Flybook again promises V6, and a new VM model with HDMI


Word coming in from Flybook on their current roadmap. Flybook was first to introduce stylish true mobile Internet Tablet PCs with low weight, 9 inch touch screen, integrated SIM card slot and full connectivity (WLAN, Bluetooth and GSM/GPRS modem, the famous A33i of which you can read a German review from 2005 here). They had several defects (very low battery life, lame CPUs (Transmeta, Celeron), mediocre displays, all at very high prices) but that has improved over the years.

In preparation for Cebit I asked Flybook for a roadmap (they won’t go to Hannover this year). This is what I have for you:

The Flybook V5, refreshed nearly 2 years ago (still at Intel Core 2 Duo U7600 but updated to Windows 7 OS) will finally have a successor, named V6. I had written about it 2008. At Cebit that year a Flybook representative had told me that they would launch the V6 when an ULV Core 2 Duo would be available. But despite new CPUs and even a newer CPU generation from Intel (Arrandale), there were still no signs of V6. So, let’s be careful and say: Flybook still plans to release a V6 Tablet. In the words of a spokesperson from this week: “Company’s focus is on refreshing current products that include the next-generation V5 (to be named the V6)”. And: “No word yet on the final choice of Intel processor (probably something from the ULV family).”

Regarding the non Tablet devices, we will see some new models: ”Flybook will be introducing the next-generation VM ultra-thin notebook PC in several versions, one of which is the cost-efficient VM Theory (VM-T)” for under 850 US-$. “The VM-T will not offer onboard 3G but will stick to 802.11b/g/n and BT 2.0.” It will have an HDMI port: “The updated CPU and GPU will enable HD video and fast computing while ‘on-the-fly.’”

Finally: “There will also be a couple of style enhancements that will gain a lot of fans.” So, that’s the promises, again. We’ll tell you when they release and deliver.

Regarding availability is given for the US, but in Europe the German shop has ceased operation. The explanation on the web site: Business has become impossible after European judges decided that online retailer must not charge the customer if he gives back an article after hefty usage. Meanwhile, the German domain flybook.de is for sale.

Homepage Flybook V5 (US)

Driver download page for Flybook V5

HP 2730p coming early September – First Montevina Tablet – HP 2370p stabiles 12-Zoll-Tablet für 1400 Euro ab Oktober auch in Deutschland (U)


(Updated with German launch date and price)

[English]

Just a day ago HP has announced (press release) the launch of the first Montevina based Tablet PC, named 2730p, a 12 inch display Convertible (1.280 x 800 Pixel),  “coming early September”. HP Germany will deliver in October. The first? Well, Fujitsu Siemens has already announced its new 13 inch Montevina convertibles Lifebook T1010 (in white, to compete with HP TX2500 as it will cost around the same, touchscreen) and Lifebook T5010 (active digitizer, integrated 3G, US PDF spec sheet here), weighing around 2 kilo, 300 gramm more than the 2730p – but they are not yet available. Not sure for how long the 44 WHr 6-zell-battery lasts.

Attractive Pricing (U)

The price should be around 1670 US-$, depending on your configuration. NICE: Other than e.g. Toshiba normally does with its European customers, the EURO price will not be significantly higher compare to US-Dollar. We will see very, very affordable 1.399 Euro in Germany (incl. tax), as HP tells today in the new German press release. I’ll write a seperate article on Tablet pricing soon (yes, really soon).

Specs

As you knew from my news report back in June, HP had to wait for availability of the Montevina (ultra) light version processors. Indeed, in the US you have three (Ultra) Low Voltage CPU choices: the ULV SU9300 (1.2 GHz ULV CPU, TDP 10 Watt) and the more powerful and more power consuming SL9300 and SL9400 running at 1.60 resp. 1.83 GHz, TDP 17 Watt). Display is an "Illumi-Lite LED" anti-glare 12-inch. , n-WLAN (optional) and Bluetooth on board. An integrated 2 Megapixel web cam is optional. Downside: only two USB 2.0 ports. Specs here (PDF).

At least the SL9400 support support VT-x features which significantly improves speed of virtual machines.

Notebooks.com has already posted a video which shows the 2730p in action.

“Toughbook light”

You will see a lot of reports saying that the 2730p would be kind of "ruggedized" and fullfill the military standard MIL-STD 810F. Well, HP puts their Elitebook series (the 2730p belongs to that family) into a "full magnesium alloy chassis". Also, the chassis and keyboard should resist water splashes and dust. Unfortunatly there is no official certification for that standard, only guidelines. So, until we see a review testing the dust, humidity and shock resistence, we simply have to believe HP, which, of course, we do :-). Or, to put it into HP’s words: The 2730p "has been tested and meets the military standard MIL-STD 810F for tests including dust, altitude and high temperature. Testing was not intended to demonstrate fitness for DOD contracts requirements or for military use" (from the spec sheet). All in all it seems like a Toughbook light or midi.

