R.I.P.: Netbooks

The last two netbook vendors standing, Acer and Asus, have both announced they’ve produced their last netbook. So they’re joining the Playstation 2 in the land of the digital dinosaurs, though I suspect more people will miss the 12-year-old game console than the netbook. The Guardian has an analysis, but basically they blame the emergence of tablets, and the increased cost of producing netbooks with Windows.

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If you’re wondering where those anti-Google ads came from

If you’re wondering why political-style anti-Google ads are suddenly running everywhere, it’s no coincidence. Microsoft has hired one of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s advertising masterminds to try his hand at campaigning against Google.

While it seems to be having some effect on public opinion, its effect on market share and Microsoft’s bottom line will take more time to gauge. But I think in the long term, talking to customers and figuring out why they are walking out of Microsoft stores empty-handed will prove more effective. Read more

What to make of this Black Friday’s sub-$200 laptops

It’s still a couple of weeks off, but we already know two retailers will be offering sub-$200 laptops on the day the United States gorges itself on bargains.

The question is, what do you get for your $200 on these minimalist laptops? I’ll answer those questions, then you can decide whether they’re worth $200 and braving the crowds, the weird hours, and likely the cold. (Yes, there are costs beyond the money you spend.) Read more

Acer Aspire One 722 review

I set up an Acer Aspire One 722 netbook this week. This is my Acer Aspire One 722 review. I imagine the return rates on these things is horrendous, because the out-of-box experience is pathetic.

This one won’t be going back though. Tune it up, and it’s an adequate performer. It’s still a netbook–all that talk of the AMD C-50 and C-60 chips delivering Celeron-like performance was just rumor–but it can match an Atom’s CPU performance and delivers better graphics performance than Intel. Read more

Cheap laptops and tablets: September 2011

My brother in law told me he saw an 8-inch Vizio wifi-only tablet running Android at Costco for $285. Its reviews aren’t exactly stellar, but if you just want a basic tablet, it seems to be OK. I’d wait a few months and see what Amazon’s tablet plans are, though.

He also asked about laptops. And there’s some good stuff going on in the low end there too.

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Bombshell: HP pulls out. Of tablets and desktop PCs.

And speaking of duds, it looks like HP has one on their hands in their Web OS-based tablets.

Best Buy has about a quarter-million unsold tablets in their warehouse and has only managed to sell 25,000 of them. And when Woot ran a special on them, selling them for $120 off, they sold a whopping 612 of them.

And now it looks like HP is just going to discontinue Web OS altogether.
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Windows, ARM, emulation, misconceptions and misremembered history

I keep reading stuff about Windows and ARM and, well, I think people just aren’t remembering history.

I’m not saying that Windows 8 on ARM will save the world, or even change it substantially. It probably won’t, since Microsoft tends not to get things right the first time. But will I automatically write off the project? No. It could prove useful for something other than what it was originally intended. That happens a lot.

But I’m more interested in clearing up the misinformation than in trying to predict the future.
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Depending on how you look at it, a free upgrade. Or bloatware.

Here’s a tip for those of you who own HP or Compaq laptops and netbooks. Most of these machines ship with HP Wireless Assistant, which basically does two things: display a popup telling you if your wireless network is on or off, and in some cases, enable a wi-fi on/off button on the keyboard.

But some versions of it moonlight by causing WMIPrVSE chew up 20% of available CPU power. People sometimes pay hundreds of dollars to get 20% more CPU power, so that’s not exactly welcome.
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