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By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net PhotobucketTHE ULTRAMOBILE PC business is heating up as more hardw are manufacturers are getting into the fray. Not to be outdone, computer manufa cturer Red Fox and AMD have launched the Wizbook, which will compete with the A sus Eee PC (which technically is not a UMPC). Although slightly bigger than the Eee PC, the Wizbook has a few features not pr esent in the Eee PC, in particular a bigger hard disk, a larger LCD screen, and a PC card slot. Red Fox claims that it also has twice the battery life of the Eee PC. But there are some features that are absent from the Wizbook, particularly an i ntegrated web camera, an extra USB slot (the Eee PC has three whereas the Wizbo ok only has two), and a lower memory module. The Wizbook uses a traditional 2.5-inch laptop hard disk drive while the Eee PC uses a solid state drive. But like the Eee PC, the Wizbook is pre-installed with a Linux operating system , though it can also coe installed with the Microsoft Windows XP operating syst em. Red Fox product manager Dio Vasquez explained that some of the absent features in the Wizbook were "unnecessary" for their target market, particularly the web camera which he said is rarely used. Here's a video I took when I interviewed Vasquez. Vasquez added there are still some problems with using a solid state drive. He cited reports of overheating with prolonged use of the SSD that could be risky with UMPCs. He noted that the Wizbook is targeted at UMPC users who want to enjoy the full features of standard notebooks. The two Wizbook models also have different keyb oard sizes; the 8-inch model uses smaller keyboard buttons just like the Eee PC but the 10-inch model has a full-size keyboard. "The market for UMPCs is still a niche but is quite big. The Wizbook models wil l target even more specific segments of the UMPC market," Vasquez said. The WizBook is powered by an AMD Geode processor running at 500 megahertz, whic h directly competes with the underpowered 1 gigahertz Intel Celeron processor i nstalled in the Eee PC. Here's a video I took of AMD channel sales manager Sonny Sy answering questions regarding the AMD Geode, a low-power processor designed for ultramobile PCs. S y is flanked by (from left) Red Fox provincial sales manager Bernard Yeo, Red F ox sales and marketing manager Sue Ong, and Vasquez. Both the 8-inch and 10-inch models have 512 megabytes of memory, integrated 802 .11b/g wireless connectivity and Bluetooth, as well as LAN ports and a PCMCIA c ard slot. The 8-inch model uses a 20-gigabyte 2.5-inch hard disk while the 10-i nch model uses a 60 GB hard disk drive. The models do not use the same battery: the WizBook 800 (which is what Red Fox calls the 8-inch model) uses a 2200 mAH lithium-ion battery that could last up to 3.5 hours while the 10-inch Wizbook uses a 4200 mAH battery that lasts up to 4.5 hours. However, all other connections (Bluetooth, WiFi, LAN) have to be tu rned off to achieve the maximum battery life. The Wizbook 800 is priced at P16,000 while the 10-inch Wizbook is pegged at P19 ,800.



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