There was certainly a huge number of new products announced at this year’s Computex, with much of the attention focussed on the abundance of new tablets from manufacturers such as ASUS and MSI. However, there was something else that caught my eye in the netbook market. A market, which has been somewhat overshadowed of late by said tablets as well as most famously, the Apple iPad.
So what is this latest innovation you may ask? Well, it came from tech giant ASUS and their fourth generation Eee PC’s. So what’s new? Well for starters the new netbooks boast an impressive 14 hours of battery, which exceeds any of its predecessors or rivals as far as I know. It remains to be seen whether they really live up to these claims, but the prospects are all day computing on the move, something craved by all I’m sure.
The new range also encompass the first ever app store designed solely for a netbook. We have recently been presented with Android-based machines with access to the marketplace, but that was initially and primarily designed as a smartphone platform/market.
So what exactly is available on said ASUS netbook app store? The store is divided into several popular categories: Communications, Education, Entertainment, Games, Family and Social. Available at the moment is the productivity app Evernote as well as popular games such as World of Goo and MahJong. Prices tend to be on or around $1.99, which is fairly modest and competitive.
So is an app store right for the netbook market? At the Apple iPad announcement event, Steve Jobs claimed the tablets were filling a gap in the market that netbooks failed to occupy previously, so with the vast app store available on the Apple iPad, have ASUS acknowledged his opinions and attempting to draw more and more similarities?
Does this move hint at a move towards a new app based platform along the lines of MeeGo? After all, ASUS have a strong relationship with Intel and they are actually the company powering the App Store and have their emblem slapped into the bottom left of the store.
I think it’s fair to say that perhaps watered down apps could work tremendously on a netbook. The way I see it, netbooks are all about portability over fully-fledged and complex multi-tasking machines that consume extortionate amounts of resources. The mobility and endurance of a netbook would be greatly enhanced by employing the lightweight Music Player available on the app store over the likes of iTunes or Songbird. It’s an interesting development for sure, but before it is widely available on more platforms than just the latest netbooks, it will be a hard sell for ASUS for sure.
So let’s talk Hardware. What exactly are the new netbooks? Well, the premium offerings are the 1018p and the 1016p, which include the latest in USB 3.0 connectivity for ultra fast file transfer as what they call ‘eco-friendly super hybrid engine technology’, which is the driving force behind the incredible 14 hour battery life. The pair are crafted from aluminium, seemingly the most fashionable material used in manufacturing PC’s and Mac’s alike these days.
The other addition is the colourful 1015 Eee PC with the traditional seashell styling seen on many Eee PCs in the past such as the ASUS Eee PC 1000HE and the ASUS Eee PC 1008P. So in the words of ASUS themselves, there is enough variety in the design of these high-spec netbooks to satisfy everyone from business professional, everyday mobile internet users or even high-tech fashionista’s.
Now, when will we see 3G/4G connectivity included into the mainstream netbooks over the poor mobile broadband packages delivered through dongles. Built-in Micro-SIMs anyone?
Via – Engadget