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The Eee-zine, Issue #002, April 2009
April 04, 2009
Welcome to The Eee-zine!
Editors note: Welcome to April’s edition of The Eee-zine, the inhouse e-magazine for www.mini-laptops-and-notebooks.com. We hope you enjoy the following content. We want to here your views on The Eee-zine at:
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What's included this month
> Netbook News > 'Best One 4 U' Service launched > PhoneTalk > Bargain of the month > Why laptops are to become obsolete > Latest from One Laptop Per Child
News in NetbooksHEADLINE NEWS: Acer introduces 10 inch Aspire One ‘big brother'
Acer, the company who brought us the excellent value-for-money Aspire One netbook have released a newer, larger 10 inch mini laptop to complement the existing model. Retailing at between £250 and £300 it is expected to make significant inrodes into the established 10 inch players such as Asus, HP and Samsung.
O2 and Samsung marriage over mobile broadband contract
The UK’s best coverage is supplied by O2 and Vodafone together. With the latter already bonded to Dell and it’s Inspiron Mini 9, O2 have made their move tying up with Korean giant, Samsung. Their NC10 is one of the best netbooks available on the market, with a wide range of options and colours. O2 are also offering the Samsung R510.
Usually retailing for around £300, with O2 it’s available for FREE on an 18 month contract. O2 also promise a 30 day ‘Happiness Guarentee’
>>> Read our Samsung NC10 Article
Asus has recently announced the withdrawal from their 7 and 9 inch lines to consolidate on the 10 inch market. Having pioneered the netbook concept in 2007 with it’s original Eee PC it has by far produced the most comprehensive range of mini laptops available on the market.
Whilst they have previously enjoyed a dominant position in the market, bigger brands have muscled in on the action with Acer, HP, Samsung, Sony, LG, Toshiba and Dell all offering netbooks similar in spec to the Asus models. What’s more is these newer competitors have learnt from Asus’ product range and have mostly cut straight to the 9 and 10 inch models.
The current Eee PC range ranges from the original Eee PC 701, through the 9 inch 900 and 901 series, the 10 inch 1000 series to the smartly configured Eee PC S101 - but the latest Asus range, the N Series shows a new direction the company is taking. The N Series ranges from the N10 to the N80 – the former being a 10 inch ‘netbook type’ computer sharing similar features with it’s larger brothers save for the classic Intel Atom N270 processor. Perhaps, Asus will drop the ‘cheap and cheerful’ Eee PC line all together to focus on more profitable premium notebooks. Only time will tell..
NEW FEATURE: 'Best One 4 U' Service now live!
This month, we’ve introduced a new ‘directory type’ service which gives you a rough guide on what laptops would be best for you. Currently you can search by size and price range, although we hope to add a whole raft of new options including the opportunity for a personal search and quote service in the next few weeks.
PhoneTalk - Pomegranete ‘Where no phone has gone before’
Recently, a revolutionary new smartphone has been in the news boasting a host of new features in addition to the standard specs on today’s high-tech smartphones. Named the Pomegranete, it boasts to be ‘the ultimate all-in-one device’. It features a striking curvy shape with multiple touch screens which fold out to form the interface.
Whilst it does feature a phone, camera, email, video, mp3 player and the works – it also goes on to include more unconventional abilities. Need a coffee? Simply insert a packet of coffee and allow 30 seconds for it to brew. It also has an inbuilt projector unit which can project HD quality footage from the palm of your hand. Or perhaps you’ve forgotten to shave that morning – no problem with the Pomegranete. If you’re in a rush, you can even talk and shave at the same time. And say no to language barriers with the instant global voice translator, speak into the front and the selected translation comes out the rear speaker.
Now back to reality, the Pomegranete isn’t real. It was designed to help market Nova Scotia, off the eastern coast of Canada – “Where you can find everything in one place.” This media-grabbing marketing certainly raises awareness of this secluded community on the Atlantic coast, and is maybe worth a visit for some - after all, we all need an excuse to burn some frequent flier miles!
In search of a smartphone : The Editors storyThe editor has recently been on the look out for a new phone of sort having felt an urge to buy having seen the Pomegranete spoof, and with mobile computing being on the rise and the need to access email evermore important there seems to be only one company to cater for webmasters needs; BlackBerry.
BlackBerry’s however, designed as business smartphone designed for email messaging and internet access , aren’t cheap. And so my selection was very carefully considered. So far I’ve tried out multiple stores and queried sales reps for what felt like hours – but BlackBerry’s don’t seem to be the answer to everything.
For those who haven’t seen or felt a BlackBerry, yes they do feature a ‘QWERTY’ keyboard – but the keys are so close together that it becomes frustratingly inaccurate to type (worse than the early Eee PC netbooks). However, I happened to find a particular model which has keys you can actually type on – the BlackBerry 8220. Designed to be like a flip-phone, it does have the space for reasonable size keys. Having tried it out, I researched what contracts were available – O2 and T-Mobile from £35 a month and Orange from £25 a month.
So the next day I found myself grilling the sales rep in Orange, but on closer inspection of the ‘true’ cost I would have to pay a fiver extra for the BlackBerry email service – and another fiver on top of that for Internet (after all it is an internet phone!). So I ended up buying an unbranded smartphone from China (bargain for about a hundred quid!) to keep me going until I make up my mind.
>>> Got a BlackBerry? Got some advice you want to share? Tell us about your experiences at firstname.lastname@example.org
BARGAIN OF THE MONTH>>> Bargain Netbook - Toshiba NB100
Introduced in the more normal £300 price bracket, the Toshiba mini laptop has crashed in price given the flooding of new products on the market. For the same price, you can buy a 10 inch Samsung NC10 which is simply better value for money.
