It looks as though one of the mainstays of the UMPC segment, Raon Digital, has closed business. After stock shortages have prompted concerns over the past few months, more recently speciality sites have reported no word from their contacts at the company and, according to Pocketables, Korean news sites have published bankruptcy notices.
After Raon Digital announced their two new SSD-based Everun Note models, the S16S and D24S, we've been waiting to see how the switch to solid-state storage affects their performance. Given that the original Everun Note was known as something of a pocket power-house, only held back by its traditional 60GB hard-drive, the stakes are certainly high. UMPCPortal's Steve has just received the Everun Note S16S and D24S, and tested them out in a huge 2hr marathon.
Raon Digital's Everun Note has generally done a great job impressing reviewers with its balance of portability and power; the only two areas of real contention have been the speed of the hard-drive and the device's price. Raon Digital ship the Everun Note with a standard 60GB hard-drive that dragged down the benchmarks, and the sticker price of $879 is high compared to other ultraportable devices. Now the company has announced two new versions, both with SSD storage, to slot either side of the existing HDD model, and in the process offer a cheaper path to ownership.
Raon Digital were holding up a red-rag with their Everun Note, including a PCI-Express Mini slot and SIM card holder: it was only a matter of time until someone slotted a 3G WWAN modem in there. Taking the guts of an AT&T AirCard 875U, a UMPC Fever forum member dismantled their Everun Note and threaded an antenna around the LCD bezel.
It can't be in too many hands as of yet, but the Everun Note is about to be snatched out of them and dragged back to base. Raon Digital have recalled the compact touchscreen notebook over "failure symptoms" that include high-pitched fan noise, blue-screening, overheating processor, inaccurate battery monitor levels or "an error related to the preinstalled e-dictionary and/or PDA authentication".
I know a lot of SlashGear readers, like me, have been following the developing story of the Everun Note, the souped-up subnotebook from Raon Digital. Since the first prototypes were spotted in June, and Raon Digital themselves leaked some impressive performance stats, interest in the AMD Turion 64×2 Dual Core 1.2GHz UMPC has been high. After an unboxing and benchmarks, Steve Paine has finally posted his full review of the Everun Note, and while it's obviously not for everyone, this is certainly an exciting crossover device.
Steve from UMPC Portal has been able to comfortably use the Everun Note as a desktop replacement, with the setup you see here running two Firefox windows with five tabs, Skype and Livewriter with 434MB of RAM free. In fact he's unable to tell the difference between the Note's performance in this setup, and that of a 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo laptop.
Netbooks returned to the top of the page this week, as Dell finally confirmed their first entrance to the budget ultraportable market. The specs of the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 may not be all that surprising - given both the regular leaking pre-announcement and the fact that all of these machines are pretty similar - but the brand name will likely make it the netbook to beat. In a way it's a shame, because there are far more exciting devices - such as the Raon Digital Everun Note - that, by virtue of being less well known, will struggle to make themselves heard.
Raon Digital's Everun Note is looking more and more like the holy grail for some mobile users: a super-portable touchscreen UMPC that, when back in the office, can be plugged into the mains and provide enough performance to be your main PC. We're still waiting for the first full-scale English language review, and it seems like Steve from UMPC Portal will be the man to deliver it.
Check out the Raon Digital Everun Note unboxing video after the cut