Saturday, May 31, 2008

Gigabyte M912. High spec. Low price?

Looking good with some potentially unique features for the netbook market anrd further blurring the lines between UMPC and netbook is th M912 convertible touchscreen netbook. Or should we call it a convertible tabetPC? Gigabyte previously told me that this one wasnt to be released but it looks like they vhanged their mind [...]

Friday, May 30, 2008

Subnotebook vs. UMPC vs. Netbook: WTF Is the Difference?

When Blam broke the news on Dell's mini Inspiron, there was one he was stuck on: How to categorize it. Is it a subnotebook? A UMPC? A netbook? (Knowing the specs might have helped, but probably not much.) Part of the problem is that the category names themselves are very new and pretty vague. Here's a mini-compendium of the most popular terms for dwarfish laptops being tossed around, where they come from and what they're trying to say. Help us decide which ones to keep, and which to ditch.

Subnotebook: Judging by Google results (1,660,000) and the presence of a Wikipedia entry, "subnotebook" appears to be one of the most popular and closest-to-legit terms, with a history going back to at least Toshiba's Libretto, according to our friend Mark Spoonauer, editor-in-chief at Laptop. The real sticky point appears to be on the edges—when does a UMPC become a subnotebook, and when does a subnotebook become a real notebook? At 11 inches, Lenovo's IdeaPad U110 is probably the breaking point for subnotebook. In fact, that's our new rule: to classify as a subnotebook or ultraportable (see below), you've gotta be 11 inches or under, and less than 3 pounds. (Sorry Walt, the MacBook Air might be light, but its ginormous, full-notebook footprint means it ain't really a subnotebook in most people's eyes.) Judgment: Like a pair of loafers, "subnotebook" is unsexy, but it gets the job done.

Ultraportable: That's a really tricky term, probably the most amorphous. Spoonauer classifies small notebooks with fuller keyboards and displays like the IdeaPad U110 or HP's Mini-note 2133 as "ultraportables," leaving the "subnotebook" moniker to devices in the UMPC class, like the HTC Shift. However, added confusion comes from the fact that ultraportable sounds like ultramobile, as in UMPC (see below). Still, it's the most compelling alternative to subnotebook, because it sounds sexier, and has over 3 million Google hits alone and 1.27 million tagged to notebook or laptop. The big knock against "ultraportable" is that it redirects to "subnotebook" on Wikipedia. Judgment: I don't mind it, but without a firm identity it'll never be useful. Plus I feel like it's trying too hard.

Mini-Notebook: While "mini notebook" seems like a less popular and unwieldy derivative of "subnotebook," with fewer Google results (1,110,000) and no Wikipedia page (it doesn't even direct back to subnotebook), Spoonauer says that it's distinguished from subnotebook as being the class of small form-factor notebooks that are under $600, like the Eee PC. Judgment: I think this one should be junked, though determining a class on price is probably a good idea.

ULPC: This most generally stands for ultra low-cost PC, though I've seen ultra-light PC, too. (How about that for a red flag?) It isn't overly popular, but it obviously refers to small, cheap notebooks like the Eee or XO OLPC Laptop. While it might be useful in distinguishing the Eee from, say, the pricier U110, overall the term seems pointless, especially when there's already a better alternative. Judgment: Garbage heap.

Netbook: This is actually the brainchild of Intel's marketing department to describe sub-$500 notebooks centered around internet-connectivity, such as its Classmate PC. The original Eee PC, XO OLPC Laptop and Cloudbook would fall into this category. While it is technically flackspeak, I actually like it because it's short and fairly specific. Besides being endorsed by Intel (obvs), Ubuntu has officially picked up the term. Judgment: A keeper, even if it was coined by the Man.

UMPC: The term stands for ultra-mobile PC, and actually has fairly concrete origins in the Project Origami catastrophe headed up by Microsoft. Under Intel and Microsoft's guidelines, technically the form factor is defined as touchscreen mini-tablet smaller than eight inches with a resolution of at least 800 pixels wide. However, we (and most others) include the OQO in this category. Even though it doesn't have a touchscreen, it otherwise fits the slabby form factor to a T. Judgment: Works, we just have to disabuse people of using it in reference to stuff like the Eee.


