At least two new laptops are now available with the new Intel Atom, Intel’s smallest chip ever.
The under-$550 computers from ASUS Computer and MSI Computer Corp. are both selling at Amazon, NewEgg and other online stores (see list after the jump). ASUS added the Eee PC 901 to its lineup of low-priced PCs that start at $299, while MSI began selling its Wind NB U100 series (pictured below).
These mini machines are also called Nettops, net books, mini computers or mobile Internet devices (or MIDs). Intel had said it expected such machines to be in the $200 to $250 range. But, apparently, not these two. MSI’s is $480 while the Eee PC 901 (on right) is $549. Then again, these nettops are more loaded than some of the $299 desktop computers available from eMachines, Dell and HP.
Debby Lee, with ASUS, says its Atom PCs include Bluetooth, the more expensive and durable Solid State Drives of 12 GB to 80 GBs, plus a new scratch-resistant case. Comparably, the company’s $299 Eee PC has a mere 2 GB of storage, 512 MB of memory, Wi-Fi and not much else.
“From our point of view,” Lee said, “it is a mobile internet gadget. It will not replace your desktop or laptops at home.”
Expect to see more of these smaller, cheaper laptops thanks to the Atom chip. I mentioned the Atom last April, when Intel stopped by to show it to me in person. In the photo on right, the Atom is the little green and black square.
At the time, Intel said Lenovo’s IdeaPad U8, the Eee PC, a brand called “Thinno,” and a computer from Compal will also include the chip. Since then, I’ve also learned that TV maker Hannspree is planning an Atom-based computer. Read about “TV maker Hannspree to start selling low-priced laptops.”
Even more companies are coming out with nettops. According to the Intel Mobility blog, other MIDs spotted at the recent Computex tradeshow included BenQ, Clarion and Gigabyte. Check out the photos at the MIDs photo shoot.
ASUS’s Eee PC 901 has 12 GB storage, 1 GB of memory, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a webcam and lasts about 7.8 hours. (Two other Atom-based Eee PCs, the 1000 and 1000H, are $699 and $649, respectively, because of larger screens and storage space.) But the screen is small, at 8.9-inches, and there have been complaints about the cramped keyboard. Available online: Amazon.com, Buy.com, CDW.com, Costco.com, Directron.com, Insight.com, Mwave.com, Newegg.com, PCconnection.com, PCMall.com, Tigerdirect.com, Zipzoomfly.com and Zones.com
The MSI Wind NB, at 2.6 pounds, has an 80 GB hard drive, 1 GB of RAM, Bluetooth, a 1.3 megapixel webcam and keyboard that is 80 percent of a full-size notebook. Other features include 3-hour battery, 3 USB prots, and a 4-in-1 card reader. Available at Amazon, NewEgg.com and www.msimobile.com