It's become somewhat traditional to start the week's review with what's happening in the netbook world, a niche that's arguably the fastest developing right now in consumer tech. Fujitsu kicked things off with the proclamation that budget ultraportables "don't add up" and that the current race to the bottom line doesn't give manufacturers enough room to make profit; Fujitsu were rumored the week before to be planning a netbook of their own, only with the emphasis on build quality rather than solely the price tag. Sony also picked up a few netbook-in-progress rumors, tipped for Q4 2008, and HP revealed that they're working on a follow-up to the 2133 Mini-Note that will be less sturdy but also less expensive.
LG, too, are said to have a netbook in the works, with a model tentatively named X110 running Intel's Atom CPU and made for them by MSI. It's uncertain whether, if this turns out to be true, the X110 would be a rebadge of the MSI Wind or a whole new design. Finally, ASUS confirmed they wouldn't be letting up the pressure as firm most associated with the segment; there's talk of an "all day" battery and cloud storage option for release later on in 2008.
After teasing with an unboxing video yesterday, Chippy made good on his promise and ran benchmarks and gave in-depth opinions on the Gigabyte M912 touchscreen ultraportable last night. Turns out that Gigabyte themselves were watching, and have confirmed that there will only be two versions of the M912: both will run Vista or XP (no Linux option), but where the M912 will have a 1280x768 CCFL-backlit LCD, the M912M will have a 1024x600 LED-backlit LCD.
Watch Chippy's overview review video after the cut
Having found out on Monday that Gigabyte's diminutive M912 convertible touchscreen tablet would start from just $556, interest in the Atom-powered ultraportable has steadily increased. UMPC Portal's Chippy has one of the first demo models, and he's put together his unboxing and first impressions video (which you can see after the cut).
Unsurprisingly the iPhone 3G has overshadowed just about all other news this week, with Steve Jobs taking to the Keynote stage at WWDC 2008 on Monday and announcing Apple's updated cellphone. Packing 3G, GPS, improved software and more into an only slightly thicker (and curvier) chassis, the iPhone 3G is destined to make waves when it launches on July 11th, especially given the lower price of $199 (for the 8GB model). We live-blogged the Keynote and many of you were good enough to join us; check out our coverage here, and click over to iPhone Buzz for more up-to-the-minute iPhone news.
Gigabyte have revealed pricing for their M528 MID, which we last saw back at CeBIT 2008. The compact device has a 4.8-inch touchscreen, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, GPS, 3G HSDPA and dual cameras (VGA up front, 3-megapixel with autofocus round the back). Storage is courtesy of a 4GB SSD, while the processor is an 800Mhz Silverthorne/Poulsbo (Menlow). The Taiwanese end-user price is a recommended $750.
Gigabyte's UMPC, the M704, may not have exactly wowed reviewers, but the company is sending in touchscreen reinforcements in the shape of the M912. While at first glance it might look like a full-sized convertible tablet, a glance at the spec list reveals that it actually has an 8.9-inch WXGA display, putting it firmly among the UMPC/budget ultraportables and a direct rival to Fujitsu-Siemens' P1610. Under the hood is a 1.6GHz Intel CPU, and the fact that it uses the 945GSE chipset suggests this is based on Intel's Diamondville platform; Gigabyte are quoting "Windows XP compliance and support Linux" which doesn't exactly make clear which OS will be preloaded.
Remember the Gigabyte M704? Billed as the smallest 7-inch 1024 × 600 UMPC on the market, we briefly spent some time with the 780g device at CEBIT 2008 and came away, if not madly impressed, then at least still curious. Now Mobile01 have unboxed and reviewed the M704 - complete with its modular GPS and DVB-T accessories, and the docking station - to see if the 1.2Ghz VIA C7-powered Windows XP PC is up to scratch.
With the array of Eee-style budget notebooks clamouring to play the role of your companion PC, Microsoft's UMPC format is being forced to think outside of its traditional box to score sales. Gigabyte have stepped up with the M700; while it may look like a typical 7-inch touchscreen slate, in actual fact it's running VIA's 1.2Ghz processor with the new VX800 chipset (with Chrome 9 graphics and video decoding hardware) and is part of the company's latest IPTV push. The M700 is in actual fact a mobile media center, complete with a dock that packs a digital TV tuner and IPTV streamer.
Check out the video overview of the Gigabyte M700 after the cut