Hopefully focusing on three terms that bear the least ambiguity will help with this confusion. Here's where you guys come in, since believe it or not, we do like standards. So while UMPC has dried to a firm, tasty shell, Netbook and subnotebook are still pretty jelly-like. Or maybe you'd prefer ultraportable to subnotebook? Should low-cost dwarfish notebooks be called netbooks, or is there a better term? Help us clean up this semantic cesspool.

Live Session tonight. JKK, Chippy, Chat and Video

Yes, its true, we have no lives. If you’re in the same boat, or just a bit curious, join us at any point over the next 3 or 4 hours to ask questions, look at devices or just poke fun at us!
We’ll be in the chat session and running live video and audio from about [...]

Cnet UK MSI Wind presentation video.

‘Desirable’ is the word and I base that thought purely on the looks on the MSI Wind, just as a large percentage of netbook buyers are going to do. I’m almost trying to convince myself that I need one after watching this video. More momentum to MSI’s marketing efforts as the rocky waters of Computex [...]

Thursday, May 29, 2008

MSI Wind power drain figures at VR-Zone don’t look right to me.

The MSI Wind seems to be doing the UK rounds at the moment and I’ve just been looking at the VR-Zone review. Its nice to see the internals (really!) and I’m really impressed with the silky black version. However, their power drain testing is somewhat strange. They’ve measured the power drain at the mains outlet [...]

Crave loves the MSI Wind.

It certainly looks like the MSI Wind is taking point in the mininote race right now. Everyone seems to love the design that’s slightly bigger and heavier than the Eee PC 900. The price, style and specifications seem to be spot on. There’s a tough 2 weeks ahead for all mininote product managers but with [...]

Dynadock could turn your UMPC into a desktop.

I’m a big fan of using UMPCs as desktops. In my normal daily work there’s nothing that I can’t do on my UMPC and with the future looking good for more powerful devices, even normal desktop users should be able to run their daily work on a UMPC but it doesn’t work if you keep [...]

Via Launches Crysis-Capable Nano Processors

nano-chip-image-front.jpgVia's next-gen Isaiah processors that they're hoping will break them into the mainstream market just got all official, going by the more consumer-friendly Nano moniker. When we talked with Via about them last week, they said that Isaiah-based processors will deliver 4x the performance of their current C7 chips (which power the OQO and Cloudbook) at the same power envelope. The press release touts the chips' ability to playback Blu-ray and run Crysis—that might be true, but we have the feeling you won't exactly want to in the latter case. Available to manufacturers now, you should start seeing Nano-powered wares in the fall. The low-power-but-decent-performance chip space is definitely getting a mite crowded.

VIA Launches VIA Nano Processor Family

Power efficient processors based on 'Isaiah' architecture designed for optimized performance for mainstream PC markets and new device types

Beijing, China, 29th May 2008 - VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 platforms, today announced the new VIA Nano processor family based on the VIA Isaiah Architecture.

Building on the market-leading energy efficiency of the VIA C7 processor family, the VIA Nano processor family offers as much as four times the performance within the same power range to extend VIA's performance per watt leadership, while pin compatibility with VIA C7 processors will ensure a smooth transition for OEMs and motherboard vendors, and provides them with an easy upgrade path for current system or board designs.

The first 64-bit, superscalar, speculative out-of-order processors in VIA's x86 platform portfolio, VIA Nano processors have been specifically designed to revitalize traditional desktop and notebook PC markets, delivering truly optimized performance for the most demanding computing, entertainment and connectivity applications, including Blu-ray Disc™ HD video playback and the latest PC games, such as Crysis™.

The VIA Nano processor family leverages Fujitsu's advanced 65 nanometer process technology for enhanced power efficiency, and augments that with aggressive power and thermal management features within the compact 21mm x 21mm nanoBGA2 package for an idle power as low as 100mW (0.1W), extending the reach of power efficient green and silent PCs, thin and light notebooks and mini-notes around the world.

