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Hardware News: O2 coy on Pre rumours

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26th May 2009
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IT Zone presents a regular roundup of the latest news surrounding PCs and gadgetry.

O2 coy on Pre rumours
26 May
Mobile phone network operator 02 has reportedly signed an exclusive deal to become the sole UK outlet for Palm’s upcoming Pre Smartphone. The report comes just weeks after Sprint was confirmed as the US carrier for the highly-anticipated device, which debuted at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.

The Pre is Palm’s attempt to launch into the Smartphone sector, which is dominated by RIM’s BlackBerry range and Apple’s iPhone. O2 has been the UK-exclusive iPhone provider since the touch-screen device launched in 2007. However the UK operator was not prepared to comment on an Observer report identifying it as the exclusive provider of the Palm device.

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Asus slimming Eee PC offerings
18 May
PC manufacturer, Asus, has confirmed it’s to cut the number of models of its Eee PC netbooks in the UK to just 3. Confirmation of the move comes just a few days after the firm released its latest model, the 1008HA ‘Seashell’, in the UK.

Speaking with Register Hardware, John Swatton, UMPC marketing chief at Asus, revealed the 1008HA has sold out almost immediately – but added assurances that further shipments are shortly arriving.

The 1008HA will be joined by the 1005 model (which has a removable battery), due to arrive in the UK shortly, along with a new entry-level model. All three versions of netbooks feature Microsoft Windows XP, a 10-inch screen, and 160GB hard drive.

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Pre-order begin for new Nokia smartphone
18 May
Swedish mobile producer, Nokia, has confirmed it has begun taking pre-orders for upcoming smartphone, the N97. The touch-screen enabled device also features a physical QWERTY keyboard, plus Skype functionality (over both Wi-Fi and 3G), and will include access to Nokia’s own ‘Ovi’ apps store.

The smartphone will go head-to-head with Apple’s iPhone, RIM’s BlackBerry Storm, and Palm’s hotly anticipated, Pre. Release details, including the mobile carrier and shipping date, are expected to be confirmed by Nokia in the coming weeks.

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New netbooks continue to prop up PC market
15 May
The Ultra Mobile PC/netbook market slumped by a quarter in the first three months of 2009, but that hasn’t stopped more models being rolled out by the manufacturers. NPD Group reported notebook sales down 24%, and netbooks/mini-notebooks/UMPCs 26% lower than 2008. Asus, one of the pioneers of the UMPC sector, recorded a drop in shipments of 47% during the early months of 2009, the most dramatic stat published in the report.

Year-on-year figures, however, show mini-notebooks up 556% compared to a drop of 19% in the regular notebook market. The 2009 slump hasn’t dissuaded manufacturers pressing ahead with new netbook models. Lenovo this week released an updated 10-inch IdeaPad S10-2, while Samsung has introduced the NC120, MSI lauched its U123 range and Toshiba has strengthened its presence in this sector with the NB200.

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