Unknown Quantities To Come
MSI Wind U120
Described as a "more professional" take on the netbook than the U100, the U120 will likely replace the U100 early next year and have a retail price of around £350. Specs haven't been revealed, though it's likely that an HSDPA-equipped version will be made - no doubt to be sold primarily through mobile networks and the likes of the Carphone Warehouse. Just from the pictures the design seems to be going in the right direction, with some cool angular lines and a little more contrast than the current Wind - you can see more shots in our news piece.
Lenovo IdeaPad S10
Despite being available in the US since October, we've yet to see Lenovo's netbook in the UK. In fact, the whole consumer notebook range in the UK is long overdue a refresh, but that's another matter entirely. This model made its name by including a few features that other netbooks don't have, such as an ExpressCard slot, but also managed to mislead a few people by suggesting it used Intel's latest integrated graphics chipset: it doesn't. With black, white and a cool looking red version available (not here of course) there should be some variety on offer. However, US models have seen poor battery life results, rarely managing more than two hours and 15 minutes. Thus, even if Lenovo decides to release it here, there seems little reason to wait for it to arrive.
HP Mini 1000
Of all the soon to be released netbooks, the Mini 1000 is arguably the most worthy of interest. As noted earlier in this article, its precursor, the 2133 Mini-Note PC, had the best keyboard we've ever seen in a netbook and the Mini 1000 has lifted that element from it in its entirety. Other elements, like the metal chassis and higher resolution display haven't survived, but this was more or less expected given they make way for a more netbook-like price and an Atom processor.
Reports suggest that though the machine is no longer clad in metal, it still retains excellent build quality. It also retains the slightly unusual touchpad with buttons either side, but it's a sin we're willing to forgive. Most interesting, though, is HP has created its own separate operating system (based on Ubuntu) that takes inspiration from its TouchSmart PC products and applies a similar interface ethos to a netbook. With hardware being largely the same in most netbooks, software remains the one area that can divide an ordinary netbook from a great one. We shall find out in February which of the two the Mini 1000 is.