"VIA Nano processors represent the next generation of x86 technology, providing the fundamental building blocks for a new genre of optimized computing solutions," said Wenchi Chen, President and CEO, VIA Technologies, Inc. "'Small is Beautiful' is more than a design strategy; it's our vision of where the PC market is heading and our new processors will help the market realize that dream."

VIA's 'nano' association also extends to VIA's signature silicon and platform design characteristics of power efficiency and form factor size reduction, as demonstrated by VIA's ultra compact Nano-ITX boards and the processor packaging used for the current VIA C7 processor family and the first generation of VIA Nano processors.

About the VIA Nano Processor Family

Initially to be launched in two skus, the VIA Nano L-series processors for mainstream desktop and mobile PC systems and the ultra low voltage U-series for small form factor desktop and ultra mobile devices such as mini-notes.

The VIA Nano processor family boasts the highly efficient VIA V4 bus interface and brings a host of technology firsts to VIA's processor platform line-up, including:

— 64-bit Superscalar Speculative Out-Of-Order MicroArchitecture: Supports a full 64-bit instruction set and provides for macro-fusion and micro-fusion functionality, and sophisticated branch prediction for greater processor efficiency and performance.

— High-Performance Computation and Media Processing: The high-speed, low power VIA V4 Front Side Bus starting at 800MHz, plus a high floating point unit, support for new SSE instructions, and two 64KB L1 caches and 1MB exclusive L2 cache with 16-way associativity gives a big boost to multimedia performance.

— Advanced Power and Thermal Management: Aggressive management of active power includes support for the new "C6" power state, Adaptive PowerSaver™ Technology, new circuit techniques and mechanisms for managing the die temperature, reducing power draw and improving thermal management.

— Scalable Upgrade to VIA C7™ Processor: Pin-to-pin compatibility with current VIA C7 processors enables a smooth transition for OEMs and mainboard vendors, enabling them to offer a wider range of products for different markets with a single board or system design.

— Greener Technology: In addition to full compliance with RoHS and WEEE regulations, product manufacturing will be halogen-free and lead-free at launch, helping to promote a cleaner environment and more sustainable computing.

— Enhanced VIA PadLock™ Security Engine: Industry-leading on-die hardware cryptographic acceleration and security features, including dual quantum random number generators, an AES Encryption Engine, NX-bit, and SHA-1 and SHA-256 hashing.


Dynadock could turn your UMPC into a desktop.

I’m a big fan of using UMPCs as desktops. In my normal daily work there’s nothing that I can’t do on my UMPC and with the future looking good for more powerful devices, even normal desktop users should be able to run their daily work on a UMPC but it doesn’t work if you keep [...]

Is this the Acer Aspire One MiniNote?

Update. Some details are emerging…see below.
Hot on the heals of the Dell Mininote leak are these images which just dropped into our forum. This posts are titled ‘Aspire One.’ It’s got the same touchpad as seen on the HP 2133 and what appears to be an 8.9″ screen. Images show a, probably linux-based, user [...]

Isaiah launches as ‘Nano.’ U version Good for UMPCs. Devices expected Q3

This should be music to the ears of many a pro-mobile fan. The Isaiah CPU from VIA, the CPU expected to return 2-4 times performance over the C7 CPU and said to be a pin-for-pin replacement, will launch with a ‘U’ version that will go right down to 1.0Ghz. The TDP at 5W is [...]

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Firefox 3 download day World Record attempt.

Firefox is my recommendation for any device running a ‘low-end’ platform due to its speed and reduced memory footprint and I encourage everyone reading this website to make sure they test out the release candidate ASAP and download the final  version when its  available. If the fact that it’s fast isn’t enough for you, how [...]

Safari on S60! The Samsung L870

There’s no proof that this is the same browser as on the iPhone but it’s an interesting one to note. The Samsung L870, an S60-based device, will feature Apples Safari Browser. The phone itself is also quite interesting in a UMPC-partner kind of way. An N82 killer?
Does this mean that Apple could release the [...]

Expect 10" Eee PC 1000 at Computex.

