Nintendo DS Lite (handheld), Asus Eee PC (subnotebook) and MacBook (laptop).] A subnotebook is a small and lightweight portable computer, with most of the features of a standard laptop computer but smaller. The term is often applied to systems that run full versions of desktop operating systems such as Windows or Linux, rather than specialized software such as Windows CE, Palm OS or Internet Tablet OS. Synonyms include "ultraportable" and "minilaptop", while Psion has coined "netbook". The term "ultra-mobile PC" ("UMPC") is also used, although this is the name of a platform of small form-factor tablet PCs (see UMPC).

Subnotebooks are smaller than laptops but larger than handheld computers. They often have smaller-sized screens, usually measuring from 7 inches (17.7 cm) to 13.3 inches (33.78 cm), and a weight from less than 1 kg (2.2 lbs) up to about 2 kg (4.4 lbs). The savings in size and weight are usually achieved partly by omitting ports or having removable media/optical drives; subnotebooks are often paired with docking stations to compensate.

Subnotebooks were seen as niche computing products and have rarely sold in large numbers until the 2007 introduction of the Asus Eee PC and the OLPC XO-1 [ [ - One million OLPC laptop orders confirmed ] ] , known as ultra low-cost PC (ULPC or ULCPC), which are inexpensive in comparison to both existing machines in that form factor, and computers in general.



The Compaq LTE, launched in 1989, was the first to be widely known as a "notebook computer" because its relatively small dimensions— 4.8x22x28 cm = 1.9 × 8.5 × 11 inches—were similar to an A4 paper notebook. The Compaq was followed in October 1992 by the very popular IBM ThinkPad, which was the first to include a 10.4 inch screen in a notebook measuring 2.2 × 8.3 × 11.7 inches. Portables with smaller form factors thus became known as subnotebooks. The term was also applied to the NEC UltraLite, unveiled in 1988, although its dimensions (1.4 × 8.3 × 11.75 inches) were very similar to the Compaq LTE.

Smaller DOS-based PCs such as the Poqet PC and the Atari Portfolio — both released in 1989 — were called either "pocket PCs" or handhelds.


One early subnotebook was the PowerBook 100 released in 1991 by Apple Inc., measuring 8.5" deep by 11" wide by 1.8" high and weiged 5.1 lbs. Then the Gateway Handbook, originally released in 1992 and updated to use a 486 processor in late 1993, was only 9.7 inches (246 mm) wide, 5.9 inches (150 mm) deep, and 1.6 inches (41 mm) high, and weighed less than three pounds (1.4 kg). Apple followed-up with PowerBook Duo series in October 1992, which further reduced their subnotebook line to 8.5" deep by 10.9" wide by 1.4" high and is an example of a portable supporting few on-board features, but which could be inserted into a docking station to achieve the full functionality of a desktop – a feature soon emulated by other manufacturers.

Another early subnotebook was the Hewlett-Packard OmniBook 300, which was launched as a "superportable" in 1993. It measured 1.4 × 6.4 × 11.1 inches, and was available with an optional Flash memory disk instead of a hard drive, to reduce the weight. [ [ Hardware ] ]

Toshiba, which had concentrated on portables in the 1980s, also entered the market that year with the Portege T3400, claiming that "It's the first subnotebook computer with all the functionality of a much larger computer". [ [ T-series T3400CT ] ] The version with an 8.4″ monochrome screen measured just 1.7 × 7.9 × 9.8 inches and weighed 1.8kg.

Then Toshiba really put the subnotebook PC format on the map in 1995 with the Libretto 20. This featured a 6.1″ screen and 270 MB hard disk. CNet reported about the Libretto 50CT that " [it] is the first full-fledged Windows 95 notebook in the United States weighing less than two pounds". [ [ Toshiba unwraps subnotebook - CNET ] ]

Compaq introduced its own short lived subnotebook line in 1994 called Contura Aero, which had two models: the greyscale display 4/25 and the color 4/33, notable for using a battery which was intended to be standard rather than only useful for Compaq products.


