Toshiba had announced its Android smartbook way back in June and it was quite eagerly awaited by Android fans. Today, Toshiba has launched the AC100 Android Smartbook in the UK.
The Toshiba AC100 runs Android 2.1 and has a 10.1 inch TFT display with a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. It has a heavily customized UI by Toshiba tailored for netbook usage. It is powered by the Nvidia Tegra 2 platform (1 GHz Tegra 250 SoC) and has 512 MB DDR2 RAM. It has an 8 GB internal SSD and comes with Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR connectivity. A 3G version of the AC100 is also in the works. Besides these, it has a 1.3 MP webcam and an HDMI out.
The Toshiba AC100 is priced at GBP 290 ($449). With Windows 7 netbooks sporting much better hardware configurations like the Samsung N150 and the Asus EEE PC 1001P starting at $299, I doubt the Toshiba AC100 is going to be a hit, especially at this price.
Intel has launched the new dual core Atom N550 processor for netbooks. It has a clock speed of 1.5 GHz and is the first dual core Atom.
The netbook space hasn’t been seeing a lot of action lately; almost all major netbook manufacturers like Asus, MSI and Samsung are now planning to launch their own tablets. Tablets are now the next big thing.
However, netbooks may have a chance to regain their lost glory. Today, Intel announced the new Intel Atom N550 dual core processor. This is the first dual core Atom processor and is based on the new Pineview architecture. It has a clock speed of 1.5 GHz and an L2 cache of 2 x 512 KB. It supports DDR3 800 MHz RAM and offers battery life similar to the Atom N450, with much better performance.
Most netbook users have always lamented about the slow performance in netbooks; the Atom N550 will probably change that. It was reviewed by a few hardware sites back in June and performed very well in the benchmarks. It improves the multitasking capabilities and offers improved application and graphics performance. It can also handle 720p video flawlessly and is perfect for watching high resolution Youtube and Hulu videos.
Intel also announced that netbooks based on the Atom N550 will be launched by Acer, ASUS, Fujitsu, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, MSI, and Toshiba by the end of 2010.
Launched in Bangalore on Thursday, Acer’s latest netbook, Aspire One532h, comes bundled with in-built Reliance Netconnect Broadband Plus which has a capability of offering high speed connectivity of up to 3.1 Mbps across 66 Indian cities. This device is really a must-have for those who work on the move. Acer has partnered with Reliance Communications to launch this netbook which comes embedded with wireless broadband.
The netbook is Priced at INR 19,499 and comes with two months of complimentary usage of integrated and in-built Reliance NetConnect Broadband Plus worth INR 2,198. The netbook has good hardware and is capable of running rich media applications like video conferencing, video streaming, electronic surveillance, online multi-player games and heavy file transfers.
In the last Ubuntu Developer Summit, it was decided that Chromiun will be the default web-browser in Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10. It was not the final decision, the final decision was left till Alpha 3 and they started shipping Ubuntu Netbook Edition with Chromium as the default browser in the Alpha 1 and Alpha 2.
Now that the Alpha 3 is approaching, Jorge Castro has confirmed that Chromium will not be used as the default web-browser in Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10. They have decided to stick with Firefox for Maverick, at-least.
This is a follow up status report from the Chromium-by-default-on-UNE discussion at UDS. The desktop team have decided to stick with Firefox for UNE for 10.10, however Chromium is moving into main. Here are the critical blockers:
We don’t have a plugin installer, ie. if you go to a Flash site it sends you to Adobe’s webpage instead of just installing the plugin.
No langpacks or translations support in lp so we can’t translate Chromium, we have to depend on upstream to do it in one huge thing. :(
Doing all the xulrunner packaging changes in order to get the CD size down AND switching to chromium in one cycle is currently not feasible with the people we currently have.
Jorge says that they want to switch to Chromium but right now there are simply too many issues with having Chromium by default. One problem is the disk space – Chromium is about twice the size of Firefox. Another problem is the release of security updates. With Firefox, the Ubuntu developers get around 1-2 weeks to test new security updates. However, with Chromium it is a bit different – they just release them once they have fixed it without giving the Ubuntu developers time to test it.
Chromium will still be available in the repository though.
ITOPS – an IT Hardware study and research report in India released by MAIT – the apex body representing India’s IT hardware has come out with Computer Hardware sales figures for the year 2009 2010. The reports compare sales figures of various computer hardware and peripherals to that of the previous years.
The graph above shows the sales figures for notebook computers (and netbooks) for the last six years. If you take into consideration the last 4 years, you can clearly see that the laptop (notebook & netbook) sales have definitely grown at a very healthy pace. While 850k notebooks were sold in 06-07, the sales numbers tripled over last 4 years to 2.5 million units. (via Trak.in)
The graph above shows the desktop sales. Although the laptop sales volume per year is nothing as compared to the Desktop sale volumes, but the graph clearly shows that there has been no growth in the sales of desktops from past years and the sales remain steady. (via Trak.in)
No doubt, the increase in usage of notebook has come at the expense of desktops, but it is a good sign that Indians are gradually moving into the mobile world. Notebooks are more energy efficient than desktops and prove to be more useful too!
