Netbook market boosted by new Ericsson chipset

Ericsson has integrated three features into a new chipset that could significantly boost the higher uptake of netbooks. The company's latest mobile broadband module, the F3607gw, supports connections to HSPA/GPRS/EDGE networks, a 50 per cent reduction in energy use (compared with the previous version), GPS capability and compatibility with Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system.

The module also contains another feature--the "wake-on" technology. This makes several security features possible, such as the ability to disable the computer in case of theft, and when used in combination with embedded GPS capabilities, it can also enable operators to offer services such as remote manageability, security updates and asset protection and tracking.

Dell, LG Electronics, Lenovo and Toshiba have all signed on as customers for the new chipset, which is expected to become available to them in June. According to Jan Backman, a director of marketing with Ericsson, "We have seen the prices of mobile broadband chipsets fall by almost half, and we expect devices with the new F3607gw embedded modules to be on shelves by the mid-second-half of this year."

Separately, Vodafone Germany is said to be about to launch a financing service for netbooks, similar to financing plans offered by German CE retailers, and is rumoured to be in talks with a bank to put together an attractive deal for consumers.

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