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First Ubuntu Netbook Remix Laptop Appears


Digital Gadgets, the manufacturer and distributor of SYLVANIA brand computers, announced on August 19th that its shipping the SYLVANIA g netbook MESO with Ubuntu 8.04 Netbook Remix inside.

Ubuntu 8.04 Netbook Remix is based on standard Ubuntu. In addition it include a ‘Launcher’ that allows users to get on-line more quickly and have faster access to their favorite PC-based and online applications.

Pete Goodall, Canonical’s product manager, said at the time of the Netbook Remix announcement that “The Launcher will be the interface. While it’s GNOME-based, it’s meant for users who may never have worked with Linux before. Like Good OS’ gOS, users will be able to easily access their most commonly used Web and PC-based applications.”

Netbook Remix is also designed to make the most of the Intel Atom processor, work well with 512MBs of RAM and run nicely on as little as a 4GB SSD (solid state drive). The MESO will actually have an 80GB hard drive, but otherwise it fits perfectly into the Netbook Remix plans.

The 2.2 lbs SYLVANIA g netbook MESO is powered by a 1.6Ghz Intel 270 Diamondville CPU. It has good company, the much anticipated Dell Inspiron 910 UMPC (Ultra Mobile PC) is expected to use the same chip.

In a Canonical blog, Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, quietly announced the release. Jon Melamut, general manager of Canonical’s OEM Services, explained in the blog posting how Canonical worked with SYLVANIA. “In the OEM Services team at Canonical, primarily based in Lexington, MA and Taipei, Taiwan, we engage with manufacturers to produce images of Ubuntu specific to their hardware – ensuring high reliability. We also add software at the manufacturer’s request such as licensed media codecs and/or applications that we do not ship in standard Ubuntu. So for a company like Sylvania it is a customized version of Ubuntu delivered via a commercial engagement.”

In a statement, Chris Kenyon, Canonical’s director of OEM Services, said, “We are very pleased to be featuring Ubuntu Netbook Remix on the latest addition to the SYLVANIA g series of netbooks, providing users with an OS that just works and which allows users to get online more quickly and have faster access to their favorite applications.”

Digital Gadgets claims that the SYLVANIA g MESO has a battery life of up to four hours. It comes with a built-in 1.3Megapixel Webcam, 512 MB or 1GB of memory, a 8.9” backlit LED with 1024 x 600 pixel resolution, built in 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, stereo speakers and a 80GB hard drive.

The SYLVANIA g MESO will start at a price of $399. It comes in four colors: Onyx, Snow, Solar and Blossom. SYLVANIA g netbooks and accessories are available at leading retailers such as TigerDirect, Amazon, Micro Center, J&R, CompUSA, DataVision and RCS Experience. The company states pre-sell orders are now being accepted at the SYLVANIA Web site, but I was unable to find such a link. Heretofore, the company had always sold its products via its retailers. Would be customers might do best to check with one of the company’s retail partners.