Benefits

– Accessories from previous model 2710p are compatible (no need to buy a new docking station if you want to upgrade);

– up to 8 Gig of RAM officially supported by the Montevina chipset, though HP does not officially support 64-Bit Windows, according to the spec sheed.;

– free to downgrade from Vista Business to XP Tablet 2005 if you need it for compatibility reasons. Not sure if the XP Tablet CD is delivered together (FSC does that with P1620 so that you can freely choose and later change your mind and switch to the other OS);

– SSD as a choice, or faster hard drive with 5.400 instead of 4200 rpm with a capacity of 120 or 80 GB (SATA).

Downloads

Specsheet (PDF) US and German

Drivers for Vista 32bit, Vista x64 bit, XP 32bit (to be added when available)

Next HP business Tablet 2730p based on Montevina ULV – nächster HP Tablet PC wartet auf Montevina ULV


At Berlin’s press event “Connecting Your World” HP launched a new HP TouchSmart iMac style destkop PC with a touchscreen, but no new HP Tablet PC. We can see the current consumer Tablet TX2000, but not yet the successor, the TX2500, which should be available as soon as AMD launches the Puma platform later this month. TabletPC Review has seen TX2500 at Computex, a small report with some fotos and some more specs.

HPTX2500 

HP TX2500, coming with Puma launch

Also, there is only very little info about the next HP Tablet we found out at the event: It will be called 2730p which stands for HP’s “ultralight” notebook line. It will be based on Intel’s Montevina CPU. That will launch in July, but as HP will use a ULV CPU which is not part of the first Montevina wave, we will have to wait until Q3 until we see that CPU and the HP 2730p. The device will follow the new design of Business notebooks (“HP EliteBook”) which will have a silver finish and magnesium alloy support structure (kind of Toughbook light).

Sorry to make this a short notice, more info when I have it.

GERMAN

Auf seiner weltweiten Presseveranstaltung “Connecting Your World” hat HP die nächste Generation seines bisher und auch in der neuen Variante (vorerst) nicht in Deutschland verfügbaren HP TouchSmart PCs vorgestellt, den HP TouchSmart IQ500 PC. Es handelt sich praktisch um einen iMac mit Vista, Touchscreen und einer speziellen Steuersoftware von HP, HP Touch genannt.

Einen neuen Tablet PC konnten wir aber noch nicht sehen, und das liegt daran, dass HP auf die für den Herbst geplanten Montevina-ULV-Prozessoren wartet. Zwar werden nächsten Monat die ersten Montevina-Prozessoren vorgestellt, aber noch nicht die ULV-Varianten, deren Verfügbarkeit für das dritte Quartal erwartet wird.

Viele weitere Features waren nicht in Erfahrung zu bringen. Klar ist lediglich, dass er 2730p heissen soll und dass das Gehäuse dem neuen Business-Design (HP “Elitebook”) entsprichen wird, das heißt: Gebürstetes Metall, erhöhte Stoß- und Kratzfestigkeit, sozusagen Toughbook light.

Auch vom Consumer-Tablet TX2500 war nur zu hören, dass er auf Puma basieren wird, immerhin hat TabletPC Review auf der Computex etwas mehr sehen können (kurzer Bericht mit Fotos)

Flybook: V5 gets SSD option, successor V6 will be based on Montevina/Centrino 2 later this year


Flybook has updated its 8.9 inch Tablet PC model „V5“ at CES in January (Core 2 Duo CPU ULV U7600 with 1.2 GHz, Intel 945 chipset, 80 Gig default HD and 1.3 megapixel webcam), it is now available in Germany. At Cebit we heard that a SanDisk SSD will be available as an option „soon“.

V5 to be followed by V6 based Intel Centrino 2 platform

More interesting, Flybook is currently developing next incarnation of their stylish Tablets, to be called V6, Product Manager Moreno Lizzi told me at Cebit. The display will be improved, being „sunlight readable“.

More important, V6 will be based on new Montevina platform from Intel, Moreno said. He has no specific launch date but said, „as soon as there is an ULV version of the CPU“ – Intel plans to launch Montevina, also called Centrino 2, in June.

Other news: most popular colors among Flybook buyers are gold and pink, Flybook notebooks for European market are assembled in Italy, docking stations are considered, news bags are being selected.