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1.5-pound mini-laptop boots Linux fast

Jan 9, 2009 — by Jonathan Angel — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 104 views

Sony announced a mini-laptop that weighs 1.4 pounds and is just 4.7 inches deep. Shipped with Vista and a fast-booting Linux Xross environment, the “Vaio P” (VGN-P) includes a 1.33GHz Atom processor, eight-inch, 2GB of RAM, GPS, a cellular modem, and 8-inch 1600 x 768 screen.

(Click here for a larger view of Sony's Vaio P)

Introducing the Vaio P at this week's CES (Consumer Electronics Show), Sony representatives reportedly pleaded with journalists to call the device a “lifestyle PC,” not a netbook. Whether that's just marketing, or has something to do with the cease-and-desist letters that Netbook Pro copyright holder Psion is said to have been sending out, we can't say — but at just 9.65 x 4.72 x 0.7 inches, the Vaio P is dwarfed by any netbook we can think of.


Sony's little Vaio P
(Click to enlarge)

Offered in glossy black, red, white, and green finishes, the Vaio P has an eight-inch display (above) that is LED-backlit and manages to squeeze in 1600 x 768 pixels. The screen might not be ideal for would-be fashionistas who need reading glasses, but the device usefully sports a hardware button which, when pressed, automatically tiles open application windows (shades of Windows 1.0). Also featured is a keyboard (below), described as 87 percent of full-size, along with an integral pointing stick.


The Vaio P's keyboard saves space by using a pointing stick
(Click to enlarge)

The Vaio P uses Intel's 1.33GHz Atom Z520 and SCH US15W companion chip, fully exploiting the latter's new-found ability to handle up to 2GB of RAM. For mass storage, it comes with either a 4200rpm, 60GB hard disk drive, or an SSD, offered in either 64GB or 128GB versions.

Wired interfaces include a headphone jack, two USB ports, and a connector that — with a supplied adapter — offers VGA output and 10/100 Ethernet. As for wireless, there's 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 with stereo audio streaming, and an integrated tri-band (850/1900/2100 MHz) HSPA (high speed packet access) cellular modem, said to be compatible with the Verizon network. The device also boasts GPS, with an undisclosed chipset.

Like netbooks — or should we say mini-laptops? — the device comes with a webcam, plus a memory card reader that accepts SD, MMC, and Memory Stick media. A standard three-cell battery is claimed to operate the device for about three hours, while an optional six-cell battery doubles this, adding to the little system's depth by an unspecified amount.

Finally, while the Vaio P ships with Windows Vista Home Premium installed, it also offers an alternative. A small button located next to the power button boots the device into a Linux-based environment called Xross (pronounced “cross”). Xross reportedly loads within about 20 seconds, providing access to email, web browsing, music playback, a Skype VoIP client, and instant messaging.

Since the VGN-P has not shipped yet, Sony has not yet published Xross source code. However, it may be similar to the InstantMode 1.22 Linux stack used in VGN-TX Vaio devices.

Sony lists the following key features and specifications for the Vaio P:

  • Processor — 1.33GHz Intel Atom Z520 processor
  • Memory — 2GB of DDR2 RAM (non-expandable)
  • Display — LED-backlit dislay with 1600 x 768 pixel resolution
  • Keyboard — “87 percent” keyboard, with integral pointing stick
  • Storage — 60GB hard disk drive, 64GB SSD, or 128GB SSD
  • Wireless:
    • WAN — Integrated tri-band (850/1900/2100 MHz) HSPA (high speed packet access) cellular modem
    • WLAN — 802.11b/g/n
    • PAN — Bluetooth 2.1
    • GPS

  • Other I/O:
    • 10/100 Ethernet (via included dongle)
    • VGA output (via dongle)
    • Headphone jack
    • 2 x USB

  • Battery type — Lithium-ion, available in three-cell and six-cell versions (capacities not specified, but said to last three and six hours, respectively)
  • Dimensions — 9.65 x 4.72 x 0.78 inches
  • Weight — 1.5 pounds

Further information

According to Sony, the Vaio P VGN-P is orderable now, and units will begin to ship next month. The device costs approximately $900 with a 60GB hard disk drive, $1200 with a 64GB SSD, and $1500 with a 128GB SSD. More information may be found on the company's website, here.

Meanwhile, impressions of the device and additional photographs — including some comparing it to netbooks and notebook computers — are available on the NotebookReview.com website, here.


 
This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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