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Mini Linux notebook to gain WiMAX option

Apr 1, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 6 views

U.S.-based PC vendor Everex has announced plans to offer a WiMAX-enabled version of its mini-notebook. The “CloudBook Max” will feature a mobile WiMAX radio chip supplied by GCT Semiconductor, and will work with Sprint's high-speed XOHMwireless network, Everex said.

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Sprint's Xohm network is scheduled to launch in Chicago, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. in spring of 2008, with other cities following “soon,” the company says. Nokia has also promised a WiMAX-enabled version of its N800 Internet tablet for use with the Xohm network, while Linux MID-maker Electrobit (EB) is also planning Xohm-enabled devices. The market for WiMAX goods and services is slated to grow from $27 million in 2007 to $500 million in 2012, according to recent figures from Strategy Analytics.

Everex says the CloudBook Max will boast an 8.9-inch screen — larger than that found in its first-generation Cloudbook (click for hands-on review), which is based on Via's Nanobook reference design. Everex competitor Asus also recently announced a similar 8.9-inch display option for its EEE, a similar Linux-based mini-notebook that also offers a Windows XP OS option. Yet another early entry in the Linux-based mini-notebook market is the Quanta Gecko.

In order to support the new larger screen, which will run at 1024 x 600, the CloudBook Max will use Via's single-chip VX800 chipset, also announced today. The VX800 succeeds Via's VX700 chipset for small form-factor mobile devices. The VX800 brings support for up to 2GB of DDR2 DRAM in the Cloudbook.

Other touted Cloudbook Max features include an 80GB hard drive, S-Video out (as well as DVI, most likely, as found on the original CloudBook), 802.11b/g WiFi, Bluetooth, an integral GPS receiver, and a 2-megapixel webcam. The device measures 9.4 x 6.9 x 1.1 inches (240 x 175 x 27mm), and weighs “less than 1kg” (2.2 pounds). The battery will last for four hours, Via claims.

Richard Brown, Via marketing VP, stated, “Consumers and mobile workers want to experience the real Internet and all their favorite applications with the same high speed and full functionality whether at their desk or on the go.”

Bin Shen, VP of partnerships at XOHM, stated, “We expect this collaboration, along with others like it, to result in a robust portfolio of WiMAX capable devices.”

The CloudBook Max is expected to ship “in a year,” Everex said. However, Via, Everex, and GCT are showing off a prototype at the CTIA Wireless show in Las Vegas this week, in meeting room MR-789 in Hall C. Via did not confirm planned OS support. However, the original CloudBook runs a Google-oriented Linux distribution.

WiMAX was pushed early on by Intel as a way to extend low-cost broadband to areas of low population density, such as rural and developing areas. However, most industry interest appears to have come from wireless (cellular) carriers, who see WaMAX as a potential delivery option for broadband “4G” data services. Hence, much development effort has focused on creating a “mobile” version of the technology.

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