MSI Wind Revealed: 10-Inch Mini-Notebook to Hit U.S. in June - LAPTOP Magazine: The Pulse of Mobile Technology

MSI Wind Revealed: 10-Inch Mini-Notebook to Hit U.S. in June

The mini-notebook market has no shortage of compelling systems, especially with this week’s release of the Eee PC 900 here in the U.S. And with models from both Acer and Dell on the way, how can a lesser-known brand stand out in the crowd? Update: Read our full review of the MSI Wind. MSI’s Director of US Sales Andy Tung certainly thinks his company’s entry will shake things up. In our 40-minute interview, Tung shared that the Wind will:

  • Come in two display-size variations: an 8.9-inch and a 10-inch. Only the 10-inch display will be available to the U.S. market.
  • Be available starting June 3rd. The Linux version, running Novel’s SUSE, will have 512MB RAM and an 80GB hard drive. It will retail for $399. The Windows XP version will have 1GB RAM, an 80GB hard drive, and Bluetooth, retailing for $549. However according to MSI a base configuration of the Windows XP product will be available for under $500.
  • Come in four different colors, including black, white, silver, and pink. Both sizes will be available in these colors.
  • Get 6 hours of battery life with the standard six-cell battery. Tung attributes the power savings to the Intel Atom processor, since the system will not have a solid state drive.

