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The Eee-zine, Issue #003, May 2009
May 03, 2009
Welcome to The Eee-zine!
Editors note: Welcome to May’s edition of The Eee-zine, the inhouse e-magazine for www.mini-laptops-and-notebooks.com. We hope you enjoy the following news and articles. We want to here your views on The Eee-zine at:
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What's included this month
1) Netbook News
2) We're on Facebook!
3) We've updated our Top Ten Mini Laptops
4) 3 Generations of netbooks - what next?
5) Cool gadgets: Keyboard pants?
6) Bargain of the Month
7) The cost of social technology: Part 1 of 2
8) Latest from One Laptop Per Child
News in NetbooksHEADLINE NEWS: Netbook shipments rise sevenfold in the first quarter of 2009
4.5 million netbook shipments have been dispatched in the first quarter of this year, claiming 8% of the computing market. Industry analysts reckon the low purchasing price and availability is fueling sales, particularly during the harsh economic conditions as well as a move towards ‘good-enough’ computing as consumers realise that they don’t need a more expensive dual-core notebook computer. Total sales are expected to total around 22 million by the 2009 year end.
Windows XP dominates mini laptops (90%), not even Windows 7 set to push it off it’s perch
Over 90% of mini laptops are being sold with Windows XP, reversing earlier Linux-dominated trends. The Microsoft operating system is considered more reliable as Linux-based computers as customer return rates reaching more than 25%!
Windows XP will continue to be offered for around a year post the Windows 7 launch, an operating systemed specifically designed for smaller products.
An even large Acer Aspire One is coming this month, featuring a 160GB hard drive, 3G embedded and a 6-cell battery as standard. However, its supposedly priced at around £349, which unlike the other Aspire One netbooks, doesn’t represent as good value for money.
Latest Top Ten Mini Laptops
We've updated our Top Ten Mini Laptops, again considering practicality, functionality, price and looks. See the new rankings
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3 Generations of netbooks – What next?
When Asus first introduced the Asus Eee PC 701 to the world at COMPUTEX Taipei 2007, we thought that the next computing craze would be small, cheap and light mini laptops. Fellow Tawaiianese competitor Acer stepped in with it’s Acer Aspire One, MSI brought out the Wind, but no big brands yet stepped in. By the end of 2008, the HP 2133 mini-note and Dell Inspiron Mini 9 were on the scene. Slowly the bigger companies have all stepped in, although still overshadowed by the Linux dominated Asus/Acer duopoly.
However, Samsung and HP both brought out great new 10 inch models putting the Tawaiianese to shame – the Samsung NC10 and HP Compaq mini 700. Toshiba arrive on the scene with its NB100 mini laptop – even Sony turned up with it’s quintessential VAIO P Series ‘Lifestyle PC’. They seem to differentiate themselves from the earlier models. The specs are better, Windows XP is more prominent (the Samsung NC10 came out with just Windows XP, and it was a bestseller) but the size and price has crept upwards.
Now, as even newer models are hitting the shelves such as the Samsung NC120, Acer Aspire One 751 and Toshiba NB200 with even higher specs including integrated 3G enabling internet access wherever you can get mobile phone signal – provided you have a sim card. Incidentally, a stronger partnership of 3G mobile broadband and mini laptops could show a completely new direction within the computing industry. Network providers go hand in hand with the mobile phone industry and like to provide phones for “free” on lucrative contracts. But so far the efforts to put laptops and netbooks on contract have been limited at most – yes, there are some contracts available for around £20-30 per month including a free laptop. The range is limited, and more often than not the laptops don’t have embedded sim cards, so you’re stuck with a clumsy USB dongle – good for sharing but not much else.
But this looks all about to change as new mini laptops in the pipeline are coming with 3G sim embedded capabilities. That means you can simply enter a sim and surf, which could mean that the laptop contract market will become suddenly a whole lot more consumer friendly. What we like to call ‘3G mini laptops’ – the third generation – could be ready to accept any sim card, perhaps changing the face of network providers shops forever, filling out the wall space beside the familiar mobile phones and BlackBerry’s.
But what else can a new mini laptops provide? New models such as the Samsung NC310, Acer Aspire One 751 and Sony VAIO P Series have sorted out some of the fundamental flaws of the earlier models – the small “cramped” keyboards and interface, reliability, battery life, operating systems and more. Coming in 2010 is the new Windows 7 operating system which will adorn later models.
