Originally dubbed a "Lifestyle PC," Sony's Vaio P was an odd hybrid of Netbook and UMPC. Sony went out of its way to not call the original version a "Netbook," but its Intel Atom processor and small size made it hard to consider it anything but that. We ended up admiring the design and ingenuity that went into creating this envelope-size machine, but balked at its anemic performance and awkward input tools. At the time, we said, "Sony's upscale Atom-powered Lifestyle PC has the components of a cheaper machine but the design of … Read more
Sharp-eyed readers and bloggers have noted several leaks and online references to new Intel CPUs, adding to the current Core i3, i5, and i7 lineups. These include new ultralow-voltage (or ULV) chips with the "Core i" name, as well as new versions of the Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs found in mainstream and desktop replacement laptops.
The new ULV CPUs will be part of the Core i3 and Core i5 lines, and be intended for what some call ultrathin laptops--typically 12- to 14-inch systems that need power-efficient parts to keep their slim profiles. According to a report at PCWorld.com, &… Read more
Netbooks are expected to get a dual-core Intel Atom processor by June, finally giving this category of tiny laptops all of the goodness that multicore processors offer.
Netbooks from Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Dell, and Toshiba are offered exclusively with single-core Atom processors, which provide good battery life but lack the performance of multicore chips. Though Asus has been offering a dual-core Netbook, this kind of design is rare because it shoehorns a more power-hungry Atom chip built for desktop PCs into a larger laptop-sized casing.
But a dual-core Atom tamed for the tiny Netbook form factor could boost the product segment … Read more
Intel on Tuesday announced its long-awaited Atom chip for smartphones and tablets, a crowded market populated by a host of formidable rivals--unlike the PC market where it dominates.
Previously known by the code name "Moorestown," the Atom Z6 processor series will "open the door" for Intel chips in the smartphone market, said Pankaj Kedia, director in the Ultra Mobility Group. To date, Intel's Atom has been used primarily in Netbooks, where it has been adopted widely by all major PC makers and been an unqualified hit.
"The specific focus of Moorestown is entering the smartphone segment but it also does very well, it scales very well in the tablet segment," Kedia said. The entire package of chips is composed of the Atom Z6 series system-on-a-chip and two accompanying pieces of silicon. The system-on-a-chip is the "brains of the smartphone" and does all of the heavy lifting such as the core data processing, the handling of video and audio streams, and graphics, Kedia said.
"This time the Atom architecture was defined so it could (fit) into the high end of the smartphone segment," said Belliappa Kuttanna, chief Atom Architect.
Compared with Intel's relatively power-hungry PC processors, Moorestown's most distinctive characteristic is its power frugality. Standby time using a "BlackBerry-style" battery is 10 days. Active battery time, when Web browsing or watching video, for example, is about five hours, said Kedia, who claimed battery life is competitive with high-end "premium" smartphones. (Though Kedia didn't mention any by name, premium smartphones include Apple's iPhone and Motorola's Droid.)
But Intel's hallmark feature is performance. "When you look at Web page type of performance. For example, Java-script-rich Web sites. Specifically, how fast the Web pages load.… Read more
IDC will release figures later this week that indicate that the Netbook phenomenon may have peaked, and recent comments from Intel itself back this up.
The figures from market researcher IDC show a decline in Atom processor shipments as a percentage of Intel mobile processors--a sharp reversal of previous trends that had the Atom chip, quarter by quarter, taking a larger percentage of mobile chip shipments.
Intel ships most of its Atom processors to makers of Netbooks--small, highly portable laptops that are typically priced around $350. Major Netbook brands include Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Asus, Acer, and Toshiba.
"Atom in Netbooks … Read more
Trapped in the temporal vortex between the iPad's announcement and its actual release, the Archos 9 PC tablet--a Windows 7 touch-screen slate PC--has the unenviable job of competing with the ridiculously high expectations set by Apple's device.
Despite its slim, sturdy metallic design, full-featured operating system, and even a USB port, the first version of the Archos 9 we looked at fell well short, even when grading on a curve, of iPad/tablet fever.
At the time, we said: "The final result fully satisfies neither as a Windows PC nor as a handheld multimedia device," and … Read more
What is smaller than a mainstream laptop, uses an Intel Atom processor, and runs Windows? Both a Netbook and the upcoming HP Slate fit that definition, which will pose problems for the Slate when reviewers inevitably try to compare it with the iPad.
The notion of the Slate as a Netbook sans keyboard gained some ground Monday amid reports that the Slate does not compare favorably to an Apple iPad.
Though the final verdict on the HP Slate will have to wait until it is released to major review sites, its specifications already hint at Netbook-like performance, as this report last week shows. … Read more
Intel on Wednesday in Beijing is debuting an Atom processor designed for home tablets and announcing a partnership with China Mobile.
Speaking at the Intel Developer Forum 2010 Beijing, Doug Davis, corporate vice president and general manager of Intel's embedded and communications group, disclosed a future Atom processor code-named "Tunnel Creek" that is targeted at home-use tablets and in-vehicle infotainment systems.
Intel describes always-on tablet devices for the home as "media phones," which can serve as a digital photo frame, MP3 player, a standard Web browsing device, a home command center, and, of course, a phone. (OpenPeak bases its tablet design on Intel's Atom processor.)
Tunnel Creek is based on Intel's Moorestown system-on-a-chip Atom design and combines an Atom core, the memory controller, graphics engine, and video engine. The chip is designed to work with a variety of devices that don't necessarily use accompanying Intel silicon, called chipsets.
The new Atom chip also features enhanced graphics capabilities. So, for example, with in-vehicle infotainment systems, the front seat display could have 3D mapping while the back seat simultaneously displays improved gaming graphics, according to Intel.
On a separate front, Intel Chief Technology Officer Intel Labs Director Justin Rattner showed a concept device for managing energy consumption powered by an Atom processor. The demonstration showed how a homeowner could use the intelligent electronic dashboard to provide ongoing information and suggestions on energy use, thereby reducing power costs.
Partnerships with China Mobile and HawTai Automobile Intel also announced… Read more
Intel will bring out a new dual-core Atom in the second quarter, CEO Paul Otellini said Tuesday during an earnings conference call.
Because Intel already has a dual-core Atom for small desktops, called Nettops, Otellini is likely referring to a dual-core design for the Netbook and small-device market. Currently, Intel offers only single-core Atom processors designated for Netbooks.
"The next innovation coming out on Atom is dual core, which comes out in the second quarter," Otellini said during the earnings call Tuesday afternoon.
"I still think there will be significant growth in the Netbook business year-over-year. Features … Read more
Amid a week of tablet mania, a quiet note from DigiTimes: Dell and HP are reportedly backing off on their investment in 10-inch Netbooks, focusing instead on AMD-based 11-inch devices where profits are higher. Though we'd qualify this as unconfirmed news, it's an intriguing thought in the wake of the launch of the iPad.
We've known for years that most computer manufacturers are less than pleased with being in the Netbook space. Margins are small, pricing is brutal (for the manufacturer, that is), and the standardized specs of most Netbooks can be numbing. We've seen some … Read more