Tung left few details out in our chat about the Wind. Check out the full interview and giant image gallery below and stay tuned for our full review of the MSI Wind. The full specs of the systems can be found here. Q: Where will the Wind fit into the MSI product line? A: Starting last year with the ASUS Eee PC, we have seen that there is a good market for ultra-Internet devices. The success of the ASUS Eee PC wasn’t because of the functionality of the product; it was about the need people have for those systems. Today, when you go to a Starbucks you want to access the Internet and the news. The smart phone isn’t always as user friendly. From MSI’s point of view, these ultra-Internet or ultra-mobile devices will be very successful. We are a young company; we are in our fifth year of being in the notebook business. We have a wide product line from 12- to 17-inch systems. With the Wind, we will expand our product line to 8.9- and 10-inch systems. Q: What is the target audience for the Wind? A: This kind of device is definitely not your first car. For a family the first car could be a sedan or a van, but the second car could be sexier like a coupe or a convertible. We position this kind of product as a second or third car. And even for students, they might have a more powerful 17-inch in the dormitory but they won’t carry that to class. By adding this kind of device they have the freedom to bring it easily to a classroom or wherever they want to go. And they don’t even have to drag the AC adapter since the battery will last up to 6 hours. Q: How are you able to achieve such long battery life? Is that tested? A: Yes, it has been tested at 6 hours. The standard six-cell will be able to support up to 6 hours on a Windows XP system. We will have an additional three-cell as well. On a Linux-based system it can be even longer. We also kick in our Turbo Battery Life technology. The CPU runs 1.6 [GHz] on the spec, but when you are just accessing the Internet or when you are just typing notes you don’t need the CPU at 1.6 [GHz], it can run at a lower speed. So you can go into this mode and it will improve battery and lower the CPU performance by a bit. Q: What operating systems will the Wind come to market with? A: The system will come to market with a Linux and Microsoft XP operating system. We are working with Intel and Microsoft to do the validation of this device right now. It will not run Vista. Q: What flavor of Linux will it run? A: Everyone has a concern about Linux. In the past, Linux offered no support and no guarantees to the end user. Our Linux will be based on Novel’s SUSE Enterprise Version. The reason we have chosen this flavor is that it looks very similar to a Windows interface so people won’t feel that it looks strange. Secondly, Novel is a big company and they have lots of tech support and driver support. For the user we had to find something that is easy to operate and that has support. Some companies have created their own Linux versions but they lack in driver support and the support people need. We do build some unique features on the SUSE OS. Q: Do you expect the Linux version to do well compared to the Windows XP model? A: From the end-user point of view, they definitely want Windows. But Windows normally equals more dollar signs. If the customer is willing to only pay $400, they will have to go with Linux, but if they are willing to pay a bit more, they will want Windows. We definitely have confidence in SUSE, but we will try and bring the Windows price down by working on the licenses with Microsoft. I think there will be split between users: half will go Windows; the other half, Linux. Q: What will the initial prices of the systems be in the U.S.? A: We will have two versions: one with a 8.9-inch display and the other a 10-inch. We are not the first one to come out with this device, so everything similar in the market we are trying to avoid. Users can see the 8.9-inch is common, so we have a different strategy in the U.S. to only go with the 10-inch. In other regions we will offer the 8.9[-inch]. We will launch the product at Computex on June 3. The 10-inch Linux version will be $399. The 10-inch Windows version will be $549. Q: What processor will the system employ? A: With some machines, it takes more than 1 and half minutes to boot. Our system will boot in less than 30 seconds. This is because of Intel’s Atom solution. MSI will be the first one to use the Atom solution with a 10-inch screen. VIA’s C7 has been a really popular chipset and it was the first one that brought this concept to the real world, but we have chosen Atom over C7. We think it can bring the best user experience, and we see a huge advantage to multitasking with Atom. Q: Will the system have a solid state drive? A: Right now we are using regular hard drives. A few days ago, I met a lady who had one of the competition’s products and she was struggling with the limited storage space with a 4GB solid state drive. For her and, I think, a lot of customers that is a big issue. And in a lot of the testing, solid state drives don’t always outperform regular hard drives. We have decided to go with an 80GB hard drive, but customers will have the ability to upgrade the drive all the way to 320GB. Q: But wouldn’t a solid state drive enabled you to offer even more battery life? Normally in this scenario there are three key factors: panel, CPU, and hard drive. The panel we use is an LCD backlight panel. Intel’s Atom only uses up to 2 watts with 1.6[-GHz] operating; that is a lot less than Celeron M or VIA’s C7. Yes, the hard drive does use more than solid state drive, however, the hard drive isn’t always in transfer mode. If we did switch to a solid state we could get 7 hours of battery life. However, customers would suffer in storage space. Q: Any plans for adding integrated mobile broadband to the Wind? A: We haven’t put that technology into the device yet, but it’s on the roadmap. We are looking at WiMAX. Q: What colors will the system come in? A: Right now we are offering black, pearl white, pink, and silver. We will have a limited baby blue. The original four colors will be available in the U.S. at time of purchase on all the SKUs. We might reduce the supply chain after we can gauge the popularity of certain colors. Q: How will end users be able to order the different configurations of the Wind? A: At the beginning customers will be able to order in four different colors, but with two different specs. The Linux-based system will have an 80GB hard drive, 512 MB of RAM and 802.11a/b/g. You can upgrade the memory in this system; there will be an extra slot. The other will be Windows XP with 80GB, 1GB of RAM, and 802.11a/b/g and Bluetooth. We are talking to a bunch of channels, such as Best Buy, Amazon, and Costco. There is a lot of interest in this device so we plan to have more news on this. Q: Do you anticipate that the Wind will be a big success? A: Everybody is talking about how strong ultraportable devices will be. We think the Wind will be a big success for MSI. We also have a strong commitment from Intel and I really think the product will sell just as much as I expect it. I think the demand for this product will really spur on the sales. The technology will be solid, but the demand will be the force. More MSI Wind Coverage:

Complete MSI Wind Guide

Tags: MSI Wind, MSI
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  1. yoummm Says:

    Very very interresting!
    Nice interview;)
    1 Question:

    It says that only the 10 inch version will come tot the US,
    Does this mean Europe will get the 8,9 and 10 inch or only the 8.9?

  2. Mike Cane Says:

    Did you get to ask him what’s determining that $549 price point for the XP version? So far we have the Asus e900, the hp Mini, and now this at that price. (Of course, of those 3, the Wind wins: larger screen, better CPU, bigger than e900 keyboard.) I was hoping they’d go lower to really exterminate the competition.

    I also would have liked to know if the RAM is accessible. Plus, early reports mentioned an open slot to expand memory. Is that still in it?

    As for battery life … are the pictures from Turkey we’ve seen the three-cell battery? Is the six-cell going to add much more weight or weirdly stick out of it?

