Do sub-notebooks threaten the MacBook Air?
16th Jan 2008 | 15:17
Everex CloudBook and Asus Eee PC offer budget options
At CES, Everex launched a new sub-notebook PC. It seems the booming success of the Asus Eee PC has sparked a new worldwide obsession with super-light and ultra-portable computers. It's a trend Apple has now joined with yesterday's launch of the astonishing MacBook Air.
But while the ultra-portable high performance MacBook Air weighs 1.36kg and costs £1,200, the new budget Everex Cloudbook is super-lightweight and will cost around £200, the same as the Asus Eee PC.
Eee PC set for battle?
Weighing just 910g, the Everex CloudBook is actually marginally lighter than the Asus Eee PC. It's based on VIA's NanoBook reference design and, with its 1.2GHz VIA C7-M ULV mobile processor, the laptop averages 5 hours of battery life on a 4-cell, lithium-ion battery. That kicks the ass of the Eee PC which cannot get within 2 hours of that time.
And unlike some of its competitors, the CloudBook also features 30GB of internal storage (four times more than the Asus), DVI output, 4-in-1 card reader and 1.3-megapixel webcam.
"The overwhelming success of our gPC desktop generated countless inquires from customers seeking additional Open Source mobile platforms," says John Lin, general manager of Everex. "With the launch of the new CloudBook our vision remains the same: provide mainstream users with their favourite applications wrapped in a no-compromise, low-cost, consumer friendly product."
No Windows XP
Just like Asus did, Everex decided to ship the first version of its ultra-portable range with a special build of the Linux operating system. The main reasons for choosing this software are two-fold: firstly, it's open source, so it's free, keeping costs down. And secondly, it is less processor-intensive than Windows XP and thus the battery lasts longer.
It also comes with an array of open source and free software from the likes of Mozilla, Skype, Google and OpenOffice.org.
So there's something for everyone, it seems - sub-notebooks are flooding onto the market. With modest specs and budget prices, they cater nicely for those who just want a small laptop to fit in a handbag. Meanwhile those with a lot more money and a hunger for performance and a full-sized LED backlit screen can plump for an ultra-portable MacBook Air. A sign of things to come?
The Exerex CloudBook is slated for a 25 January launch in the United States, and you can bet that if it's a success you'll see it on UK shores pretty soon too.
* Operating System: gOS V2 Rocket
* Processor: 1.2GHz VIA C7-M ULV Processor
* Display: 7-inch WVGA TFT Widescreen (800 x 480 native resolution)
* Memory: 512MB DDR2 533MHz SDRAM (1GB Max)
* Hard Disk Drive: 30GB, 4200RPM PATA
* Graphic: VIA UniChrome Pro IGP
* Audio: VIA VT1708A High Definition Audio Codec with built-in speakers
* Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g