Lenovo has announced it's launching a new netbook, the Ideapad S10. The S10, in evident homage to the Thinkpad line Lenovo inherited from IBM, will compete with other subnotebooks. It will run Windows XP and launch in September starting at $400.
Hardware-wise, Gizmodo reports, the S10 is fairly standard for its ilk. It runs Intel Atom processors on a 945GSE chipset with GMA950 graphics, and has a 10" 1024×600 LED-backlit screen. Wireless options include WiFi and Bluetooth, but a 3G or WiMAX option is notably lacking. An ExpressCard slot is available to provide it, though. Lenovo claims battery life of three hours with a 3-cell battery or six hours with an expanded 6-cell battery, in league with the X10s subnotebook rivals. Card reader and webcam are standard. The S10 weighs only 2.4 pounds, but will use standard DDR2 and 2.5" hard disks; purchasers will have the choice of 512MB and 80GB for $400 or 1GB and 160GB for $450.
Cosmetically, the S10 has something to offer. Lenovo will offer it in white, black, and red, and the clean lines and choice of colors should be quite appealing. While significantly cheaper than the HP 2133, probably its greatest competitor, the S10 sports very similar hardware. Customers who balk at paying $750 for a fully-specced subnotebook may find $450 a lot more palatable, even if the screen is larger, its resolution smaller, and the keyboard not quite as large. While the 2133's keyboard is 92 percent full-sized, the S10's keyboard is only 85% full-sized, which could make typing difficult for ham-fisted users.
It's difficult to anticipate the S10's level of success in the subnotebook market. Its hardware and aesthetics closely match those of other subnotebooks, with subtle differences, and its low price may serve as a draw given this. However, the large screen, small keyboard, and lack of onboard mobile broadband may serve as deterrents. We've yet to see how much difference will be made by the muscle of a major laptop force like HP or Lenovo, but it's clear a new entrant like ASUS can meet with success. The subnotebook shakedown is upcoming.