sharp-mebiusSharp blurred the lines between PDAs and laptops a few years ago with its line of Zaurus handhelds that ran Linux, had QWERTY keyboards, and fit in your pocket. They were way too small to compete with modern netbooks, but they offered a ton of features that you couldn’t find on normal PDAs.

So I’m pretty excited to see Sharp getting ready to enter the netbook game. Akihabara News reports that Sharp is set to introduce a new mini-laptop as part of its Mebius line next week. There’s pretty much zero information about the upcoming netbook. I wouldn’t be surprised if it looks a lot like every other mini-laptop on the market with a 10 inch display, Intel Atom CPU, and so on… But if Sharp brings some of the outside of the box thinking that it used on the Zaurus line to the table, the company could have something really cool in store for us. 

On the other hand, Sharp has released a number of high priced ultraportables under the Mebius name in the past, so it’s possible that the new product could just be another high performance subnotebook with a price tag too high to really compete in the netbook space.

What would you like to see from a Sharp netbook?

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13 replies on “Sharp to launch a netbook next week”

  1. I would like to see something like this:

    Needs to have:
    * a resolution bigger than 1024×600!!! (for crying out loud)
    * 5-6hrs. of actual battery life
    * a weight less than 3.5lbs.
    * (LED) display between 10″ and 13″
    * a dedicated card that consumes the least power possible (doesn’t have to be crazy powerful) or a dedicated video card capable of switching to an onboard card (like the ASUS N10).
    * 1080p capable
    * at least 80+GB hard drive
    * 802.11 b/g/n
    * 1.66-2GHz range (hopefully they’ll be the first to put a 2GHz atom?)
    * no more than $700
    * 2 USB ports
    * be able to max out to at least 2GB of RAM.

    Would be nice if it had any of the following:
    ** HDMI port (really would like to have this, if it had a dedicated card, it would most likely have this)
    * multi-touch
    * express Slot
    * eSATa/USB
    * touch-screen
    * Chic-let keys
    * Card Reader

    I am a first time notebook buyer. I don’t need a ridiculous amount of power, and I don’t want to be gimped. I am one of the few, it seems, who wants the “mean between” so to speak.

    Many come close: HP dv2, ASUS N10, SONY Z… but every one seems to be missing one of my needs. Only the dv2 comes the closest… the battery life just won’t cut it though and I have had so many friends/relatives with bad experiances with HP products, including me. The N10’s resolution is too small and it was trouble rendering 1080p (supposedly). The Z is way to expensive, period.

    Who cares about the OS? That can be changed anytime. (I like linux, so whatever I get will have linux anyway). Would be nice if SHARP made their own Linux OS though.

    Hopefully if SHARP doesn’t pull through for me… someone will this summer?

    I think whatever they do make will still be good, they tend to make great products from my experiance.

  2. Sharp needs to do the following:

    Go back to the archives and find a Sharp MM20. Pull out the transmeta crusoe, and replace it with an atom.

    If Sharp released the MM20 today as a netbook, it would be thinner and lighter than nearly every other netbook. Which says a lot for a machine released 5 years ago.

  3. What I’d like to see is just what you suggested: features and characteristics in line with their Zaurus line. Had a roommate who owned one of those and it was just lovely what he was able to do with it.

    Also..Mebius…sadly…only makes me think of a recent Japanese “Ultraman” series on TV…Now I can just see someone using their netbook to call up a 50 foot tall spandex wearing superhero to fight some rubber monsters called up by larger notebooks or something…or not.

  4. I was not familar with the old device, so I poked around the website to look at the old devices. From that I took a few ideas.

    1) Keep it Linux
    2) Butterfly keyboard that folds out when cover is opened
    3) 8.9″ touch screen that can be twisted for a tablet config
    4) Accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate
    5) Instant on PDA-like environment or 25-30 second full Linux OS

    1. 2) Butterfly keyboard that folds out when cover is opened

      THIS. For the love of all that might even be considered holy, IMPLEMENT THIS. Why oh why haven’t we seen anyone do that with one of these devices? Is it just patent issues? I wouldn’t be surprised…

      Still, first company that comes out with it get a few extra consideration points.

        1. I’m aware they’re out there…I just wondered why they weren’t available in any netbooks. Thanks for reminding me who made it originally. If IBM did it ten years ago, then they probably still own a patent on it…though that still means we might see something like this on a Lenovo netbook, as they’re still licensing IBM’s PC business…at least until 2010.

          It’s a pity as it makes so much *sense*.

  5. Steven522, add a SD card slot to go with the CF card slot. I like the idea of the buttons along the edge and the portrait/landscape screen.

    Please Sharp, bring something new and different to the table.

  6. Thinking about some things that I would like to see in a low-cost netbook:

    Instead of HD/SSD, how about a compact flash socket that acts like the main drive and would allow a user to swap out 16/32 GB cards with different OS’es loaded? Not actually hot-swappable, but easy to get to and change for user customization. Maybe I would like a card with a linux variant for out-in-the-open wireless travel, and a card with my copy of XP on it for work related usage, and a card with FreeDOS loaded for some old-school gaming.

    Instead of a touch-screen that rotates to make the netbook into a tablet, how about a regular screen that rotates and we have a small set of programmable keys along the edge that we can hot-key whatever we want on them. Make the unit a little more e-book friendly by also having the graphics driver able rotate the screen from landscape to portrait.

    1. I don’t think any commercial Operating System manufacturer would allow such a thing. Far too easy to share the OS, they want everyone to get their own license.

      That said I still think the card thing’s a good idea. Kind of what the Gdium does, but with commodity hardware and more user choice? My only question would relate to the reliability of flash cards…

      Good second idea as well. I bet that’d fit well with those pixelQI screens people say are coming…

      1. OS licensing shouldn’t be any different than setting up a multi boot drive through any boot commander type utility. It just ends up being one more step removed as in actually changing out the drive as opposed to rebooting to a new OS. …as long as you only install it once.

        Compact flash cards have been used for some time as a “poor mans” SSD in many systems. Some of the mini-itx form factor motherboards have a compact flash socket that can be used as the main drive. It just looks and acts like a standard IDE drive. You can even get an adapter to change out the drive in an ipod to a compact flash. All drives wear out eventually. I know, I’ve swapped out the hard drive in my main home desktop PC at least 3 times in the past 8 years.

  7. I look forward to:

    8.9″ screen (1024 x 600+)
    Smaller than the original Acer Aspire One, but bigger than original Eee
    8 to 16GB SSD, plus SD storage expansion
    802.11g/n, Bluetooth and easy-add internal 3G
    Low-power CPU/chipset for decent battery life (ARM fine)
    Linux as standard or option (including 3G support)

    Will have to carry on looking forward, I suspect…

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