New Macbook Air heralds the death of the disc

Apple recovery drive.

Well, it looks like MG Siegler over at TechCrunch called it. Yesterday, Apple announced the new line of Macbook Air laptops and they’ll ship with the little number you see in the picture. That’s right, that’s your recovery drive.

It’s a miniature USB stick, packed with the data that would normally come on an Apple recovery disc. This isn’t a huge surprise – more like the natural evolution of data storage. DVDs replaced CDs a while back for their superior storage. Flash drives have long since surpassed DVD storage, but they’re still more expensive to make. By stripping away a lot of the plastic and limiting storage, I’d imagine the cost will come down enough that we’ll see this option more and more often.

Aside from the new recovery method, the new Air line is looking pretty good. It comes in 11-inch and 13-inch models and is ridiculously thin. Both models have the unibody design and now sport the multi-touch trackpad present on the Macbook line. For me, 11-inches is way too small, especially if it’s widescreen. My current 13-inch MB Pro often feels too small, if only because of resolution.

Acer won’t try to compete with the iPad

Acer laptop.When Apple announced the iPad you could almost hear world inhale, waiting for the onslaught of competitor products with such clever names as the youPad and the Padlet. Can you imagine a world without iPod knock-offs? I can’t. Acer can, though, and the company won’t be feeding the tablet flames, according to Engadget.

The news came from Scott Lin, president of Acer Taiwan, who said the tablet just doesn’t fit Acer’s business model. Instead, the manufacturer will be focusing on ultra-thin laptops, some as svelte as .7 inches when closed. It’s a smart move, one that could grab the interest of anyone scared off by that weird touchscreen keyboard. The company expects the thinner line of products to account for 20-30 percent of sales in the coming year.

Source: Engadget

Nokia Booklet official for AT&T

Nokia Booklet.I think I’m starting to understand AT&T’s strategy for the next few years. As complaints continue to pile up, the company will just add more and more bandwidth-hungry devices until it inevitably crushes the network, at which point customers will be so fed up they will pay for anything, including tiered data plans. That’s a long introductory sentence for a netbook, I know. Now, the netbook.

Nokia confirmed its 3G capable netbook, the Booklet, to be released on subsidy with AT&T. The little lappy will run $299 with a two-year contract at data rates of $60/month. You will also be able to get the computer for $599 unsubsidized. The system runs Windows 7, which supposedly seamlessly handles 3G to wi-fi crossover, has a 120GB hard drive, and sports an A-GPS card for location services. Nokia has also crammed a 16-cell battery into the thin frame for an estimated 12-hour battery life. I’ll believe that when I see it, but for now it’s nearly double most other netbooks.

Through the holidays you’ll only be able to buy the Booklet at Best Buy stores. Execs from Best Buy, Microsoft, and Nokia were all in Manhattan for the announcement today and seemed optimistic about sales potential. If you’re looking for an ultra mobile device and don’t already have a laptop, will you really want one of these on a service contract? How bout when it’s sitting next to a 32GB iPhone?

Google Wants to Study Netbook Usability

Google's Android coming to netbooks?This past Thursday, Google posted an ad on Craig’s List asking for users willing to participate in a netbook usability study. Participants would be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement and be paid $75 in American Express gift checks.

The ad was released the same day as Google’s annual meeting, during which CEO Eric Schmidt declined to comment on the future of Android netbooks. From his short press conference, it sounds like Schmidt and the Google squad are looking to keep their web services viable on netbooks, and possibly roll out some new features for the netbook level consumer.

Sounds like business as usual for Google – telling us very little about what they’re actually doing. What kinds of applications are they looking to develop specific to netbook users? What kind of stability issues arise with netbooks/Google products. Why no word on Android?

Source: CNet

Century’s 3-in-1 USB Dock Expands Netbooks

Century's 3-in-1 USB dock.As netbooks continue to shrink, so does their collective feature list. Hard drives are smaller, batteries can’t last as long, optical drives are completely out of the question. Century hopes to bring back some functionality with their 3-in-1 USB docking station.

The dock comes with a standard CD/DVD drive built in, along with an internal SATA port for adding a hard drive. The unit also has a 4cm fan for…cooling the netbook? I’m not real sure why they added that last feature. Even if its miniscule, it just means more power being drawn from the netbook’s battery, and isn’t battery life one of the biggest issues?

There’s definitely a gap between reducing a tech’s scale and maintaining efficiency in that new scale. Until the two merge, I’m sure we’ll continue to see stopgap gadgets like this one.

Souce: Everything USB