Monday, January 12, 2009
Viva Las Vegas: 2009 CES, Consumer Electronics Association Show Wrapup
The big buzz on the blogs in December, and one of the biggest tech stories of the year, was a story that Coby, the drug-store electronics king, would be selling a laptop for about $100.
They denied it.
Yet at the just-completed CES show in Las Vegas, they exhibited a whole slew of laptops in a rainbow of colors. "Market research," they say. [Photo is on a picture frame by the makers of the Elonex mini laptop.]
WILL THEY, OR WON'T THEY? LET'S SEE IF WE CAN FIGURE THEM OUT.
Their only official statement so far is this:
Friday, Dec. 5, 2008
"Official Statement ...
Coby Electronics Corporation is not currently producing a PC nor is one headed to market at any price [emphasis added] under the company’s name." Read Coby's whole statement.
The day before (Dec. 4, 2008), some guy, Ross Rubin, contacted Coby about a story that Arkansas Indymedia had written on their netbook and explained how Rubin thought it was a hoax.
Also the day before (Dec. 4, 2008)
Rubin, had talked to bloggers and claimed that the story was a hoax. As one blog, Engadget put it, "Update: Our pal Ross Rubin noticed that his quote was two years old and did some digging -- yeah, this [Coby netbook] looks like a hoax through and through. So much for that."
Yes, so much for that. Ross Rubin's word was all it took. Lots of other media took up the cudgel for Rubin, for example, "A $100 Midget PC at the local dollar store? Not so fast."
What can one say except this: Dear Mr. Rubin....
If anyone had bothered to check, two months before the Arkansas Indymedia story came out, Coby registered a trademark for a "Coby netbook."
Now, if you want to believe your own two lying eyes, they seem to have changed their minds.
In case you don't want to see that rainbow of PC colors, the article says Coby will be offering its brand version of the China 400 platform (the Coby 400?). "Also, it’s worth noting that the mythical $100 netbook we first heard about isn’t likely to materialize anytime soon. Instead, Coby is going to bring a rebadged version of the generic Xburst netbook with a 400MHz MIPS-based CPU for about $139. Coby also has several machines with 8, 8.9, and 10 inch displays in its lineup. The top of the line 10 inch models are expected to sell for around $299." So it looks like the China 400 still will be the price leader.
Here's the specs for the Coby NBPC89 (Wi-Fi) / NBPC85 (no Wi-Fi).
Photo of COBY netbook.
Display: 7 inches, 800 x 480 pixels
CPU: Xburst 400 MHz, 32bits, (MIPS)
Storage: 1GB SLC NAND flash (up to 2GB)
Operating System: Linux
RAM: 128 MB
SD/MMC: Supports SDHC (up to 32 GB)
Wireless: 802.11b/g on the Wi-FI model
Phone Line: 10/100 LAN on both models
USB: 3 slots
Battery: 7.4-V, 2100-mAh battery; time, about 3 hours
Dimensions: 8.3″ x 5.6″ x 1.3″
Weight: 1.5 pounds
Specs per Liliputing.com.
The time frame for Coby-cheap netbooks? Possibly March 2009.