MSI offers Wind netbook with better batteries

MSI is adding better batteries to the Wind netbook, for longer run time.

Micro-Star International will later this month offer a new version of its Wind mini-laptop with a far better, 6-cell battery, than the one currently on offer.

People will still be able to buy a model with a 3-cell lithium ion battery inside, which is lighter than the 6-cell model at 2.3 lbs (1 kilogram) versus 2.6 lbs (1.18kg), but the 6-cell battery offers potentially far better life. A 3-cell laptop PC battery normally provides around 2 to 3 hours of battery life, depending on how the laptop is used and on what settings. A 6-cell battery can offer 4 to 7 hours of run time. The model with the 6-cell battery will cost a bit more.

The company's main rival in netbooks, Asustek Computer and its Eee PCs, made 6-cell batteries standard on its newest line-up of the devices, launched during Computex in June. Asus executives said that with energy savings from the Atom microprocessor on board, as well as other power savings techniques, it was able to glean as much as 8-hours of run time on the devices.

Battery life is important to the new category of netbooks coming out. The new breed of mini-laptop is designed for mobility, normally weighing around 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs), with 7-inch to 10-inch LCD screens, and able to connect wirelessly to the Internet via Wi-Fi or 3G (third generation mobile telecommunications) networks. They are also less expensive than the average notebook PC, at between US$199 and $599. The longer battery life increases their mobility by freeing people from plugs.

The new Wind laptops coming available in August will also add pink to the current line-up of black and white colors.

MSI's Web site also finally acknowledges a version of Wind carrying a Novell's Suse Linux OS instead of Windows XP. People searching for the mini-laptop will have to turn to page two on the Web page to have a look. Unfortunately, it appears the Wind-Linux will come with a 3-cell battery instead of the 6-cell batteries on the devices coming out in August.

Previously, the Linux version of Wind was not on the company's Web site.

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Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
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