Among the many interesting things expected to surface next week at Computex, the Eee PC 1000 is probably one that will get a huge amount of attention. While the 1000 isn’t a device I personally find that interesting for ultra mobile usage, its clear to see where ASUSTEK are going with the Eee brand. [...]

Windows 7 multitouch. More hardware. More software.

I don’t see encouraging information coming from the Window 7 chit-chat at All things Digital. I was hoping for hints of a slimmer system, a componentised architecture perhaps, ‘mobile Internet’ and ‘handheld’ keywords but all I can see is the word ‘Multitouch’ everywhere this morning. New hardware requirements, a complex software layer. Gates says:
There’s a [...]

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

VIA Openbook Mini-Note. Detailed Report. Images. Q&A.

With a launch obviously timed to coincide with Computex next week and positioned to take advantage of the incredible growth in the low-cost mobile notebook market, the OpenBook Mini-Note, on first look, seems to be a much better product opportunity than the Nanobook was. While the Nanobook and Eee PC launched together one year ago, [...]

Via launches OpenBook mini-note Reference Design

Its Nanobook version II! Bigger, more powerful, more stylish, using an open-source hardware design and aimed right where Intel have left a gap. The VIA Openbook reference design that you might recognise as the Cloudbook Max, has just been launched. The VIA OpenBook mini-note reference design introduces a host of new innovations, including the next [...]

MSI Wind Test Results from forums

Doody, A nickname I feel I’ve mentioned before in the last few weeks, has been testing the MSI Wind and logged the whole series of tests in the MSI-Wind forums. The tests results include a hard-disk test, PCMark 05, 3D Mark 03 and a battery life test.
The hard disk transfer speeds look very good in [...]

Q1 Ultra needs to be under 600 Euros to compete with Eee. Would you buy it?

Following the introduction of what appeared to be a value-pack in the UK where the 600Mhz non-bluetooth Q1 Ultra was being packaged with the keyboard and organiser pack for 500 pounds [aff link] , it appears Samsung Germany are dropping prices too. The price for the 800Mhz Q1 Ultra, 60GB, 1GB with XP at [...]

Monday, May 26, 2008

Asus EBox ready for launch

Computex is around the corner and rumors are running wild that Asus will release an EBox or Eee Box. A Trusted Reviews source suggested June 3rd is important and published a few specifications. Today the Inquirer published similar specifications and the release date but uses the name EBox. Will Microsoft sit still on the EBox name? Better yet, will eBox, lnc. sit still on the name?

Who is eBox? From their website:

eBox inc. is a private company created to serve companies needing timely delivery and full knowledge on their products' location and physical status at all times — from manufacturer to DC to end user. We eliminate supply chain problems such as late and missed deliveries that have a huge economic impact on any company with a supply chain.

Photo:UMPC and beer.

Xmangerm, a Fuji U810 owner, did exactly what you’re supposed to do with a UMPC at the weekend and that is work wherever you want to!
Today is a wonderful day therefore I have decided to hang out on my balcony with my handy dandy UMPC. The screen is only 5.6 inches but it handles [...]

Solar cells on Portable devices. Apple Patent.

MacRumors have just reported on a patent filed by Apple that shows how they see a possibility to integrate solar cells into the display panel.


Solar panels will have to get much more efficient and power-drain reduced down to the sub 5W range before this technique has legs for any form of general computing device. Screens are never used in direct sunlight and I'm sure that the LCD layer will reduce efficiency by a huge amount but considering that its one of the largest available areas on any portable device, it makes sense to start thinking about it for the future.

Source:Macrumors. Via Engadget.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

"Netbook Remix" Ubuntu for Ultraportables Coming in June

ubuntueee.jpgConsidering that one of the weak points of both the XO Laptop and the Eee PC were their OSes, and that not everybody wants to run Windows XP, this is pretty excellent news: Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth revealed that a new version of Ubuntu tailored to ultraportables, called Netbook Remix, will be announced the first of June. They're working with Intel on it—no surprise, considering Intel's a driving force behind the whole "netbook" concept. Computex takes place the first week of June, so I'm guessing that's where we'll see the announcement, along with more details. [Guardian via Ubuntu]

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sony Ericsson Releases XPERIA White Paper Version 2

Sony Ericsson today released the second revision of the XPERIA X1 White Paper (PDF) detailing many technical aspects of the upcoming XPERIA X1 (hands-on preview here). The document covers the X1i and X1a models. Here is a partial list of changes from the first version of the paper according to – Quad-band EDGE: [...]

