Sylvania Reveals Mini-Notebook Plans

Over the past few days, we’ve heard a bit about Sylvania’s entrance into the mini-notebook market. The company first rebranded VIA’s nanobook (a.k.a. the CloudBook) and renamed it the Sylvania g Netbook. But Sylvania is entrenching itself more seriously in the mini-notebook space by putting out an 8.9-inch mini-notebook in the next few weeks and then a 10-inch. But before we got the low down on the new Sylvania mini-notebooks we just had to find out what the heck Sylvania, the lighting and electric company, was doing in the computing space. I mean, we cannot forget that Sylvania was founded in 1901 to repair light bulbs and soon after began making lighting products. When we reached out to Sylvania we learned quickly that they aren’t exactly behind the netbooks. A company cleverly named Digital Gadgets is an OEM of consumer electronic products and accessories and has licensed the Sylvania brand for its netbooks. “Sylvania is a living brand. We aren’t just a heritage brand. We continue to be a dynamic living brand and these new netbooks allow us to connect with new generation of consumers,” Sylvania’s Chief Corporate Spokesman Stephanie J. Anderson told us. Digital Gadget Managing Partner Paul Goldenberg, however had a lot to share about the new Sylvania netbooks. He told us that the netbooks will:

  • Come in two display-size variations: an 8.9-inch and a 10-inch. The 8.9-inch will be called the g netbook MESO and the 10-inch will be named the g netbook MAGNI.
  • The 8.9-inch will be available in early August. It will be available with 512MB or 1GB of RAM, and the Atom processor. It will be the first notebook to ship with Ubuntu Netbook Remix preloaded. It will also be available with Windows XP. Pricing will start at $399.
  • The 10-inch will be available at the end of August or beginning of September. It will run Intel Atom chipset, be available with 1GB of RAM and 120GB hard drive. Similarly it will run the Ubuntu Netbook remix and Windows XP.

Check out the full interview with Paul Goldenberg and image gallery below of the systems and stay tuned for our full review of the MESO and MAGNI, which we expect to receive in the next few weeks. LAPTOP: What is Digital Gadgets and why are you entering the mini-notebook market? Paul Goldenberg: Digital Gadgets is a company I founded in 2007. We are a manufacturer of consumer electronics products and accessories. In this case, we are a licensee of the name Sylvania for our products. You will see the name Sylvania and their logo on all of our products, including netbooks, headphones, etc. We look at netbooks as the next generation of gadgets. People primarily use their laptops for e-mail and to access the Internet. This new form factor gives you that ability to access both from anywhere. LAPTOP: The 8.9-inch mini-notebook looks a lot like the Amtek Elego we saw at Computex. Can you confirm? PG: Yes it is in fact the Amtek Elego. But it is part of an Intel project; Intel was looking for OEMs to brand this notebook in markets around the world. We are the exclusive in the U.S. with this hardware. It is similar to their Classmate project and this is a similar machine, but in a bit sexier package and is less geared towards students. LAPTOP: When will it be available and for what price? PG: The netbook g MESO will be available in early August and will have an MSRP of $399. It will be offered with a 512 MB or 1GB RAM option. It will have an 80GB hard drive. The 512 MB RAM option will be available in only a black chassis. But the 1GB option will be available in snow, solar and blossom [white, yellow and pink]. It will be released with Ubuntu Netbook remix first and then will be available in September with XP. The 512MB will probably be preloaded with Ubuntu; the 1GB will have both. We haven’t finalized the price on the XP system but we are expecting it to be priced at $499. LAPTOP: Are you guys considering SSD options? Or mobile broadband? PG: Absolutely we are looking into SSDs. In fact I plan to bring them into market in 2009. We are also considering a 120GB hard drive option for some retailers. In addition, we are still talking to a few manufactures of broadband but we see that being the future. We see it going in the direction of the mobile phone business. LAPTOP: Are you guys predicting any hold ups because of the rumored Atom delay? PG: We not only have started taking orders, we are shipping units. Intel is doing a good job of taking care of the customers. It doesn’t look as grim as everyone is making it out to be. LAPTOP: What can you tell us about the 10-inch version? PG: We will be releasing the 10-inch g netbook in late August or early September. We will release it after the MESO. It will be called the g netbook MAGNI. It will sport a 120GB hard drive, 1GB of RAM and will be available with the Ubuntu netbook remix and Windows XP. It will also run the Intel Atom processor. We will be releasing the Linux version first and then Windows XP in September. It will be available in black and white colors. LAPTOP: Do you anticipate that the you will be able to stand out in the new, ever-growing mini-notebook market? PG: We aren’t in the laptop business. We are only in the netbook business. That is where we think our strength lies. There is no thought of us canablaizing the other products. We don’t’ look at it as a computer frankly. It is an in-between gadget. It falls between a handheld and a laptop. Pictures of the MESO:

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  1. JonGl Says:

    So, is there any more detailed information on the web anywhere on this? specifically, will it be possible to upgrade the RAM in this thing? And what ports will it have, or other options for expansion? BT? etc. Thanks.

    -Jon

  2. Sascha Says:

    I like the answer to the last question, cause it’s just not telling you anything ;)
    Well, this netbook looks pretty fancy, it has that new Ubuntu NBR but what is the difference compared to other netbooks.
    A spokesman of a company, that claims itself to be focused on the netbook market should know about this.

    I think we are reaching a kinda break even point for the netbook market at the moment.
    Of course all the buzz and hype is still there and of course these devices are getting sold out immediately after hitting the stores but….
    Right now you are facing some more competitors on this market and i am not sure if this is the right time to create just another “Atom” netbook with no additional features at all.

    What about the pricepoint of $399?
    Well that’s indeed pretty cheap for a 8.9 inch netbook with Windows XP but the Aspire One is 20 bucks off (well, of course it features Linux) and the Dell netbook should start at $299.
    Sylvania should make sure that they can find the right channels for this device cause otherwise they are getting squeezed in by all these competitors (which have huge distribution and sales channels) and will end up as “just another netbook”.

  3. Mike Cane Says:

    Oh come on. The left side of that white one: it’s a lot like the MSI Wind! In fact, I wonder if that is the possible MSI Wind shell a dual-core Atom will have?

    While Asus lets loose (you just know that was an Approved Leak!) with all the models they will bomb the marketplace with, MSI has been silent about an MSI Wind mark II.

    As for these Sylvanias … I wonder if OS X can run on them?

    Will increasing RAM void the warranty?

  4. KM Says:

    Paul Goldenberg had given a very nice and ‘open’ interview. He explained everything clearly. His interview may not satisfy the geeks but will satisfy the potential customers. I am one of them, and considering meso (or magni g) as an option for the following reasons:
    1) It’s low (I should say ‘reasonable’) price..
    2) For their choice of OS. In my case it is Ubuntu. I am using GNU/Linux for last 10+ years and using Ubuntu for last 3+ years. For me, it does not matter which OS is preinstalled if I can change it to my preferred OS. But it has always some psychological effect if it comes with your preferred one from the factory, at least hardware compatibility is assured.
    3) It’s coming from a heritage company, so there should be some level of assurance in quality. They will not ruin their ‘heritage’ for low grade problematic products. (at least their choice of Ubuntu supports my view, Ubuntu is really a very good OS).
    4) From the already released photos, It looks attractive too.
    There are many deciding factors other than these, mostly technical, like – battery life, user end upgradability, build quality etc.
    I am happy that those old companys who are able to sustain their business for long time are eyeing ‘netbbok’ as potential products. This means netbook is here to stay.

  5. Mike Cane Says:

    >>>It’s coming from a heritage company, so there should be some level of assurance in quality.

    Um, no. It’s coming from a company that is *licensing* a *heritage brand name.*

  6. NathanC Says:

    Agreed. The “g” stands for “garbage”…

  7. Gail Redmond Says:

    I agree. The “g” is for garbage. I bought two mini’s one was damaged in shipping and the other can’t be set up for internet. It would be nice for just once to have a company to stand up brhind their product with “live” tech support.
    I was going to buy ten more for my employees,but not now !!!

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