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We finally have a ship date for Atom N450-based netbooks: Jan. 11, 2010. This is great news for anyone shopping for a netbook -- and who is patient enough to wait another month!

According to the online news source Digitimes,

Asustek Computer, Acer, Lenovo and even Micro-Star International (MSI), which originally planned to launch in December, are all set to launch their Atom N450-based netbooks on January 11, 2010, complying with their agreement with Intel to only launch the products after January 10.

The story says that netbooks will be available with both Moblin and Windows.

Originally, netbooks based on the Atom N450 "Pineview" processor were expected to be released in Oct. 2009, but we learned in June that the systems would be delayed to early 2010. You can't get much earlier than Jan. 11!

     

This hot news just in from Intel. For more information, contact Ben Samples at BSamples@cmdagency.com.

At the Intel Developer Forum,  Intel announced an exciting new opportunity for developers to earn money by writing netbook applications via the Intel Atom Developer Program community, and selling their applications through future application stores.  Developers were told to look for a software development kit (SDK) to help them develop applications and components for netbooks.
 
We are happy to share with you that on November 10th developers will be able to jump start their application development using an alpha version of the Intel Atom Developer Program Software Development Kit for both Microsoft Windows (C and C++) and Moblin (C only).  Additional runtimes and development languages will be supported in future releases of the SDK.
 
The features of the alpha SDK include authorization, crash reporting, and a consumer store client emulator for testing.  A developer can test and debug today and then when the beta SDK is available later this year they can submit their applications or components and take full advantage of the program's revenue-generating opportunities.
 
We’ll be updating http://appdeveloper.intel.com on November 10th with a downloadable alpha version of the SDK, additional documentation, and a new SDK developer forum for Q&A and input to be considered for future releases.
 
Also don’t forget to check out the Intel Atom Developer Challenge

Developers who submit their apps and have them successfully validated will be able to enjoy a range of exciting rewards. For example, the first 100 validated apps will receive a tricked out netbook, and the talented developers with the most innovative application & elegant application design will win all-expense-paid “rock star treatment” trip to GDC 2010! Check this page for more details.

     
According to ABI Research, there will nearly 35 million netbooks shipped by manufacturers in this year.

To quote the analyst firm,

“74% of 2008 netbook shipments bore the brands of just three vendors: Acer, ASUS, and Samsung,” says senior analyst Jeff Orr. “However, the rapid growth of netbooks as a second computer in developed markets will be eclipsed in coming years by vendors targeting developing nations and first Internet PCs at home.”
 
What about things smaller than netbooks? To continue quoting,

Laptop vendors may soon “reinvent the UMPC,” bringing down the low-end laptop price to $500 through ultra-low voltage machines. “That could affect some netbook sales in developed markets, especially the business users," said Orr.

No matter how you slice it, netbooks are big, and getting bigger.
     
I know that I want one -- and a lot of my colleagues and friends want netbooks with 3G as well. Always-on Internet without needing a WiFi hotspot, that's a must-have capability.

Earlier this week, AT&T has announced a suite of 3G-equipped netbooks for the holiday season. While none of them are based on Moblin (which means that I won't be getting one), this news is valuable in showing what these devices look like from the carrier perspective.

Beyond the Windows-only devices, the big downside to this AT&T offering is the crazy pricing: $35/month for a 200MB plan or $60/month for a 5GB plan. The first plan is a migraine-inducing $175 per gigabyte. The second plan is a more reasonable $12 per gigabyte. Where's the logic there? And what in the world can you do with only 200MB of data transfer per month?

Here's the relevant part of AT&T's announcement; you can read the complete text here.

AT&T Unwraps New Suite of 3G Mobile Broadband Netbooks for Holiday Season

$199 Pricing After Rebate Online and in AT&T Stores Nationwide; AT&T Mobile Broadband Data Plan Drops to $35/Month; Devices Feature New Windows 7 Operating System

DALLAS, Nov. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- As gift givers make their lists and check them twice, AT&T is stocking its shelves with the latest in ultra-portable, ultra-connected devices - two new netbooks that feature built-in access to the nation's fastest 3G network and the largest Wi-Fi network in the U.S., and include the new Microsoft Windows® 7 operating system.

AT&T today announced its holiday lineup of mobile broadband-enabled netbooks will be available in stores and online at www.att.com/netbooks later this month. The new devices include the Samsung Go(TM) Netbook and Acer Aspire One, both equipped with Windows 7 Starter from Microsoft, and available for $199 after mail-in rebate via an AT&T Promotion Card and a two-year data service contract.

The netbooks feature 10-inch screens and weigh less than 3 pounds, easily fitting into backpacks, purses and briefcases. The netbook pricing requires the purchase of a new two-year AT&T DataConnect plan - including a 200MB plan option for a newly reduced price of $35 per month or a 5GB plan for $60 per month
     
When my son was little, he loved the children's book "Pat the Bunny." The best line was, "How big is bunny? SO BIG."

That was my first thought when reading that ABI Research says that 385 million Ultra Mobile Devices will ship in 2014.

ABI defines Ultra Mobile Devices to include Ultra Mobile PCs (UMPCs), netbooks and Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs).

The analyst firm says that pocket-sized MIDs remain a far more interesting product segment to watch, as the market is still emerging. The reports adds that while the most common product design remains the tablet form, competing form factors such as models with slider keyboards, clamshells and touch-screen-only interfaces are gaining in popularity.

Okay, 2014 is five years away -- but given how netbooks have exploded into the market in 2009, I wouldn't be surprised if their 385 million prediction is too conservative. That's a lot of bunnies for software developers to write apps for.
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