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Atom (Silverthorne) performance results. [First attempt under XP]

UMPCFever continue their hands-on with the Aigo MID and have been playing with the device running under Windows. While they were there they did a CrystalMark test which gives us the first ever look at how various parts of a Silverthorne-based MID might perform. However, I would take these results with a large pinch [...]

Aigo MID. YouTube and Cool Image demos.

Two more items to tick off the list on the 800Mhz Atom MID’s:
- YouTube appears to play flawlessly.
- The CoolImage application does indeed look cool.
Both videos (linked above) are from UMPCFever in HongKong. Keep an eye out for more! I want to see WMV and H264 at HD though. In theory, it works! Also on [...]

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Gigabyte M700 overview and video

The M700 I previewed earlier looks like a normal 7″ slate UMPC but it’s got quite a few unique features that set it apart  from the average UMPC.  It’s aimed at mobile media usage and includes the VIA 1.2Ghz processor with the new VX800 chipset which has Chrome 9 graphics and video decoding hardware [...]

MSI Wind Gets Final Specs, Packs an Atom

We've gotten the final specs on the Eee PC competitor from MSI called the Wind. The big news is that the sub-$500 Wind will be the first 10" laptop to pack Intel's new Atom processor, beating Asus to the punch by a couple of months. Maybe Intel's latest and greatest little chip will help the Wind reach its promised 2.5-hour battery life with a 3-cell battery (since the HP Mini Note and Lenovo U110 both fall short in the department). We're looking forward to finding out. Here are the full specs:

Picture%2030.pngStill, maybe the most important spec is the keyboard—it's 20% small than full-sized.

Gigabyte M700 overview and video

The M700 I previewed earlier looks like a normal 7″ slate UMPC but it’s got quite a few unique features that set it apart  from the average UMPC.  It’s aimed at mobile media usage and includes the VIA 1.2Ghz processor with the new VX800 chipset which has Chrome 9 graphics and video decoding hardware [...]

Eee PC 901 images

The 901 is ussemed to be the Atom-based version of the 900 which makes sense but isn’t 100% confirmed yet. There aren’t any more details to accompany the images either but I feel sure we’ll see more of this and many other Atom-based devices at Computex in a few weeks. It looks nice apart from [...]

MSI Wind Gets Final Specs, Packs an Atom

WindNB-9.jpgWe've gotten the final specs on the Eee PC competitor from MSI called the Wind. The big news is that the sub-$500 Wind will be the first 10" laptop to pack Intel's new Atom processor, beating Asus to the punch by a couple of months. Maybe Intel's latest and greatest little chip will help the Wind reach its promised 2.5-hour battery life with a 3-cell battery (since the HP Mini Note and Lenovo U110 both fall short in the department). We're looking forward to finding out. Here are the full specs:

Picture%2030.pngStill, maybe the most important spec is the keyboard—it's 20% small than full-sized.

Gigabyte M704. Confirmed Euro-pricing.

Last week I highlighted some reseller pricing that was appearing for variants of the Gigabyte M704, the UMPC with the 1.2Ghz CPU and 7" 1024×600 screen in a casing that’s smaller than even the HTC Shift. The M704 is now expected to be in stock at the beginning of July and the confirmed Euro-price, [...]

Gigabyte M700 media center uMPC specifications

Gigabyte are getting a good slice of the news cake this week! Tucked inside a marketing PDF received the other day were more details about the new Gigabyte M700. This one is going to take a little explaining because the M700 isn’t just a slate UMPC, it’s part of a mobile media system that Gigabyte [...]

1.7 Ghz Eee PC 900?

This must be a typo right? are offering an Eee PC 900, SKU EEEPC900-W012X, with a 1.7Ghz Celeron processor. Click the image on the right to see the details. [ product link.] The same is also appearing at ZipZoomfly.
I wonder if this is an attempt to sneak a high-end Eee PC 900 out [...]

