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Futuristic Classrooms: “Pocketbooks” come of age

I remember as a child having to pull a bag filled with books going to school. When I got my first PC in the ’80s, I imagined a classroom where students are holding electronic “pocketbooks” that serves as their library of books, their electronic notebook / magic slate …

The recent news of a big deployment of Linux in schools got me back into thinking just how near the reality of my concept is actually unfolding. One thing caught my attention though, the deployment will use virtual Linux desktops using a CPU sharing scheme. The scheme that uses a single computer connected with several monitors is not something new but I wondered if it’s still feasible in this day and age.

After some checking and comparing alternative solutions and schemes, here’s what I found out — electronic “pocketbooks” are in.

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Dell Mini 10 officially announced

I’ve just read an announcement from Dell that the Mini 10 is now available for pre-order in the US. The Dell Mini 10 will be available on Dell’s web site by February 26 and shipment will start next month.

The model that’s going to be initially available is with 1GB fixed RAM (non-upgradable) and a non-standard 1024×576 screen resolution. That said, the new Dell Mini 10 is available with the either the Intel Atom Z520 and Z530, an integrated 1.3 megapixel webcam, an HDMI out port, integrated 802.11g Wi-Fi, a 3-cell 24Whr battery, 160GB 5400rpm hard drive, a 4-in-1 memory card reader.

Although the Dell Mini 10 uses the newer Atom Z5xx processor with hardware accelerated HD video capabilities, Dell said that such features will only be available on a future model of the Mini 10. Also for those of you using Ubuntu, no Ubuntu pre-installed just yet — although I doubt that will ever stop you from buying 🙂 . The newer processor is also more power efficient at an average power rating of 220mW compared to 600mW for the currently widely used Atom N270.

Great Dell, but what I’m waiting to hear about is the upcoming Dell Adamo. Can you please get it out soon. [via Dell Announcement]

Psion’s Netbook trademark confirmed

It seems that Psion’s trademark ownership for the term “netbook” has been confirmed by no less than Google. JKontherun was informed by Psion that Google has investigated the trademark ownership because of it’s impact to Google’s ad network. After the confirmation, it looks like that ad customers will not be able to use netbook as a term in Google ads.

With all the promotion to the term netbook that has been going on to the point it has become a byword, I also wonder like JKontherun what will now be the better term as replacement?

Maybe Psion can just let us use the term and just go after those who would actually use it as a name of a product. Reminds me of Frigidaire and refrigerator which I sometimes use interchangeably.

Group orders for Linux netbooks

A while ago, someone commented on my post entitled “Linux netbook market share dwindling down” about a problem he was having in buying a Linux based netbook. He was interested in an Acer Aspire One that has a hard drive instead of an SSD. The configuration was being offered in his location but is pre-installed with Windows. He wanted a refund on the Windows because he’s not going to use it.

It got me thinking. Maybe it would be a good idea if Linux users who want a certain configuration can be grouped together to form as a basis for ordering the computers and then have the manufacturer fill in that order as a group. That way we can get the configuration that we want and the manufacturer can get the sale plus the satisfied customer.

I don’t know if such a process exists so please post a comment if you know of one. It’s a good idea also since the order will be pooled into a single purchase and maybe it can also be discounted. One obstacle I see is filling up the order — but with most big manufacturers being computerized and globally represented I think it will just be a matter of paperwork.

What do you think?

Sony Vaio P Lifestyle PC not a netbook has Linux

Sony has release the Sony Vaio P series netbook Lifestyle PC which offers a beautiful and sleek pocketable computer with a full size keyboard. The netbook Lifestyle PC (darn!) has an Intel 1.33Ghz processor under it’s hood. It’s preinstalled with Windows Vista but gives you the option to use an Instant On version of Linux. The instant on Linux allows you to use it without having to wait more than 20 seconds at a touch of a button.

