Verizon confirmed that they will be offering a deal on a 3G HP netbook for $99, with a two year plan. Not a bad deal, but I haven't been impressed by HP's speed so far. Probably due to their hard drives.

Full story is here:

Verizon

 
 

I just found another review of an nVidia ION test box, this time from Notebookcheck. This isn't exactly "news" since it's from February, but I just turned it up in Google, so I figured in case someone else missed it somehow, I'd share:

http://netbookinfo.weebly.com/asus-900ha-review.html

I can't wait for the Ion netbooks to come out. It's a shame that Asus plans to stop producing the 9" netbooks, because I'd love one exactly like my 900HA, but with the power of the Ion platform.

 
 

Wired posted this article on netbooks a few days ago (ok, so all of my news isn't exactly fresh off the digital press, so sue me), which takes a look at the genesis of netbooks. I'm not sure if I agree with all of the author's assertions, but this is an interesting read nonetheless.

 
 

More news about the Psion lawsuit and Intel's counter suit today.  The last I heard, Intel was claiming that Psion had not used the Netbook trademark since 2003, when it gave up on its own device with an oh-so-similar form factor and niche.

However, the story linked above states:

In the filing, Psion lists retail sales (in dollars) of laptop computers "under Psion's NETBOOK mark" in the U.S. from 1999 to the present. For example, in 2005 Psion cites sales of netbooks at $1,709,433, in 2006 sales were $2,073,207, and in 2007, Psion says retail sales were $586,680.

I'm thinking that Intel and Psion are going to end up settling on this one. I don't think that Psion has an especially strong case, and the whole thing smells to me like an attempt to cash in on a trend the company failed to get off the ground itself. However, Intel's claim that the Netbook trademark was abandoned may be weakened if the court finds in favor of Psion on this point.

 
 

Here's a really cool touch screen netbook I found on the Crave blog on cnet. Talk about a company living up to its name! Always Innovating demonstrated this new touch screen at Demo 09.

Among the features: The touch screen comes off of the keyboard half of the netbook completely, and is even magnetized on the back in case you want to hang it on the fridge! Flip it around to use in tablet mode if you want to haul the keyboard unit along, or don't. Always Innovating is claiming a 10 to 15 hour battery life for the unit. The OS is Linux, and the CPU is an ARM processor rather than the ubiquitous Atom.

 It will retail for $299 without the keyboard, and $399 with the keyboard.

 
 

According to Gartner, PC sales are on the decline, and netbook sales on the rise:

Gartner pins a significant part of the shift to netbooks; although they won't prevent an overall PC industy decline, they should account for about 8 percent of shipments during the year and are likely to become more affordable in the year as well. A typical model of one of the mini notebooks with a 8.9-inch display, a 160GB hard drive and Windows XP Home that sells for $450 today should cost about $400 by year's end. Many of these systems continue to sell to users in established areas that are buying a second or third PC, but Gartner also sees price drops contributing to more people in developing-world areas buying netbooks.


Read more here and here.

 
 

According to this article at GottaBeMobile, Asus is phasing out the 8.9" screens on their netbooks.

I rather like my little 8.9" netbook, because I can stuff it in my coat pocket (I have big pockets), and it's super handy. However, typing on it is a bit of a chore, and the 10" format is probably going to be what's standardized on due to the much better overall usability.

 
 

Windows 7 is said to be a great OS, even better in Beta than any prior version of Windows was at release. It's supposedly not as huge of a resource hog, and the prospect of being able to pick up a Windows 7/ION platform netbook late this year or sometime early next year had me salivating in anticipation.

Until I read this article on Laptopmag's blog.

The scoop is that the version of Windows 7 we'll likely see on netbooks is the "Starter Edition." The Starter Edition is apparently an abomination that only lets you run three apps at a time, not including apps in the system tray that run as services, such as your virus scanner (unless you launch it into a window mode).

Now, what kind of marketing genius thinks of this crap? Spend MORE money to create a build of the OS with LESS features, to sell for LESS? Do we really need six freaking versions of Windows 7 anyway?

I may be running Android after all. More likely eeeBuntu or something similar.

 
 

It looks like at least Asus is open to using Google's free operating platform, Android to run on netbooks, according to this Bloomberg article.

Mark Spoonauer over at Laptopmag.com thinks Android may take half the netbook market. I think he has some sound logic, but at this point, the only manufacturer I've seen mentioning using Android has been Asus. Given that Asus will likely not be installing Android on all of their machines, and that they don't control half the market, I'm doubtful that Android will be seeing that much market saturation.

 
 

ION is nVidia's new hardware platform for netbooks, consisting of an Intel Atom processor and an integrated geForce 9400 GPU. The platform will release later in 2009, and add only about $50 to the average cost of a netbook according to nVidia. More than a fair price for what promises to be a great boost for netbook performance.

The folks over at Techgage gave the ION a gaming workout with Call of Duty 4, as well as putting it through its paces with multimedia  playback and photoshop.

Read the story here.