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

MSI Wind US prices. Earlier than expected availability.

Thanks to Expansys last week, the UK prices and specs for the MSI Wind were revealed but the only US prices we had until now were import prices. Today, LAPTOP magazine has revealed the US-local specs and pricing and rather than charging similar prices for both the Linux and Windows versions of the Wind as [...]

Opera Mini 4.1 upgrade brings noticeable improvements.

Opera Mini usage overtook use of the slow S60 browser on my N82 a long time ago due to its easy to use features and the way it renders pages but mostly, because of it’s speed. It uses a man-in-the-middle server to provide cached and optimised versions of pages that are transmitted using proprietary [...]

Q1 Ultra Premium. Soon in Europe. Soon my next UMPC?

One of my….no, let me start that again. My favourite UMPC, the Q1 Ultra Premium with its 1.3Ghz Intel Core processor and 6-hour battery life running XP Tablet Edition in its sub-2lb package, is coming to the UK and Europe via Expansys. Final specifications aren’t 100% clear yet but it looks like it will [...]

M528 pricing drops into the safety zone. Expect $750 in the U.S.

If you read the article earlier about the US$1450 MID that’s for sale in Australia, you should read this as, following our article, the price has come down some 20% since we had our moan and now sits at around US$1100. That price might still sound shocking but for me it’s in the consideration-zone because [...]

Monday, May 12, 2008

First Intel MID pre-order/pricing. Sit down before reading.

Interested in mobile Internet devices? You know, the ones aimed at the consumer with consumer features and consumer pricing? Then read on… Tegatech, a well-respected UMPC retailer in Australia has recently signed a deal with Gigabyte for the distribution of it’s UMPCs and MIDs in Australia and New Zealand and has sent out an email [...]

Microsoft shows where Origami devices sit on their priority list.

Fact: Vista is not the right choice for a Ultra Mobile PCs unless you need handwriting recognition. Fact: Linux is not an option for pro-mobile users.
Fact: Ultra Low Cost PC’s focus on cost and not mobility features.
Fact: XP is the best choice of operating system for a pro-mobile device. So when Microsoft prevents OEM’s from shipping [...]

How far behind are the Dummies?

Mainstream book publishers are starting to get onto the mobile Internet bandwagon but its almost shocking to see how far progressed they think the mainstream customer is. I don’t argue that they are wrong as for most people, the mobile Internet really does start with someone showing them that there’s a browser on their [...]

Saturday, May 10, 2008

MWg ‘Walk’ MID/UMPC in Q4. Shift MkII?

MWg (Mobile and Wireless group,) a Singapore-based company formed from the old O2 Asia company is coming to Europe with a new ‘connected’ Vista-based mobile device to be released in Q4 2008.
MWg’s entrance into the European market is backed by Expansys and was formerly launched [PDF] last week in London where Modaco was present to [...]

Friday, May 9, 2008

Hanbit Pad arrived for testing and review.

What’s the best Internet-enabled sofa-centric device you can buy? Possibly the Hanbit Pad. It’s silent, semi-rugged, has a built-in consumer IR receiver and transmitter, well-backlit keys and a sturdy stand. It runs Windows XP Tablet, comes with Wifi, Bluetooth, 30GB hard disk and a web-cam, has about 3 hours of battery life and costs…well [...]

A Digital Photographer and his UMPC

A short while back, I came across a blog in my UMPC searches by Cristian Sorega, Ricoh-GR-Diary. The UMPC reference turned out to be a really interesting one because Crisitian is using the Q1 Ultra as a partner device for his digital camera. I use the same device myself now and find it perfect for [...]

Thursday, May 8, 2008

MSI Wind UK price + Preorder available.

Expansys have put their pricing up for the 10", XP and Linux versions of the MSI Wind.
The XP Home version based on the 1.6Gz Diamondville (assumed) Atom processor, 10" LED-Backlit, 80GB (2.5") hard drive, 1GB of RAM, Wifi, Bluetooth and a 1.3MP WebCam is available for pre-order for 350 pounds. The Linux version is 30 [...]