  3. Cal123 Says:

    With a 6 Cell battery it will stick out awkwardly for sure. To be honest we’ll see what happens when this comes out and what kind of Answer Asus will have. The EEE is suppose to come out in a Atom version soon as well.

  4. alex Says:

    just hope that the version of winxp that comes with it does not have any limiting-hardware-lock features… after reading the postings from engadget (http://www.engadget.com/2008/05/10/microsofts-xp-for-low-cost-pcs-defines-some-boundaries/)

  5. Ryan Says:

    Any word on what the screen resolution of the 10 inch will be? 1024×600 like the eee or something else?

  6. Kamall Says:

    The pictures of the Wind below the interview, are they the 8.9″ or 10″ version?

  7. Mike Says:

    I’d like to know if the 8.9″ will be a smaller case, (there is no reason to buy a 10″ sized laptop with an 8.9″ screen – look at the ugly 7″ Eee screen space border).

    Why the linux version has no bluetooth?

    I’m probably buying the linux version and install ubuntu or xubuntu on it, maybe later buy a small SSD drive.

    What I like in this product is the low price, the look, and an option of NO M$ TAX !

    I would prefer a smaller case, with 8.9″ LCD, 16GB SSD, and a free linux distro pre-instaled (ubuntu) as an option or even no OS at all (FreeDOS if you prefer).

  8. A Di Says:

    As far as I knew, it has 1024×600 can display full web page, unlike the EEE need to scroll side bars.
    With 6 cell, it should be around 2.6 lbs (3 cell is around 2.2 lbs)
    I tried it in a private meeting, looks very promising.
    Unfortuantely, it’s a lot better than my EEE…………. sigh……….

  9. Midnight Angel Says:

    What version of Win XP? Home, Pro, or some custom job with features left out or disabled? (thinking… might have to purchase/install Win XP Pro)

  10. Midnight Angel Says:

    Okay… I hit the link to the specs. Says Win XP Home. Is 1gb the limit for memory or can 2gb be doable?

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Will this have multi-touch? the trackpad does not look so big.

  12. Marvin_Martian Says:

    I am quite interested, but I would like the 8.9″ screen version with Linux and the 6 cell battery. I wonder if anyone will eventually sell custom configurations.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    As far as I knew, it has 1024×600 can display full web page, unlike the EEE need to scroll side bars.

    That’s the eee 700. The 900 has the 1024×600 display as well.

  14. enovy Says:

    Thank you for posting.
    The news about the SSD is a little disappointing.

  15. A Di Says:

    I like the idea of HDD instead of SSD.
    I have EEE & regular NB. SSD doesn’t really perform better than SSD. Plus, just 4 or 8 GB…….
    Come on, I need to add an external HDD thur USB for music & movies ……….
    Gee…………

    Anyhow, looking forward to see the WIND coming

  16. mb4ng Says:

    goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood

  17. BOB Says:

    Hope it is less the £300

  18. Douglas Says:

    How do i install a XP on linux version system, it doesnt have a cd/dvd drive…

  19. Michael K Says:

    Give people the option of buying a SSD MSI model.
    Can’t MSI find one manufacturing source for this?

    None of the new mini laptops intrigue me as much as this one.
    1. The 900 EEE is too small.
    2.The HP mininote has an awful VIA processor.
    The MSI Wind has everything I could of wanted but they screwed up because of no SSD. Idiotic decision.

  20. cory Says:

    i also would like to know if it will be upgradable to 2GB of RAM, and also if it can run Ubuntu with Compiz-Fusion?

  21. Gian Says:

    Wow, this is great. Especially the 10 inch screen and ATOM!

  22. Nybiggs Says:

    Michael it’s obvious why they left out the SSD, it’s expensive. They chose a price point which dominates the competition. Other vendors will release their own version of the atom processor. Asus already announced it and hp will undoubtedly do a mininote refresh. So the feature set which msi will currently lead in will be the same. But the Wind is going to be so much cheaper, they were obviously going for price leadership.

    The SSD is likely the most expensive part of the eee 900 with it’s 4 gb and 16 gb drives. They are trying to keep all the cost down, and that is absolutely fine with me. I have a feeling it’s fine with the overwhelming majority of other people as well and only a handful of people would be willing to pay the several hundred more for small ssd hard drives.

