Tag Archive | "N450"

Sunbook offers Advantages for Outdoor Computing

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Ultra-mobile computing includes daylight usage and despite attempts at high-brightness screens in the mobile computing market, there has never been a truly low-cost mainstream solution on a device larger than about 4 inch. Transflective screens have been around for years and I vividly remember the Nokia E90 and how it worked so well in the sun so it’s good to finally be seeing transflective screens on a netbook. OK, so the OLPC had a transflective screen too but that wasn’t exactly mainstream!

Thanks to Clover we now have the Sunbook to consider. It’s a 10 inch netbook running the Pinetrail platform (single core N450) with a high capacity battery. The key feature is the Pixel Qi transflective screen.

You’ve got two advantages to consider. Sunlight readability and battery life.

“Turning off the display backlight cuts the power consumption in half, providing battery life up to 12 hrs. or more. inch

Outside

In theory, there’s quite a gain to be had from turning off a backlight. At full backlight power on a netbook, a screen can take 2-3 watts of energy. On a netbook that can idle at 4W (screen off) it’s close to a doubling of energy consumption. In practice though you’re using the device when the screen is on and the netbook is draining an average 8W. The screen, in this scenario, is about 25% of the drain. In addition to that, one rarely operates the screen at 100% and rarely stays in the sun for 8 hours! I am sticking to my original estimate that a transflective screen will add about 10% battery life for the average netbook user although I’d be happy to do some detailed testing – Clover! I don’t want to belittle the advantages here because there are definitely users that would get a bigger battery life advantage and given bright ambient lighting, there are indoor advantages too but I don’t want people running out an paying a $300 premium expecting a doubling of battery life. This is a specialist device for a niche customer.

Sunlight readability is the second advantage of the screen and is the real reason you would be looking at buying the Sunbook. Just being able to use a netbook in the sun for 30 minutes is worth a lot to many people. I can think of many vertical markets where this is important. My Solar-ultra mobile PC tour would have been much easier for example!

Testing needs to done on the netbook itself to see if it comes up to scratch but if it does, we’ve got a unique and price-breaking product here.

A PDF brochure is available here which mentions some splash resistance. The Clover Sunbook website is here and the current price is $795. We’re trying to get hold of a sample for testing.

Via Liliputing

BYD T10BPT 10” Capacitive Tablet on PineTrail

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A lot of the 10 inch PC-based tablets we’ve seen recently have been built around the ‘old’ Diamondville CPU and 2-piece chipset which, although good, it’s as good as the Pinetrail platform that is now rolled out for new netbooks. Smaller mainboards, lower power and a light boost in performance is exactly what’s needed to improve the Windows 7 experience in a tablet form factor and that’s exactly what BYD have in their T10BPT. The tablet is a an OED device looking for someone to pick it up and run with it but based on the specs and JKK’s video here I wouldn’t be surprised if someone does just that.

bydtablet

BYD T10BPT Specifications.

  • Intel Atom N450
  • NM10 Express Chipset.
  • 1GB DDR 2
  • 10.1 1024×600 Multi-touch (capacitive)
  • Battery – 47Wh
  • HDD – 2.5 inch SATA (Various sizes)
  • 3G Option
  • 2 x web cam
  • SD card (multi) reader
  • Stereo speakers
  • Built-in Mic
  • Audio-out
  • Mic in
  • 3 x USB2.0
  • RJ45 LAN
  • VGA Out
  • Accelerometer

Sizing, weight and price-point are still unknown.

Via JKKMobile

ASUS T101MT Multitouch Convertible Video from CES 2010. Still no price or date

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Like the Lenovo S10-3T and Viliv S10 , the ASUS T101MT is a 10 inch convertible netbook with a multitouch screen. The T101H is based on the Pinetrail platform with the N450 CPU and GMA3150 GPU but, like the Lenovo, the base version only comes with Windows 7 Starter and 1GB RAM. The high-end version comes with Windows 7 Home Premium and 2GB of RAM that can be upgraded to 3GB. A 35Wh battery should keep the device going for about 4 hours.

There still doesn’t appear to be any information about availability or price but as I mentioned in the video, now that Windows 7 and Pinetrail is here, there shouldn’t be any major delays now.

Full specifications and links are being tracked on the T101MT product page.

JKK also has a video of the T101MT at JKKMobile.

Intel N400-series Technical Docs Now Available.