Your multi-device Mobile strategy. Poll results and analysis.

Reading Steve Litchfields review of the N82 this morning and then Warners interesting cogitations reminded of the multi-device strategy poll I posted a while back. Only a few days ago I was saying that I had been ‘locked-in’ to the N82 because of the camera and gps-related features and it’s because of this that [...]

MSI Wind in Black and Pink. more specifications.

Mmmm. The MSI Wind is definitely one of the more attractive netbooks around. In white, it looks good. In the velvety black, I like it even more! The images come from TCMagazine (via EeePCNews) and include a pink one [image below.]  TCMagazine also mention a 7-hour battery life which is interesting but I suspect, as [...]

ASUS R2E First Impressions

To date the R2E has not had a full review done on it and since I owned an R2H largely to my satisfaction for over a year I felt I was the best person in the team to take a good look at ASUS’s latest UMPC offering. ASUS Holland were kind enough to provide a [...]

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

XP SP3 released

After delaying the launch of XP Service Pack 3 for an indeterminate amount of time just a few days ago, Microsoft surprised me this morning with the message on my Everun that SP3 was ready for download on Microsoft Update. I took the plunge and after several hours of struggling and one system hang-up [...]

Intel, Google, Cable co’s in $3bn Mobile Internet investment

Not living in the U.S. puts me at a slight disadvantage in understanding the mobile Internet market out there but my head is going through a number of scenarios today after reading about the possible, but likely, $3.2Bn investment plan to prop-up the WiMax effort in the U.S.
Intel, a silicon manufacturer, a WiMax chipset [...]

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

HTC Diamond features Opera 9.5 and VGA screen.

Just announced in London, the HTC Diamond looks like an interesting alternative to a MID if you’re a one-man-one-device type of person. With an HSUPA modem, a touch-sensitive 2.8" VGA screen, GPS, Wifi, Bluetooth, Windows 6.1, the Qualcomm 528Mhz platform (as seen in the Xperia) and HTC’s new touch-flow 3D it gets interesting but add [...]

Eee PC 900 battery life tests. Thoughts on Atom.

The Eee PC madness continues. There must be 20+ Eee PC web sites by now and every day there’s at least one good set of new information. I’ve even seen a couple of Eee PC books on Amazon which just shows what sort of a market there must be out there. The Eee PC ecosystem [...]

Solar-UMPC-powered web server testing.

Yes, its that time of year again where we get the first encouraging days of sunshine in Europe so I've been into the cellar and dusted-off my Sunlinq 24W solar panel.

Sun strength for the last 2.5 days.


I'm not planning a solar-umpc tour this year but I am planning to get some use out of the panel. At the moment, the plan is to run a UMPC from the solar panel that could serve this blog. I doubt i'll be able to do it 24/7 for the whole of summer but I'm running some tests on the Raon Digital Everun S6S at the moment to see exactly how much I could get out of it with the 24W panel.

The Everun, when configured for 400Mhz with WIfi and screen off, will consume a tiny 4W at idle and about 6W at full power which is about as low as you can go with a PC without having to switch to an ARM architecture. I don't want to do that because the plan is just to install a basic Ubuntu image, fire up Apache and SSH and serve this blog as a set of static web pages. WIthout Mysql or PHP running it should keep the processor load down to a minimum although i'm not sure that Ubuntu will be able to switch the CPU into 400Mhz mode. It might have to stay locked at 600Mhz.

everunsolar At 5W drain, the server would need 120Wh of energy to power it for a full day. With a 24Wh panel I'm only going to get about 80-100Wh per day on average (using the 4-hours sun/day  rule that applies to this part of the world) so at some point, back-up power is going to be needed. The problem is, how can I switch-over to back-up power (or gracefuly switch over to another server.) Switching the servers is OK but getting the Everun to shutdown when it reaches 5% power is impossible under Linux right now.

The Alternative is to shut-down the server between 0300 and 0900 every day and to try and regulate it that way or just keep topping up the SLA battery from other sources when needed.