Other great things under it’s hood are 60GB hard disk with the option to order a 128GB solid state disk storage, 2GB RAM memory, Memory Stick Pro slot and also a SD/MMC card slot, audio, webcam, internal microphone, USB ports, wifi 802.11 b/g/n, wireless broadband, bluetooth with A2DP stereo, a full size keyboard and a 1600 x 768 8-inch LED display (great for surfing). And since you’d be using this gadget a lot for surfing, it comes with a 4-hour standard battery with option to put in an 8-hour version. Now do you think you’d need anything else?

All these in a pocketable 1.4 pound 9.65″ x 0.78″ x 4.72″ body priced at about US$ 1,000.

sony-viao-p-with-headphones

New HP Mini 2140 netbook is out, no touchscreen

HP has just released it’s new HP Mini 2140 Netbook which is basically a 10.1 inch version of its HP 2133 Mini-note. Pretty standard specifications like Intel Atom, 1-2 GB of RAM, 160GB hard disk (optional 80GB SSD), Expresscard and SD slot, bluetooth, webcam, wifi 802.11 b/g/n, ethernet and 10.1 inch display (LED instead of LCD).

But still no touchscreen. Common HP, you can do better than that. 🙂 Aside from Windows Vista, you can have OpenSuse installed with your order. I wish they’d put those trackpad buttons back to it’s normal place. The HP Mini’s are pretty sleek though, I love the way HP constructs their notebooks and netbooks.

hp-mini-2140-netbook

Touchscreen netbook from Asus gets demoed

I’ve said in my previous post that 2009 is going to be the year of touchscreen netbooks. The MyViliv X70 which has touch screen really got me excited with its very cool look. I was just thinking about Asus’ plan to introduce an Asus EeePC and I found this really nice video of the Asus Eee touch screen UI being demoed in Youtube.

Pretty neat stuff. It’s going to be a battle between the best UI available for touch screen based netbooks. I’m curious at what price points will the devices come out. I never thought I’d see the day when children won’t have to carry around tons of school books. They’ll only need to carry just one book to school — a netbook. Here’s the video for your enjoyment.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mvtU4xZPvQ 540 437]

Asus EeePC got better gets multi-touch screen

I’ve been waiting for this since last year and pretty excited about Netbooks with touchscreen coming out this 2009. Asus has just announce at CES their newest member of the EeePC family. A netbook that has a rotating screen (aka tablet) and a multi-touch screen.

It’s weighing in at only 2-pounds and 1-inch thick that 8.9-inch LED backlit touch panel sporting an Intel’s Z520 Atom processor instead of the N270. Optional TV-tuner and GPS. I hope they put in SSD drives on it and 3.5G connectivity!

asus-multi-touch-netbook

Would be exciting to see Ubuntu Eee (or is it easypeasy) getting installed in one of these cool EeePC.

Netbooks find a new Linux friend

The year 2008 saw that Linux has the potential to take on Windows on the netbook market. The smaller brother of the notebook, netbooks is now the craze. Because of it’s size it has the potential of creating a whole new meaning to portable computers. As technology like SSD gets wide acceptance, prices of these devices will inevitably find its way into netbooks. Low power CPUs and improvements in battery technology will also make these netbooks a “all in a day’s work/school” gadget.

Linux’s smaller footprint, more robust architecture, openness and cost effectivity makes it a perfect match for the netbook. The growing acceptance and awareness of the ordinary consumer will contribute to it’s increasing market share. But it looks like that’s not the only thing that will contribute greatly to the acceptance of Linux.

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Linux netbook market share dwindling down

I read an alarming article today about the reduction of the Linux netbook market share. It seems that the netbook market is experiencing a reduction in sales of Linux based units according to Acer. With Acer now overtaking netbook sales of Asus, I was curious as to the real reason why this is happening.

So I sort of went around computer shops to have a look at what was being sold. From the looks of it, it’s not because Linux is not a viable alternative to Windows. I see several reasons why the Linux based Acer units are actually not selling in the local market. If you’re a Linux user, maybe you can checkout what’s happening in your area and post them here for others to read. Here’s a list of my observations.

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