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The N450 is the new Intel Atom-based chip that will be used for ‘Pineview’ netbooks in 2010. Many of you have heard about the new ‘leaked’ netbooks over the last few weeks and although it’s focused at netbooks, we think there is some scope for some relatively powerful ultra mobile PC designs using the N400-series silicon. To that end, we’ve been following the news closely.

The N450 integrates the GPU and CPU on the same die and there have been some questions over the capabilities, especially in the area of video decoding. The technical documents that are now available make it clear. There is no H.264 or WMV decoding on board and no support for digital monitor outputs. MPEG2 decoding is supported (useful for DVB and DVD standards) but that’s about it for video. So its certainly not a GMA500 core. It’s Intel technology through and through.

N400gpu

One thing we can clearly state now is that you won’t be watching HD-quality Flash videos on a standard netbook. Even when Flash 10.1 is released, there’s simply no decoding hardware for it to use. This leaves a big gap for Nvidia and Broadcom although if Intel get their act together with Moblin, the higher-clockrate Z200 Z500 series CPUs might be an option for video-focused netbooks.

For all the technical details, check out the N400-series PDF here.

Breaking The ‘Next-Gen’ Netbook Platform Down Into ‘Real-World’ Info.

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New information released by Intel today includes release date, sizing and power efficiency details. There’s still no information on the GPU and the CPU is largely unchanged.  Don’t expect major real-world improvements.

It seems like we’ve known about Pinetrail for a while but at least most of the details are being confirmed in the latest Intel Press Release now.

You’re going to see a lot of news about this over the next few weeks and an incredible amount of hype through netbook-related PR as companies combine this new platform with Windows 7 and a CES launch to try and sell you a completely new netbook experience that it likely to be similar to the last one.

N450overview

The new Atom N450 CPU with integrated GPU and memory controller runs at 1.66Ghz with 512K of Level 2 cache.  Memory bus speed goes up to 667 Mhz from 533Mhz but what does it really mean?

Power.

This is the keyword you’re likely to hear the most. Power means two things. 1) Power usage. 2) Processing power.  According to Intel, average (we assume platform) power usage has been reduced by 20% which means an improvement of 5% or less on a netbook. It’s a minor change. In terms of processing power, expect 10% improvements based on the new memory architecture and a slightly increased bus and clock speed.

Design.

The new Intel Atom netbook platform has been designed to reduce size, allow for easier thermal design and to reduce the cost. By moving from a three-chip solution to a two-chip solution and implementing the graphics core into the same die as the CPU the amount of silicon used is less. Silicon size is down by 60% according to Intel.  Not only will the cost of the platform be less, the cost of designing a netbook around the platform will be less. Designers will not have to include a fan and will have to worry less about passive cooling. Less space is required on the motherboard too.

Cost improvements are not likely to filter through to end-users at this stage so don’t expect any price drops.

HD video.

There is no support for hardware decoded video on the new Intel Atom Netbook Platform meaning that it doesn’t use the GMA500 GPU that we were expecting. Although details have not been confirmed, it is highly likely that the GPU will be the GMA3150 core as seen in some D510 CPU-based motherboard specifications. HD decoding was not included in the previous Intel netbook platform but as internet video becomes more important, we see this as a significant limiting factor for end users.

3D Support

Moving to a new GPU core means new capabilities. Details on the GMA3150 are very thin at the moment but real-world tests using 3Dmark06 indicate similar results as with the GMA950. Some basic support for DX10 is expected.

Target Market.

Indications are that Intel are being very careful to target the Netbook platform well away from their other laptop platforms. Marketing material talks about 7-10.2 screens and an ‘Internet’ focus. Netbook manufacturers are likely to ignore this though and we should see 10-12 inch devices with a range of features. The Broadcom BCM70012 HD video module and Nvidia ION GPU will be important options and likely to be used for up-selling.

Mobility.

With a TDP of 7W (down from around 14W including chipset) and a much smaller silicon size it should be possible to make some extremely thin and light mobile computers with this solution.  Menlow still retains better power (energy) characteristics and includes HD video support but the cost of the new netbook platform might make it interesting for some 7-10 inch mobile computing devices running Windows 7 or Moblin. The new platform won’t be interesting for MID development. Moorestown includes better integration and the new ‘power gating’ feature which is needed for always-on operation in the MID world.

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