I'm going to need a couple of new items for this project though.

1) Power usage measurement tools. I want to feed the data back into the website. Power used, power given by panel, current battery level. Any tips there would be much appreciated. Should I buy a dedicated data logging system with software or are there simpler ways to do this.

2) An ethernet port. The Everun only has a WIfi connection and that would take too much power so I'm looking at a USB to Ethernet adaptor. This one from SMC takes about 150mw which will be fine.

3) Bigger SLA battery. Rather than using the 56whr battery that I have, I should get one that takes about 200wh so that if we have two or three good days of sunshine, I can store the engergy and use it on days where the sun is weaker.

Solar panel positioning is going to be a major problem at my house which is badly oriented for a solar panel. I'm also a bit worried about loss along the length of cable I will need in order to position the solar panel correctly.

Over the next few weeks I hope to at least have a partial solar-powered web server running but if this blog disappears, you'll know what's happened!

Wibrain and Terratec in 120kmh UMPC TV test

I surprised myself yesterday morning when I managed to get live digital TV working at 120kmh. I had heard reports that the dual-tuner DVB sticks in ‘diversity’ mode were good but never expected it to be this easy to get live TV working in the car.
I was using a Terratec dual-tuner diversity DVB-T USB stick [...]

Monday, May 5, 2008

MSI Wind spotted for online ordering. reports the first sighting of the MSI Wind U100 online. The specs match up with what was given in the MSI press release and the price shown is 406 Euro. Expansys also have an MSI Wind page up (aff.) now but there’s no real information available on delivery dates apart from  an expected date [...]

Mobile TV and the MID opportunity.

Two things happened today to make me want to write something about mobile TV. Firstly, I was testing the WiBrain with a Terratec DVB USB stick in the car this morning. It was a an interesting and largely successful test of a digital TV standard that wasn’t designed to be mobile. I’ll write more [...]

Flipstart are re-positioning.

I just wanted to clear up a story that appeared on Engadget this morning. Yes, Flipstart are retreating from the UMPC market. I heard from a contact back in Jan that the Flipstart UMPC production was going to be reduced, sales and support handed over to Dynamism and that Flipstart were going to re-focus on [...]

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Microsoft to Yahoo: Take a Hike

Microsoft executives came to their senses and today they told Yahoo to take a hike. Finally.

The interaction between the two companies is evidence of Yahoo greed and after Yahoo announced deals with Google, Microsoft was left with an obvious choice.

In the end, Yahoo is a dying company and Microsoft would have gained nothing.

16GB iPod Touch on woot today for $289

Apple may not refer to the iPod Touch as a MID, but it surely fits the definition, and is one of the best currently on the market. Today only, through the famous deal-a-day site , you can pick up a refurbished 16GB iPod Touch for $289 (sorry, they only ship to the US). For [...]

Friday, May 2, 2008

T-Mobile U.S. 3G Data available. Don’t forget the spare battery!

Coming to you live on 1700Mhz, its UMTS data at 356kbps. on the T-Mobile network. As far as I’m concerned, UMTS speeds aren’t bad for browsing and email which keeps 99% of users happy for 99% of the time. The problem is when you want to download a big file or, even worse, upload something. [...]

New UMPCPortal team members #3

No, its’s not another new member, its just me wanting to say an official ‘welcome’ to Thorsten, (AKA The_Niles) and Ben (AKA Benz145) and to mention the other team members that are working with me at the moment.
Andre (Lyser) and Sascha, who joined us on the podcast last week, are going to be taking a [...]

Eee PC Celeron/Atom supply issues.

Your friendly Asian UMPC news generator, Digitimes, has already spoken of Atom supply issues but the info at that time was just too thin to take any notice of. This time, however, Asustek Computer president Jerry Shen has said that the shortages could persist until September giving an element of significance to the news. In [...]

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Exclusive preview - 24 hours with the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1.

Yesterday was quite a busy day for me and what made it worse was a new device. I got a rare opportunity to test the new Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 for one night. Naturally I took it and decided to share my experience. Note that I only got the phone itself, no box, no accessories, [...]