In 1997, Apple launched the relatively light-weight (4.4 lbs) but short-lived PowerBook 2400c. This was co-designed by IBM and made for Apple by IBM Japan to replace the aging PowerBook Duo line. However, it measured 1.9 × 8.5 × 10.5 inches, so it was actually bigger than a Compaq LTE notebook.IBM had sold "thin and light" models in its ThinkPad range, such as the ThinkPad 560 ultraportable (1996) and best-selling ThinkPad 600 (1998). It finally entered the subnotebook market in 1999 with the 1.3kg ThinkPad 240, targeted at business travellers. [ [ New Notebooks: IBM Targets Corporate Enterprises With Its First Mini-notebook for North America - ThinkPad 240 - Product Announcement | Edge: Work-Group Computing Report | Find Articles at ] ] The 240 and 240X had 10.4in screens. Later, however, IBM replaced these with the X range, with 12.1″ screens. At 8.3 × 10.6in, the ThinkPad X40 is not much smaller than A4 (8.3 by 11.7in) and better described as an ultraportable, rather than a subnotebook.

Sony launched an ultraportable less than an inch thick in Japan in 1997, the PCG-505, which reached the US in 1997 as the VAIO 505GX. This was followed by the even thinner Sony VAIO X505, which measured just 0.8 × 8.2 × 10.2 inches, and reached 0.3″ at its thinnest. [ [ Sony VAIO X505 series Laptop reviews - CNET Reviews ] ] However, it was very expensive and had poor battery life, and was soon withdrawn.

Sony also launched the C1 range of subnotebooks, starting in Japan in January 2000.


One of the most notable Sony models was the Transmeta-based Vaio PCG-C1VE or PictureBook (2001), which measured only 1×6×9.8 inches. It had a digital camera built into the lid, which could be used for video conferencing or swivelled round to photograph a scene. []

This was followed in 2005 by the Transmeta-based Flybook convertible with a touch-sensitive 8.9 inch. widescreen from Taiwan's Dialogue Technology. (Later models used Intel ULV processors.) The Flybook features a built-in phone connection for GPRS or 3G networking, and is available in a range of bright colors. This attracted the attention of non-computer magazines including GQ, FHM, Elle and Rolling Stone. [] Dimensions of 9.3 × 6.1in put the original Flybook A33i on a par with the Libretto, [ [;1760727916;fp;4;fpid;1854890668 ARN - Flybook and Libretto are miniature marvels ] ] but styled to appeal more to fashion models than computer geeks.

In 2006, Microsoft stimulated a new round of subnotebook development with the UMPC or Ultra-Mobile PC format code-named Origami. These are basically small versions of Tablet PC computers, which originally shipped with the Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005. An example is the Samsung Q1.

In 2007, Asus unveiled the Intel-based ASUS Eee PC range running Linux (or, after user modification, Microsoft Windows) on a 7 inch color screen. These machines measure just 8.9 × 6.5in and have less-than-full-sized keyboards. Unlike most subnotebooks which sell in small numbers, the Eee PC has been a top seller on [ [ Asus Eee News, Mods, and Hacks: Asus Eee PC Amazon Bestseller ] ] and is often sold out in retail stores. Its success is largely contributed to the relatively low price (~USD $350). Compare with similar products, which easily priced above $1000 at that time.

In mid February 2008, Everex launched its VIA chipset based CloudBook, running gOS. The CloudBook is based on the VIA nanobook reference design. Unlike its closest competitor, the Eee PC, the CloudBook uses a hard-disk. The design of the cloudbook is optimised so it can be held in one hand while typing, or in two hands when using the mouse-cursor control, with the left thumb controlling the two "mouse buttons", and the right thumb a small trackpad, both mousepad and keys are placed directly under the screen.

