How Netbooks Are Fighting Back Against the Tablets

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How Netbooks Are Fighting Back Against the Tablets

by Chris Preimesberger

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Welcome to the First-Ever Netbook Summit

Key sponsors and exhibitors at the first Netbook Summit May 24-25 at the Grand Hyatt in Burlingame, Calif., included usual suspects Dell, Toshiba, AMD, Nvidia and Samsung.

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Toshiba mini NB305

This little Energy Star-compliant netbook packs a lot of features into a $350 to $400 (depending on storage capacity) package. It has a 10.1-inch LED backlit screen, an Intel Atom N450 processor, up to 250GB of storage, 3G mobile broadband-ready connectivity, a full-size keyboard, an 11-hour battery, and Windows 7 Starter version. It weighs 2.6 pounds.

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Toshiba Satellite T115

This slimline netbook, which sells for $100 more than the NB305, is tuned for business users. It features a choice of an 11.6- or 13.3-inch HD LED backlit screen, AMD Athlon Neo and Turon Neo X2 processors, an ATI Radeon HD graphics card, up to 320GB of storage, up to 4GB of RAM, 3G mobile broadband-ready connectivity, a full-size keyboard, a 6-hour battery, and a full version of Windows 7.

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Blast from the Past

The Toshiba Libretto first came out in 1998 and endeared itself to a generation of small-PC aficionados. It features an Intel Pentium 166MHz MMX, 32MB of RAM (64MB max), a 2.1GB hard disk and a 7.1-inch TFT display. You can still buy one on eBay.

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Concept Tablet Model

This Nvidia-powered tablet—strictly a concept model at this point-is currently in development and could be on the market as early as next year. It features touch controls, measures 6 inches by 9 inches in size, boasts HD-quality video and is very light&151about 2 pounds.

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Strictly for Mobile Web Developers

The Nvidia Mobile Web Processor is a portable unit for software developers that features the full Web with GPU-accelerated Flash 10.1, stutter-free HD video, a number of mobile games and days of battery life. Developers can check it out at

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ASUS Teams with Nvidia

This ASUS 1201 netbook is powerful enough to run I/O-devouring video games such as "World of Warcraft," "Sims 3" and others on a large HD screen—with no stuttering. It features very fast rendering for mobile Web developers.

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Wireless HDTV Transmitter for the Home

This one works right through walls in a home—even two-story residences—and delivers HD video from a notebook, PC or smartphone to a connected TV in a flash. The Amimon WHDI (Wireless Home Digital Interface) is strictly plug and play; you plug the transmitter into the laptop, connect the receiving end to the back of the TV (see next slide), and off you go to watch your HD video or movie. With so much more HD content becoming available online and through Blu-ray and set-top boxes, having this option is something to consider. The unit will run around $200. Go here for more information.

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Receiving End of the Wireless HD Transmitter

The receiving unit of the WHDI transmitter simply connects to the back of the TV monitor. (See previous slide for an introduction to this product.) Hitachi, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp and Sony are partners in this new venture. The transmitter works optimally for distances of about 100 feet.

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Marvell Netbook/Tablet

Marvell, known for making a flotilla of devices for networking, wireless, power management, storage and processing, also makes devices like this thin, flip-open multimedia tablet. It can be used as a book reader, a Web browsing platform, a video player and a document maker. More information can be found here.

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Samsung 11-Hour Netbook

Samsung was well-represented at the Netbook Summit with several demo machines, including this ruggedized, top-of-the-line NB30, which debuted in January at the Consumer Electronics Show. It features a 10.1-inch screen, an Atom N450 1.66GHz power plant, an 11-hour battery, 2GB of RAM and 160GB of storage. Pricing is in the $320 range. Touchpad control will be coming in the U.S. later this year.

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Dell Netbook for High School Students&#151and Teachers

Dell has customized a line of netbooks just for high school-age students' use in classrooms. The 13-inch Latitude 2110 features a ruggedized casing-because it WILL be dropped at some point-a spill-proof keyboard and a number of other features that protect the machine from hard use. But perhaps the most interesting new feature is a very simple one, indeed. It has a white light on the casing-easily visible by the teacher from a distance-that lights up when the student decides to break away from the current in-class lesson and try to browse the Internet (see next slide).

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Teacher-Alert Light on Dell Netbook

(See previous slide for an introduction to this netbook.) The white Internet-alert light is the horizontal one at the top of the cover. The light comes on when the student decides to break away from the current in-class lesson and try to browse the Internet. It is bright enough to be easily visible by the teacher from a distance. These Dell Latitude 2110 netbooks are priced at around $800.

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