  23. LcF Says:

    it looks cool! I would like to get one as soon as possible!

  24. Ugly American Says:

    XP for a small portable is retarded. The only reason anybody needs ‘doze is to play games but this thing’s gfx is too weak for games.

    Novel’s SUSE Enterprise Version for a small portable is retarded. What do they want to make sure RAID controllers are supported? There is no RAID controller in it and you can’t put in any cards.

    By popularity, they should have used Ubuntu. If somebody needs XP they can go buy it (hint – nobody needs it for a small portable).

  25. Mike Says:

    “Q: Do you expect the Linux version to do well compared to the Windows XP model?
    A: From the end-user point of view, they definitely want Windows…”
    That will keep some potential buyers away.
    Try not to p**s off linux users if you want them to buy and advise anything from your brand in future.

  26. Mike101 Says:

    is this Atom a Celeron Atom?

  27. jusdoit Says:

    Questions:
    How hard will it be to get replacement batteries, chargers. Do repairs require it be gone for weeks at a time? What about connectivity? Will it do 30mb @ 15 feet?

  28. Mini Me Says:

    MSI you missed. I have been wondering for so many years why no one made these tiny notebooks. So here we are, 2008 it blooms. Most people don’t have any taste so they will buy the minivan versions (with pin stripe, sporty huh?) of these later to realize they made a mistake. It goes like this…

    Battery life. Very important. You can have all the features in the world but if you are on a long flight or in the park and after 2 hours it dies, it’s useless. Many of the decision makers of these don’t have any effeciency in their blood. Why the hell do you need an 80Gig drive on one of these? Because like mentioned above, a woman can’t find enough space for all her stuff. Hmm

    Screen Size. Width is always the key for many human reasons especially the english typing ones. Stop at 1024 width ok? Don’t get all stupid and competitive and make wider resolutions. There’s a reason why Europeans have bought so many of the Eee PC’s, spend some time there until it sinks in.

    I’ll tell you who’s going to come out on top with this mini notebook war…It’s the company that has true designers that don’t sit around and ask themselves “what else can we add?” but instead ask themselves “what else can we take away?”. Decide on a storage capacity that does very well for most things for people who desire these mini’s. Then basically stick with it. As prices drop for your chosen capacity, so should your laptop. Ignore the people who cry for 3+ USB ports, they just haven’t gone through puberty yet.

    By the end of this year the laptops will finally be outselling the desktops. Eventually you will have two types of laptops. One will be a kind of powerhouse desktop replacement while still portable and the second will be these mini’s. All the junk inbetween will be for the marketeers to have fun with.

    The Eee PC 901 etc. still hasn’t got it but I’m keeping an eye on them because they started off with the right idea. Designing these mini’s right is a sensitive thing and if MSI thinks that allowing customers to upgrade to a 320gig drive is a great idea then they have certainly rushed their thinking and won’t be a big player in the long run.

    …and why pink? So no one will steal it? Can’t be for women because most all would prefer black.

    If the mini-note making companies lose their way, then I’ll just have to wait until one of these come out…

    http://news.ecoustics.com/bbs/messages/10381/486458.jpg

    P.S. Microsoft announced recently XP will be going on the above device.

  29. Humd Says:

    Bit shocking how the 10″ is not coming to the EU…

    … What’s a matter to the makers not feel we are worthly of a 10″ this would be much better than 8.9″ as the screen on this one is a little 2 small for my liking!!!!!

  30. marcmywrdz Says:

    No it isn’t. I use PDANet and Slingbox. I think that there is some fancy way of rigging Slingbox, but I sure can’t do it. I need Windows to run it and PDANet–neither of which are game.s

    Ugly American Says:

    May 20th, 2008 at 12:34 am
    XP for a small portable is retarded. The only reason anybody needs ‘doze is to play games but this thing’s gfx is too weak for games.

    Novel’s SUSE Enterprise Version for a small portable is retarded. What do they want to make sure RAID controllers are supported? There is no RAID controller in it and you can’t put in any cards.