So have mini laptops reached their full potential? Possibly, but there’s one iconic player in the computer market that has left the world of smaller, cheaper consumer laptops claiming that they “Don’t know how to make a $500 laptop that isn’t a piece of junk”. These are the words of Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple. Apples typically take an existing product and giving it its touch of innovation. The iPod is now market leader in the music player industry, the iPhone has revolutionised the world of mobile phones, the Mac to a smaller extent has impacted the computer market, particularly amongst graphic intensive applications. Could Apple provide the same finish to a mini MacBook?
There have been numerous rumours regarding an Apple netbook, but some more substantial evidence of a touchscreen type device combining a larger iPhone type console with the Mac operating system. Maybe Apple’s entry into the market could turn the netbook market on its head.
Cool Gadgets: Keyboard pants?
These are real!
Ever wanted something 'techy' that was also fashionable? Now you can with your own keyboard bottoms. Or perhaps a scrabble themed keyboard? Or even a see-through glass keyboard? You may remember last months Pomegranate phone which allowed you to shave and surf the internet or make a call whilst brewing coffee all from one device – the difference is these are real.
BARGAIN OF THE MONTHRecommended Retailer: LaptopsDirect
Look at LaptopsDirect.co.uk and go to their 'Clearance' section. Some absulute bargains to be had - don't be put off by the word clearance. It's only stock they want to shift from their warehouse. There are too many to list, so we suggest having a look for yourself!
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
The cost of social technology: Part 1 of 2Today, even during a recession we’re pampered with amenities enabling us to keep up to date with each others goings on. Mobile phones adorn almost everyone’s pocket and high speed broadband is the norm in most households. Social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace as well as other file sharing websites such as YouTube and Flickr are some of the most visited sites on the net. Now, mobile computing and mobile broadband are becoming a more and more common trend as people want to stay connected whilst they move around. But what’s the real cost of the all?
Surprisingly, companies such as Facebook and YouTube are set to lose big money this year, the latter an estimated $470 million. Companies benefiting from user-created content or Content 2.0 generally look to monetize via advertising, but at the end of the day if you’re on YouTube looking at your Uncle Joe dancing at a wedding party, your not going to be that receptive to ads – and nor are the advertisers, who need their ads targeted to make it worthwhile for them. At the end of the day, that is their true customer and clientele not the visitors. Unhappy advertisers, unhappy balance sheet and unhappy shareholders.
Think of it as a newspaper again. Readers are allowed to comment, post their view, videos and have it distributed to every other reader in the world. The difference is it’s online which although you don’t have to cut down (sorry, recycle) trees, print and distribute the content you do need to be able to stream videos fast to the users which requires a massive bandwidth. This is what costs YouTube the bulk of it’s $700 million expenses per annum.
Google, the search engine giant purchase YouTube a few years back, but the investment has yet to do much except give it a half billion dollar whole in the bank every year. So what can they do about it? Well, there are several options:
1) Cut out user generated content, leaving the monetizeable professional content
2) Move to a subscription based service
3) Selling YouTube
The former may well destroy the whole point of YouTube and would create uproar amongst many online communities. Indeed it could simply turn YouTube into one big advertising channel which will probably kill it’s traffic.
The second option does seem to make sense, especially for the members who upload videos. A small membership fee per annum, say $2-5 would put YouTube in the black whilst keeping disruption to the minimum. Incidentally, it could also help improve the quality of content since people would think twice before uploading if it cost $X amount to distribute the content.
The latter doesn’t solve the problem; it merely offloads it to someone else. It is also unlikely to help boost Google’s balance sheet. The value of YouTube has certainly diminished since Google bought it, but depends on what a buyer reckons they can do with it.
Part 2 next month! How and what the consumer pays
Ever wondered how computers are made? This video by Dell shows you the processes behind making a computer. After the introduction, the systems involved are quite interesting, worth a watch.
One Laptop Per Child – President of Uruguary: OLPC bridges Digital Divide
Dr. Tabaré Vázquez, President of Uruguay, writes glowingly in the Americas Quarterly magazine about Plan CEIBAL, the XO-1 laptop program in Uruguay:
"We are implementing the plan one step at a time. To date, we have delivered 151,918 XO computers—low-power laptops that operate with flash memory and a Linux operating system—to students in public schools in Uruguay. By the end of 2009 one laptop will be delivered to each of the 301,143 students and 12,879 teachers in Uruguay’s 2,064 public schools. Students with mental, visual, hearing, or motor disabilities—as well as their schools—will also receive computers specifically tailored to meet their needs."
1) New in Netbooks
2) Part 2: The cost of social technology
3) Updated 'Best One 4 U'
4) Special offers just for subscribers
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All the best,
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