It looks like Intel's CULV wish may be coming true, as six whitebox manufacturers in Taiwan are apparently ramping up for production of ultraportable notebooks based on the platform. Industry sources have fingered Pegatron, Clevo, MSI, Compal, ECS and Mitac as all preparing 13- to 14-inch CULV notebooks, with the first shipments expected in June 2009.
ASUS have released full specifications for their new U- and UX-series ultraportables, announced back at CeBIT. Five U-series models are detailed, together with two UX-series; processors range from Intel's CULV line, Pentiums, Core 2 Solo and Core 2 Duo chips. Displays range from the 12.1-inch U20A through to two 15.6-inch models, the U50G and U51Vg.
Lenovo Canada are offering ThinkPad X200 Tablet PC buyers a newly-expanded range of processor options, more than twice as many as US buyers can configure their touchscreen ultraportables with. The Canadian X200 gets not only a choice of the original SU9300 1.20GHz and SL9400 1.86GHz CPUs as the US model, but up to a 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo SL9600 low-voltage chip.
From one MSI ultraportable to another, and the company surprised with the announcement of a hitherto-unseen X-Slim notebooks at an Asia-Pacific launch recently. The MSI X-Slim X400 is a 14-inch variant of the X-Slim range, with the same slender chassis as the X340 and X600 but a screen size in-between those models.
MSI prompted some consternation last month, when official listings for its X-Slim X340 ultraportable appeared with a $1,099.99 price-tag. That might seem vaguely reasonable for a super-skinny 13.4-inch notebook, but considering MSI had been bellowing beforehand about a sub-$1k sticker there were some understandably disappointed would-be buyers. Now, the listings have changed - the X340 is still not in stock, but its price has flipped to TBD ("To Be Determined")
According to a leak, Lenovo is apparently working on a new ThinkPad X200 that features a CULV processor. While this rumor is not confirmed, it would make sense since Lenovo has themselves admitted they are thinking about creating a CULV ThinkPad in the future, though they did not commit to a timeframe.
The ThinkPad X200 models currently feature a SL-series Core 2 Duo processor. This has made the price go up considerably, but with a 1.2GHz Celeron M chip, the cost would decrease, as would the voltage use. The new system would also have a 160GB hard drive and 2GB of memory.
Pricing is not known, nor is a release date. It may not even come to pass. We'll just have to wait and see. But it would make sense in this economy for Lenovo to be looking to drop their price point a bit....
Lenovo's existing IdeaPad netbooks are sturdy, safe choices in the segment, but they could soon gain a ThinkPad-branded sibling. Likely targeted more at business use, compared to the consumer-focused IdeaPad line, the ThinkPad netbook is not yet confirmed, but according to Lenovo's Worldwide Competitive Analyst Matthew Kohut, "it's an area [Lenovo are] exploring."
After the cut, why Atom may not be the CPU for the new ThinkPad netbook
MSI have officially listed their X-Slim X340, complete with pricing, and it's something of a disappointment to anybody lured in by the company's promise of a sub-$1,000 sticker. Both the MSI X-Slim X340-021US (in black) and the MSI X-Slim X340-023US (in white) start at $1,099.99, with Core 2 Solo 1.4GHz SU3500 CULV processors, 13.4-inch 1366 x 768 displays and 2GB of DDR2 memory.
Netbooks may have been seen as the recession-proof answer to dwindling consumer electronics budgets, but failed sales goals suggest otherwise. Acer, ASUS and MSI are all said to have missed their sales targets for the first three months of 2009, according to channel vendors, pushing two of the three companies to invest more heavily in CULV ultraportables.