Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Free Intel Netbooks at the Big CeBit Show in Germany?

Have we arrived at Valhalla yet? Not exactly. It's just Hanover Germany and the world's largest computer trade show, CeBit -- makes CES Las Vegas look like a side show. My title's just a machine translation of "Intel-free." (Well, add in Microsoft, and that is almost Valhalla).

There yesterday, in one photo, were the German head of state, Angela Merkel, the California head of state Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Intel head of state, Craig Barrett, shaking hands with Marvin the robot.

More important, at CeBit also is our own HiVision XBurst-powered, Linux-running mini-laptop. The number of exhibitors is down by about 25% to 4300 companies because of the GFC (Global Financial Crisis, aka "end of the cyberfinance economy"); but the 400-MHz MIPS platform was represented, according to this article from WinFuture (Germany). Click here.

The significance of the HiVision mini-laptop and the other MIPS 400 machines is of course that they are the heirs to the original netbook concept, really cheap computers under $200.

The article points that, while the major computer manufacturers rely in the design of netbooks almost exclusively on Intel's Atom processor set, there are smaller suppliers from Asia with alternative CPUs.

In the coming months there will probably be many models with VIA chips on the market. But x86 CPUs from various Asian manufacturers could play a role. That suggests, at least from exhibits at the CeBIT show, this deserves a closer look. To what extent this also affects the German market remains to be seen, according to the article.

The article includes the HiVision netbook featured in the blog, which of course uses still another Intel alternative, the Chinese XBurst chip (JV4740) from Ingenic. Being a MIPS processor, the latter doesn't do Windows, either, so it's Windows-free as well. Like West Virginia, that *is* almost Valhalla. This also suggests that the MIPS 400 movement is growing, especially in Europe, but also worldwide.

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