135 runs Microsoft's Windows 7 Starter and pairs a 10-inch WSVGA display - with a resolution of 1.024 by 600 pixels - with a Chiclet-style keyboard. (Is the gum company OK with that designation?) The elevated keys, which are larger than on previous models, are said to also be more comfortable and offer greater accuracy.
The netbook offers 802.11 b/g/n wireless connectivity. In addition, the Wind U135 offers a 1.3-megapixel Webcam, three USB ports, a 4-in-one card reader, a D-sub port and microphone-in and headphone ports. Users can also choose between a 3-cell or 6-cell battery - the latter of which offers those 7.5 hours.
The 12.22 by 8.87 by 3.15-inch Wind U135 comes in Silver, Charcoal, Ruby and Sapphire and is now available at Fry's Electronics, Comp USA, Amazon.com and Newegg.com for prices ranging from $302.99 to $329.99.
Worldwide PC shipments in the fourth quarter of 2009 passed 90 million units, a growth of 22.1 percent over the same quarter a year ago, according to Gartner Research. Shipment growth was largely driven by low-cost PCs, such as notebooks and netbooks, stated analyst Mikako Kitagawa in a January report.
However, low-priced PCs are said to be damaging, overall, to the PC industry.
"Without an effective strategy to convey a clear usage model and feature set tied to each segment," wrote IDC Analyst Jay Chou, in a Jan. 13 report, "the market will inevitably continue down the slippery slope of -good enough' computing sold to the lowest bidder."