In April 3, 2008, Microsoft announced a program to extend the availability of Windows XP in "ultra low-cost PCs", past its original deadline for ending the support of this operating system, as long as hardware developers deploy it on systems with limited hardware specifications. [ [ Microsoft Announces Extended Availability of Windows XP Home for ULCPCs] , April 3, 2008 Press release] Commentators have seen this announcement as a market movement both to prevent mobile PCs eating market share of full-featured desktop and laptop PCs, [ [ Microsoft to limit capabilities of cheap laptops] , IT World May 12, 2008] and to stop the advance of Linux installations on this format. [ [ News – Computerworlduk - The latest, breaking IT news, reviews and analysis on Google, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe Reader, IBM, Open Source ] ]

In June 2008, MSI launched the MSI Wind PC, with features such as Bluetooth and a 10" led backlight 1024x600 screen. This new laptop is the first built with Intel Atom low power technology and competes with the HP 2133 Mini-Note PC which has a 8.9" screen and is capable of a higher resolution. Both laptops are offered with SUSE Linux and Microsoft Windows preinstalled; but HP offers Windows Vista on their laptop while MSI ships only with XP Home edition. [ MSI] [ HP]

Subnotebook Gallery

See also

* List of computer size categories
* Comparison of subnotebooks
* Netbook
* Intel Mobile Internet Device
* UMPC, a small form-factor tablet PC platform


External links

* [] - News, Reviews, Previews, and Forums about Subnotebooks - Updated Daily
* [ LG Canada. P100 specifications.]
* [ MiniTechNet Subnotebook Reviews (Amoi, Apple, Asus, Averatec, Dell, Flybook, Gigabyte, MSI, Nexoc, Samsung, Sony, transtec, Twinhead] - extensive reviews, news & community for Subnotebooks and more.
* [ Videos of Subnotebooks] Video reviews of several subnotebooks.
* [ Laptop buying guide] - defines ultraportable as "Weight: 4 pounds or less ... Display: Smaller than 12 inches (diagonal)".
* [ First, what is a subnotebook?] - a section of an article reviewing a subnotebook, NEC Versa UltraLite, defines it as "trimmed down to just a display, a keyboard, a hard drive, and a few vital data ports".
* [ Panasonic R4 Review] - NotebookReview August 31, 2005 article.
* [ Dell Latitude X1 Review] - Cnet article.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • SubNoteBook — Dieser Artikel oder Abschnitt bedarf einer Überarbeitung. Näheres ist auf der Diskussionsseite angegeben. Hilf mit, ihn zu verbessern, und entferne anschließend diese Markierung. Sony VAIO C1 Subnotebook …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Subnotebook — Sony VAIO C1 Subnotebook Sony VAIO PCG 431M Subnotebook mit 10,4″ Bildschirmdiagon …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Subnotebook — Ultraportable Un ultraportable ou ultra portable désigne un ordinateur portable de taille très réduite et de poids minimum dont la principale qualité est de pouvoir être transporté et utilisé n importe où avec un encombrement minimum tout en… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Subnotebook — Sub|note|book [ sʌbnoʊtbʊk], das; s, s: besonders kleinformatiges und leichtes Notebook. * * * Subnotebook,   allgemein ein Computer, der noch leichter und kleiner ist als ein Notebook. Das Gewicht eines Subnotebooks liegt im Bereich zwischen… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • subnotebook — noun Date: 1990 a portable microcomputer similar to but smaller and lighter than a notebook computer …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • subnotebook — /sub noht book/, n. a laptop computer smaller and lighter than a notebook, typically weighing less than 5 pounds (2.3 kg). [1990 95, Amer.] * * * …   Universalium

  • subnotebook — noun A small, lightweight laptop computer, smaller than a notebook computer …   Wiktionary

  • Subnotebook — extrem flaches Notebook, meist durch die Auslagerung von Laufwerken und Netzteil …   Acronyms

  • subnotebook — ● ►en /sub not* bouk/ n. m. ►BOX portable ultra léger, donc facile à transporter et à utiliser partout, dont le format est inférieur au A4 (qui est la taille classique d un notebook) et au poids inférieur à 2 kg …   Dictionnaire d'informatique francophone

  • Subnotebook — extrem flaches Notebook, meist durch die Auslagerung von Laufwerken und Netzteil …   Acronyms von A bis Z

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.