The netbook market is one of the fastest growing computer segments right now. The reason is that the netbook systems are lower cost than the average notebook, making them more attractive in the slow economic environment seen in the U.S. and abroad today. Many PC makers are releasing netbooks to get in on the market.
Intel is even looking to its Atom CPU for netbooks to help support is lagging revenues across the computer industry as a whole. One of the most popular netbooks to be released was the MSI Wind. When the Wind hit the market in July, it was priced at $399 to $499 depending on the OS and other features.
Laptop Magazine talked to Andy Tung, MSI's U.S. Sales Director. Tung told Laptop Magazine some interesting tidbits in the interview. Some of the most notable items are that the original U100 Wind netbook will be available this week at a large nationwide retailer running Windows XP with a 3-cell battery for $399. Tung was mum on the specific retailer, but odds are it’s either Best Buy, Circuit City, or Wal-Mart.
MSI is also readying a new Wind netbook called the Wind U120 that will be aimed at the business market. MSI believes that the business user wants a more industrial looking netbook coupled with more power, and mobile broadband.
To meet the needs of this segment, the U120 will use a 10-inch screen and feature HDD and SSD storage options along with integrated 3.5G connectivity and 802.11n Wi-Fi. The machine will run Windows XP and retail for under $600 when it goes on sale in November or December of this year.
Linux notebooks aren’t faring nearly as well in the netbook market as Windows based systems. Tung reports that MSI has noted that returns on netbooks running Linux are four times as high as those running Windows.
Despite the much higher return rates, MSI does plan to bring the Linux-based Wind to the U.S., though it is exploring different Linux flavors for a better user experience. Tung says MSI has discussed a version of Ubuntu that looks and feels like Mac OS X.
Consumers looking for Wind notebooks have had a hard time finding the netbook with the 6-cell battery. The 6-cell battery is now available and MSI expects the shortage of Intel Atom processors plaguing the netbook industry to be much improved this month. When asked about the rumors of a 9-cell battery, Tung stated that the 9-cell is from a third party, not MSI.
MSI says that the new dual-core Atom processor is not expected to make it into its netbooks because Intel is holding off on the mobile version. Tung expects the processor to be available here in the U.S. in the second half of 2009. Those looking for a new, low-cost desktop computer will be glad to hear that MSI does plan to bring its Wind desktop to the U.S. soon to battle against the Asus Eee Box.
Best Buy announced today that it is the B&M retailer that will carry the MSI Wind for $399:
CITY OF INDUSTRY, CA -- October 06, 2008 -- MSI Computer, a leading manufacturer of computer hardware products and solutions, is excited to announce the MSI Wind U100 Netbbok is now on sale at Bestbuy locations across the country. The Wind, an acronym for "Wi-Fi Network Device," was the first 10" netbook to feature the speedy new Intel Atom 1.6GHz processor
"We are excited to be able to reach our clients through this new channel," said MSI’s Director of U.S. Sales Andy Tung. "By partnering with Best Buy we can introduce more people to the Wind, and meet the needs of the buyers who either don’t want to purchase online or would like to touch and try out our netbook before making a decision."
Weighing in at just 2.3 lbs, MSI designed the Wind to be lightweight and ultra mobile, without sacrificing convenience or performance. The Wind features an ergonomically designed keyboard that is only 20% smaller than a full sized notebook keyboard, with the keys spaced a comfortable 0.68 inches apart.