Thankfully, Amazon have shaved a whole £50 off the price for this (very rare in the computing industry for a new model) and hence why it has appeared in our Bargain of the month lots.
Try these cool mini laptop speakers available for a shade over £20. They’ll also work with your iPod and mp3 player
Need a cheap memory stick? Buy a bestseller with confidence
Do you want an inhouse shop?
Readers, we are exploring the option of adding a shopping cart to our website and selling mini laptops and accessories at discounted prices directly. We would be looking for input from our newsletter readers as to whether they would like or appreciate an outlet of this type – initially we would be looking to market solely to our newsletter readers.
Something we are looking at is using the same supplier for separate UK and US specification stock so we can sell on two sides of the Atlantic – please let us know of your thoughts at email@example.com
Why laptops are to become obsoleteLaptops have become commonplace in todays society, with sales outstripping desktop computers and trends towards people becoming more mobile. This pattern remained largely unaffected, with laptop sales growing every year.
Then in 2007, at COMPUTEX Taipei 2007, Asustek unveiled the 'Asus Eee PC' - a netbook designed to be smaller, cheaper and lighter than conventional laptop computers. It was a logical idea, simplify. The original Asus Eee PC, the 7 inch Eee PC 701, is still on sale but the netbook has evolved. Asus went on to expand it's Eee PC Series to include 9 and 10 inch models, the 'top-of-the-range' Eee PC S101 and used the technology from it to produce the 'Eee Top', a computer bereft of screen, mouse and keyboard which is designed to be portable. Other companies entered the fray such as Acer with it's Aspire One netbook (itself going on to match Asus's sales) and MSI - who introduced the first 10 inch netbook, the Wind, now pretty much the industry standard. Gradually the bigger players began to take notice with HP, Samsung, LG, Toshiba, Dell and most recently Sony having entered the field with miniature laptops more or less mimicking the efforts of pioneering Asus. The only major company that seems to be missing from the fray is Apple, but rumour has it they're trying to produce a touchscreen model combining the Mac operating system with iPhone technology.
So the mini laptop market has already captured the hearts and minds of the manufacturers, after all the cheaper and simpler models are easier to market and sell. But what about the consumers? What do they think?
A common complaint about a mini laptop is the interface is simply too small. The keyboard is cramped with a poor layout, the touchpad is too tiny and the buttons are peculiarly positioned. Indeed, the earlier netbooks were a bit of a mess - but their more recent cousins are a far cry from the earlier attempts at producing a mini laptop. Now, the bigger players are entering the market, they're capitalizing on their rivals earlier trial and error runs, incorporating their own lines unique selling points and using their name to market their products. Today, the bigger brands 'appear' to use more of the shelf space - maybe they're more profitable... maybe consumers are warming to the idea of a mini laptop, given the sudden wash on big brands now available on the market.
Another criticism is the lack of processing power, and CD/DVD-ROM Drive. Netbooks from their early conception were designed to be simple and cheap, so the new-build Intel Atom processor was designed only to fulfill basic tasks like word processing, browsing the internet and playing light games. The advantage of having such a simple processor is that it's more efficient leading to longer battery life (also helped by having a smaller screen). The lack of a optical disc drive (your CD/DVD-ROM) is a necessary cut in order to shed the extra size and weight - and for those who really grumble about this there is a solution! An external USB disc drive costs between £20-30, or splash out on an ultra-portable notebook like the Sony VAIO TT (the world's smallest blu-ray notebook) which is only 11.1 inches in diameter.
The lack of features compared to a laptop though is a flawed argument for most people. Sure, a laptop will be able to run graphic intensive software or faster games - they have the processors to do that; but it will still remain inferior to a desktop computer. Most features on a laptop are inferior to a desktop, except for one. The portability of a laptop is its main selling point, and it's commonplace to think that's the standard. But when moving around, like a laptop is designed for, how often is it that you'd need all that computing power? All the extra features? All that extra weight and bulk? All that extra expense? Would you be better off with something smaller, lighter and cheaper - a mini laptop? (Worth adding that some features such as inbuilt webcams, Bluetooth, embedded sim cards and more aren't available as standard on laptops, whereas they are on netbooks)
Yes, there will be professionals who will need powerful, yet portable computing power, but such will tend to go towards the 'ultra-portable' range of laptop computers anyway, devices such as the Sony VAIO Series or Apple MacBooks (for graphic designers). Mini laptops and netbooks are becoming evermore sophisticated, and already in their short time in existence they've managed to take aroundabout 10% of the laptop market already.
I predict that the mini laptop will become the primary portable computing device, supplementary to a desktop computer. Laptops will become a preserve of the working professional and will be marketed as such. Particularly during these times of economic gloom and doom, people are thinking smarter about where they splash their cash - so if you're looking to invest in a new laptop computer - stop, and think. Must I pay a few hundred pounds extra for those features? Do I really need them? Can I be bothered lugging that extra weight around in my bag?
One Laptop Per Child
The One laptop Per Child foundation is a cause in line with future thinking. At mini-laptops-and-notebooks.com, we believe in education and its role in the future, bringing knowledge and new skillsets. Education however isn't so freely available in some countries.
The One Laptop Per Child Foundation or OLPC has recently been seen distributing their XO laptops in the troubled state of Afghanistan. Children in the country have been given the chance to learn and use their creative minds through access to internet and basic internet applications.
CNN are saying - "Laptops bring lessons, maybe even peace"
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All the best,
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