It’s official: Dell’s netbook/tablet hybrid is coming to market in the first week of December. Underneath that conventional, super cool swivel design lies a dual-core Intel Atom N550 processor, 2GB of RAM, a Broadcom Crystal HD accelerator, and 250GB of storage. In standard laptop mode, Windows 7 Home Premium is your OS. Transform it into a tablet and you’ll be introduced to Dell’s Duo Stage UI made for fingers. The 10.1-inch, 1366×768-resolution display can be backed with a coat of blue, black, or red. The Inspiron Duo is priced at $549. A JBL speaker dock will ship alongside it; you can get it bundled with the Duo and bring the grand total to $649. Antsy to get your paws on this slick lookin’ lappy? This teaser should hold you over ’til it’s sweet release.
Ya’ll remember when Dell unveiled the Inspiron Duo back in September at IDF? You know, it’s the netbook/tablet hybrid that sports an awesome (albiet unconventional) swivel design. We’ve seen it pose for press shots and star in brief hands-on demonstrations, but there’s nothing like watching it shine in an official teaser video from Dell. Watch the Duo in convertible action above, then watch it again! Latest murmurs point to a late 2010 release date.
At this year’s Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco, Dell unveiled a brand new super cool laptop design with the Inspiron Duo. The Duo doubles as a netbook and tablet thanks to a swiveling 10.1 inch capacitive multitouch display. What looks like a standard netbook at first glance can instantly be transformed into a tablet device by swiveling the screen from within the frame. It’s powered by a dual-core Intel Atom N550 chip and runs Windows 7. Additional specs and pricing have yet to be disclosed. Dell says the unconventionally designed hybrid will be released into the wilds later this year. Look after the break for a brief video showing off the swivel action and signs of capacitive touch in Microsoft Surface Globe software.
Update: A new video sufaced today featuring Dell Product Marketer Dave Zavelson handling the Inspiron Duo and showing off photo and video touch-based applications. It’s sitting after the break for your viewing pleasure.
Out of the boring status quo comes a netbook with specs that don’t mention Intel Atom, NVIDIA Ion, HDD, and standard def. Chrome OS, that browser-as-your-operating-system concoction from Google, is coming soon and it will come installed inside a Google-designed netbook of their own. According to the IBTimes, the “Google netbook” looks to be one beast of the netbook: it will be powered by an ARM CPU and NVIDIA’s Tegra graphics chip; it will feature a 10.1-inch TFT HD multi-touch display, 64GB SSD, 2GB RAM, and other goodies such as WiFi, 3G, Bluetooth, an Ethernet port, USB ports, a webcam, a 3.5mm audio jack, a multi-card reader, and more. According to the latest rumors, the device will be subsidized with a 3G plan and will end up in the sub-$300 category.
I really hope these specs are fact, not rumor. A netbook with an ARM CPU and NVIDIA’s sweet Tegra graphics would be a welcome addition to the netbook mix. Tegra can only be found inside Microsoft’s Zune today, and it deserves more than that!
In related Google news, Google will be holding a press conference on January 5 where they will likely announce the coveted “Google phone,” the Nexus One. Search, browsers, cell phones, netbooks, oh my! Google world dominance is starting to gain hold.
How are your netbooks holding up? Kinda slow, huh? Doesn’t run YouTube and Hulu videos up to your high standards? Well, I have some pleasant news for you.
On Monday Intel announced the introduction of their latest Atom processors: the N450 (or “Pine Trail”), the D410 D510, and the NM10 Express chipset. The single-core D410 and dual-core D510 are designed for nettops. What I want to focus on is the N450 chip. What’s so different about the 1.66GHz N450 chip is that it integrates the Intel graphics and memory controller directly into the processor. This results in a smaller processor that can be placed into even smaller devices such as tiny netbooks. The N450 is 60% smaller and 20% more efficient than its predecessor. Clocked at 1.66GHz, the N450 single-core chip has a 512kb cache, only supports, DDR2 memory, and is limited to handling 2GB of RAM. After playing around with a new netbook from Asus, fellow bloggers at Engadget report back bittersweet news: while the new chip provides longer battery life it lacks in the performance category, especially in graphics. Cue NVIDIA Ion 2…
Yesterday NVIDIA announced that its next generation of Ion graphics chips will be compatible with Intel’s new “Pine Trail” processors. They will be available sometime during the first quarter of 2010. This is very good news. Those of you who are crying on a daily basis because your netbooks won’t load HD YouTube videos or stream shows from Hulu in a normal speedy manner will have Ion to thank for the resolution of your woes. Atom + Ion is a match made in heaven, and I can’t wait for the next generation versions of these two to live in harmony with one another. In fact, I still haven’t purchased a netbook because I’ve been waiting for this very moment to happen. Expect to see a slew of netbooks sporting these new chips during next month’s CES.
Gizmodo has thoughtfully put together a bite-size feature that takes a look at the next six months of netbook technologies. The conclusion? Unless you really need a netbook right this instant, it would be very smart of you to put a hold on your buying impluse. This spring will bring faster, powerful, and more efficient netbooks with new Intel Atom processors and nVidia Ion graphics cards that will enable HD video to play without stutter (albeit on a 10-inch screen). Most of these new technologies will be revealed at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show…more on that coming soon.
The chip that powers almost all netbooks today is called the Intel Atom N270 (1.6GHz). And boy is it getting boooo-ring. This chip is tired and used. Consumers demand an upgrade! A new, more powerful and efficient Atom chip is on the way say Intel, and its code-named “Pine-Trail M.” It will be released in the first quarter of 2010. Ever since netbooks became oh-so popular not too long ago, companies like HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, and creator of the original Eee PC Asustek have been pumping out new netbook devices like it’s their job (wait, it istheir job!). Anyway, the market has quickly become saturated with way too many clone netbooks (both in exterior looks and interior parts; re: the Atom N270). As of late, it has been confusing to distinguish different netbooks from each other, especially when their names are differentiated only by a single letter or number. According to industry sources, in a surprise statement Acer and ASUS have called for a freeze on netbook production for 2009; they plan on launching new netbooks in early 2010 when the Intel Pine-Trail chips are ready for use. In the meantime, the companies will instead focus on their thin-and-light (or ultra-thin) laptops that run on Intel’s CULV (consumer ultra-low voltage) processors for the remainder of this year. I am very much looking forward to future netbooks that contain Intel’s smaller batttery saving processor (Pine-Trail) and nVidia’s ION platform which allows for better graphics and 1080p HD support.
The whispers of a Apple tablet/netbook device began in March. The rumors of such a device have been newly rejuvenated today by China Times:
“Taiwan’s high-tech supply chain companies said Apple will debut its first netbook in October; Apple will pose itself to tackle the Christmas shopping season. Three corporations – Foxconn, Wintek, Dynapack have received direct orders from Apple…Because Apple will adopt touch screen technology on its netbooks, Apple will not target low-end consumers, avoiding direct competition with Acer, Asus, as well as their less-than-500-dollars netbooks. Apple’s netbook (or a “tablet” as many call it,) will probably be sold at around $800 USD each.”
The device will purportedly have a 9.7 inch screen. Anaylists and comsumers alike beleive the aforementioned Apple device will either be an over-sized iPod touch/iPhone-type product running the mobile version of Mac OS X or an entirely new hardware that resembles current netbook-like mini laptops and/or a tablet ‘slate’ device. Whatever the case may be, I am glad to see the rumor mill turning as well slowly but surely reach the end of the summer and enter Q4, the time when Apple annually updates its iPod and Mac product line.
*Note: The image above is a mockup (read: not real).