Gigabyte intros tablet-style Eee rival
UMPC and MID too
Computex Gigabyte wasn't to be left behind by rivals Asus, MSI and Acer at this year's Computex - it too unveiled a compact laptop based on Intel's just-launched Atom N270 processor.
Enter the M912, a compact, 1.6GHz system with an 8.9in display - this time with an above-par 1280 x 768 resolution - integrated 1.3-megapixel webcam, 10/100Mb/s Ethernet, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, 1GB of memory and a 4GB solid-state drive.
Gigabyte's M912: Eee meets tablet
In addition to the larger-than-usual screen resolution, the M912 comes with Bluetooth - most Small, Cheap Computers™ don't - but perhaps the Gigabyte machine's standout feature is its tablet design.
It's not original - Dialogue's Flybook is a sub-notebook with a turn-and-fold-screen and it's been out since 2004 - but the Gigabyte version comes with Linux so is free of all that Windows XP Tablet PC Edition nonsense. The M912's display is touch-sensitive.
The M912 is also more expandable than many of its rivals: it has an (empty) 2.5in bay for an additional 9.5mm-thick hard drive, and an ExpressCard slot.
With a four-cell, 4400mAh battery fitted, the Gigabyte weighs 1.2kg - more MacBook Air than Eee PC. The company claimed the unit can run for up to four hours on a single charge.
Gigabyte's M700: UMPC with VIA inside
Gigabyte also showed off its M700 UMPC - a 7in, 1024 x 600 device equipped with VIA's 1.2GHz C7-M ULV processor, 768MB of 533MHz DDR 2 and a choice of 40GB or 60GB of hard drive capacity. It'll come with Windows XP and the usual connectivity options.
The M528, meanwhile, comes in the same slider design as the M700, but it's a smaller unit with a 4.8in, 800 x 480 display. It's a handheld mobile internet device, in other words, rather than a UMPC. Like the M912, it runs Linux and has 4GB of on-board SSD storage.
Gigabyte's M528: El MID
It has 512MB of memory and an 800MHz Atom CPU. It's got mini USB and regular USB ports, and in addition to 802.11b/g Wi-Fi there's a space for both an optional HSDPA module and a SIM card. It has GPS on board too.
The 340g unit has a front-facing 0.3-megapixel webcam and a three-megapixel auto-focus camera on the back. Its got a 2700mAh battery, but Gigabyte didn't say how long it'll run for.
Nor did it say when these three gadgets will appear over here.
A distressing trend is developing here...
The Acer One, and the Gigabyte have both been announced without any new technocrumpet.
Haven't they heard - sex sells!
Re: OK, this is it for me
"... as long as the price is around £350."
Me too, but realistically it is likely to be double that.
Considering that http://www.expansys.com/gigabyte/p_gigabyte.aspx are offering the 700 series for around the £500 mark, I don't think Gigabyte's offerings really warrant the SMC(tm) logo and they certainly aren't competition for the Eee (or the Acer).
Still, perhaps you can put OSX on it and pass it off as a cheap Air.
M912 feels flimsy
As svelte as it looks on pictures, the M912 feels absolutely cheap IRL. Gigabyte is also offering a black version, which at least looks better.
That said, the chaps at Computex pointed out that they were still displaying a pre-production model (final due in about 2 months) and the hinge would feel more solid. As it was, after one day at Computex, the display hinge had quite a bit of play, seriously discouraging me from potentially buying the piece.
Compared to Kohjinsha's construction, Gigabyte's rotating screen still leaves a lot to be desired.
Re: 4Gb SSD?!
I've got an eeePC 701, and the 4g SSD has been plenty of storage. All I need the SSD for is installing applications. I just checked, and I have 1.2g free. Most of my data is stored on SD cards or my network. I keep a handful of 2g SD cards in the case, and a thumb drive to exchange data with systems without network or SD slots.
The only thing I would improve is screen size. I'd like to see 14" with a normal laptop keyboard in the 2lb range @ ~$400. I do like the looks of the Acer in yesterday's article, although my black eeePC looks fine.
Re: 4Gb SSD?!
With linux? Quite a lot actually and that's even despite having KDE installed. Uninstall the stuff you don't want or need and you'll have a couple of Gb to play with, which is more than enough for email and documents. The basic Eee shipped with 2G and that was more than enough for people.
I wouldn't mind a touchscreen device for MythTV, but I don't think this is it. It'll probably be priced too high and I suspect the hinges won't last 6 months of proper use.