Because of the Nvidia Ion, Lenovo's IdeaPad S12 will be halfway decent

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Have you been following this Nvidia-Intel spat? Long story short: Nvidia suspects that Intel has been giving laptop manufacturers a sweet deal vis-à-vis Atom processors and Intel’s whole chipset+integrated graphics chip. This upsets Nvidia because its own laptop graphics platform, called Ion, hasn’t been able to find a way onto a laptop… until now! Yes, the Lenovo IdeaPad S12 will be the first laptop to use Nvidia’s Ion platform. It’ll be $449 when it launches in June. And yes, it’ll have a 12-inch screen (like my first PowerBook).

Now, why is this Ion thingamajig important to you? Well, as the owner of a pre-unibody MacBook, let me tell you that graphics performance, whether I’m playing World of Warcraft or trying to watch 1080p video—I just saw Valkyrie the other day, and I kinda liked it, to paraphrase that dumb song—is criminal. I’d be better off connecting a strawberry Pop-Tart to the motherboard, using that as the graphics processor instead of the on-board Intel nonsense.

In short, the Intel integrated graphics “solution” is trash. Rubbish of the highest order.

So, we hold out hope for Nvidia. I’ll defer to Venturebeat when it claims that Ion will be able to run XP, Vista (something of a resource hog, as you’re all well aware), and 7, as well as 1080p video.

(Isn’t it a holiday or something? Why am I even here?)

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – May 25, 2009: Lenovo today announced the IdeaPad S12, the company’s first 12-inch netbook. The new netbook takes the best in connectivity, style and entertainment features in Lenovo’s other netbooks and brings users the next level in netbook computing with improved usability and performance. These enhancements include a 12.1-inch screen, a 100 percent full-size keyboard and new graphics options with the NVIDIA ION™ platform.
“We’ve heard from consumers loud and clear about the need for affordable and extremely portable computing devices, and we’ve responded by introducing our third netbook with a completely new form factor, making mini-computing more usable and redefining value in today’s market,” said Dion Weisler, vice president, Business Operations, Idea Product Group, Lenovo. “We are pioneering new territory in the developing netbook arena by being the first vendor to give customers high quality video and entertainment capabilities in a netbook with optional NVIDIA ION graphics.”
Elevating Power and Performance

Whether it’s looking at photos, playing music, emailing or cruising online, consumers want smaller and more portable PCs. The Lenovo IdeaPad S12 netbook is raising the bar for higher levels of netbook computing with choices of the Intel Atom processor with Intel integrated graphics or the Intel Atom processor with NVIDIA ION graphics. Also, for the first time on a netbook with NVIDIA’s ION graphics platform, users will be able to enjoy brilliant 1080p high definition video with silky smooth playback.

“NVIDIA ION graphics help deliver the same features found in premium PCs at lower price points and new form factors,” said Rene Haas, general manager, Notebook GPUs, NVIDIA. “With enhanced graphics, the Lenovo IdeaPad S12 netbook is perfect for watching movies, playing popular games like Spore, flipping through vacation pictures or enhancing family videos.”

The IdeaPad S12 netbook offers plenty of up and running time with up to six hours of battery life to support the mobile demands of netbook users1. Because netbook users need to stay connected wirelessly, the netbook comes with WiFi connectivity and ready for 3G with an ExpressCard slot to enable connectivity2. To hold the photos, music and videos users keep on their netbooks, the IdeaPad S12 netbook offers ample hard drive storage and memory with up to 160 GB of storage and 1 GB of memory. For peace of mind in case data becomes corrupted, Lenovo’s OneKey™ Rescue System can help recover user data or device settings.

Loaded with Style and Entertainment

In addition to the netbook’s sleek and sophisticated ring pattern design in black or white, users can make the netbook their one-stop entertainment device, starting from the moment they turn it on. Lenovo’s expanded VeriFace facial recognition technology makes logging in a snap by recognizing the user’s face. If users want “on demand” functionality, they can go into the Lenovo Quick Start environment and check email, browse the Internet and more without waiting for the full operating system to boot. They can also don any set of headphones and enjoy surround sound audio with Dolby Headphone technology. If opting to watch video on an external monitor, they can easily connect through the netbook’s VGA port or HDMI port on select models. They can also choose among several multimedia formats to upload through the 4-in-1 multicard reader.

An Improved Computing Experience

Lenovo designed the IdeaPad S12 netbook for consumers looking for a super thin, portable and affordable device that offered a familiar, computing experience. Lenovo enlarged the netbook’s WXGA screen from 10.1 inches to 12.1 inches for better viewing and made the keyboard 100 percent the size of a full-size laptop to make typing easier and less cramped. And when it comes to portability, by measuring less than an inch thick4, the netbook leads the industry for thinness compared to other 12-inch netbooks. The lightweight IdeaPad S12 netbook weighs in at just three pounds5.
Pricing and Availability6

The IdeaPad S12 netbook will be available in June through business partners and http://www.lenovo.com. Pricing for models starts at $449. Models with the NVIDIA ION graphics will be available later this summer.

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