A couple of weeks ago, Canonical’s Vice President of OEM, Chris Kenyon was quoted as saying that a light-weight touch friendly version of Ubuntu will be available in tablets by the first quarter next year. This created a lot of excitement among the Ubuntu community.
However, Ubuntu’s Benevolent Dictator For Life, Mark Shuttleworth has denied that they are developing Ubuntu for tablets. He said that Chris Kenyon was misunderstood. He also said that Canonical’s main focus for Ubuntu remains on the desktop, netbooks and servers.
Canonical is indeed working with OEM to bring Ubuntu in various forms to the people. They are developing an instant-on version of Ubuntu called Ubuntu Light for OEMs which will be installed installed alongside another OS. Some OEMs also ship Netbooks with Ubuntu. However because of the touch intensive usage pattern of tablets, a different kind of UI is required for tablets.
I, for one, am disappointed with this news. What about you?
Today, the folks over at MeeGo.com have released the first ever netbook version of the MeeGo OS. Along with netbooks, the core MeeGo OS for the Nokia N900 has also been released. This release is numbered v1.0, and is targeted towards developers for application development. The updates for the MeeGo OS will be rolled out regularly after a time-interval of six months. The next MeeGo OS (v1.1) update will be released in October. It will include support for various touch-based devices like handsets, in-car navigation systems etcetera.
The core MeeGo OS for netbooks only supports netbooks running on the Intel Atom processors. The MeeGo API for developers, which includes Qt v4.6, has also been released. The MeeGo SDK has also been released. As of now, the SDK is meant only for netbooks. An early-developer version will be released in June, which will include support for touch-based devices.
The core MeeGo OS for netbook and the Nokia N900 can be downloaded here.
KDE Plasma Netbook Shell first made an appearance with KDE SC 4.4. The second version is already on its way with KDE SC 4.5. KDE developer Marco Martin, gave a brief preview of what to expect from the KDE Plasma Netbook Shell 4.5.
Here it is:
The Shell has been receiving a lot attention to make it faster. The Shell, along with the Launch and Search activities, have undergone several optimizations. This should make the interface a lot faster and responsive.
All the Plasma scroll areas, uses brand new code to handle the touch and the flicking in a much better way. To improve both the looks and the usability of it, the widgets now appear perfectly aligned in a 2×2 grid, although you can still create a custom number of rows and columns. Interacting with widget will make it expand to take up to the whole screen height, so offering a “maximized” view of it.
Search and Launch
A different way to fetch the data used in the menus is being used to make it more accurate.
Drag and Drop
Drag and drop support has been added extensively to make the interface more intuitive and touch-screen friendly.
Marco also published a couple of videos showing some of the things mentioned above:
In the UDS-M, it has been decided that there will most likely be some changes in the applications that are installed by default with Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10.
Here are the new applications that are being considered for UNE 10.10:
It has been decided to have Chromium as the default web browser rather than Firefox. One of the main reasons for choosing Chromium is its speed. However, there are still some concern regarding Chromium’s non-native look and how it will work with Global Menu. As of now the decision to include Chromium is only till Alpha 3, after which they will take the final decision regarding its inclusion.
F-Spot, currently the default photo management application in UNE, will most likely be Shotwell in UNE 10.10 Maverick Meerkat.
Megoo Media Player/Banshee
A lot of discussion has been going on regarding the media player for UNE 10.10. The focus is on having a Unified Media Player – one which can play both video and audio. Various applications have been looked at. However, Banshee seems to be the front runner as it already has Ubuntu One Music Store Integration and there is no disk space issue as UNE already comes with Mono.
There were also discussions about the default email client. Instead of opting for a new application, it has been decided to have a version of Evolution optimized for netbook by default. Such a version of Evolution, called Evolution Express, already exist.
In the Ubuntu Developer Summit, Mark Shuttleworth a very exciting new variant of Ubuntu – Ubuntu Light.
Ubuntu Light is meant to be an instant-on OS to be supplied by OEM, as a dual boot installation with other OS (like Windows). Ubuntu Light will be easy to use for new users, safe for web browsing in unprotected environments like airports and hotels, focused on doing that job very well, but upgradeable with a huge list of applications, on demand. It will not have a traditional file manager and come with a small set of default applications for mail, web, media etc.
This is what Shuttleworth wrote:
Instant-on, dual boot installations are a new frontier for us. Over the past two years we have made great leaps forward as a first class option for PC OEM’s, who today ship millions of PC’s around the world with Ubuntu pre-installed. But traditionally, it’s been an either/orproposition either Windows in markets that prefer it, or Ubuntu in markets that don’t. The dual-boot opportunity gives us the chance to put a free software foot forward even in markets where people use Windows as a matter of course.
Unlike the other variants, Ubuntu Light will not be available for download from ubuntu.com. It will be especially optimized for each OEM so that it boots faster with the hardware in use. Right now the focus is on Ubuntu Netbook Light which is based on Unity. However, Canonical hopes to introduce a Light version for the desktop as well later.