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MWC 2010: Samsung Unveils First LTE Netbook

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Technology conferences are often about future looking technology, but this time Samsung has the drop on its rivals in one particularly interesting area.

The company has used Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to announce the world's first LTE equipped netbook: a tweaked version of the current 'N150'. Consquently, while much of the netbooks is standard fare (10.1 in 1024 x 600 display, Atom CPU, 1GB RAM, 160GB HDD) what it will bring is access to next generation cutting edge 3G connectivity.

To put some context into this, 3G currently tops out at 7.2Mbit/sec in real world installations. This sounds perfectly fine, but it is actually shared between all the users in the range of each base station meaning bandwidth is usually extremely tight. Imagine a circa 300 all sharing your home broadband connection - and it only takes one to start streaming video or downloading a large file.

By contrast the first iteration of LTE (technically 3.9G, not 4G - see below - which shows worrying deliberate mis-marketing from Samsung) will boost this up to 130-160Mbit/sec meaning far more chance of a consistent mobile web experience. Happily, Samsung's LTE integration is also backwards compatible with 3G so it can happily jump between the two standards depending on what is available.

How does this impact battery life? Not too badly. Samsung quotes up to 8.5 hours from a single charge, so - fingers crossed - the demands of LTE won't be quite as much as many had feared.

Samsung says it will shop the LTE-enhanced N150 later in 2010 (I suspect by then with a specification update) which should see it commercially available before many of LTE networks themselves. Then again, I did say technology conferences are all about the bleeding edge...

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