    By popularity, they should have used Ubuntu. If somebody needs XP they can go buy it (hint – nobody needs it for a small portable

  31. ton Says:

    Mike said
    ““Q: Do you expect the Linux version to do well compared to the Windows XP model?
    A: From the end-user point of view, they definitely want Windows…”
    That will keep some potential buyers away.
    Try not to p**s off linux users if you want them to buy and advise anything from your brand in future.”
    every blind bat on the planet has worked with xp, thus giving A a familiar interface, B the chance to use the apps they want.

    as for linux user and buying, what market is that? 99,99999% of user are not interested in what distibution of linux but want their machines to switch on and look like something they know, and that is windows.

  32. Nils Says:

    If the linux version has much worse hardware, then how can there be a fair comparison? I mean, this device looks pretty decent, but I’d want Bluetooth built in and the biggest f-ing battery I can get.

    *sigh*

  33. batteries Says:

    Thank you for this outstanding article.I thought Centrino was the best technology for laptop battery performance.

  34. steve robs Says:

    No multitouch trackpad is going to suck…that’s why I want an EEEPC. I’m used to apple laptops. Going back to the old trackpads is impossible.

    No multitouch is the biggest mistake they made in my opinion. You can buy an SSD drive later to install for cheaper.

  35. godessofcraft Says:

    WANT: Small, lightweight, usable keyboard and lonb battery life. NEED: MS Word and Internet. Period. (Oh, yes…and a decent price.) Jani

  36. whitespace Says:

    this looks perfect.

    I can understand why no SSD alot less expensive, leaves room for expansion, if someone wants SSD so bad they’ll pay for it anyways.

    I just hope I can get a linux version with a 6-cell battery.

    ill prolly put xubuntu on it. the larger hd is nice cause you could dual boot. and if the life is only shortened by one hr. thats not bad if ur already getting 6 out of it (comparing it to a SSD).

    am i understanding correctly that it will be available june 3rd in the US? or is that Europe.

  37. RoadWarrior Says:

    If the market researchers and engineers want to know what John Q. pewteryewzer wants, I have my example:

    Connectability: It’s not a web-surfer until it’s connected… my cell can get online at the gas station (where phone booths no longer exist), but my laptop can’t.

    Serious battery life: LED/LCD display, SSD, Miserly proc with aggressive power control (If you say Atom.. fine), I’ll trade off lightweight for heavy battery life anytime. My cell is under a pound, but I wouldn’t do any mapping or look at pictures with it.

    Medium-low drive capacity: (20 G is fine with XP, 16G for Linux) For downloading your camera a few times and transferring to a home desktop. I want this to be not unlike recon for my desktop mothership.

    In a nutshell, everything I want to do is on my Portable Apps drive (2G) and my U3 drive (4G) [exception: mapping/GPS software]. The flash drives don’t have a touchpad, display, keyboard, webcam, bluetooth, WAN, WiMax, LAN, audio, etc… so just give me the hardware, connectivity, a naked operating system, and some space for my GPS software and a few camera memory downloads. Tah-dahhh.

    Oh… and make one USB port not stick out the side. It would be nice if there was a USB flash drive “pocket” that allows you to leave it plugged in and protect it under the display when closed.

  38. web design company Says:

    80 GB and a much nicer price than the Eee…………….

  39. Chris Says:

    This is a nice little notebook but the Mini v series is also pretty impressive.

  40. laura Says:

    how much does this cost? is it over 1,000??

  41. Masa Says:

    in which stores are the WSI winds going to be sell ?

  42. Jon Says:

    does anyone know if you can use turbo tax on one of these mini laptops

  43. BF Says:

    I have a friend who got this unit as a gift and IMMEDIATELY installed Ubuntu on it because windows ran so slow..With UBUNTU loaded , it screams….. So get away form the MS GUI, grow up and RUN away form that expensive , time consuming, virus infected junk OS and go with either NO OS or Linux..Time to grow as learning the NEW Win7 will be harder than learning Ubuntu..
    Can’t understand why people are married to MS , it’s so troublesome

  44. BF Says:

    Second Point…Does anyone have a reliable, consistent , and predictable results with any windows set up ?? Just wondering how this company has existed for so long with such a terrible product

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